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Interview with Moodie Black

Wonderful meeting with Chris, leader of the band, and his fellow musicians, Sean, the guitarist (very zen) and Dave, the drummer (very dry sense of humor), in the Trinitaires in Metz during their European tour (04/23/2015). : Tell me about Moodie Black's genesis... Your previous project was Gahedindie ?

Chris : yeah, Gahedindie, it's hard to say ! Even in US, there are people who can't say it... In fact, Moodie Black is the same thing as Gahedindie, no difference, it's just the name. Because the name is too confusing, so we changed it. Also, the other name is like "go ahead and die !". We thought it was too negative because we don't want people to feel like "die", we don't feel like that anymore... But that was before we had Dave, the drummer. Sean and me have been together from day one, 2004 when we first started to make music. We met in middle school in Phoenix, we were 12 years old. Well, I didn't started to make music until I was older, I was in college and he was still hanging out with me. When we were 24, we moved to Minneapolis where we studied music and met Dave. Now we are moving to Los Angeles.
Dave : And drinking!
C : Lot of drinking, yeah (laughs). That's it! There is not much of a story, it's not very spectacular. : For our redaction, Nausea was amongst last year's major albums. This album seems to be pretty personal for you... wether for the composition or the state of mind ! How is it born ?

D : Yeah, she gots it!
C : Yeah, it is.
D : That's good, nobody gets that.
C : I make all my music like that. I only know how to create personal music. I can't make anything else. It's hard for me. So, Nausea was just in a time that was really weird for me, personnaly. I was living in Minneapolis and I moved to Arizona for a little bit to make Nausea and when I went there, I tried to get more in touch, figure out what was going on with me, because I'm a believer : I have a higher purpose than just music. I know a shaman indian in the desert that I'm friend with and we went there, me and my girlfriend Jamee (she does all the artwork for us). So, we went up there and we learned about things. I don't get too specific because it's personal but... I used to take trip to the desert by myself, drive, out of town, and just walk out to the middle of nowhere to figure out what was on. So, that's me and Nausea. Nausea was my perception of society and human beings versus what I feel human beings really are. It was so disconnected, was so far as human beings from what we actually are in the US or even here, people are nowhere near to where we need to be. We don't have connection with Earth anymore, we don't have a connection with spirituality, it's all gone. We have religion but religion doesn't count, it doesn't feel spiritual to me. It's just a figure. I'm surprised a lot of people don't talk about it, because my lyrics are really difficult, I think they are not lead out but the album talks about race, talks about sexuality, talks about gender, talks about so many real issues and people don't even fucking get it. : And the atmosphere on Nausea is a little bit different from your other EPs, right ?

C : Yes, Nausea was very serious. EP was for fun, when I was less mature. That's why when I had meetings in the desert, wondered where to go with my life, the album was very serious and it was very hard to make. I had problems, we lost all the songs (laugh) : I made everything and then I lost all the pieces. I had to put them together, then I had to flight back to Minneapolis to my home and we had to work...
D : There was a deadline...
C : It was a mess, I almost went crazy making it. : I was deeply impressed with the most contemplative tracks, you know, The Mass, WOLVES... Guitars on LA PART 2 brings tear to my eyes ! And SKIES is on our compilation Best Tunes 2014...

C : Thanks, a lot of guitar is my brother... (about the compilation) Yeah, I saw it, I saw everything you guys did for us, that's awesome. We really appreciate it. I'm happy, I didn't expect this song to be the one you picked among all the songs because, for me I love it, but in the States, they still don't want that shit. Wolves especially too was one of the songs that was pretty personal. I mean, all the songs are personnal but Wolves... Wolves is a love song and people don't think about that with MB but that's a fantastic song about love : I've been with my girlfriend for almost 10 years, so that's what this song is about. When you've been with somebody for so long, you can either go different ways or you can grow together. Even when we are growing apart, we are growing together, it's very strange. Again, it's still the same shit, that atmosphere. That's all I know to make. I don't know how to make anything else. That's just natural to make it. : As I wrote it in my review : "nothing is clean, nothing is smooth, nothing is comfortable..." Nausea clearly keeps a violent edge, a sort of darkness... There are the bases of your music ?

C : Yeah, what people consider dark, to me it's mysterious. Everybody in their life, when they grow as people, have to go through a dark period. It's not possible to grow as a human being unless you go through dark.
D : Maybe that's why people say that it's evil.
C : Yeah, I don't see it as dark.
D : You can call it dark but it's not dark in burden or evil, but it is mystery and that's intriguing and for some people, the unknown is...
C : ... Scary!
D : ... Fearful, so they instantly attribute it to dark, evil, bad or negative. But it's not necesseraly true. : Nausea is a tribute to light and darkness...

C : Yes, that's exactly what it is, and it's getting to the light through the dark. We all fucking feel that way. I think even people the happiest have their underline in their lives, you always have that feeling of something there, you have to figure out what it is.
D : There is a saying that "Ignorance is bliss", some people don't think about it, but it's just a piece of it. And there are people who want to know, to search through the shit or possibly... You have to run through your life sometimes.
C : But it's not necessarily bad. You're gaining experience and making new friends. : I'm often doubtful about the music styles, particulary with indie music. What's your definition of noise rap, since you apparently fathered the genre ?

D : I don't think anyone got it !
C : I feel the same way you do. But beyond that, I wish it did not exist anymore, I wish that we did not do it but we had to because in the States, noise rap, the title is kind of becoming cool with other groups starting doing it. So, we took it first and we made because of business marketing. Other than that, every album that we will do is gonna be different. We will work on an other album soon, it will be different. We will never be "that", instead we go from rap gaze to shoe gaze... It's like all bands like Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, old school bands... We gonna sound more like that with some rap on it, which has never been done to my knowledge. And to me, I've always been innovative. In the US now, you have groups that have the job done and because they have a label or because they have money, everyone hears about them but only a little bit of people hear about us because we haven't get there yet, we don't have the connections, we don't have the friends yet, so it's been frustrating to deal with that so we took the all things we had, like noise rap and all, that's it. But at the same time, I hate it, I don't want to just be called that.
D : Noise rap is so off putting.
C : Everyone ask what is it but noise rap is the easiest thing for me to say because when they ask "Hey, what kind of music do you make", and what do you say ? If you say rap music, it's not really true...
D : ...Or accurate enough !
C : If you say "Ho, it's weird", then it's not really true so it's hard because people always want to have a definition and I never know what to say so noise rap seems the easiest I guess. : So, your songs are about love, sexuality, race, gender... Can you tell me more about your lyrics ?

C : That's why that's good to talk to you because you can write about it and tell people... You can share with people now and people will know what we are talking about because it's very dense and the writing is not normal. To me, it makes sense, I always want to sit down with somebody and explain because if they knew how I wrote and what I said, they would be even more blown away because no one really that I know of writes like that. It's very particular. Because of all the music, my voice goes in the background, so people don't notice what I'm doing. When it's firstly overhear, when it's not their language, it's hard but you get the emotions though, so that's good. But if you knew the things I was saying, I'd be cool because I'm speaking on behalf of the current time right now, and there is not enough people that are willing to speak the truth about humanity right now because they are afraid of whatever it is. They are afraid of religions, they are afraid of losing their job, whatever it is, you can't say what you want but I can and I will and I am, so that's my responsability to kind of explain for everybody. : You're currently working with 3 labels : American Fake Four Inc, and two french labels. How did you end up on Dora Dorovith and Jaring Effects ?

C : We've been lucky enough to have them, we appreciate all the work they do. There is no way we could be where we're at without these labels, but there is part of me that is unhappy with the situation because I think more can be done. I've seen groups that came after us in the States, working with a certain label and the label put them on shows, they put them in a position to be successful. I love Dora Dorovitch, I'm appreciative for what they are doing for us, but I'm also frustrated because I don't feel as a label they do enough to let people know what's going on. Because we're making really good shit and we work our asses off, maybe more than a lot of people in these labels, in my opinion. No disrespect to these guys but I feel that if we had a better backing, then, we'd be somewhere. But at the same time, I don't blame the label, it's up to us to do that and that's what we're doing here. So we are proving that we can do it ourselves if we have to but it's always frustrating, kind of figuring out this balance. Dora D though, no problem : Those are my dudes, because they do everything they can to help us.
D : They have a passion for music.
C : Yes, they care and they do everything they can for us and I love them, I would do anything for them because they've taken care of us. We work hard and we want people behind us do the same, so I really love Dora but at the same time, thanks for Jarring for putting us out there... So labels, all they have to do, is take us on. We do the artwork, we do everything, we do it by our own, we even make our own shirts, so they don't need to take care of us, we don't need a lot, we just need to be put in a position to be successful, that's it ! That's all I want and I will do it because I want to be huge. I don't think it's underground, I think it's huge, that's the cure, I want to be that big but we need help, we need someone to do it. : I read you like France, maybe because of the great welcome ; how your tour has been so far ? What do you like here ?

C : The shows have been the best. From all the shows I've been playing, I never had so much fun.
D : Even in the states !
C : We came here, we're taken care of, the crowd is very receptive and respectful and we get addicted because people care. In the States we spend so much of our year playing in places they don't give a fuck ! We're still playing, and we make friends, we do great shows out there but I'd rather be in place where it's appreciated and if anything, you guys remember. We don't even have people like you in the states that care that much about it, even if they love a group. It's hard to find people who'd feel emotional about a group. They might go to a show with their friends, and they love a group but they don't really care about the group, and that's the culture in the states right now and it's really bad. And we're here, trying to be a role model, trying to be an example for people to care about. You don't make money in the States, you make money to survive, barely. And they are living in shit houses and they are eating poison... In the States, they put all crazy stuff in our food, I don't know if you know that. So we feel like we're free out there, that there is a sense of easiness and freedom, that we don't even realize what they are doing to us because it's so big and so easy and we're comfortable. So that's why we love France, because it's not like that. : What else do you like in France?

D : The cheese. We're big food fans, and I like regional food.
C : How is your cheese?
D : The cheese is in the car, it's horrible. : Poor chese, you're gonna take it to the States ?

D : No! I'm not sure we could make it ! : Any story to tell about ? One strong memory ?

C : We were in La Rochelle, or it was the day after.
D : Was it La Rochelle?
C : Hold on... Was it Le Mans?
D : Yep, Le Mans.
C : We had a residency and on the way there, we drove all night. Before we left, we had pizza with anchories, I don't know how we say anchories in French... "Anchois", yes. Anyway, we made Sean eat one because he never eats it. So, we're driving back and he's asleep because that's what Sean do. He's dead asleep and all of a sudden, he just throws up, in the van!
D : Into his blanket.
C : We said "Tino (booker and driver) pull over !!", and he is "there is no good spot to !!". Eventually he parks up next to a grid and there is barely enough to get out of the van.
D : But the funny part was that: no warning! No "my stomach hurts" or "please, pull over", "ho I don't feel good". He just threw up.
C : Action!
D : Yeah, just action.
C : No more anchories. : And the residency in l'Autre Canal in Nancy ?

C : Amazing !
D : Incredibly lucky to have live here, we had a lot of work done.
C : There is nothing like that in the States ! Here, everyone was really nice and we really get to go with the song, live and fix it and now it's way better. They welcome a lot of bands, of young bands, it really is a cool place, and they treat them well ! We didn't even go to the store, to the market. They bring someone to take care of it. It was crazy. At least, they tell us they care.
D : Yeah, at least they tell us they care and they give us food. : On your first EP, I saw some collabs with Dalek and Ceschi too. Do you have any collabs in the future? You're talking about the next album...

C: About the new album, I don't have plans for collaborations because I don't like them. Because on an album, that's for you. First EP with Dalek because it was an EP and I love Dalek in my group. It's crazy that it's so unreal. We did this song with Dalek and Ceschi because they are great guys so we only collaborate with people that we love as people. I would never do a song with someone that I don't. So, it's hard to find people you love that are also good at music. So, I don't plan to do it. If it's Robert Smith from the Cure collaboration, I would do it I guess. Oddateee, I would, once again because I love him, he's one of my best friends, so I would do something with him. I think we might tour with Oddateee in the States from August to September. We've been wanting to hang up for so long. So yeah, you'll only see collaborations with people that we love. That's it. Because otherwise, it's a loss of time. : The last thing that got you mad or bothered you ?

C : All the shits I see in the States ? No, that's not even it. I'm working on it right now because mad and angry is a kind of a weird emotion, I'm trying to be better at that but I got mad and angry when I see things going on in the US, where people are very hateful towards somebody else. It seems crazy because I read a lot of celebrity websites or shit about popular celebrities and the way people attack them, that bothers me tough. That we are still in a place in the states where it's ok to say somebody something very mean on the street because of how they look. I don't know if I have really been angry but I got disappointed. The last time I got angry at something is when Sean did something stupid. But that's different. That's angry between friends... But I get angry at people where I live because I can't believe they haven't evolved or progressed, that they're not in a place where they can love everybody else, no matter what.
D : The thing that really bothers me is people hiding behind the internet, this kind of fake glass wall or sort of thing. It just bugs the shit out of me. And then, there is ignorance towards many many things. One of the examples, vaccines... When you got a shot at the doctor for like chicken pox, polio... But a lot of people doesn't want vaccines because... I don't even care what the reason is !! That's also part of what pisses me off. They don't have a good reason because it doesn't make any fucking sense : "Ho, I don't believe in vaccinces because..." ok, stops, I don't care anymore, go die in a corner.
Sean : I try not to get angry...
C : Sean is Buddha, see ? He never gets mad. He gets only mad at me because I get mad at him. : The last thing that made your day ?

D : Not being in the States, that's pretty nice.
C : Every set that we played on this tour. Because sometimes during the day, especially for this tour, I'm more homesick than usual, which I never felt that way before. It's a certain point in my life where nothing is certain and I don't have a home so I feel weird during the day... Sometimes I'm down when we play a show and after the show, I'm great, I feel the best I ever have. And playing with these guys right now is amazing. To me, it's the greatest, the best show we've ever done. Just the shows made my day everyday !
S : I just enjoy being somewhere else than home for a while. It's a good way to break away from stuff. Just being anywhere in general I mean. Even touring in the States, going from one place to the next is fun. It takes your mind off a lot of things, with nothing to worry about. : One last question : your current musical advice ?

D : Don't listen to us !
C : First of all, there is a lot of shit I can tell you, but find what you love to do but you can't look for it. That's why it's hard for me to tell people what to do because you can't force what you want, the music. So, if I say "go, find your style", it doesn't make sense because you can't. If you really love music, let it discover you, let it does what is does to you and then do everything you can, no matter your dream is, to make it happen and believe in it 100%. I don't know if it makes sense but it's hard to explain that to people because people ask me, nowadays, more and more for advice and I don't know how to answer because I got a lot of advice and nothing ever really helped me. I had to learn on my own, no matter what anybody told me, I had to do my own thing. So, the best advice I can give is no advice. I think a lot of problems we have now is that people are giving advice, people are following it and now you got a bunch of plastic musicians that are doing what everyone else is doing and that advice is bullshit nowadays. What makes you a good band or a good musician is just life, more than anything. It's not playing instruments, it's life. And if you're made to do it, you'll figure it out.

Propos recueillis par : Lacar/Wamananas.
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