MOEV have been doing their thing since 1981, but for some reason they aren’t the household name you’d expect from a band that has been seminal in the electronic music scene. Members have come and gone over the years (including Sarah McLachlan and Nettwerk Records co-founder Mark Jowett – yes, THAT Nettwerk Records), but Tom Ferris has remained the bedrock of the band through all its twists and turns despite his involvement in other projects (Lazarazu, Econoline Crush). Theirs is a fascinating history that deserves more attention than I can write about in one short article.
After a hiatus following the death of vocalist Dean Russell in 1994, the band came back strong with Julie Ferris on lead vocals and the husband-and-wife team have been making, in my opinion, some of MOEV’s strongest material to date.
2022 gives us the new four-song Hold On EP and shows the band continuing to evolve and explore interesting musical ideas as rock elements interplay with a strong electronic foundation. Julie’s vocals have a siren-like quality to them and seem to employ elements from sources outside of Western music. Moscow Burnt To The Ground takes a relaxed approach, with a soothing vamp that drifts ambiently with a solid backbeat holding it down. Each Piece of Lebanon hits harder with crunchy guitars and a driving beat that’s ideal for dancing aggressively or driving at an excessive speed. Little Arrow‘s vocal delivery makes me think of later-era Bowie and the beats make this perhaps the most “fun” song on the EP, although each song brings something different to the table.
This EP holds up to repeated listening big time! As they say in showbiz, “Always leave them wanting more.” Hold On (тримайся) already has me eagerly anticipating MOEV’s next full-length effort.
Earlier this week, Tom Ferris took time to answer some questions from his “spaceship”, presumably in orbit somewhere over Vancouver, BC.
Is ‘Moscow Burnt To The Ground’ a statement about the current situation in Ukraine?
You are damn right. It’s horrific.
What inspired “Hold On”?
I was inspired by the fighting spirit of the Ukrainian people and their will to survive. They don’t want to go backwards and who can blame them? They have their own identity[.]
What is your musical priority these days? (MOEV? Lazarazu?)Is there a balance between them all?
Only Moev now and forever. Lazarazu was a one off.
How would (or wouldn’t) you compare this incarnation of MOEV to incarnations of the band in years past?
Simplified as its just Julie and myself. Plus the technology has caught up to the point where we can do everything ourselves. And less drama about songwriting allocation. For example on Crucify Me I wrote the music, Dean and Kelly (Cook) wrote the vocal part yet at the time we were pressured to split and hand out songwriting credit to people who didn’t deserve it. In Canada it’s impossible to get publishing back as there is no time limit so everyone but the actual songwriter(s) benefit off your hard work forever.
Please walk us through a typical day in the studio. What’s the chemistry like?
I start mapping out an idea and when I think it’s ready I hand it off to Julie. Sometimes her vocal part will change the direction of the music and we go from there.
How has COVID effected your musical plans these last two years?And what are your plans for the future?
We were already an at home studio band so it didn’t affect us at all. We were built for a pandemic! We do get asked to play live sometimes but unless you are set up to tour it’s not really worth it. Plus we have pets to feed.
Are you optimistic about the future?
In the music business musicians are being paid less and less so there is no incentive to ever be associated with a record company. Kids have to do it for themselves and don’t give away your publishing! It’s horse & buggy logic. I am optimistic about technology and excited to see new innovation in music software and hardware though…
Any parting thoughts you’d like to share?
Buy new Moev so we can keep making music!