Finding the right contrast between vulnerable storylines and the use of bright experimental production, L.A based duo Moby Rich have made a bold introduction to listeners. Their debut offering ‘Our First EP’ was a punchy collection of feelings and playful hooks that heard them citing influences from the like of N.E.R.D, MGMT and Twenty One Pilots but ultimately creating their own unique sound. With their debut single ‘Yoko Ono’ receiving the viral streaming treatment, they were able to get acquainted with a wide audience which has seen them tour across North America. Making the trek over to Australia, the dynamic duo are in the country to support New Zealand favourites Broods on their massive headlining tour. Treating this tour as a platform to introduce themselves globally, they are just focusing on bringing the energy and making the audiences feel something. Whether it’s excitement or something emotionally deeper, they endeavour to making everyone leave with a smile on their face. But these two are cheeky to the core so whilst they are here they are also exploring the cities and plotting on how to kidnap a Koala.
With the tour in full swing, I chatted to Connor Pledger and Maxwell Joseph from Moby Rich about their dark video for their new single ‘Sabotage’, the controversial reaction to naming their debut single ‘Yoko Ono’ and discuss the importance of contrasting vulnerable lyrics with playful production. Check out the chat HERE;
TB: ’Sabotage’ is a darker continuation of the playful and experimental sound you guys introduced on ‘Our First EP’. So what was inspiring you sonically when you were working on this track?
CP: ‘Sabotage’ is actually one of the first tracks we did a co-write for. Maxwell and I were a little hesitant to do it at first because alike many other artists, there is a little ego in place. So we were hesitant to work with outside people but then we met Sam De Jong and finished off some tracks with him and immediately knew we were in good hands. It was cool to experiment with different sounds with Sam. We took the sound from ‘Our First EP’ and elevated it a bit and drew from all of our life experiences.
MJ: It was really natural when we worked with Sam, it just happened really quickly. And usually that’s how good songs come along, it was all very natural. We literally did it all in two days. It is a bit darker but I also felt like it was something we really wanted to talk about in terms of the content, so it just works.
TB: The video for Sabotage is quite dark compared to the colourful oddness of the ‘Yoko Ono’ video. So reflecting back on that shoot, what was one of your favourite memories from that day?
CP: I think for me my favourite memory was a tie between having Chipotle for lunch and doing the final shot with the rain and blood falling down *laughs*. With all of this happening, Maxwell and I knew we only had one take to get this last shot and it’s funny because if you watch the video there is a moment where we lock eyes for a second and I’m like “did we get it?” and then I realise “oh shit we are still filming!” and we both throw our heads back to the camera. That moment is kinda special to me because it shows our unique connection and we’ve been able to immortalise that on film for all thirty viewers *laughs*.
MJ: The whole time leading up to the video I was a little over casual about climbing into a car that was suspended 50 feet in the air. I was like “it will be fine man, we will be strapped in”. And then we got there and they were like “Do you wanna hop in and see what it’s like?” and I’m like “fuck no I don’t want to hop in that car”. It was barely strapped to the contraption.
CP: There was literally four straps holding the entire car up!
MJ: So for me it was really all about overcoming that initial shock of “oh shit, this is gnarlier than I thought”. Oh and then having a stun man falling on top of the car was pretty incredible too *laughs*.
TB: What would you say was the weirdest thing you guys pitched to get thrown at the car in the video?
MJ: Originally we were meant to have a flame thrower hit the car. It was meant to torch the windshield but when we got the car on set they realised they hadn’t taken the gas tank out and it was already hanging up on the contraption. So we had to scratch that for our safety which was a bummer. It was going to happen but it’s probably good it didn’t happen because we would’ve died *laughs*.
CP: Other than that the other weird thing we were going to have was hot dogs!
MJ: There were so many weird things! We got so much stuff that when we got to the video shoot we realised that we actually had way too many things to throw at this car *laughs*.
CP: As simple as the video seems, there were quite a few tedious chores that had to happen to accomplish the concept. It looks so simple when you watch it back but when you reflect on the logistics of it all, it actually took longer than you might’ve suspected. It was so fun though!
TB: Your music has a really playful and carefree feel to it. But behind the bold and bright production there is some honest emotions. So what would you say has been the most vulnerable moment for you guys as songwriters so far?
CP: Honestly the most vulnerable moments of these songs for us is actually performing them live. As cliche as that is, that’s the truth. But other than that, being in a room with your band mate and telling them exactly how you feel about your life and both coming to the realisation that you feel that way is so powerful. And then having another realisation that if we both feel this way then other people in the world might feel that way too is so vulnerable.
However, I think that’s the idea we’ve been chasing since the get go. “If you feel this way, then maybe someone else does”. As listeners of music, that is what we look for. Not just songs that make us feel good but also songs that make us think “wow, that sounds like my life”.
MJ: There are times in the writing process that we will think long and hard about what we want to write about pre-emptively but there are moments where it happens so fluidly and naturally that it’s kinda eerie. The day we wrote ‘Pocket’ we had been writing another song for a couple of hours and we just thought “maybe this is shit” and we walked away from it. So we tried writing another song instead and we ended up writing ‘Pocket’ in 20-30 minutes. Line after line was coming out and it just happened so naturally. It’s weird stuff like that which makes creating music so interesting.
CP: Each of us have our own personal take on each song and what they mean. There’s an ability to extract the meaning of a song into your own vision. For example, ’Oh My’ to me is about a close friend of mine who passed away that I never got the courage to call and say goodbye to. And then ‘Pocket’ looks at exes that Max and I both had where we tried so hard to be friends with them but quickly realised that we felt too strongly to watch them move on.That’s the heaviness of songwriting. Both Maxwell and I know we can’t live in those heavy emotions all the time so we are lucky to have each other to make each other laugh and smile.
MJ: We are both pretty serious and heavy individuals but we try to write that off with a lightness of what is going on. When we play live, we try to make that experience for the audience more of an uplifting one. I think the songs have the heaviness and introspectiveness to them naturally that people will automatically feel that. But our job as performers is to give them the other side of the coin.
TB: Was there any push back or confusion from people when you used Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s love as a reference for your first single?
CP: There were maybe a couple of comments on YouTube but this is what it comes down to; nobody was there with John and Yoko so no one truly knows. From the outside the only thing we can say is that it looked like they were absolutely in love. For us the goal was not be them but it was to have something as symbolic as what they had. And that was a love you find for someone who is as strange as you are, or as different as you are, and is completely accepting of you.
MJ: I think what was interesting with that song is that we took a different take compared to what most people think. Most people view that situation as the old legend that Yoko broke up The Beatles. But when you see photos of them and watch interviews of John talking about Yoko then you can’t deny their love. There’s a quote from an interview where he says; “I want to be with her more than anything else”. There’s something so beautifully tragic about that. The fact that you can find someone that matches you and understands you so well that there is no more fear of loneliness is so incredible. So that was our view on it.
TB: You’re currently in Australia for a massive tour with Broods, so what is one emotion or feeling that you want people to walk away from your live set feeling?
MJ: The artists that make the biggest impact on me are the ones whose emotional energy makes me feel like I’m not the only person who is going through that situation. So when we play live I want people to know that they aren’t the only ones who are feeling heartbroken, depressed, anxious or worried. Because everyone goes through those things.
CP: We also just want people to leave feeling really good and euphoric about themselves whilst also being excited to discover new music and to get excited to see Broods live.
MJ: Who are absolutely incredible live, I must say!
CP: They are absolute legends!
MJ: I remember when we got told we were doing this tour, their new album had just dropped so I took some time to digest the whole record and I was like “holy shit, I cant wait to see this live”.
CP: They are even better live than they are on the studio recordings, which is insane *laughs*.
TB: This is your first time in Australia so what have you guys loved doing so far?
CP: We are so stoked to be here! We just went for a run to the Opera House as we are staying hella close to it which was so cool.
MJ: We are actually so excited to go to Brisbane this week because we went to the Zoo yesterday and we were trying so hard to pat a Koala but they’ve changed the law down here so you cant hold them. But we’ve been told that up in Brisbane you can hold them at the Koala Sanctuary so we are going to do that!
CP: It was probably better for the Koalas that we couldn’t hold them because we don’t know what we would do if we actually had a Koala in our hands.
MJ: I would probably run away with it *laughs*.
Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions where I’m going to ask you some questions that you just need to answer with the first thing that comes to mind.
CP: Let’s do it!
My pre show pump up song is…
CP: ‘Kids’ by MGMT.
MJ: ‘Peach’ by Broods.
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
TB: The messiest member of Moby Rich on tour is…
CP: It’s probably a tie!
MJ: We are both pretty clean, we don’t like to be dirty.
TB: The emoji that best describes ‘Sabotage’ is…
CP: The face that looks like your eyes are popping out.
MJ: The tongue sticking out!
CP: Oh yeah, that one too!
TB: If we weren’t called Moby Rich, we would be called…
CP: *Laughs* omg! We were actually going to be called ‘No Fumar’
MJ: I’m so glad we didn’t go with that *laughs*.
CP: Me too!
MJ: We were driving in Connor’s car trying to figure out a name and there was a “No Smoking” sign in the car so we were like, “why don’t we call ourselves, No Fumar”. And I am so glad we thought of Moby Rich instead because that name is awful *laughs*.
Broods + Moby Rich Australian Tour
Tuesday 28 May – Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Thursday 30 May – Eaton’s Hill Hotel, Brisbane
Saturday 1 June – Metropolis Fremantle, Perth