Some things are meant to be. Take Bob Moses: Jimmy Vallance and Tom Howie both grew up in Vancouver, before life took them down different routes. That is, until one fateful day when the pair bumped into one another in a New York car park. Exchanging numbers, the began making music – Vallance with a background in underground dance, Howie with rather more song-based inclinations.
Debut album ‘Days Gone By’ emerged last year, and it’s a doozy – glistening production, sharply defined songwriting and lyrics that in true pop fashion seem to burrow down into your soul.
Seated backstage at Lovebox, the pair seem utterly at ease with their surroundings. Tom breaks the silence: “Every time we tell people our schedule they go: Lovebox, you're gonna fucking love that!”
London, it seems, has a special place in their hearts. Jimmy explains: “We've had great shows in London. It's always been fun. We did an in-store in Rough Trade the other night, and that ended up turning into a pretty great rager. I didn't think anybody was going to come, but it was totally packed.”
The past 18 months have been an unusual, remarkably gradual success story for Bob Moses. The pair have toured relentlessly – “cos we've been, like, burning the candle at both ends for a long time now” – and this has resulted in their music reaching a massive audience.
“I mean, we've been on the road pretty hard for about three years now,” says Jimmy. “Even when we were making the record we did over 80 gigs. So we're kind of road-dogs, to put it bluntly. We're kind of used to it. It's tough sometimes, but as soon as you get worn down you've just to get better about making sure you get time to catch up on some sleep.”
“Most of our shows – to be honest – are just fucking incredibly awesome,” he Tom exclaims. “Like, the tough part is, y'know, early morning flights... the woes of traveling. For the most part, playing is what keeps us going. We love playing more than anything. So, you play a great show, you get that energy back from the crowd, it's like... rejuvenating.”
The continual battle to win over new fans, night after night, keeps Bob Moses remarkably rooted, as they freely admit. “I think being on the road for us keeps things very real. I think after we go back into the studio we won't tour as much as we did on the last record, because that was kind of insane. Our whole act has really been built around playing live, and it's really always an influence on what we do in the studio because our sound was birthed out of a live experience.”
Debut album ‘Days Gone By’ has been re-jigged for a new deluxe edition, bringing the past three years of the duos lives to a neat conclusion. It’s fascinating listening to it again – there’s even a few acoustic versions, completely apart from their electronic heritage.
“Every time we usually are working on a song, we'll stripped it down and Tom will just play the acoustic version,” says Jimmy. “If you're trying to find places to go with chords, or melodies, it's great to not have all the nonsense of beats and stuff, and you can kind of just work through chords. Or we'll do it on piano. There's a couple of times where we've gone: man, next time we do a radio thing we should just play it like this.”
Currently in the middle of yet another exhausting spell on the road, Bob Moses are eagerly looking forward to getting back into the studio. The pair have accumulated a hard drive’s worth of ideas, but they need space – both figuratively, and literally – to create. “We have these little snippets of great ideas,” explains Jimmy, “but we do everything, just the two of us – we write everything, we programme everything, we engineer everything ourselves. It's this process where we get in, and the production process and the writing process sort of inform each other. We need to get into the rhythm. So, to flesh things out takes a little more time. When we get in there, though, we're fine.”
Tom adds: “It's like one of those sports... like golf. We'll always be decent golfers, but to get on the course everyday and play. It's to have that time, y'know, to just go into the studio everyday and get that muscle going again, is going to be... I can't wait for that.”
But there’s more to creation than simply closing the studio door and turning on some mics – being in Bob Moses is a full time occupation, it’s something that seeps into every moment of their lives, and every moment of their studio routine. Tom explains: “We talk a lot too, I've noticed. We'll get up in the morning, go to the studio and work. And then start talking about politics, go for dinner, and then come back. To be able to do that is great.”
“It's more than just work,” adds Jimmy. “It's sharing ideas, having conversations. It helps all fuel it.”
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'Days Gone By (Never Enough Edition)' will be released on August 19th.
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