Interview: Boss Moxi

| June 19, 2012

Words by Ash Kissane

Brisbane’s Boss Moxi sound something like “if the Brian Jonestown Massacre had sex with Tame Impala and their child was reared on nothing but Foals and John Coltrane”. For the last couple of years, the self-managed band has performed a string of successful gigs proving that they are ones to watch, so much so that they have a spot in the RAW: Natural Born Artists event here in Brisbane this month. MM caught up with Brayden (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Ollie (lead guitar, saxophone) ahead of their performance to discuss the EP, their influences, and unsustainable partying (not really).

MM: How did Boss Moxi come together?
Ollie:  Brayden and I went to school together and we were spending our lunch times pretending we could play guitar. We ran into Dan (bass) after school, that kind of just fell into place, and we met Sophie (drums) at Woodford Folk Festival in 2009/2010.
Brayden: Pretty much after graduating in 2009, our drummer moved to Germany and then we had to find a replacement. It all kind of fell into place, Sophie kind of just rocked up.
Ollie: I remember the first gig we did at the old Clubhouse at Empire. I wasn’t 18 and remember just being enormously stressed about the whole thing and we got there at 5pm for load in, and I was like, “Well I’m not leaving, I don’t have an ID and I won’t get back in.” So I stood on a toilet in a closed cubicle so that when the bouncer came in he wouldn’t think there was anyone in there. That was pretty wild, heavy days.

MM: What’s the story behind your name?
Brayden: Boss Moxi is a character from the Superman comics
Ollie: He failed didn’t he?
Brayden: Yeah he was in one comic and then he died. He’s one of the only villains to be killed by Superman, he snapped and broke his neck or something. Some stupid story but he has an awesome moustache.
Ollie: As we all do. It’s difficult to see in this interview, but we all have excellent moustaches.
Brayden: He had like a vibe about him that fit. I think it fits more so now than it used to.

MM: Tell us about some of the inspirations behind your EP.
Ollie: We recorded the EP while Brisbane was flooding. I can remember we recorded at Bedlam Records, which is like a small home studio, or used to be. I was driving along Kingsford Smith just before it was shutting and there was just water everywhere and just being enormously worried about all the shit getting flooded out of Bedlam. Everything was so hurried.
Brayden: It became an island, St Lucia was pretty much surrounded by water, so we were locked in for a few days.
Ollie: Everything was recorded was after 11pm. None of the takes we used would have been daytime takes. The EP sounds kind of dark as well.
Brayden: A lot of the ideas and structuring and essentially our sound, happened there. That session brought us to a sense of what we actually were. It was the first proper snapshot that we could look at and see what we really sound like. The EP’s pushed us onto a more defined track rather than just loose jamming.

MM: How do you go about writing?
Ollie: It’s different every time, we all bring ideas. We practice in a garage, which isn’t a limitation but it changes the sound and what were capable of producing. A lot of our stuff is pretty dark, we don’t really write that many happy songs. I think we’re pretty happy guys.
Brayden: Music that we’ve made here, in our apartment and then say, Kennards Milton, there’s actually a difference in the music. It’s simply, like Ollie said, your surroundings and the restrictions you have, like sometimes you might not have a mic or a PA so you don’t sing. So that practice will end up turning into a structural practice where we actually work on the music.
Ollie: More than that, we all listen to enormously different stuff. Like, I listen to a lot of jazz and funk and blues and stuff. But then Dan listens a lot of house music. Were we to be in a car, it would be annoying to choose songs. We would listen to AM radio.
Brayden: It would be a long ride.

MM: Who are some of your main musical influences?
Ollie: It’s always hard to talk about your own music. It’s more than uncomfortable, it’s just like you don’t know. Nothing for us is consciously like, “Let’s make this sound like a Black Angels song,” or a Foals song or anything. I was thinking about this last night, it’s like if the Brian Jonestown Massacre had sex with Tame Impala and their child was reared on nothing but Foals and John Coltrane.
Brayden: In a sense, pretty much what you’re saying is that it’s a combination of everything we listen to religiously. What you’re trying to appropriate, not replicating at all, what you think you would do with the sounds that you’re in love with.
Ollie: It’s such a cliche and a lame thing to say, but it’s totally an organic process. I hate having to say that but it just is; we just play what we feel like playing and often that sounds like what we listen to.
Brayden: I’ll never tell Ollie what to play, or Sophie. Dan will just follow what’s going on, he’ll do his own thing. Everyone has their own little box, and all the boxes are connected in a grid and it works perfectly.
Ollie: One member will pro-actively start playing say a riff, then everyone will react to that and come up with their own thing. We have a lot of respect for people that can just sit down and write a song and have a structure in their head, hear the song in their head before they play it. For us, definitely, it’s a lot more exciting to not know where it’s going.

MM: What do you think of the Brisbane music scene at the moment, where it’s heading and how you guys fit in? 
Brayden: I think it’s moving at a really fast pace. I think we’re just learning, as you do, over the years. You meet people, you hear stories, you find things out. I’ve had to take the role of management, as we’re a self-managed band so learning that stuff has come pretty easily.
Ollie: I think since Last Dinosaurs it was a bit of a scene and after that people were like, “I can definitely be in a band.”
Brayden: It inspired us. The Brisbane music industry is probably the biggest reason we love doing it, it’s awesome to be a part of.
Ollie: I have a bit of a problem with where it is at the moment because people assume once you’re doing relatively OK in Brisbane you suddenly need to relocate to Sydney or Melbourne because they’re somehow inherently better than Brisbane.

MM: There’s been a change in attitude recently where it’s kind of cool to say you’re a band from Brisbane, like Melbourne and Sydney are looking to Brisbane more now.
Brayden: All that is exactly what we would hope for. We don’t look for shows, everything’s comfortable and fine at the moment so there’s no need to push for anything more.

MM: Favourite gig experience?
Brayden: My favourite was a charity gig we did at the Fairweather Warehouse. It was absolutely insane, there were a lot of drunken people on stage, it was loud, it was messy…
Ollie: I hit someone in the face with my guitar. There was blood.
Brayden: The energy was absolutely wicked to be a part of, like a kick in the face.
Ollie: The most, I think, important gig experience I had was when we were first starting out and it was probably the second most embarrassing moment of my life. It was just so bad, words can’t express. Vasy Mollo and Moon Fleet played as well and we played last, I don’t know why. We were playing on a tennis court and there were maybe two people sitting down, it was raining.
Brayden: I loved it, we’d kind of just look at each other and be like, “Fuck it, let’s just stop playing this song.” Then we’d stop and just play another one.
Ollie: It made me just want to make music that people can dance to and have fun to, I know how lame that sounds, but at the same time it’s more important to make music we like to listen to.

MM: Best chill out album? 
Brayden: Definitely Gorillaz, Plastic Beach
Ollie: John Coltrane, Giant Steps

MM: Best party album?
Brayden: Probably The Black Angels.
Ollie: What kind of parties do you have? “Guys I’m just putting on Black Angels, hope you’re ready to par-dee! Rock and roll!” I think, Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah!
Brayden: Actually, Inspector Norse. Youtube it and party. I guarantee that you will not be able to stop partying.
Ollie: It’ll be irritating because you can’t stop partying. You’ll be trying to sit down to do a bit of work, can’t, partying. Trying to get into a club, can’t, partying too hard. Get out, leave at once. Trying to sleep, can’t sleep, partying, die from lack of sleep. Can’t eat soup, can’t eat anything. It’s unsustainable.

MM: What can people expect from your RAW show? 
Ollie: It’s going to be totally raw. Straight up raw. I think it’s a lot more fun and engaging to see us live than to listen to us.
Brayden: I think so far our main goal is to keep focusing on our live performance. It’s been our 100% focus point to make it as tight and entertaining and full of life as possible. We like to go nuts, throw our hair around.
Ollie: In terms of what people can expect from our RAW show, synchronised dance moves, we’ve been working on a routine. Brayden’s got a big mirror in his room and we’ve all been wearing leotards, getting sweaty, having a bit of fun. Probably party poppers on stage. There will be a confetti cannon when we play.
Brayden: This is all within the budget.
Ollie: There is no budget, I can say whatever I like. Enormous balloons.

MM: With your faces on them?

Ollie: Yep and within those balloons, small kinder surprises, which we pre-made. The interactive part of our show is when people have to pop the balloons and put them together and hold them up in the air. Then the first five people to finish get to lick Dan’s chest after we’ve played. Like how I said, “Get?” So that’s pretty sick.
Brayden: So that’s what you can expect, whether you get that is a different story.

Find more about the RAW: Natural Born Artists event here

And more from Boss Moxi –

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