Musicscan: Why is music your privileged form of expression as opposed to other artistic avenues? What makes music special to you, and what effect(s) do you hope to generate through your music?
Mojo Fury: Im uncertain whether or not I chose music or it chose me but, as soon as I discovered the joy of creating and composing it just took over my life, it had to become my life because it was the one thing that made me truly happy. I enjoy other art forms, I occasionally like to draw and paint but I find it hard to say something direct in that format, probably because of my limitations and lack of knowledge in technique. However I find music the most layered art form that penetrates the mind the deepest because you have melody, lyric and instrumentation pushing and pulling you instantly into different emotions.
Musicscan: Is there something like a main idea that runs through all of your music, something that perhaps connects the individual songs you’ve created so far?
Mojo Fury: There has never been a rule or constant theme in my and our song writing, perhaps just a standard that we know and feel in the room when the song is working for us. I believe for us and most bands, the players will bring their own streak to a song, and bands will have formulas they use over again thus giving them 'their own sound’.
Musicscan: Do you still remember when you wrote your first song for/with Mojo Fury and what it felt like and how it feels like now when you finish a song? How has your relationship to the music and the band changed over time?
Mojo Fury: The process has changed so much for us in the 10 years we have been together. We started as a three piece with me on drums, I would sing riffs to the guys and we would jam a lot, picking out parts we loved. Back then it was a collection of riffs and less thinking about structure, but as a young band with youthful energy we were on fire and as soon as a song felt nearly done we would play it live anyway. Now it’s a different approach, but I still love that feeling of playing a fresh, brand new song. We have new influences now and are more aware of our song writing for individual songs and as parts of an album.
Musicscan: Do you sometimes feel the urge to write a gentle pop song but then dismiss this idea again, because you think it does not fit the rock based Mojo Fury aesthetic?
Mojo Fury: Well we have our soft moments, they perhaps develop into the wall of sound that mf has but we have never been afraid to be gentle as long as it has the right vibe for us as a band. The song 'Golden Wall' on our new album for example is very soft. I don't know if it is a pop song but, gentle dynamics are as important to me as loud aggressive ones are. We have had songs in the writing process but then disregarded them because they may be felt too 'happy instant pop' compared to our overall sound. So I think the answer is yes.
Musicscan: Where do you see the line drawn between progressing on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound? Are there any restrictions to your creative work?
Mojo Fury: We have two albums, the first one was a collection of songs written over five years and we went into a studio in Belfast with and just hit record and laid them all down. We made a very raw, heavy, riff-based album. Our second and latest album is comprised of songs from the past two years and we self-produced it in our own home-build studio. So by working like this there were absolutely no restrictions on us creatively. Any lines that might be there for someone else were quickly rubbed out by three guys who were totally in control of how their album was going to sound. I think we were always trying to have a cross over sound but never had the means or ways of introducing keyboards and pianos in our early days. So there are songs on our new album I have brought to the guys that they like, and we just go with it. Perhaps it sounds like a different band but most of my favourite artists have a varied sound and defy any particular genre.
Musicscan: Do you think there are still genuinely new sounds to be discovered or can modern music basically be said to be a recombination of already existing forms and elements?
Mojo Fury: Oh I would love to say there are undiscovered everything, music, food, animals, and places. It’s hard to say but it might be more a question of what becomes popular. I have bands and artists that I love with a completely unique sound that you would never hear on the radio and to me it feels slightly undiscovered. As for successfully popular you can hear the 60's 70's & 80's influence has come back a lot over the last ten years. The recombination is an exciting world though; look at producers like Mark Ronson who puts a 21st century twist on a motion feel, Tame Impala and The Black Keys with their very cool 70's lo-fi production.
Musicscan: And do you think or feel music might be valued differently nowadays because it’s basically free for everyone? What effect do you think does the accessibility of music have on the music itself?
Mojo Fury: Very much so. I too will flick through music on Spotify etc and within seconds write-off a band, but I remember before streaming, either buying a record, cd or renting a cd from the library, excitedly taking it home and giving it time. Learning to love it or not, but mainly valuing it as I couldn't just click on past it. On the other hand I have found one of my favourite bands through 'flicking' on Spotify. So what can I say? As a music lover, listener and composer I will just accept and embrace the newly forming music industry and the way in which we listen to, buy and sell music.
Musicscan: Do you feel it is necessary to create a certain distance between you and the music in order to get a better understanding of its inherent quality – what do you think, how do you handle this question?
Mojo Fury: Yes I do, but as a song writer and producer of music it is one of the hardest things to do. I think it’s the same as when you cook for your friends and they will enjoy the meal for what it is and the effort you went to but you will be sitting wondering 'shit, did I put enough herbs in, could have done with more chilli..’, then your friend could have made the exact same meal and you would just love it. For me it usually takes a while before I can distance myself then get into my car and enjoy my own music from an outside point of view. It’s a very important thing though because you gotta be into it yourself if you are expecting other people or fans to get into the groove of it also.
Musicscan: Every band has a vision of how their songs should sound like after the recording: Listening to The Difference Between right now: Would you say that this was a successful mission or would you even say that you have been able to surprise yourself? If this is the case – in how far?
Mojo Fury: Im very proud of 'The Difference Between", it was a big production, we spent nine months on it and the whole process was exciting. I will say it was yes, a successful creative mission. Its maybe too soon for me to be fully objective about the album, I do enjoy listening to it but I think that’s on a production level. I will let you know in five years whether or not I think it’s actually a good album.
Musicscan: Musically and lyrically Mojo Fury seems like a band fueled by raw emotion which is at the same time tempered by a “reflected” vibe. What are the motives behind writing in this style, what reactions are you seeking to evoke in your audience?
Mojo Fury: For me there is an attraction in authenticity and honesty, even when it is heavy layered music, but the way in which its played, the notes you chose to couple with the lyric can be straight up and powerful. A lot of the time we will finish a song then I will just see what emotions it evokes in me and try and write lyrics on the theme. When I analyse my own lyrics I see a lot of that reflective style, almost as if its reminders about life and morals perhaps to live by or look out for. Last night a guy came up after the show, it was the first time he had seen us but he said he felt like he already knew us and our music, he just got it. It’s not for everyone, although no music is, but when you play and you know that people are nodding their heads or tapping their feet there is an amazing consonance happening between your inner creativity and what the audience's emotion is thirsty for.
Musicscan: Final thoughts?
Mojo Fury: What fantastic questions Arne, it’s nice when a question actually makes you dig into deeper parts of your brain. I think a lot of creative people don't actually ever think about their own creativity, they just do it, but recently and I guess the older I get, the more I analyse my own. Im sure there is a quote but I can’t think of it but it’s about knowing your limitations in order to test them and push them.