EP 011 / 19.05.2021
THE ART OF
Tom Howie 0:00
I always have spent a lot of time daydreaming, for lack of a better word. And I'd say that one of my challenges has been to not get too lost in the world of vision. And, and, and sort of daydreaming and sort of, I spent a lot of time imagining what the ideal is, and how it could be better and more so than most people. And I think that the challenge for me has been to reconcile that with taking action in the moment Not that I've been lazy or procrastinated, but more so that like I can, I've always had a propensity to get caught up in some like figuring out some minute detail of my vision where that doesn't actually matter. Just be like, just focus on this, you know, now, what's in front of you. So I'd say that's definitely part. Innocence, I think, is an interesting one, because I think that it does Take a sort of innocence to being a creative person is a lot about I would, I would put innocence and naivete in sort of the and what's the other word, like being genuine? And you're sort of exploring what you don't know. And I think that that sort of has an innocence about it. So I think that that's a big part of who I am. Yeah,
Farah Nanji 1:27
You're listening to the Mission Makers show, a podcast that inspires humans to get into the mindset of success. My name is Farah Nanji. And I'm the founder of a business in the motorsports industry that explores leadership lessons from things like Formula One. I'm also a DJ and music producer in the underground electronic scene, and a public speaker on key topics like resilience, building high performance teams, overcoming learning difficulties, and stimulating creativity. And to tie it all together, I love writing thought provoking content as a journalist for these industries, which is so unique in themselves. On this show, I'm sitting down with some of the most inspiring and driven people I've met around the world to talk about their processes, their failures, the lessons they've learned, and how they are truly making an impact on this world.
So guys, it is the final episode of season two, I can't believe it. Where did the time go? It's been just such an incredible and unbelievable season, to be honest, starting off with Carl Cox and then featuring so many amazing stories from entrepreneurs, race car drivers, musicians and changemakers all around the world today where I'm just so beyond excited to share that I got to sit down with my all time favourite band and Grammy Award winning artists for the last decade, Bob Moses, with nearly 2 million listeners a month the blend that Bob Moses strike between underground electronic music and melancholic vocals is just achingly beautiful, and just so deep. I think they did what so many couldn't in the music industry. And they've done it super well. Born and bred in Brooklyn, but with roots in Canada, this electronic duo have got an amazing story to share. They're joining us from LA today where they're camped out at the moment. And we're going to go very deep in this interview. So just before we begin, guys, I wanted to share some really, really special news. And to be honest, it was really quite unbelievable. Mission Makers recently entered the top 2% of podcasts in the world. So I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who've been tuning in, sharing the show with your friends and subscribing. And also to my amazing team who've gone above and beyond with me since day one, it's really quite incredible to close the season on such a high and it does set the bar like super high for season three, which we're going to be kicking off after summer. But they're not because we're going to have some of our best bits being aired over the break with some great bonus content, including how you can start your own podcast. So don't forget to hit that subscribe button if you want to stay tuned into the show and you love the content that we're making here at Mission Makers. Also, if you're interested in some really cool rewards like virtual DJ lessons with me, signed books from our guests, and exclusive merchandise head over to www.patreon.com/mission-makers to check out how you can access these exclusive rewards and Support Mission Makers. And if you are interested in watching the video version of this podcast, head over to YouTube and type in Bob Moses Mission Makers to see the show. This is one you definitely want to watch on your screens.
So guys, thank you so much for coming onto the show. I'm so excited to have you guys on like, I've been telling everyone that you guys have been my favourite band for literally since for a long time more than more than five to six years. So it's a huge honour to have you guys join us today on mission makers and can't wait to kind of just get straight in. So I want to start it off by sort of taking it back to the beginning. Unsurprisingly, you're both super musically inclined as inclined to various children, one of you comes from a very musical family, while the other comes from a bit more of an academically driven background. So starting with you, Tom, I know that you almost gave up and you move back to you're almost going to move back to Vancouver. So how much of your determination came down to being able to read those signs early on, and being determined not to let go of your innate gifts?
Tom Howie 5:25
I think that's a good question. Starting off with a bang. I think the academic nature of my family, I always felt a lot of pressure to do something that was valuable in the eyes, and that sort of frame of mind, you know. But really, the thing that I wasn't sure I was, I was sort of going back to Vancouver to regroup. I was living in New York, and I had kind of run out of money. So and then, I met with Jimmy, and there was sort of like this week off, there's this like, week long period where we did a few studio sessions, and it was just kind of like, obvious to me that there was something special there. And that was a big opportunity that I needed to pursue, and it was a pretty easy decision to, to sort of adjust plans and, and make plans to stay and continue working. So I think, yeah, I don't know, it's, it's hard to sort of say what determination is in the, in hindsight, but I was always just super determined. And it was, I think I was going through a sort of period of weakness or a period of not really knowing what the future held and sort of being a bit weighed down by that. But I viewed the serendipity of meeting up with Jimmy and having this sort of intense moment is sort of like the universe saying, Here you go, you should do this. It's not, you shouldn't, like change your mindset, because there's still something to explore here. So that was kind of all I needed. And so, you know, I think when you when you get, it takes a lot of determination, but when you get beat down to a level, where you are really questioning what you want, and whether you're on the right path, I think, in my case, I was sort of, you know, the universe, I don't want to sound too, like hippie dippie, saying the universe to show showed me the way but like, that's kind of what happened. You know, like, I mean, I had a I had, I had a circumstance that fell into my lap, right in the right in the nick of time, or right in the right time, that kind of gave me an obvious path forward towards what I really wanted. And I at least had the guts left to take it. Yeah,
Farah Nanji 7:58
definitely, when you send the energy out, always, always manifests. And how about you, Jimmy did coming from such a legendary musical family act as a double edged sword in any way?
Jimmy Vallance 8:08
I mean, not not really, I think it's definitely been more of a blessing and a curse, like, you know, I'm fortunate enough that like, you know, what my parents did, and my dad especially, he was very behind the scenes. So you know, he's not, he's not, it's not like he's famous, he wrote a lot of big songs, but I never sort of felt like, living under the shadow of this inescapable, you know, person in the music business. But I think what, what it did teach me is that the dream is very much possible, like, you know, living growing up with a family that we're both musicians, both in bands, both writing songs and successful at it. It's something that seems so unattainable, you know, like, especially when you're watching people on TV or listening to records, like, how am I ever going to do this? And it just normalised the whole thing for me and made me feel like it was a very viable sort of career path. And not only that, it really inspired a work ethic. As I saw it, I saw how difficult it was, like if it was something that I loved, and was really going to do, you really have to do it because you love it. And so it just kind of, you know, presented a path of like, this is what it's going to take if you really want to do it. But it's something that's very possible if you just try really hard. So I think that it's been such a fantastic thing to grow up around, you know?
Farah Nanji 9:19
Yeah, definitely. And especially like pre internet days to have that guide. You know, now it's a lot easier to figure out the path towards becoming a DJ or a musician. And the knowledge is really out there. But definitely back in the day that wasn't there. For my second question, I always like to go into the meaning of our guests' names, because I'm always curious if it ends up matching who they become. And it was really interesting to find out that the name Tom means twin innocence, a visionary. Do you feel that this encapsulates the essence of who you are individually? Tom?
Tom Howie 9:55
That's a very interesting question. I'd say yeah, I'd say that the In every part, I spend a lot of time, I always have spent a lot of time daydreaming, for lack of a better word. And I'd say that one of my challenges has been to not get too lost in the world of vision. And then, and sort of daydreaming and sort of, I spent a lot of time imagining what the ideal is, and how it could be better and more so than most people. And I think that the challenge for me has been to reconcile that with taking action in the moment, not that I've been lazy or procrastinating procrastinated, but more so that like I can, I've always had a propensity to get caught up in some, like figuring out some minute detail of my vision where that doesn't actually matter. Just be like, just focus on this, you know, now, what's in front of you. So I'd say that's definitely part. Innocence, I think, is an interesting one, because I think that it does Take a sort of innocence to being a creative person is a lot about I would, I would put innocence and naivete in sort of the and what's the other word, like being genuine? And you're sort of exploring what you don't know. And I think that that sort of has an innocence about it. So I think that that's a big part of who I am. Yeah. And then twin is confusing, because I don't, I'm an only, I don't know, it's weird. I'm an only child from my mom. But I have half brothers and half sisters. And I'm in a band with Jimmy who's like, could be my twin, I guess, in some ways. So. I guess there's this. There's things to relate to there. Yeah. It's interesting. I didn't know any of that stuff. So.
Farah Nanji 11:55
Oh, interesting. Well, maybe he's your musical soulmate. In that sense. Yeah. There you go. And then Jimmy. So Jimmy means Do you know what your name means? Jimmy? Actually,
Jimmy Vallance 12:04
Farah Nanji 12:05
Oh, really? Okay. Well, this question always stuck with people. It's really interesting. Okay, so Jimmy means the sound of the Spirit as a planter, which means to follow in the footsteps and benevolence. So how do you feel about that?
Jimmy Vallance 12:17
I feel that actually sounds that pretty much sums me up. I mean, I feel like I'm really following in the footsteps of sort of the path, it's been laid out for me and like, you know, I'm son of a spirit. I mean, I just, I'm just gonna take that to as a, as a, that I'm quite I mean, I, I'm looking at that, as I'm quite chipper, you know, I don't know if it means I'm looking at as the son of the I mean, that's quite deep. You know, it's funny, like, both of us have never, like bothered to look up, like what our names mean, you know, it's just, I just find that quite interesting. It's like a question that's never been asked to me until now. Um, but you know, I think it's interesting, because Jimmy is also derived from James right. Jimmy is really just a nickname. So does that still apply to James?
Farah Nanji 13:09
Yeah. So Jimmy was very much supplanted following in the footsteps. And then James was kind of son of the spirit and benevolence is a bit of an amalgamation of both.
Tom Howie 13:20
Wow, your Jimmy's one of the kindest people, like genuinely kind people. There is. So I think that makes sense. From my perspective, anyways,
Jimmy Vallance 13:30
I appreciate that.
Farah Nanji 13:32
Well, to just kind of round it up, I also looked up, what does Robert or Bob Moses mean, in both those words, and this might surprise you, because it means bright fame. And then it was almost like, you know, well, then it's a destiny that you guys are pursuing something as a duo together. That would become incredibly unique in its approach, which is kind of what you become known for. synonymously in dance music. So, yeah, really, really interesting.
Tom Howie 13:58
Really interesting. Well, there you go, we should have just like, looked at what our names meant. And then we could have just like known the future. Yeah.
Farah Nanji 14:05
Well, it always, sometimes has a very subconscious role. You know, even when you don't know what it means to be like you, you sometimes become the embodiment of that essence. And I don't mean many bad, many names have a bad meaning to them. So it can never be a bad thing, hopefully. So the story of how you two met is, is infamous at this point. And I'm just curious to know, like, have you guys thought about what you would have done today? If you hadn't met in that parking lot in Brooklyn?
Tom Howie 14:37
I try not to.
Jimmy Vallance 14:39
Yeah, I mean, I feel I it's something that I really thought about, but I've, I've sort of had questions to myself if, like if music hadn't quite worked out, sort of what have I done, which is I guess a similarly linked question, you know, like alternate, an alternate reality. Um, and I feel, I feel like I can speak for both of us here sort of that. I know that Tom Like the deputies talking about determination later that like whatever it was that we wanted to do, I feel like we would have just found a way to figure it out. You know what I mean? Like? I think that Tom and I are very lucky that we found each other and there's like this, there's a, but I know that, you know, Tom is one of the most talented people that I know that if he had an MMU he would have figured out a way to do it, you know, there's just some people just have a predisposition to just want to like, grind, grind, grind, keep going, you know, and I think like Tom said, you know, he's, he's a dreamer. And I think that, having that, you know, aspiring to something and setting goals and trying to make it attainable, but like, step by step, not getting lost in the dream, or just being like, okay, here's the goalposts. Let's get that and go to the next one. I think we would have just applied that logic, and hopefully, you know, knock on wood have had success doing what we love to do, regardless.
Farah Nanji 15:54
Yeah, no, fair enough. It's always good to kind of put the end as the goal map, and then work your way backwards in this crazy thing called dance music. So, Tom, I know actually similar to me, part of your musical development took place at Berklee College of Music in Boston. And I tried to find out what you studied, but I couldn't find that information online. So I have to ask, you know, what did you study? And what was that like for you? What were the main things that you you learn from from Berkeley,
Tom Howie 16:21
I studied, I only went for one year. And I studied guitar as my principal instrument. And songwriting was my whatever that is subject matter of, I don't, but I because I only went for one year, I didn't really. Like you start the first semester, you kind of do your basic courses. And then the second semester, you get into some beginnings of what your major is, I guess. And so the best course that I had, there was a lyric writing course with Henry Gaffney, who is now passed on. But he was a big songwriter, he wrote, like, a lot of the music for fame and a bunch of other big songs back in the day, and he was just a really interesting character. And I, I learned a lot from him, you know, in a short time, but like a few very important things about just more just about how to how to approach stuff. For me, for me, honestly, the biggest thing I would say, other than that, is the fact that Berkeley was a great experience, and it sort of reconciled the need for the academic part of my family to sort of like, do goodbye to that. It combined academia because it's a college with music, which is what I wanted to do, and sort of legitimised it for, for us for a second. And also, it made me feel like, I'd always been super sort of felt like I wasn't good enough for, like, the real musicians, like, I was never like a shredder guitar player or like a virtual, so anything, where I've had a lot of fears around being good enough for music school, you know, and when I went there, I was like, Oh, I'm, I'm like, I can hang with these people. And like, I'm quite good at it, you know. And so it was very legitimising for me in a big way. It was just in terms of self confidence, that I had sort of some, whatever that was, or whatever I perceived that to be. So it was really great. It was definitely also really good to like, you know, go to a new country and be away from a totally new city. And that was really beneficial. And, like, I hit the ground running, I was playing. I had a band of sort of friends that I made really quick and just started doing gigs, as many as I could and, you know, would drive around the Northeast playing his shows and hustling and stuff. So it was a great experience. And it was definitely a precursor to me moving to New York, I don't think what I would have really liked because I had got I went I went to play in New York a few times while at Berkeley, and I don't think that I would have Well, maybe I would have I don't know, I don't know if I would have had a way in to New York's just like, Oh, I'm just going to go to New York, but maybe I would have I don't know. So anyways, it was it was really a great year, and I remember it fondly, and probably I probably learned more things than I actually can like, say, you know,
Farah Nanji 19:47
yeah, no, of course what was the main reason that you decided to leave after a year?
Tom Howie 19:54
Well, I had some partial scholarship and even so, it was like, compared to my dad was a professor at UBC, which is a university in Vancouver. And so I could go there for free. And so compared to free, even, you know, reduced tuition and all that stuff at Berkeley was still really expensive. And so that weighed on me. I also felt as though I sort of felt guilty about taking it, my family couldn't really afford even that, like they couldn't even afford partial tuition. And so I felt guilty about that. And also, I just when I was there, and as I got into the year, I realised like, Okay, what I really want to do, I think I'm better to just go do it. Like, I think that I've got this, I think this, this experience, checked a bunch of boxes for me and made me realise that like, I can, I can do what I'm worried that I can't do. And I think the best use of my time, as opposed to hanging around and learning more here, is just to go do it, you know. And that was just sort of an intuition that I just followed, and conveniently tied into the whole, like, I feel guilty about forcing my family to like, try and figure out how to pay for this or like taking on student debt or something, you know.
Farah Nanji 21:26
Yeah, it's incredibly expensive to study in the States. I was lucky enough to go there more for summer school. I studied video game audio and film scoring, which I wanted to tie back, like some sort of Sonic inspiration to my productions, and only dreamed that I could go there longer. But you know, when you become an artist, it's quite tough to make time to spend three years doing that. It's quite a huge time commitment. But really interesting, thanks for sharing that with us. I'm interested to know, it's quite tricky to find the right balance between the underground scene and the mainstream. And I know that both of you guys are huge lovers of techno and the underground, how have you kind of found it balancing both of those worlds?
Jimmy Vallance 22:07
That it's, it's, um, it's something that kind of happens naturally, like, we both just love a lot of music, like we love. And I think that we, because when we're starting out, there was such an amazing scene in Brooklyn happening, like, that was an very, and the cool thing about the scene that was happening in Brooklyn, that I should say, that was happening in underground dance music at the time, and like, sort of 2010 2011 was that the people that were listening to house and techno were, they'd also listened to the strokes. And they'd also listen to, you know, always, they'd also listened to knowledge, knowing that it also looked like it wasn't just this, you know, homogenous thing, where people were only listening to one kind of music and everything was sounding the same. So it felt very much like, okay, I can go see, you know, a Vampire Weekend concert. And then at one in the morning, I'm going to go with my friends to this nightclub, or I'm going to go to this warehouse rave in Brooklyn. And so for us, being inspired by sort of the dance beats, the DJs are playing, and then sort of writing songs overtop of it. We were really nervous and apprehensive about that at first, because he knew that dance music was very dominated by, you know, instrumental music, and it's sort of full upon some senses to add vocals on top of that. But at the same time, there were also a lot of people that felt like us that loved songs, and also loved, you know, underground dance culture. And so we were just trying to marry the two. And it was just like, sort of a lot of experiment and a lot of trial and error. And we had a lot more successes, than sort of errors when we were like, you know, coming up with ideas, like I remember, like, you know, we thought it either was going to work, or it wasn't going to work when the first couple times Tom went in. And you know, the first live show Bob Moses actually played or that Tom sang at, I was not involved in, I was just like a crowd member. We had written some songs, written some vocal hooks on top of tracks by Frank and Tony, who were on the independent record label, system and thread that initially signed us. And they asked Tom to come do a gig with them at the Marcy Hotel in Brooklyn. And so he sang the songs that we had written with them. And, you know, it was a great night, but when Tom got up there on the mic, the place went nuts. No one ever really even heard these songs before. And so I was in the crowd going, like, this is awesome. Like, we should like, and at that point, we were undecided about how we were going to perform what kind of music we were going to make. And I remember we were walking back to our apartment that morning while the sun was coming up, and we sort of had this epiphany like, we should just do, we should just do this, you know, like, make underground dance music with songs and perform like this. And let's see what happens, you know. So, I mean, that was a long way. To answer your question in the sense that like it just, it's been something we've been conscious of. But it's also happening quite naturally, we've learned not to get in the way of overthinking the balance between underground music and sort of what we do and where it all fits, you know?
Tom Howie 25:13
Yeah, that was, that was a really cool moment that that was, because like, the sun was just coming up. And we were like, man, we're onto something here. You know, that was cool. That was a cool time. I think that what Jimmy said, is totally, really accurate and great. And it's like, the actor that had that idea of what you like, when you asked about the determination to stay? we've we've really tried to, like, there's this, like, interplay between what we want and like, what sort of is coming at us, you know? And so that was when, when that experience happened, at that point, like Jimmy said, we were very much we had written, you know, we'd done the songs with Frank and Tony. And we had done a few other songs that were more Bandy, like typical indie. And we had produced a bunch of music and written a bunch of stuff, and it was kind of all over the place. And we were sort of like, what do we do? Where do we go? How do we sort of work for several months making music, how do we sort of like, put our face out to the world now? What do we call ourselves? What do we, how do we start playing gigs on all this stuff, and this was sort of a, that was sort of a thing that just happened? Like, we didn't have any control, we got asked by Frankie Tony to come do it. And there was this reaction that was like, Whoa, you know, and we were both I remember, like, the room we were in, the room we were playing in was tiny. There was maybe like, 100 people crammed, you know, and I remember it going nuts, and like, everybody pulled their phones out and shit. And we were like, and I just remember looking over at Jimmy and being like, what's happening? You know, and then when we and so that was just sort of like a sign that like, maybe this is what we should start with? Yeah.
Farah Nanji 26:57
Really interesting. And so like, when you're writing songs, now, is a lot of that already like in your head? Or does it kind of transpire when you're playing around with the software. And then also, in conjunction with that, what comes first? Is it the vocal the beat the melody, or is each process in a song very unique to each each song,
Jimmy Vallance 27:15
each process is super unique, but I think sort of, like, we were discussing this recently, like, like, one of the typical ways that we sort of write is that we'll come up with the instrumental first, you know, and sort of have something that sounds sort of catchy and is, like, you know, for lack of a better word of beater, this chems of a song. And then we'll try and come up with vocal vocal hooks, if taught will throw the microphone up, and Tom will start singing vocal hooks, or coming up with ideas and sort of bounce back and forth on that. And then we've done this thing for a while, it doesn't always happen like this, but like a lot of like, a lot of our ideas, it's like, the, the initial vocal melody, and that beat or whatever it is, has to sort of be catchy or enticing enough for us to sort of go through the pains of trying to write lyrics to it, because writing lyrics is such a, it's, it's, it's painful, not in the sense of that it's hard work. But it is hard work. But that also that it's like, it's quite a cathartic process for us, like you have a limited window to say something and it's like, you know, you're then you're trying to do rhyming schemes, and it's, it's very difficult, you just want to make sure that if you're going to set off down that path, you kind of want to make sure all your ducks are lined up. But on the flip side, sometimes a song just sort of pours out of you. And like Tom will come up with an idea that you just come up with an acoustic guitar, and then we'll try and produce that, you know, so it happens in a number of different ways. But that's been one of the ones that is sort of, I guess, yielded sort of the most success for us.
Tom Howie 28:42
Yeah, I think all of that I'll add to that is like I think that a lot of we both have tonnes of ideas, like we were both very, I guess, prolific is the word like we both write a lot of stuff and come up with new ideas often, but the ones that, that really survive and like we coalesce around are, they have, they have to have the balance of both really good song aspects and really cool production. So like. So they have like, sometimes we'll have a really good song, but we just can't figure it out the production, you know, and that one just dies and sits in the wall. Or sometimes we'll have a really cool beat like a cool loop. And we just can't really get some really interesting Misun song ideas or vocal parts or kind of whatever, like, it doesn't really work or there's not enough room, like the beats cool, but there's not enough room in there to like, we can't figure out how to fit melody and you know, and so that kind of just sits in the vault and so but the ones that have success or the right balance of like, this is a really cool loop. We know, it's usually like a 16 bar loop. And then that's enough to like come up with some Cool parts. And then we got a few cool vocal parts. And then we sort of arrange a range and then produce the rest of it and like to produce the parts that add dynamic and add other riffs and add, make it sound better. And you know what I mean? And then lyrics always come last,
Farah Nanji 30:15
huh? Really interesting. Like when you're kind of in that situation where you've got one part, which is like, amazing, and then you can't find the right balance for the other one. Does that ever come to your mind to think about maybe releasing under different aliases so that that song can have its own identity and live in the sphere? Or?
Tom Howie 30:31
I haven't personally thought of that. Yet. I, that's that just feels like sort of, I don't know. I mean, it feels like a lot of work, feels like it's distracting to me. Personally, I don't know, we've never really discussed it, just because it were very like focused on like getting the next thing for us, you know, we've done a few things like, we've started in this in this sort of time of writing, we've started doing a bit of a few collabs, like, we had a few beats lying around that we didn't really work that we didn't really like, figure out how to make work that we sent off. And we've, you know, we've had some other vocalists do on, you know, make, we've made a song with a guy who, who took a beat that we couldn't really that was in the pilot, like, this is cool, but we can't figure out how to make it a song. So let's send it to him. And he came up with something really cool. And that's going to come out under his name, you know. So we've started to do that sort of thing. But, but but not, we've never, to come up with an identity that is strong for an artist is like so much work in and of itself that I sort of feel like, personally, I'd rather you know, if people are looking for beats, or people are looking for songs, and we have some extra ones kicking around, we'd rather send them off to them, as opposed to like, coming up with a whole other alias.
Jimmy Vallance 32:00
Yes, just have a little. One thing I'll add to that is we were very conscious in the very beginning to sort of cast a wide net for Bob Moses, because we realised that like we could do so much so that on even on our first EP, we had like an acoustic song, because we know we didn't want to get pigeonholed as just like making we if we wanted to release something that's a bit more ethereal, or a bit more of this, he wanted to be able to have the freedom to do that, because we love grew up loving bands like Radiohead that like, you know, make everything from grunge tracks to stuff on kid a. And so we wanted to provide ourselves the same freedom. And I think we realised that there's something special in like, the Tom and Jimmy filter is like, if I like a song, and Tom likes a song, then that should just be Bob Moses, you know what I mean? And usually, that's pretty bad. We trust that compass. And so far, it's served us well. And so I think like, trying to stray from that, you know, and also what we write is what we write. And I think there's something kind of cool about being like, you know, this is who we are, this is what we do. And we both like this. And so then it's therefore it's Bob Moses, you know,
Farah Nanji 33:01
definitely, I think because you've cast that net wide, you're kind of you me in a situation where hopefully, where you won't alienate fans because you've gone in a different direction or something like that. And you can keep evolving that kind of recipe that you guys that you guys have, how do you challenge each other? Both as musicians?
Tom Howie 33:22
Jimmy Vallance 33:24
I think, Tom, Tom's a much better musician than me, so that he shall put I have become a better musician, because I've had to, like, keep up with Tom. You know, he's like, he grew up like, He's such a good guitar player. And he's a great piano player. And like, I very much from early on, like wanna, I, I'm good at a lot of things, Master of None, you know, I focused, I was like, Okay, I'll figure out how to play music. And then I concentrated more on production at one point on my musical skills, which definitely took a backseat. But when Tom and I started working together and playing live, he had come from like, doing the club circuits and like, playing shows, like, you know, tonnes of shows, and was like, and so I really had to get my chops up. And Tom really helped with that and pushed me. And so he's really instilled To this day, you know, like, I'm not a great, I'm not an amazing musician, in terms of like, I'm not the greatest piano player. I do it, because it's a necessity. But Tom really, you know, pushes me to get better. And without his guidance, I definitely wouldn't be as good as I am now.
Tom Howie 34:23
Oh, that's nice, too. I think. I think it's, from my perspective. How do we challenge each other as musicians? I mean, I think it's just like we're both I guess Jimmy approached that question more from like the, like playing musical instruments thing, but I see. Being a musician is sort of a more rounded thing. And I think that being a musician can encompass like Being a producer. And it's more like being a creative person in music. So I think like Jimmy, has challenged me a lot, like Jimmy just has a different approach than me, you know, like, everybody's got their own voice and like Jimmy will come up with shit like that I would never even think of. And it's like, that is what, like I could there's no way that I could ever write a piano line exactly the way Jimmy does, because he's got, like, his own approach, and like, that, just alone, challenges me. And so, I think like, that's the, that's the thing that's exciting about our collaboration is that I find personally, Jimmy's musical outlook very exciting. And like it like it, um, especially from a writing perspective, like, or, I feel like, I feel like if, if I have, say that I have four chords, or like, a sound I'm playing with or something. Just Jimmy's like, take off that makes, like, opens like five doors for me about like, where it could go, you know, and it without his, without his take of it. Like, literally, he could play the same part on a piano that I had just played or vice or I'm going to guitar or something. And just him here hearing his the way he does, it makes me see something about it that I hadn't seen before. So I think that that's the way that that's kind of like the main way that we challenge each other. as musicians, I think like that's we've, we've, we're lucky that our, the way that we see and hear stuff just sort of like complements the other really well and like, and it allows us to see and hear the music and in a new way that actually helps us contribute more to the to it. You know, that's how I feel about it.
Farah Nanji 36:59
I think also there's, you know, the fact that like touring, when you're doing it by yourself can be incredibly isolating, and you can lose that motivation. But when somebody is there, and you're and you know, you've got to do it together and one of us got, you know, it kind of keeps you both on your toes, maybe a little bit more than if you're doing it completely in isolation. Yeah, and I think that as musicians, I think we can be really guilty of spending hours analysing our own sound. Do you find that like reaching that final point of satisfaction and acceptance, that piece of work is done? Has that become fast? If you now or are you still, you guys still kind of like analysing that quite a lot.
Jimmy Vallance 37:37
But making music never gets easier? You know, that's the thing. It's like, every time you finish, even if you have your credit, because as you go on to write the next thing, it's always like, Okay, what are we going to do now? You know, it's always, I think, sort of, to our credit, like finishing we, we've learned that there's something about the initial spark of an idea when you have that initial demo that you shouldn't learn and you're feeling excited about it, that you shouldn't get in the way of that there's something special about it, you know, some people I think, have a tendency to like, overproduce or overthink, it can always be better. Luckily, because we have each other to bounce things off of, we're very good at sort of controlling the need to go too crazy, you know, we recognise that the gem of the idea is good. And that like, Okay, I'm mixing engineer will make it sound a little bit better, but like, let's just focus on the vibe in the song, you know, we've really realised that our strength is in creating a vibe, and having a song married to that vibe and sort of diluting that as to like, the core essence of what that is. And so I think we've gotten better over time by itself editing, but, you know, generating new ideas, and finishing them is still super hard. You know, you can basically just all you have is the confidence from the past that like you've done it once you can do it again. But other than that, it doesn't really get much easier.
Tom Howie 38:54
Yeah, you never really know. It's like, it doesn't feel like there's a little bit of like, Oh, we've done this before, so we should trust ourselves. But there's still that , like, I trust myself, but I also have absolutely no idea. You know, it doesn't, it really doesn't get any easier at all. So it can be Yeah, that's what it's about, though. That's creative. Like that is the that is the journey like that is the act of creating, you know, like,
Jimmy Vallance 39:28
the closest to magic real magic, you know, like no one knows, like, you just put the antenna up and you hope and you have no idea when an idea comes and how it happens. It's like I think that's why you know, then respect musicians have for other musicians or that people have for them in general it's it's this it's this insane art form that really has no rhyme or reason like you can learn the production you can learn how to play piano and guitar and drums and you can learn all that but idea generation that's no one can explain that you know, and I think that like anytime I'm a huge music history buff. I love reading books about, you know, my favourite artists or watching documentaries and because you just want to somehow like what they have tapped into? What's the secret? You never find out. It's like this constant pursuit of the rainbow that you'll never get to, you know, but sometimes lightning strikes and you're lucky enough just to put in a bottle, you know, brand, but you never know why.
Farah Nanji 40:22
It's so true. And I think there's also just that like, it's like a wormhole, you know, I mean, there's always just one more plug in one more layer of sound. And it's really hard to kind of draw that line and just just leave it and let it go. But definitely, thank you for sharing that, that with me. So following on from that, Tom, I know that you once said we write about life as a process of understanding it. So with that in mind, is the process of writing unreleased songs maybe double up as a form of therapy, and no pun intended, but did last year kind of help you guys for even more focus.
Tom Howie 40:57
That's good. That's a good point. Yes, it did. I think like, like, we were watching an interview, Jimmy showed me this interview, he was watching with sting a while ago, where he said something to the effect of like, he's, the process of songwriting is like figuring out trying to make sense of the world around you that you encounter. And the hope is that if you can do that, well, that other people, you're doing it for other people as well. And sort of like, I think one of the things that we've really realised from touring so much is that people are not that are really not that dissimilar at all, especially on a very core level, like everybody kind of wants the same sort of things. And we and we, the social dynamic is pretty similar. And, and people are going through a lot of the same struggles. And it's sort of like, and so I think, if you just honestly, right, your own experience, and try and get as good at that as possible, then your, your, you know, sort of also writing somebody else's experience. And you just have to hope that that lines up. And so yeah, I think that we've had the nice thing about this, this last year, while there's been many challenges, and it's been really hard for people has been that we've you know, I don't think we would have ever taken this much time to really just focus on music, writing and making and, and that's been that's afforded us a sort of introspection that we may not have otherwise had if we'd had sort of distractions from the outside world, so to speak. So I think it's helped us get really focused, and we've been working really hard. And, you know, quite excited with what we're producing. So, yeah, that's a hope that sort of answers the question.
Farah Nanji 43:22
Very excited to hear what's, what's going to be released soon. But yeah, being human is a universal experience. And there's a lot of similarities. And, you know, your music obviously has a lot of raw emotions and capsulated. In it that speaks to a lot of people. When you guys perform them, does it kind of bring you back to the feeling of the core of what that song was written about? Or are you in a completely different zone when you're performing these kinds of songs?
Jimmy Vallance 43:49
I think it's, it's the, what you write music to connect with people. And there's nothing more immediate in that connection than playing a live gig. You know, so it's to to write a song once you write a song that sort of takes on a life of its own, it's not yours anymore, it becomes the people, you know, that your audience sort of takes it and makes it theirs. And so I think we've also been very careful not to go into too explicit, too much explicit detail about what the songs are about to us, because it really is important to us, that people we don't infringe on other people's interpretations of them, you know. And so I think that, um, when we're playing them live, it's the excitement about having written something that really connects with people, you know, because that's what you initially set out to do. And so that feeling is sort of verified and gratifying. It really scratches an itch and it's one of the most, if not the most amazing feeling that that you know, I have in my life is being able to do that. And so I think, yeah, it's, it's, you do go back to sometimes like you try, you try you try to go on autopilot and not think too much while you're playing but sometimes when we are playing into a massive crowd of people in it and they're reacting to a song, it You think about like, man, I can't believe we were back in this little studio in Brooklyn when we came up with this. And now there's, you know, all these people singing along and dancing to it, it's pretty crazy.
Tom Howie 45:10
I think the only thing I'd add to that is I think that there's a balance between, like, the feeling of playing is so immediate, and you're so like, on, you know, you're so like, it's sort of, it's hard to be somewhere else, it's hard to be anywhere else. But I think that the best shows are the ones where you are 100% there in the moment reacting to that energy that Jimmy just talked about. But you're also channelling, like, especially for when I'm, when I'm seeing them, the songs channelling the feeling, but that's almost subconscious, like, I'm not thinking like, Oh, this song is about this. So I'm gonna, like, think about that. Now, it's just like, you just have to try and sing the song and beat and embody the, the emotion of the song, which is sort of just what, what performing the songs is anyways, you know, like, that's what playing, I feel like, when we play the song, we're just like, when we're in it, the process of being there, playing the song and being so in the moment is coupled with, with the process of conveying that emotion, because the music brings it out of us, you know, like subcon, like that music came out of us. And that. So when it comes out of us again, it just has an element of the same emotions that came out of it the first time and got put into record, you know.
Farah Nanji 46:48
super interesting. So like, in this time, obviously, like the world has obviously gone through an incredibly tough year and the music industry, in particular has just become, you know, unbelievable, what's happened to our industry? Has your music got even deeper in this time? And is it easier to write melancholic music in a happier time? Or is that a time?
Tom Howie 47:09
Jimmy Vallance 47:10
I think the thing is, is it like what Tom was talking about earlier, it's so much about you, you sort of have to let the subconscious take over when you're writing songs, I think, especially lyrics, and especially sometimes we'll just go up and sort of like, sing into a mic to come up with ideas. And if we're lucky enough, we'll get a few lines from that process. So I think I mean, a lot of the stuff that we've been writing now is definitely tapped into, I think, a lot of feelings of, of, you know, missing connection with people and, and things like that. But like, also, like, we felt quite, you know, a lot of the feelings still are quite universal, you know, like, I feel like, we felt very, sort of connected to the people around us, because everyone's sort of going through a similar thing. You know what I mean? And I think it's like, it's, sometimes it's like, as a musician that you sort of, like, I feel alone and isolated. And I wonder if there's anyone else that feels like me out there and waiting to connect into that, when there's also something extremely powerful about writing about hardships that, you know, everyone's sort of experiencing? You know, and I think it's sort of a balance, there's a, there's tinges of nostalgia in it, it's sort of like, you know, music writing for us, like I was saying earlier, it's very cathartic. So we like to write about what we know. So we'll always do that, you know what I mean? And I think it doesn't get easier, and it's not harder. But it's just nice, being able to have the time to write you know, and not being distracted by other things, I think that's probably the most beneficial thing we can really sort of, you know, it's like a muscle, it's like going to the gym or something like that, the more you do it, the better you get at it, the quicker you have solutions. And the more that you know, sort of expand your knowledge about what you're writing about and the tools that you have access to. So I think it just gives you time to think and kind of come up with the sort of best thing that you can and sort of distil it down to what the essence of whatever you're trying to say is, you know,
Tom Howie 49:01
yeah, and I would add to that is, I think that like, in this time, we're, we're writing about what we know, and we're writing about what's coming up for us. You know, like, essentially, we're all watching the events of the outside world happen. But we don't have this ability, we don't have any ability to, for us, at least the feeling of not having any ability to do anything about it, because we're all in isolation, is really, that dichotomy is really challenging. And we're all but coupled with that. There's also this longing to, to like Connect, and there's this longing to like, have a good time and there's this longing to party and there's this longing to celebrate. So like a lot of the music that we're coming up with, sort of has elements of that. The melancholy but also like this positivity in this design, Like this, this party sort of like, celebratory feeling. So we feel really proud of what we're coming up with. And also, I think that it really encapsulates those two ideas and that struggle between those two things really well. Anyways, we'll see when once it comes out, everybody can see if they agree or not.
Farah Nanji 50:25
Yeah, well, it's gonna be a lot of pent up demand. That's for sure. I don't know if it's already happened. Yeah, but it's been advertised that you guys are doing circles in a couple of days. Has it been filmed yet? Or is it? No? Is it? Okay, fine.
Jimmy Vallance 50:39
What we're doing is going live to Facebook Live. And so we're doing it live on Monday.
Tom Howie 50:43
We're doing it live.
Farah Nanji 50:45
Yeah, that's awesome. Because I was gonna ask, obviously, that's really cinematic, and you're falling into focus. The whole filming process behind that was incredible. So are there like any similarities with what's happening at the circle or?
Tom Howie 50:57
We don't know much. To be honest, we don't like to know the location, we know what time we have to show up. But they're, they're very much pros at doing what they do. So we're, we're preparing the music, and we're proud practising you know, we're making we're making it, we've made a new set. And, and we're just preparing the music as best as we can, the performance of it. And then there's still a lot to be, we don't really know, like, you know, how we're setting up or what the stage is looking like or anything, so we're just going to kind of show up and put ourselves in their capable hands and just do the Best Musical stuff we can. And hopefully, you know, we trust that they're pros, so we think it's going to be a good result. Hopefully, fingers crossed.
Farah Nanji 51:49
Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's gonna be nothing short of epic. So I also like to ask you guys, what do you think of the recent interest in NFT's Do you think this is the much needed revolution and transparency for fairer payments? in the music industry? That will actually materialise? And do you guys have any plans to think about incorporating them in your work, maybe someday?
Jimmy Vallance 52:09
I think it's always great when the status quo gets shaken up, you know, regardless of what that is, and I think 20 years ago, you know, we had Napster come along with free, and all sorts of digital assets, basically, were worth nothing, you know, and now you have people paying exorbitant amounts of money to own digital assets. So I think that like, there's always been a lag with technology and, and finding either compensation or finding ways to regulate it. And every time you think you have it under control, something new comes along and shakes the boat up again. And I think this time is the first time it's sort of given the power to the people, which is the most exciting thing, it's given the power to the artists, and the people that create the content to sort of like, find distribution channels and release it. And so I think, in that sense, it's extremely exciting. And I think, you know, we were, we were discussing this the other day, this business is so complicated, there's so many facets to like, when you release music, where it goes and how people collect from it. And like, you know, there's, you have to get different statements from YouTube and from Spotify, and from Apple, and then from your, from the sales of the records and like, everything is just, it's not centralised, and it's, there's room for human error. And then every once in a while, someone has to go collect this, there's so many, there's so much mess, you know, and it's, a lot of it was designed to intentionally be complicated, so that the average musician couldn't understand it, you know. And so I think seeing like, here's, here's where the buck stops. This is like, you can write all the copyright data into the files. I think it's amazing, you know, and I think it's gonna, it's gonna have labels, hopefully, adjust some of their policies, it's going to make things more transparent, like he said, which will then benefit sort of everyone in the long run, maybe not the people who are you know, unfairly capitalising on things, but, you know, it'll benefit the people that that deserve, or, you know, have written the material, which I think is, which is great. And then as far as us coming up with something, there's nothing concrete yet. I mean, of course, you know, you always want to, especially, I think artists that make electronic music that have used technology to their advantage, you always, you know, want to embrace technology, because it's, it's done you well, thus far, you know, so we haven't we don't have anything concrete, but we would love to get involved somehow, if we can.
Farah Nanji 54:36
Awesome, awesome. Do you have anything to add to that time?
Tom Howie 54:39
I'm not really I think like, I think we've always been excited about blockchain, you know, and which is what it's based on. And I think that that transparency and the accuracy that that can provide would only benefit creative people. And I think that we hope that I could say Opposite as much as possible. And I think that the recent NFT boom is a step towards that becoming reality. So that's exciting. We don't, we don't totally understand that. What's happening right now sort of seems a little bit like a bubble. But we don't really understand the craziness that that's, you know, happening. But we've been excited about blockchain for years. And this is a major step towards adoption of that technology into art and music. So, from that perspective, we're very stoked.
Farah Nanji 55:37
Definitely, definitely be very interesting to see where it goes. Hey, you, we hope you're enjoying today's episode. We're on a serious mission here to create one of the world's best podcast series, and we'd be so grateful if you could support us in any way by becoming a patron of the show. There's a tear to every level from early bird tears, where you get downloads to all my music with some super cool ninja stickers to our VIP mission, make it here's where you get epic rewards like exclusive footage, it never gets aired, the Charles does submit questions to our guests with signed copies of books from them, DJ lessons, one to one coaching and a whole load of super cool ninja measure maker merchandise, you can start supporting us for less than what it costs you to fill up your car for a month by simply heading over to wwe.patreon.com/mission-makers. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the show. What do you think is the biggest misconception of dance music? And how do you think the scene will redefine itself in this time?
Tom Howie 56:38
Well, good question.
Jimmy Vallance 56:40
biggest misconception of dance music got
Tom Howie 56:42
anything on that one, Jimmy.
Jimmy Vallance 56:45
It was more of an issue 10 years ago, but I think it's like that. Now that festival cultures have made its way to America and being a DJ is a very viable thing. I think before the music used to not get taken very seriously as a viable art form. You know, and I think people sort of over the course of the last 10 years, at least throughout our career, that there's been a sea change there. And it shifted, you know, and I think people really have understood that sort of what the art of DJing is the art of making records, I think a lot of younger people who are getting into producing music now, I think a lot of them are either using laptops to make whatever kind of music they're making. So that it's just become it is sort of essentially the new punk rock, it's the lowest entry point, price wise, you can buy a laptop, you have good ideas, dance music is a very easy entry level thing to get into that you can make by yourself and learn how to how to do something and make something that you're proud of. And then other people can take it and play it. So it's like this, you know, it's a great thing. If you're starting out and you really don't have much going on, you can be in a small town from somewhere, make some beats, a big DJ can play it, and all of a sudden you have a career, you know, and I think that's super exciting to people. So I think the misconception used to be that you didn't have to be that talented or that, you know, you could just phone it in on a computer, but I think time has sort of proven that wrong. And other than that, I don't
Tom Howie 58:09
you know, it's hard to think of what other Am I frozen? Are you for?
Jimmy Vallance 58:15
Just you for a sec? Okay.
Tom Howie 58:20
It's hard to think of what other misconceptions are about dance music. Because that felt like the big one that was like a DJ. The producers of the music weren't artists. Yeah, I can't.
Farah Nanji 58:40
Fat we'll take we'll take Jimmy's answer on that one. Interestingly, I don't know if you guys know this, but here in the UK, just to add to that music sorry, DJing. And music production is now on the GCSE music syllabus, which, I suppose, are almost equivalent to IB or, you know, basically from 16 to 18. So, always, yeah, so like the ways that people you know, especially the younger generations are learning about music, as you said, the barriers to entry are obviously super low. You can download an app on your phone or whatever and make something you know, that you can export into a web or something. So yeah, it's very interesting, but I think that Yeah, alluding back to when dance music exposure in America, I think you know, there probably were a lot of misconceptions of what it took to get to that level of success but obviously what you see isn't really the true story of how long it takes somebody to break through and all the work that goes into it. Going back into those kinds of earlier days, Jimmy I know that you were more of a trance DJ when you started out. What do you think is missing from trance these days? Do you still listen to trance?
Jimmy Vallance 59:46
We were just having this conversation yesterday actually like some sort of trance has found its way back into dance music. Like I think there's like it's just slower like a lot of the melodies like you know, like our friend Rufus, the soul, some of the risks that they have, you know, those could be transmitted. Some of the stuff that we've written like in our song, the blame, there's some like, I think there's a lot of people that when they are from our generation that were younger, they were listening to trance or taking those influences and finding ways to incorporate them. Um, do I still listen to trance? Yes, I have a great transpile collection that I'll tap into. And I have a playlist that I've made of like, the classics on Spotify that I used to listen to. Because, you know, there's trends, right, and you'll hear some of those sounds like I think I think especially sort of the low high low fi house thing, like I know guys like DJ boring DJ Seinfeld, Ross from friends. Peggy Gu, I've seen videos of them playing classic trans tracts and their sets. And, you know, I think it's, it's just funny how things come around full circle. So trans is, you know, and even especially talk about this a tale of us is done. There's a lot like a lot of trans II sounds in dance music. It doesn't sound the same like Paul Van Dyck circa 2002. It doesn't sound like that. But it's taken on a new, new sort of life.
Farah Nanji 1:01:05
Very interesting. I love listening to trance even still, to this day, maybe not the stuff coming out today, but more like, yeah, like more 10-1015 years ago. But when I'm skiing, I find it incredible to just like, challenge you to go harder on the slopes. So Jimmy also wanted to ask you that, back in the day also you work for leverage. And Matthew DK is all day I dream and also get physical, very young age. And I'm curious to know, what do you think it's harder? Do you think it's harder to get that position in the first place? Or do you think it's harder to maintain that position once you've got it? And what are your kind of two key takeaways from that time?
Jimmy Vallance 1:01:39
Sure. I just want to clarify that with Matt and Lee, I was never officially a part of all da dream. Before they started it, I was sort of hoping that engineering records with it was basically like me going to university. Matt took me under his wing, I was there sort of when he met Lee, and I was just in the studio trying to learn as much as I could. And I was basically just trying, I was too embarrassed to, I didn't feel confident about putting my name on records. And so I thought that and I felt like I needed to sort of cut my teeth and learn. And I was very fortunate enough to have met Matt, who took me under his wing and taught me so much about production. And then through leverage, I learned about sort of DJing and like, I would go watch his sets. And he would snuck me into a nightclub when I was, you know, 19 or 20. And I would watch it set and I was just a fan, you know. And through Lee, I met Philip from Mandy and I started, you know, producing records for them. And so this is just sort of like an education and dance music, I feel super lucky to have met them. And when Tom and I started working, I was you know, we would work on Bob Moses stuff. And then I would work with the guys who managed to get physical sometimes. And like that, I learned so much, you know, about all that it was just so instrumental to like who I am today in the kind of music that I make or like, when I'm thinking about making a 16 bar loop. What sort of required, you know, like, like, okay, it takes this box, it ticks that box. I'm forever grateful for those guys being sort of a part of my story. And it's been amazing to have that.
Farah Nanji 1:03:15
Very cool. Do you think it's harder to be in that position and to get the chance to work with such people or even just be around them? Or do you think it's harder to maintain it once you've kind of gotten there?
Jimmy Vallance 1:03:26
I think it's harder. Once there's getting in the door, and then staying in the door, I think it's like, it's both hard for different reasons. Because one comes from a certain sense of I have to prove myself, and no one knows who I am. And the other one is like, I feel confident in my abilities. And now I just have to keep going. So they're both equally hard. And I'd say the only reason that the first step might be easier is that it only happens once you know once you get in the door that's it you're in the door but staying you have to constantly keep reinventing yourself or keep doing it you know, like when we initially had success as Bob Moses, it's like okay, you're you become an established DAC, but then continuing and releasing music that people cares about it like that's it that that challenge never ends, you know? I've only thought about this now, but I'd say it's probably hard. But the second half of that's probably harder the sustained section of it, you know,
Farah Nanji 1:04:32
it's very true. It's very true. And like what do you guys have had some really interesting artists do remixes for you? And what are like what do you guys kind of look for when you approach a remix?
Tom Howie 1:04:44
Just if we're fans of them, really. And like I mean, I think that if we're fans of them and that first and then second. Well, there've been a couple of remixes of people that we actually weren't weren't so much fans of for But just kind of like, happened. And it worked. And if the song is depending on what the song is, and what the sort of goal for the remix packages, that comes into consideration, and then also what the person's production style is, and what the vibe of the tune is. So for example, we might choose a remix or a and b for the song. But we wouldn't necessarily choose those to be exes for a different song. So it's kind of like, there's a creative aspect. And then there's also, you know, we're lucky that we get to usually choose people that we're fans of. And then there's also sometimes there's a bit of a consideration of like, Okay, this person would be really good. Because, you know, for this, we want to achieve this with this remix. And they're really good at that. Yeah.
Farah Nanji 1:05:59
Fair play fair play. Tom, I wanted to ask you a question. So we know that you became a dad in the lockdown, how has that kind of changed you, and also, how's that kind of played a role into bringing what's important into focus for you?
Tom Howie 1:06:15
Well, that I would say that it's, the main thing about it is that it's very focused, there's less, there's way less, and you my friends who had kids before, would tell me this, but you know, you don't get it until you go through it. But it's like very, you know, the amount of time you have is significantly reduced, or free time, you know, so you don't have time to dilly dally. So it's very focused in that respect. And it's been great otherwise, I mean, it's, it's awesome. It's, it's weird, because I had built it into this thing in my head beforehand, but it's actually, it's very natural, where you're very, were made to do it, you know, and you realise that, it's, it's very much a lot of the things that I think people or myself, worry might be difficult, you don't even actually think about, it's just kind of like, you're, it's the same as digesting food or something. I know, that's kind of a weird analogy. But it's like, you're, you have the basic requirements built into you the same way that you have the basic requirements of like, digesting food built into, and you don't have to think about it and it's sort of like a lot more, just a natural impulse that you just kind of operate on. But yeah, and having the time, having the time, you know, the home is kind of a blessing in disguise, I never would have gotten as much time to be around for the beginning of, of the, of the new life, you know, so it's, it's been cool. I mean, it's just been, it's been this, this whole time of COVID isolation has been challenging in many ways. But also, we've been fortunate enough few different ways to have silver linings to relief and we've zeroed, we've done a very good job of zeroing in on the things that we that are positive that we can focus on and use to our advantage use this all this time to our advantage, you know, and that's outweighed the, for us, luckily, the negative sides of you know, of isolation. So it's been the the extension of the family has been a very worthwhile and helpful endeavour and keeping me sane and giving me something to focus on with the with the lack of, you know, outside world stimulation, and that I'm used to because we we went from going pretty full on, you know, doing tonnes and tonnes of shows and travelling and studio sessions and always working to not being able to go anywhere. So it's been a good, it's been a good distraction.
Farah Nanji 1:09:13
Definitely. I know that during this lockdown, you guys interviewed Charlotte, do it on your podcast. And I'm curious as to individuals who obviously did spend a lot of time touring, and as a result naturally had to answer a lot of interview questions. What was it like being on the other side of the microphone? And has that experience given you a different appreciation about the art of interviewing?
Jimmy Vallance 1:09:36
I think, you know, Tom, and I've always actually loved podcasts and watched a lot of them. And you know, it is hard to interview people because, you know, it's, it's, and I have to say, I mean, you've done a fantastic job. I think part of it is just finding out certain idiosyncrasies which make people who they are, you know, and tapping into that and what makes people unique, and I think for us, it was really interesting talking to Charlotte or other artists because you know, like yourself, like, we're all we're all artists, musicians, and so you have a insight, you sort of know, things to ask that every musician will have like a unique take on, you know, um, and so I think it was, you know, musicians, like we all relatively do the same thing. But there, there are big differences, you know, like being a techno DJ. And doing what we do are two different things. It's like, sure we play festivals. Sure we all do this we get on planes, but we have two different experiences. So I think sort of like, seeing where those experiences differ, seeing where the inspirations are, and like, you know, we're we both love techno, we both love what Charlotte does. And we're super grateful that she did a remix for us, and sort of figuring out like, how did she get to where she's at? And how that different sort of from, from our story, and like, you know, connecting on those levels, I think that's like, you know, why musicians really bond, it's like, you sort of take a risk, and you do a thing that is quite unconventional and maybe a bit of a, you know, like a risky career path. And then you sort of sort of celebrate together, like, how did you get here? What did you know, what did you do? And how crazy was your ride? And it's just fun to talk about? You know?
Farah Nanji 1:11:07
Definitely. Did you guys like, have questions before? Or was it just supernatural? Like, just go with the flow
Tom Howie 1:11:12
with a couple of God, like, you know, guidelines not, you know, you've obviously prepared greatly, and it gave us a big thing for us also, is that it gave us a appreciation for a further appreciation for good interviewers versus people who don't really put in the time. And it's like, you know, because it's, we did have to think a little bit about Okay, well, what are we going to do? And what are we going to ask and stuff. But, you know, we did, we did a little bit of prep, but then we just kind of knew her too, so it wasn't like we'd never met her before. So um, yeah, it was a bit easier. But yeah, the art of interviewing is definitely more complex than I think most of us think about. And so good interviewers, like yourself, are few and far between. So
Farah Nanji 1:12:03
thank you very much. making me blush. Nobody is different. When you don't know someone it is obviously much harder to get that. That chemistry report. And yeah, being prepared is obvious, but it kind of helps, because I've been, you know, massive fans of you guys for just so long. So like, you know, it's just it's a pleasure to be able to even have this conversation with you guys. Something that I wanted to ask, just before we go into the next section is that success is like an iceberg. And people really only see the tip unless they know you obviously very well. What have people not seen underneath the perception of Bob Moses? And what's one thing that you struggled with the most as artists, and that's then helped you sort of navigate that, that challenge?
Jimmy Vallance 1:12:46
I think that iceberg thing is so true. I remember seeing a thing where I believe it was a graphic designer, who turned around a piece of work very quickly for for a client and, you know, said, This is what I'm charging, and the person went, what, but that only took, you know, a day, I'm not gonna pay that he's like, no, it took me the 25 years of my life to get to the point where I could do it in a day, you know, yeah, yeah. And I very much believe that that's, like, every hour that, you know, Tom spent alone in his, you know, in his room when he was a kid playing guitar like that, all, all of those experiences, all the records that you listen to, that all makes you who you are as a musician, you know, and I think the tip of the iceberg is us being Bob Moses that release records, and, and play shows and have a great time. And, but the bottom of it is, is you know, to guys who like to put in a lot of work I've had, I've had, you know, a dream to do this their whole life, have spent countless hours practising countless hours pondering over, you know, what, what a good song is and pushing themselves. And, you know, we've had a, we've had, it's really hard work that we have a tremendous amount of fun. And like you said, I can't imagine doing it alone. And I'm really lucky to have Tom doing it. So I think it's just the thing that people don't see is just the, you know, it's not you hear about overnight successes, there are no such things as overnight successes, you know, maybe one thing you do become successful overnight, but it takes a lot of work to get there, you know, and one of the greatest sort of pieces of advice we've ever heard is, a guy said, I want I worked really hard to get lucky, you know, and I really feel like that's true.
Farah Nanji 1:14:28
Very true. Very true. Anything to echo that, or just Do you agree with everything? He said?
Tom Howie 1:14:35
Very well said.
Farah Nanji 1:14:36
Yeah, I think he said it very well. And it's true. I saw that picture as well. And, you know, it's very true. What can take somebody an hour or two hours comes from 1000s and 1000s of hours of being immersed, observing, experimenting, all of those things. So we've had a few questions come in from our audience. This one is from Sean in Detroit, and he asks, What is The first song that you guys are playing on a DJ set the first time you can get back on the ones and twos, again, in a live format.
Jimmy Vallance 1:15:10
Wow, that's hard. That feels like it's so funny that, like, a quote in COVID times you very much live in the moment and thinking about playing on decks live in front of it. This feels like this, oh, that's like never gonna happen, you know, even though it is.
Tom Howie 1:15:27
I don't know what we will play first. That's like, that's, that's like we've, we've, we've prepared for the circle thing. And like, what the next thing we're gonna have to do is kind of like, think about what the next iteration of our clubs will be. And a big part of that will be figuring out how we're going to start it.
Jimmy Vallance 1:15:52
I would like it to be like a prince song or something that's not going to happen. I just love to get on the decks, like old classic 80s jams and celebrate and have a good time, you know, but it's probably gonna have to be a bob Moses song because I don't think anyone would show up to watch just plain prints for two hours.
Farah Nanji 1:16:06
No, it doesn't have to be Bob Moses. Okay, well, we'll just have to kind of be at that first gig then to hear that live. Yeah. Okay, so the next question is from Neve in Ireland, and she says, Is it rare now that you write music that doesn't get released? And what are some of your favourite Plugins?
Tom Howie 1:16:27
Go for a question. Yes, no, it's not rare. I'd say that for every song. Like, that gets released, we've written. I don't know 10. That never saw the light of day. I mean, like this, this album, so far, we have maybe like, six or seven songs that are like, pretty, we're pretty sure we're gonna make the cut. And we've maybe started 40 ideas that we've taken through some part of like, quite far that we've played for each other. And then maybe there's, we have like, 10 to 15 ideas that we sort of came up with in the same time that we haven't played for each other. Because they're not really good enough for you. I mean, like, so the amount of work that it takes to get one release song is huge, like in terms, as far as we're concerned, like we, we do tonnes of, we come up with a lot of ideas, and not many make the cut. So that's always been that way. And I'd actually say that it's going further the other way. I think that like, we come up with more, and we're harder on ourselves now than we used to be. And then plugins, I mean, we use Valhalla reverbs a lot. We use the waves plugins a lot. soundtoys plugins. You want to throw any more in there, Jimmy?
Jimmy Vallance 1:18:05
Yeah, mostly, a lot of our plugins that we use, like Tom's that are more sort of like to manipulate, like their delays and reverbs and compressors and stuff like that. And a lot of the stuff that we use for our sounds are like, you know, we have this Korg minilogue synth, a lot of it ends up or guitars and stuff. A lot of it ends up being sort of more analogue. And then for drums and stuff, just samples. So those plugins are all like, what sort of we've used to try and make it sound good once we find riffs and parts that we like.
Farah Nanji 1:18:34
Fair enough, that fair enough. Okay, cool. So the next part is our quickfire round. We've got about 60 seconds for each question. Maybe a bit more since there's two of you, but then, okay, cool. We'll start with the first one. So what is the best place to get a pizza in New York?
Jimmy Vallance 1:18:53
I'm gonna have to go with two colleagues. Yeah, but you're gonna have to wait. You have to wait like two hours.
Tom Howie 1:18:59
That's fine. We're just we're just talking about this. We had pizza yesterday here. There's a whole backstory to that, but we don't have time to say it in 60 seconds. So the collies are good, too. I haven't had the Callie's I've had Roberta's though. But I've I've want to go to the college Jimmy's had luckily So
Jimmy Vallance 1:19:17
The great thing about New York and just walking on the street, most pizzas are pretty good, you know? Yeah, but college is pretty exceptional.
Farah Nanji 1:19:23
Okay, fair enough. Are you guys fans of Formula One? Do you support any of the Canadian drivers?
Jimmy Vallance 1:19:28
I was when I was younger. I used to love like Kimmy reichen and and like Schumacher when he was there. And then I know we have a Canadian driver now which I should be way more on board with but like I just, I've, I haven't been following it lately.
Farah Nanji 1:19:43
Okay, fair. How about you? I know.
Tom Howie 1:19:46
I know nothing about it. No, other than people go really fast, and it's really cool. But I've just generally used to play sports but I have. I have a really bad memory for stats and dates. And like, n times, and you know, so I, the whole following sports thing I've never really even sports I used to play a lot in high school and stuff. I never followed the teams or followed or knew when the season was or I'm a bit like off with the fairies with that stuff. So. So that translates to Formula One, two. Okay.
Farah Nanji 1:20:24
Yeah, we're just gonna take you blind driving when you guys come here. Okay, next one. I know you're a massive gamer. Jimmy, so this might be a bit unfair, but board games or video games,
Jimmy Vallance 1:20:37
Video games 100% 100%. board games you have to find people to play with. I'm an only child video game.
Farah Nanji 1:20:46
Okay, cool. Fair enough. Were you super stoked when? When did some of your tracks make it onto the FIFA soundtrack? 100 for like, a moment,
Jimmy Vallance 1:20:54
as far as like, as games go, like, that's probably one of the biggest ones. And like, it was very unexpected, you know? Um, and yeah, I was thrilled that that happened. And it happened twice. And, you know, we're very fortunate.
Farah Nanji 1:21:11
It's epic, epic. Tom, I know, you're an avid reader. Are you reading anything interesting at the moment or anything from the past that you could listen,
Tom Howie 1:21:21
I'm reading Obama's Biography at the moment. It's really good. his newest one. And I want to read. I want to read Bill Gates's book on climate change. That's next on the docket. And I got a bunch of other books I'm gonna read. But yeah, those are the two that are like, in my sights. I don't really read fiction, which is weird. I don't. I feel like because I should read more fiction, but I don't really read much fiction.
Jimmy Vallance 1:21:52
I find it uses the same part of the brain that is like you, when you write songs. It's like this make believe thing that you're inventing stuff. And I feel I feel like fiction exhausts me. I love it for the words because you can expand your vocabulary. But it's it's and the writing is like, you know, it's like fiction for writers. Right. And, and but like, I find it like quite exhausting, especially after a day of trying to write yourself you know,
Farah Nanji 1:22:13
Yeah, to go into another world is Yeah, and if you're doing well, video gaming.
Jimmy Vallance 1:22:20
Our relationship words, I feel Tom in the latest video games that he doesn't care about, then I get to learn about climate change is a very one sided, you know, intellectual relationship.
Tom Howie 1:22:30
Jimmy just gave me a book. Jimmy just gave me a book recently, actually. And in the front, he wrote, I think this book is worth about 50 articles, so I'm good for a while. Which is true.
Farah Nanji 1:22:40
Nice. What's your favourite thing to do when you guys come to London?
Jimmy Vallance 1:22:46
I love going in a rush and eating Lebanese.
Tom Howie 1:22:49
Yeah, that's that I would say that's up there.
Jimmy Vallance 1:22:54
My first experience we've been to Lebanon a few times is in the food. It's absolutely fantastic. But prior to that I had never had Lebanese food prior to going to a mirage in London, and Leno. It's crazy when like and now that's like, that's like one of my favourite cuisines.
Farah Nanji 1:23:13
Tom Howie 1:23:15
I love I love that too. I mean, eating good food. I like walking, just going for a walk, like driving around checking it out. I mean, to be honest, we're usually there to play a show. So that's probably my favourite thing to do when I go to London.
Farah Nanji 1:23:29
Fair play well, there's a place that might even talk Moorish. Actually, it does talk Moorish. So it's a hole in the wall type of place, but there's always the best places to get to get their kebab. So I'll just love to tell you guys that next time you're down here. And last few questions. What are you both most grateful for this month?
Tom Howie 1:23:53
I mean, I'm most grateful for good, good health. And you know, my friends and family. Like, being healthy and happy. It's like, I'm that's what I just celebrated a birthday yesterday, actually. And that that was what I really was. It was my first birthday. Celebrating as a dad too, which is interesting, which is cool to just put all that in perspective. And really what it comes down to is so long as you are like, you know, healthy and, and generally positive and you have good friends and family around you. Like that's you can kind of cope with everything else. Yeah. So that's what I was most grateful for.
Jimmy Vallance 1:24:45
Yeah, I don't, I don't have much to add to that because I think especially during now with COVID like, we've had a few friends or acquaintances that have been hit hard by you know, either getting COVID or, and sickness and like I think especially now just like when you're healthy I feel like you take it for granted, especially when you're younger. And you know, and I, I feel like now like sort of getting older and having like, life more in perspective and things like that you start to value actually, your health more because you realise it's quite a, it's quite a fragile thing you know? And when you're lucky to have it if you do.
Tom Howie 1:25:19
Yeah, and also like, if you're even if you have a cold, like, you can't do all the fun shit that life has to offer. Yeah. So it's like, as soon as I get a little cold and like, ah, being I take this for granted, I don't even think a bit of being just feeling good. Waking up feeling good. is such a dope thing to have. Because you can do all the other fun shit. prerequisite
Jimmy Vallance 1:25:44
skills, that's my thing, when you're lying down in bed and you can't breathe like you're like five days. never remember a time and you could breathe through both of you know, you're just like,
Farah Nanji 1:25:54
definitely, definitely. And like I was gonna say about that. Oh, yeah, being a musician is not the healthiest of career choices, just from all the back pain and all that stuff that ensues. So definitely, I agree.
Tom Howie 1:26:09
You got to work at keeping that one healthy. Yeah, we've we've, we've been through the wringer on that one. So we've learned that we are the school of hard knocks on the health front, being a musician is the best way to learn.
Farah Nanji 1:26:23
100% 100% Okay. And lastly, I can't let you go without asking your question about Robert Moses. Do you guys have any favourite projects by him when you spend a lot of time in New York? Was anything that really inspired you from what he did?
Jimmy Vallance 1:26:38
I mean, to be honest, when we were initially named Bob, Moses had no idea who he was. And so for a while, we were sort of like, changing our sort of story about meat. It was a civil rights activist, it was a drummer, it was Robert Moses, the architect, we used to say that, like, it was a person that invented hairstyles in the 80s. And so it's the same as a gym teacher at our gym teacher. And so there was a point where, like, we started to realise that aesthetically, we really like this idea of like New York City architecture, and that he was somehow involved in city planning. And so we sort of adopted that a bit more. But I think we used to bring up these sort of old diagrams, like when we were initially before we had any artwork, we used to have like these black and white photos of like, or like, you know, sketches of his, like the arteries of like the of the highways that he would make in New York. And it was just a cool imagery. And one of the things that ended up tying it together is the beak Huey, which is the highway that in Brooklyn was how we got from our apartment to our studio. And he was responsible for that. So I think that it's probably one of the most unsightly things and people in New York would hate this, but because it was so like, instrumental to our career, and he was involved in building it. I'd have to say, the BBQ he probably even though he's done Shea Stadium, all these amazing things. But that actually was the thing that impacted us the most otherwise he wouldn't have been able to get to work and write music.
Tom Howie 1:28:10
Yeah. I agree. I don't have anything to add to that. I think like, yeah, we, like Jimmy said, we kind of like we, part of what we liked about the name, Bob Moses, the beginning was that it was sort of like, everybody knows the name Bob Moses. Bob is like every man. And we were two dudes with one band name, and we just thought and, and then it had all the he was the name was used throughout, like, like Jimmy said, the architect, not only the architect, but the civil rights activist, the drummer, like, and then we came up with a few other stories, and it was sort of like, you know, it was like, many, throughout many parts of life, and really kind of like that.
Jimmy Vallance 1:28:57
And we've stolen bits and pieces, sort of from all of them and adopted them in weird ways, depending on like, sort of what's fit the narrative that we're trying to go with, you know, so it's been a, it's a name that that like is ever evolving. And sort of the idea of two guys being called one name is always like this, the mystery that sort of behind that, like Alice Cooper, Billy talent, or Jethro Tull, we've kind of always been like that. Yeah.
Farah Nanji 1:29:19
Well, you guys took another involvement today when you learned about the bright fame and the meaning behind some of these names as well. So I'm very happy to have been part of some of that with you. Well, thank you guys both so much. We really appreciate you guys giving us your time. And it was so exciting talking with you and just cannot wait to hear some of the stuff that you guys have been writing in lockdown.
Tom Howie 1:29:41
Well, thanks for having us. It's great. Great to chat.
Farah Nanji 1:29:44
It was just mind blowing. Speaking with Jimmy and Tom today, I honestly never thought I'd get the opportunity to interview the band. So a huge thank you to Bob Moses for being our season closer. And to all of our incredible guests over the last three months. I I hope it's left you super inspired. And from all of us at Mission makers, we're wishing you an incredible summer go out and make those missions happen like there's no tomorrow because life is just way too short. We'll be bringing you some of our best bits over the summer as well with some great bonus content, including our top tips on how to start your own podcast, or getting into the warrior mindset and also my experiences of giving a TED talk. So be sure to subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, and wherever else you listen to your podcast if you want to stay in tune with the show. And feel free to reach out to me @missionmakers or @DJ.n1nja on Instagram. And if you're interested in supporting the show and getting some really cool rewards like virtual DJ lessons with me, life coaching, and so much more. Don't forget to visit www.patreon.com/mission-makers. And thank you again for listening and being part of our journey. We'll speak to you very very soon.
Lessons To Fuel Your Mission
Success is 99% failure and perseverance
Direction is more important than speed on the road to success
Focus on propelling people into a deep dimension with your art, the rest will follow
Maintaining the momentum of success is often harder than achieving it in the first place