Interview with Mark Makoway and Jeff Pearce of Moist

Photo to the right - Jeff, Myself and Mark

In October of 1999, while touring Atlantic Canada in support of the release of their third album "Mercedes Five and Dime," I had a chance to sit down and chat with guitar player Mark Makoway and bassist Jeff Pearce from the band Moist.

GB - How is the new material going over live?

JP- It's going over really well. We're finding that these songs on record are a little more dense and textured than our previously recorded stuff, but we find as we're playing them live, they're taking on a different sort of life. They are becoming little ententes in a different kind of way than they were as recorded versions. MM- It's been very much a process of re-learning the material and re-arranging it for live shows. I think that's made it all very interesting. It's been an interesting challenge because pervious to this most of our material was a live song then recorded, where this is recorded songs and we're converting them to be appealing live.

GB - Because of the success of the first two albums, did you fee less pressured going into the studio to record this one?

JP - I think over the course of recording the second record we were sort of coming to terms with who we were as people and with what the band had become. We had our first record out sort of hoping it would sell maybe five or ten thousand copies and not expecting it would sell four hundred thousand copies. I think the process of making Creature' was we were trying to figure out what we had become and who we were. We were trying to reconcile the fact that we had become a popular Canadian band.

MM - Everyone's expecting you to fail. After a successful first record you do face this whole sort or softmore stigma thing. It really puts the pressure on the record company and you put the pressure on yourself. Everybody has sort of set these expectations and there's a whole different world. It's like ok we've moved on to this next level where you can just get down to making music. JP- Suddenly with this record we actually had fun not really like anyone was expecting us to do anything in a certain kind of way and we really had a good time making this record.

GB - One thing I noticed about this album is that it has a more acoustic guitars on it. How else does it differ from the other two?

MM- We definitely branched out from the very set kind of instrumentation we used on the pervious records. I think that is one of the big things that pushed us in a different direction in terms of the sound and texture. The idea was we would add a lot more acoustic guitars. The keyboard voicing's are all over the map on this record as well. There's a crazy Norad synthesizer as well as Hammond Organ and everything else in between. I think that's a big thing that characterizes the record.

JP - We found ourselves in a position where we could take liberties and decide that we wanted to fool around with different things, even though we didn't know all the time how we were going to pull them off live. We sort of decided we wouldn't worry about that. (laughs) We would worry about that when it actually came time to play the songs live and just have fun with different textures and different sorts of musical ideas.

MM - A lot of stuff didn't work. We were experimenting with different things and a lot of times it just doesn't work, and in some cases we would take the song right back to scratch and start building it up again. It was that spirit of experimentation that sort of characterized the way we were working in the studio.

GB - Have you been getting much airplay for your first single "Breathe"?

JP - "Breathe" is our most successful single ever. It's been doing amazingly well. Radio stations are still playing the thing and it's really amazing. You can see that every night when we go through our set and see the reaction we get to playing it as opposed to playing the old songs. The reaction is incredible.

GB - Has Much Music been supportive of it?

MM - They've been very supportive. We've had quite a history with Much Music. We've done a whole lot of things with them like Intimate and Interactive' and that sort of thing. I think the Breathe' video went to number one on Much.

GB - Do you feel you own you initial success to the air-play you received with the Push video?

JP - The Push" video gave us nation wide exposure and it made it so we could tour the country and have people coming out to see us everywhere from Vancouver right to Halifax, and that was really an important thing. It put a face to the band in a way that was very important to us.

MM - Much Music kind of serves a roll in Canada, that I think like no other that is sort of unique to here. It's defiantly not the case in the States where in rural areas it's not coming from radio because it's Classic Rock of the 50's or 60's. It's actually Much Music, it's coming over the TV and it's the thing that plugged in a lot of people and a lot of non urban centers and I think from that stand point we've done very well with it.

GB - Yes but do you ever feel a video station like Much Music has too much power over what makes it and what doesn't?

JP - Well there very serious with their power. They play lot's of independent videos and they really have a large play list. If you have a good song and you make a half way decent video that has a clever idea than it doesn't matter if it looks like a thousand dollar video or a hundred thousand dollar video. They will give it a chance. They will play it and if there is reaction to it they will keep on playing it. They are very fair about that.

GB - A few years ago the band relocated from Vancouver to Montreal, why was that?

JP - The relocation from Vancouver to Montreal for us was purely a matter of logistics. We were out on the road a lot and when we were in Vancouver we never got home. We would leave there and never get back for eight months. Where as living in Montreal, we would actually have our tours chris cross through so we would be able to get back to our families ever two or three weeks.

This past summer you did Edgefest, what was that like?

MM - It is quite a unique experience going out with as many bands as they put together on the Edgefest bill. Because of the nature of the show your only playing for an hour or so and you have a lot of time to hang out with the other bands and get to know them. Even when your doing an extensive tour with two or three other bands it's amazing how little your see of them, because you run around doing press schedules and so forth. You really never get to know people as much as you do on these big packaged tours.

GB - You also got to tour with Neil Young, how was that?

JP - Neil Young is a Canadian rock icon. We're all big fans. I think anyone who grows up and learns how to play guitar in Canada is a Neil Young fan to some extent. It was a great privilege being on that tour.

GB - Have any plans for New Year's Eve?

JP - New Years eve we're playing the Corel Centre in Ottawa with Our Lady Peace and eight other bands as well. It will be fun. It's sort of fun to know what you will be doing on New Years Eve.

MM - I wish we had thought about it ahead of time though. I can't believe we're working on the biggest New Years of the last two thousand years or whatever. (laughs)

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