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Jeff Moller - Interview

  by Eoghan Lyng

published: 5 / 12 / 2023

Jeff Moller - Interview

"I think the executives will decide the single," Jeffrey Moller says. "It's like that old Pink Floyd story, where they walked into an office and they were asked, 'Which one of you is Pink, and which one of you is Floyd? But I guess that’s how ‘Sad To See The Sun Go Down’ became the first single." Moller is calling from America, although he demonstrates an impressive knowledge of music that could be described as scholarly. He corrects me when I say Arthur Lee (one of my favourite singers) was from California. "The Love guys were from Los Angeles," he explains, although he does highlight the band's influence on pop culture. Moller is clearly a disciple of music, demonstrating an interest in the records of classic rock. "You've just named two of The Wilburys," he giggles. "You gotta love The Wilburys." The Wilburys come up because I'm anxious to know if Tom Petty inspired the sound of his album, Sigh Baby. "I wasn't consciously trying to copy Tom Petty," he muses. But yeah, I've gone down Tom Petty wormholes." George Harrison ("That's two-fifths of The Wilburys, man; it doesn't get more classic than that,") seems to have sprung into the music, although Moller doesn't see The Beatles as an impediment. In the process of discussing The Beatles, Moller opens up about his methodology more freely. Does he record as Lennon would, a four piece band rocking out to his instructions, or as McCartney might, alone and in full control of the studio, instrumentation and direction? "More like a Paul McCartney way," he admits, " as it's never been a better time to record yourself. It's easy to do without going into an actually studio, and look at the clock. I would like to do it the 'John Lennon Way' in the future. Maybe I'm 'whack them out with a band' two albums from now." "It's a new thing to have my own project," he continues. "This album is kind of going back five years. It was mostly pre-pandemic. There are themes of heartbreak. It's all 'new chapter, new phase', with some fun music in the mix." The album begins with the baroque pop inflections of 'Sad To See The Sun Go Down', bolstered by a chiseled vocal. By the time the album arrives at 'Sand, Salt Crystals', the listeners have journeyed with the singer to find themselves at a similar point of emotional resolution, the conviction standing headfirst amongst the glistening guitar parts. 'Ralphi and Me', cloaked in McCartney's influence, will be enjoyed by parents seeking to have a boogie before putting their infant to bed and the drum-heavy 'Another Name' closes the album on a suitably electric note. It's a deeply American-sounding album, all sparkly hooks and soulful vocals. Did his environment inspire his songwriting? "I don't think so," he replies. "I don't know how my environment sparks information. You're dealing with the same emotions whether you're in California, or you're in Dublin. You can be anywhere, and an album can sound like anything. There's a Paul McCartney album he recorded in Africa [Band On The Run], and it doesn't sound like Africa (chuckles)." Has he been to Dublin? "I have not been to Ireland or Northern Ireland, but I have been to the rest of the UK." He realises the error, and apologises: "You know what I mean." I'm not offended, and we carry on. "I've been to some really cool places in the UK. London's a great city, and Glasgow's really cool. You can go on these really long walks in London. There's a lot of really cool music from England , and it's great to hear about the experiences that come from there. There's like a parallel of music there, a bit like the US in the 1950s and 1970s. It's like the Bible of classic rock. I've also played in Madrid, Spain, and thought it was a really cool place." "I had a project of my own called Hillsides, until I let it fizzle out foolishly," he sighs. "So, I poured myself into these songs [Sigh Baby]. Felt like there was a notable change. It all led to this exploring and to see what I could say or express. It's like a 2.0 version of myself, putting everything out under my own name." He namechecks Gladwell's "1,000 hours" technique[sic], suggesting that he is ready to take his material to the live stages. "I'm hopefully in talks with some bands to do some West Coast stuff. Hopefully bring it to Europe. We're beginning to connect the dots." ‘Sigh Baby’ is also notable for featuring Jason Quever (Papercuts) on drums. "Jason's a really big Beatle head." I thought those drum fills - all light and feathery, cemented by a thunderous groove - sounded pleasantly familiar. Moller's voice boasts a cadence that's similar to Keith Richards, which he takes as a compliment. Which leads me to the ultimate question: Beatles or Stones? He pauses: "I'm more of a Beatles guy, but I like both a lot. They were more fun. The records were very well produced, and were more interesting to listen to." Well, considering that Revolver is my favourite album, I'm not going to protest. "That's not a bad album to have as your favourite," he laughs. Humour forms a part of his songcraft, and he namechecks some of his favourite words from his debut. "'Stuck inside my prison cell, beginning of the set..' It's really funny: sad, dark humour. Also 'mumbling words you can't understand,' it's like an obsessive pacing around, or processing some kind of emotion." It's time to draw the interview to a close, so I ask him why people should choose this album out of the many that are being released in the pre-Christmas season? He takes his time to answer. "No one has to buy it," he replies. "I guess everyone has their own perceptions, anecdotes and different perspectives. And I guess this is my own version of that, amongst millions of other artists." He needn't be so modest – ‘Sigh Baby’ is brilliant.

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Jeff Moller - Interview

Jeff Moller - Interview

Jeff Moller - Interview

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