MOZA, made up of Cam Nacson and Toby Chew Lee, are making waves in the growing and uniquely Australian electronic scene. With their background as live musicians in pop, folk and rock bands, the pair place a strong importance on their live show with fiery lights, live instruments, huge tracks and and an emphasis on a passionate, honest and engaging performance. Now they’ve just dropped their new single ‘Gold’ which will be supported by an east coast tour this month. We chat to Cam in celebration of the track.
First of all, congratulations on such a wonderful track. It’s addictive, punchy and beautiful. Did the production of ‘Gold’ affect you both in any emotional way? Did you feel tired or energised after the release?
It was a really good feeling. Sometimes things can run really quickly and sometimes things can take a lot of time with your writing. This particular song we started co-writing it with Jarrah McCleary from Panama and he laid down some piano for us, we kind of jammed it and it was really nice. I’m usually the pianist out of the two of us, and to have someone else come in and give us some ideas on the production, it was really dope. It gave us a bit of an opportunity to focus on other things within the song writing which is really cool. It wasn’t emotionally draining, it was a nice release at the end of it to have written something that was really special.
The production of Gold is really amazing, and it blends really well with the vocals. Which one of you did the vocal track? Were the piano and vocals recorded together?
That’s me, yeah. In the recording process, we like to have some chords to work with, it helps inspire the melody and the lyrics. I generally like to go with chords, usually with a piano or a guitar, and then melody and then lyrics. I know it works completely differently for everyone, but to me that’s what helps inspire the next piece, and the chords help inspire the melody, and then melody inspire the rhythm of the melody, and the rhythm of the melody inspire the lyrics.
Did you and Toby have any specific influences that inspired you when you were writing this track?
For this particular track, in writing sessions, especially when you’re writing with other people, you go through some reference tracks and with Jarrah we actually had great new methods of going through and saying “What do we like specifically about all these tracks we are listening to at the moment?” I honestly can’t remember what tracks we were listening to. I think there was a Crooked Colours track that we were listening to. It’s really important to us when we’re listening to go “Cool. We really like that. How can we do it in our own way?” and kind of steer away from the common occurrence of borderline copying. We really want to stay away from that. I think it was a Crooked Colours track we were listening to.
In your upcoming tour, do you plan to play keyboards and sing at the same time, or are you going to have a production-heavy backing?
Toby and I are really all about playing everything live. We do still run tracks through production equipment as an electronic duo, but we trigger everything ourselves. I play keys, Toby plays guitar, I sing live and Toby sings live every now and then. He also talks on the mic and makes people laugh, which is cute. It’s definitely as live as we feel is engaging with the audience. We’re not up there being musical geniuses or anything like that, because I don’t think it’s as engaging. So we definitely everything that’s the most engaging for the audience. I definitely think that when it comes to playing it live, it’s the simple, but emotional elements that make it connect. So when you’re sitting down and listening to a song in a room by yourself and you’re listening through your headphones, you have the time and the brain power to go through the content and go like “Oh right. That lyric maybe he means this by that.” Whereas, in a live setting, it’s all about that instant connection, and Gold’s chorus really connects with people, even if they don’t know the lyrics, and I think that’s what we’re really proud of.
This upcoming tour is going all along Australia’s east coast, are you ready for it? Do you have a specific show you’re looking forward to?
We’ve had a bit of experience touring with previous bands we’ve been in and I’ve toured the US doing 42 shows in 38 states for 2 months, so this is nothing compared to that. We’re super excited. We love touring. Everything that we do is about making it viable for us to tour and play live. We’re from Sydney West, so playing at Oxford Arts Factory [OAF] is place that for so long we’ve always wanted to play and now we’ve got to play there so many times and it’s still one of our favourite places to play and party at after gigs. We’re definitely looking forward to that. Brisbane and Melbourne are such passionate crowds and even though they’re not our hometowns, it’s always a good time there and they’re always so respectful and make us feel at home. Just super keen to see how it goes.
When & Where: The Penny Black, Melbourne – March 23.
Written by Nick Harrison