INTERVIEW: BOSS MOXI

Written by Fin Marx Photographs by Max Orchard-Fox
04.04.2017

Boss Moxi have maintained a growing and inspirational presence in the Brisbane music scene since their formation after leaving school in 2009. Self described as a ‘grunge meets jazz band’, they’ve performed reliably exciting and engaging shows for years and established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, both locally and nationally. After releasing and touring their debut and seminal record Oddball through Bedlam records, the hallmark Brisbane act lost founding members Sophie Quinn and Ollie Cook, entering into a hiatus while remaining members Brayden Doig and Dan Miliad travelled and studied. After recording their yet-to-be-named comeback album with an extensive cast of fresh members (including Twin Haus frontman, Dan Grima), Boss Moxi are ready to explode back into the circuit, headlining GRAIN and Bedlam Records’ launch of the  ‘Why Thankyou’ club-nights on Friday, April 7th at The Foundry. Being such an anticipated return, we had to catch up with the now seven-piece group to talk about the record, the show, and what they’ve seen in eight years of Boss Moxi.

Hey guys, thanks for meeting up with us today. We’re all big fans and we’re really excited to hear this new record!
I’m sure this question gets old, but to get started would you mind taking a shot at describing your music?

Brayden: No that's alright! Our music is kind of a bit psychotic, it’s like a big fat fusion that gets really grungy and rocky in some points and there are horns and strings now. It’s psychotic rock stuff, yeah.

That’s definitely an accurate description haha, I’ve always loved the way you guys combine so many influences.

You’ve got a new record coming out?

Brayden: Yeah, we don’t have a name for this whole current thing yet. We’re still yet to put our brains together and figure it out. It’s got a pretty clear direction in terms of the tracks and stuff but there’s nothing that can sum it all up just yet.

After being on hiatus for a while, was it at all daunting to come back and track a whole album together?

Brayden: Uh, well Alex and I have been hanging out over the last few years and we went to India together on our own venture and came back - It’s a notoriously enlightening place - Anyway, we came back and got pretty much stuck straight into it (writing the record) and something just came out, I guess. We worked on it together for a while and Dan (Grima) got involved and we pretty much just sat here with acoustics and Alex just drummed on a friggin’ pad and we sorted it out. We got in a room with just the four of us, started putting people together and got down to Burleigh and recorded. It all came pretty quickly, to be honest. Really out of the blue.
Dan Miliad: Yeah there was no real decision to make an album, it was kind of like Brayden having all these songs and saying ‘we should make an album’, so it wasn’t really daunting I guess.

Alex: It’s sort of one, big piece. 

Brayden: Yeah, it’s not as such a track by track deal. We didn’t write fifty songs and choose the best pop hits, it’s just a thing.

Well that’s a great way to go about looking at a record, a much more traditionalist view.

Brayden: Mm, yeah

You guys have said in the past that you’ve felt like your music is a lot more on the darker side of the spectrum, do you feel like that comes through in this new record?

Brayden: Haha, yeah definitely. One hundred percent.

Dan M: I think it’s just taken to a new level of extremes, it’s darker but there’s also happier parts as well.

Brayden: Juxtaposition was a massive theme.

Dan M: It’s still quite a Moxi sound, which is cool. It’s a bit more experimental, I guess.

Alex: It’s like a big story as well. It’s like a roller coaster ride of emotion through the whole thing.

Brayden: Yeah it doesn’t stop.

That sounds awesome. It definitely seems like being in India was a big influence, were there any other really notable influences on the record?

Brayden: Um, dormancy maybe? Just doing nothing for so long and wanting to be productive. I don’t really know where it came from to be honest, it’s just something that happened. Alex and I, at the same time, had been travelling and doing all this music and we hadn’t really sat down and nutted out anything during this whole time of experimenting. Dan had gone off and done his course in music-alchemy and shit. He was also in his seat itching to get something done. I think we just got to a point where we went fuck it, let’s just do something.

Alex: And some of the ideas started to appear in India.
Brayden: Totally.

Alex: Some of the stuff that came up in Hampi and that kind of morphed into this project.

Brayden: Yeah absolutely, a few jams that happened in India definitely made it home. There’s been a growing urge to do something and I think it all just spat out at once into this, fuckin, thing.  

I’m getting really excited to hear this.
Here’s a question you probably don’t want to hear, but do you feel like the brief success of The Durries has affected this next record at all?

Brayden That is an interesting question haha, yeah absolutely dude. That band was just fucking stupid, I mean it was a bunch of fun and we had fun and the timing was weird. I don’t really care, to be honest, Boss Moxi is just something completely different. What we’re doing and what we’re about to put out is just on a completely different musical spectrum. It’s really no worry of mine I guess, there’s no going back to that shit, that’s for sure.

 

Hahah, yeah I know how you feel. 

Dan Grima: Something as, not illegitimate, but in-genuine, as the Durries can’t really compare. Moxi will always come from a much more organic place than what the Durries did, so it’s more of a neither-will-effect-the-other type thing.

Alex: I think the lack of playing - well I obviously wasn’t in Boss Moxi until this album - but I know Doig (Brayden) and I both had a big break off playing music, especially live and in the studio, so we were both itching big time to do something.

Brayden: That’s it, yeah.

Alex: It was super exciting and super fun and we came out with all these ideas. We were like ‘fuck yeah’, time to put this into place.

 

The process must have flown by

Brayden: Yeah, there’s also this more relaxed nature of knowing that after putting the band on hiatus for a while there’s no need to do things in a regular way, it’s a nice feeling of freedom to be able to experiment with what we want to do and put on a show every now and then and keep it as more of a ‘project’, or just a thing that’s cool haha.

Yeah absolutely, that must feel amazing. You’ve got a big show coming up at the Foundry where you’ll be playing the record in its entirety which is really exciting. I think a lot of artists do dream about having a big headline show with a new record and playing through it, is that something you’ve wanted to do for a while? Or is that more of a spontaneous thing?

Brayden: To be honest man there’s absolutely no way you could even play a section of this without playing the entire thing. There will be no old songs, it’s not like a set haha. The only way to play this thing is from the top to the finish, so that’s the way it will have to go. So fuck yeah we’re excited to do that!

Alex: Put it this way, when we were recording it, and we’d fuck something up, we’d be like “Okay let’s go from… Hmm… I suppose… we have to go back from the very start.” We had to find a few drop in points but it was more like having to start the section beforehand to lead into the section beforehand, and so on.

Brayden: Yeah so twenty minutes later you’d actually be practicing the part you need to practice.

Wow, that sounds a lot more like a symphony then

Brayden: Yeah, it’s like a composition almost. I guess that’s pretty much what it is. It’s really exciting for everyone involved. Jules and Josh have been brought into this and it’s kind of like that. It’s cool to think about in a different way.

Josh: Yeah it’s pretty cool, playing all the way through. It is one big piece.

Alex: I think it was a bit of a mind fuck at first for these guys (Jules and Josh) trying to figure out which song is actually which.  

Josh: Yeah because we know now.

Jules: The approach is really different, like there’s a couple of different parts but it’s a lot more about texture. Especially with a single note instrument the approach was really different and it definitely took me a while. Dan giving me some direction really helped because I really didn’t know what to do for a long time.
Brayden: It’s a marathon. It’s a workout.

A lot of you guys are definitely real veterans of the Brisbane music scene, especially with how fast it’s been moving. Are there any real changes you’ve noticed since starting after high school?

Dan M: There’s hip hop now apparently.

(Band laughs)

Dan M: That’s probably the big one right now. I was having this conversation with someone last night. Maybe it’s because I’ve been away for a while, but I felt like it was a lot more exciting with bands, even though at the time it probably didn’t feel that way, but looking back there were bands that were excited and doing new things but now it seems like all the new bands I hear are going up this one avenue of ‘trying to make it out of Brisbane’, I think there’s very few avenues for it so it makes sense. Yeah, Hip hop is a huge thing… I don’t really know why.

Brayden: I think it’s harder.

Yeah?

Brayden: Yeah, but I can’t pinpoint why. Well there’s less. There’s less going on so that must mean it’s harder. Even for bands to know where to start, you know? I think there used to be more of a presence or something. I don’t know, I’m so shelled up from working on shit all the time that I can’t have the most accurate opinion. There’s still cool shit going on. What do you think Grim?

Dan Grima: I personally think it’s almost easier just because there’s so many bands following the same kind of avenue, or everyone is applying the same ‘let’s be a band’ strategy where you go through the regular press and radio avenues and make sure you get a premiere for a release and all that stuff. But the moment you take a step out of that strategy that seems to be applied to every band’s release in Brisbane, like if you step out of that even in the slightest-

Brayden: Then it’s hard?

Dan G: Yeah it’s a little bit harder but you automatically set yourself apart from everybody else. It’s a lot easier to stick out as well.

Dan M: Yeah you set yourself apart from what everyone else is doing.

Dan G: So it depends, you kind of do pigeon hole yourself to a little bit more of a niche and maybe not all the people that are rocking up to the triple J shows are coming to yours, but if you do it well, I think it doesn’t necessarily make it easier but it does give you more room to move and do whatever you want.

Brayden: I think if it’s easy it’s a cop out, I mean in Brisbane it should be hard. If it’s not hard for your band to be doing what you’re doing you should kind of be re-assessing what it is you’re riding, you know what I mean? I don’t know, it should be hard.

Dan G: Unless you’re following the standard. In which case, you probably will reap the benefits.

Brayden: And that’s The Durries

(Band laughs)

Brayden: It’s like fuck, you know. Ride it easy or do something cool and special. We’ve worked hard, but like we don’t have a fucking single for this thing. Like how do you pick out a single from a seventy minute… thing? It’s hard to do something experimental and different and still participate.

Yeah you’re right, I was talking about that today actually. There’s not a lot of room for experimentation here until you’re established.

Brayden: Yeah

The name Boss Moxi has been around for a long time, whether with new members and what not. How did you find it trying to break into the scene at a young age?

Brayden: Uhh… Natural? It was the lifestyle, man. Friendships and the urge of having a good time. That mixed obviously with expression, and wanting to have an avenue of expression you could call your own band. Pretty blind as well, and fucking stupid haha, back in the early days. But that’s cool. Naive, you know what I mean? Sticking around and keeping as a project that has longevity. It’s changed in my mind. I used to think that it was all over and that I could never do it without Sophie or Ollie, you know. They are and always will be such an integral part to the sound that we even still have now, it all comes from those early days. But there was a point in my life where I changed perspective and thought ‘This isn’t a band as such, this is a project’ and all these talented people can be involved at any given time without stopping the core beliefs of what make the ‘sound’. I used to really fear that involving more people would change the sound, but it’s the complete opposite. It’s absolutely erupted everything. Like Dan said, it’s taken it to the complete next level. I’m very optimistic about the future of this project, band, you know. I urge anyone to get on board because it’s weird shit, hahaha.

Alex: It’s really fun. And it’s all about the music, as much as that might sound cliché, but it is. It’s really about writing cool, fucking music that’s fun to play and feels good. This whole album actually is about feeling good, which is really why it’s one big piece. To do it that way was really based around having the feeling of the last song flow over into the next and the next and have the whole thing breathe.

Brayden: And it never gives you a break, like no breathing time. From start to finish it’s really pure emotion and real intensity.

Wow, that all sounds incredible. You guys must be pumped to continue the Boss Moxi project then.

Brayden: Absolutely.

Alex: Bloody oath. We’re pumped to play live. It’s cool because there’s no need to write a set. It’s there. If you tried it would really fuck shit up actually haha.

Brayden: It’s difficult as well because there’s seven of us now too, like we’d love to get down to other cities and such but… it’s hard.

Awesome, well that about wraps it up. Thank you so much for meeting up, I think it’s pretty safe to say we’re all on the edge of our seats for Friday. Thank you so much!

Brayden: No problem dude, thank you.

// BOSS MOXI //