Bob Moses take us through their new record, ‘Desire’
Acclaimed dance duo BOB MOSES have had a busy few months. Having first landed on our radar back in 2015, the pair have been hailed as Resident Advisor‘s Best Live Act in 2014 and 2015, released two albums (Days Gone By in 2015 and Battle Lines in 2018) and have become something of a worldwide festival favourite. They’ve been nominated for two GRAMMYs, with the RAC remix of their single, ‘Tearing Me Up’ picking up the gong for “Best Remix Recording (Non-Classical)”, performed on Ellen and released two companion records for their second album with a remix record featuring cuts from Hayden James and Cassian, as well as “Unplugged” which saw them take on their songs acoustically.
Fast forward to 2020, and the pair are now leveling up again with their most ambitious release yet in Desire. A six-track concept record of continually mixed songs, Desire is “a love tale for the digital age.” Inspired by their return to club performances off the back of their global tour with a fully-fledged live band, the duo realised just how much a club environment meant to them when they took on the European club circuit after a few years off. Feeding off the “communal energy” of these special shows, Bob Moses underwent their latest evolution with the intent of creating a record “that was continuously mixed, something that would take the listener on a journey and replicate that feeling we try to create when we’re playing our sets in a club,” says one half of the duo, Tom Howie.
Of course, Bob Moses weren’t to know they’d be releasing this club-focused record in a time when many are unable to experience it in its intended setting. But, listening to the record in these very strange times we’re in, it feels almost eerily prophetic in the way it examines technology’s role in our relationships, and the many ways desire can impact our lives. Jimmy Valance, the other half of the pair, said “Desire can become quite destructive if you’re not self-aware. With this record, we’re trying to be self-aware by looking at our own desires and reckoning with them. Stories about desire are timeless: Icarus flying too close to the sun and ending up falling to his death…that idea inspired the falling man on the album cover. That symbolized to us how desire can lead to a downfall.”
Expansive, emotive and full-bodied, Desire is a powerful and commanding listen. It’s ambitious in its mission, but refined in how well they pull it off, and shows there is still so much more the duo are able to explore. From the previously released title track featuring none other than ZHU, and more recent single, ‘The Blame’, listeners got a clear indication of how intoxicating, enticing and ultimately liberating this record might be. Now, on the eve of its release, Bob Moses have taken us through each song, breaking down their continuous concept record to help us learn a whole lot more about it.
Love We Found
This track always felt like a good starting place for the record, it gently draws you in before quickly settling into a groove. It also sets up the tone and story arch of the album really well. There is a brooding sense of internal conflict and longing that is found throughout the rest of the record.
This song was originally an instrumental we were testing out in our DJ sets. We wrote a vocal and guitar hook during a few days we had off on the road. It picks up the story where the first song leaves off. Coming to terms with and accepting responsibility for your actions, which are a direct result of your desires.
We co-wrote and produced this song with Zhu, it also features him on backing vocals. We met Zhu at a festival a few years ago and had been wanting to make something together for a while. We finally had a break in our schedules and booked some studio time together. This song came together really fast and felt effortless. We wish they could all happened that easy. Once we had this song down, we knew we had an anchor in which to center the rest of the album around.
Hold Me Up
A common mood or theme in our music is melancholy, however we always try to inject some hope in our lyrics. It’s nice to know there’s some light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not all doom & gloom. While making this record, we were inspired by the Greek myth of “Icarus”. The falling man on the artwork and videos is a modern take on an ancient story. Desires are something humans have struggled balancing since our existence. Story wise, this track is meant to lift you up and be the turning point from the first 3 songs.
Keeping in line with stories of desire in the modern age, this song was inspired by social media’s impact on our mental health. Trying to connect with people via your phone can be very isolating. People only show you what they want to show you and the grass is always greener on the other side. No one wants to show you the bad days or when they are down. It can make one feel like their alone in their struggles. The beat was inspired by one of our favorite producers, Four Tet…he always makes these amazingly quirky beats that just hit in all the right spots. We have no idea how he does it but are happy with where his inspiration led us.
We’re big fans of 90’s dance music and the production of this song is paying respects to some our favorite electronic acts (Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, Crystal Method, Massive Attack etc.) We conclude the albums story here with some self-awareness and the desire to have a moment of normalcy. When anxiety is high, the return to normalcy is often one’s main focus. You may not have all the answers, but sometimes learning more about yourself can be the most valuable lesson.
Desire is out August 28th via Domino. Pre-order/pre-save here.
Introduction by Emma Jones
Image: Lucas MK