MoE is a three piece band from Oslo, Norway; formed by the composer, double bassist and improviser Guro Skumsness Moe, the experimental guitarist Havard Skaset and the drummer Joakim Heibo. They play a feral display of sludge, doom metal, crust punk, and noise rock with a particular method of composition, a unique sound and an original vocal work. Their music is a bridge between the improvisation and the structure, moving into a wide range of emotions, trying to break the limits of intersubjective communication using nonlinear languages and drifting far away from any genre, resulting in organic but powerful, dark and very aggressive compositions.
The band formed in 2008 as an experiment into the borderlands of noise rock, contemporary music and free improv, having collaborations with many Norwegian instrumentalists and noisemakers but holding on into a heavy but experimental sound. Over the time, their music became more aggressive and uncompromised, reaching to a more primeval and heavy sound that finds its way into different styles of music like doom metal, Sludge and drone.
Their live performances are a sonic storm and a true energetic ritual, as they create waves of apocalyptic atmospheres and pure noise mayhem.
CVLT Nation had an interview with MoE, and they told us about the evolution in their sound and the new elements in their most recent album: III.
Can you tell us the origins of this band and how was the evolution in its sound?
Guro S. Moe: The origins are situated in 2008.
Our music is a meeting point between the improvised music that we have as background and the need for a structure, trying to make a more violent and chaotic landscape of sound.
What we want is to create energetic and spontaneous compositions experiencing a kind of non-mind state – a thing that comes from the improvised music.
In the beginning, I never had made an attempt to put into the music a preconceived sound, I just wanted to follow the stream…later, we were trying out different constellations of the band, and then in 2012 when Joakim, our drummer, joined the band, we drifted to a stronger ground musically, and evolved the project in terms of song structures.
Havard Skaset: It’s also an interesting thing that Guro and I played together for a long period of time before MoE; before forming this band, we both played in different ensembles and bands of improvised music and noise. Over time, MoE became the project where we can put it all together into a loud and powerful sound.
Also Joachim came from the same musical background as us – I mean, trained in improvised music. So when he joined us in MoE, he opened a door in the band, and it was fascinating that we were communicating in a non-rock language, because of this common background. I must say that he is unique among drummers who come from a straight rock and roll background.
All of you came from different musical styles, but have common the improvisational and experimental scene of Oslo. How was the process of putting things together? How has the project evolved from a kind of free rock to the music you make now?
Guro S. Moe: We are all from the experimental music scene in Oslo, but we decided to move from it a little because we wanted to find a place where we could bring together all our influences from metal, thrash etc.
The first step of this project was when we met and started working on my own compositions in order to create a kind of collective/collaborative project,.
In time, we found this method useless for what we were aiming for, and we moved from it quickly and began working in a different way, so that we were experimenting with a lot of composing methods. I think we really found our way by testing and improvising, focusing on sonorities, atmospheres and different kinds of structures. At that time, I felt that we was moving far away from the traditional rock band method, trying to search our sound and creating pieces in the here and now….
Havard Skaset: The project has evolved a lot since that time. Another thing I want to add is that we listened to a lot of bands of the 80’s and the 90’s, such as The Jesus Lizard ,for example, and we put that stuff into the blend. I think we were influenced by some of the ways of playing in the 80’s and the 90’s, but we decided to find a new way of making music together.
About the new album – III – I had the opportunity to hear some songs off this record last year live at your concerts, so the question is, how much time did it take to collect or compose the pieces for this new record?
Guro S. Moe: It took us several months of trying different methods of composition and sonorities. I need to say that each song had a unique way of revealing itself; some of the pieces were born when we played them the first time, but it sounds like we rehearsed them a lot, so all songs came about differently.
We managed to work with a very professional studio in Norway and record III in just two days. The result of working in this studio was that the new album was recorded and mixed with extreme professionalism.
Havard Skaset: Most of the tracks were recorded on the first take, and that’s what you listen to on the record.
Of course, we needed to rehearse a lot before entering the studio; it was very expensive, so you need to know your stuff well, record it quickly and come out of the studio as proud and satisfied as possible. When you have a spontaneous vibe when you are working and figuring out the details, the result is better, I think.
Guro S. Moe: Yes, but also having good control of the quality of the result is important.
Thank you very much, and it would be great to see to you again, meeting and having great times as we did in the past!
As you can surmise, MoE are a very interesting project that work in a nonlinear way, far away from standard metal and rock bands…their live shows are bombastic, and truly energetic and violent. So, if they are playing in a city near you, don’t miss the opportunity to hear these Norse human beings… they will shock you!