Montreal-based folk pop violinist Eliza Moore has traveled the world playing everywhere from street corners to opera houses. She was classically trained by composers in Boston and London and has recorded albums with acclaimed musicians like Deron Johnson (Miles Davis) and Michael Valerio (film scores for Sin City, The Hurt Locker). After taking some time to treasure the joy of becoming a mother, Moore returns to the spotlight to exhibit "stately presence and crystalline delivery" (Boston Globe) on her new album Everything to Me.
With influences ranging from the Irish landscape to early choral music to the triumphant sounds of Arcade Fire and Sigur Ros, Moore has an old world style with a new twist. teaming up with sagely songwriting/producer Jay Nash, Moore achieves an exposed and authentic sound on Everything to Me that offers the most intimate experience of her "lovely, strong voice" (Portland Press Herald). From the intertwining melodies of "Everything to Me" to the dirty punk rock fiddling on "Humanity", the songs on the album represent different facets of Moore's faith in life, humanity, and love.
2013 has been an exciting year for Moore as she joined Jay Nash on an east coast tour, and summer 2013 will no doubt bring more solo dates. We caught up with Moore to get all the scoop on this very personal journey.
R. When and why did you start playing?
EM. As a young child my favorite "story book" was a big yellow song book. Every night I would sit on my mom or dad's lap and we would sing through the entire book 4-5 times. So I suppose I started singing before I could talk or read. Deciding which instrument I would play was a big decision in my family. I suppose it was pretty much predetermined that I would play violin (to fill out the family quartet). But when I was four years old, the big question was, "Eliza, what instrument do you to play?". For me, it was simple: the drums, i.e. the loudest instrument. When my cousin got wind of this, he convinced me I should play the chainsaw, because that would surely be much louder than anyone in an orchestra or band . So for about a year, when anyone asked what instrument I was going to play, I answered, "The chainsaw. If anyone in the orchestra makes a mistake, I will cut their instrument in half!". I suppose I am pretty punk rock at the core. All that to say, on my fifth birthday, I started playing the violin.
R. Other than the violin, What other musical instruments do you play?
EM. I play a bit of piano and guitar and I really like playing with beats, samples and loops!
R. From Montreal, to Boston and London, you've played and performed with many great composers. Tell us a little about these experiences and what has been the highlight for you?
EM. I have been blessed with seeing a lot of the world through music. In college my friend and musical partner Anya Burgess (Magnolia Sisters, Bonsoir Catin) and I took some time off and travelled through Western Europe as a musical duo, playing on street corners and various random gigs here and there. Travel is always enriching, but I find music helps cut the small talk, enabling humans to get down to authentic connection.
Norway and Ireland were both huge highlights for me. I guess I am drawn to sea loving cultures! I actually hadn't expected to love Ireland as much as I did. But the landscapes, the music and the poetry all spoke to something deep within me. After our trip, we went back to Ireland to live on the Dingle Peninsula for a few months where we played regular gigs in a few pubs on the coast. That is where I acquired the nickname Elish, and the locals were convinced I was a dark Irish.
Performing on the Barbican stage with Wynton Marsails and the London Philharmonic was also a pretty big highlight. I was attending the Guildhall School School of Music and Drama at the time, and I was involved with musical outreach projects within inner city London primary schools. This particular performance was a culmination of one of these outreach projects which was co-composed with members of the LPO and GHMD professors and students. Seeing the children's faces light up as they joined in and of course watching Wynton close-up was such a gratifying and thrilling experience.
Back in Boston, I worked with composer Chris Eastburn, arranging some of my songs for choral music. Performing these works with full choir and string ensemble puts them in completely different league. All of a sudden the music takes on his new color spectrum and it is lifted into something ethereal, refined and soulfoul all at the same time. One of the highlights was when our work "Castles in the Air" was published and chosen to be performed for the ACDAE choral conference at Saunder's Theatre in Cambridge. The work was performed by the PALs children choir in such a pure and crystalline way, to say it was moving seems trite. I wrote the song after hearing a quote by Kofi Annan about how we must find hope, even in the hardest of times, it was all the more poignant to hear these young children singing this piece.
In LA I also had the incredible fortune of working with producer and musician Deron Johnson who is a living genius. Deron also introduces me to DJ Kahlil who helped produce "Conflict Will Cease" on my "Beauty in Mystery" record. Again in LA I also recorded with Michael Valerio, who is another living genius and introduced me to a long list of beautiful, talented and creative musicians (Randy Kerber, Chris Bleth, Jimmy Paxson... to name a few). Hanging with those guys I felt I was in a musical heaven. Each one of them, completely chill, loving, openhearted, but when it came to making music, the soul and heart pours out is enough to make a grown man cry.
R. What's the most unusual place you've ever played a show or made a recording? How did the qualities of that show affect the show/recording?
EM. I have performed in some pretty odd places, and I have recorded all sorts of samples from nature and city streets with my H4 which I like to incorporate in live performance. However, probably the most unique performance and overall experience was back on my college trip with Anya Burgess. we were traveling south through Norway starting from Lofoten Islands (undeniably one of the most beautiful places in the world). We managed to get a gig playing on the cruise ship called the "Hurtigruten" which travels up and down the west coast Norway through the fjords. Because of the wild terrain on the coast of Norway, there is actually no train line that goes up that far north, so the ship is the only way south from islands. We played a sweet gig, with incredibly beautiful views, but perhaps the most memorable part was having to wake up at 4AM when we reached the train line port. This wouldn't be a big deal, but this is a tiny town, and literally everything is closed until about 7AM. With no place to go for shelter, Anya and I spent the next 3 or so hours playing solitaire in an ATM lobby until the coffee shop across the street opened up. I would say that was pretty memorable, and in an odd way, a highlight too.
R. Everything to Me is your first single. What can you tell us about it?
EM. I wrote Everything to Me on my birthday. My son was about a month old, and I had just been given an Ergo baby carrier as a birthday present. What a life Changer! For the first time since his birth, I had hands again! I picked up the guitar, looked down at our precious boy, and this song came out. At first it began as a lullaby, but after working a bit with Jay Nash (producer of EP), he helped me find a more triumphal and upbeat vibe for the song. Now it is one of my favorite songs I have ever written. And jay has a lot to do with that!
R. You've recently hooked up with Jay Nash, how did this collaboration come about?
EM. Jay and I have known each other for years. Our families have summer places in the 1000 islands and when Jay and I were more or less teenagers, pretending to be 21, I met him playing out at a pub on the mainland. I happened to have my fiddle, and he and I jammed into the wee hours. We kept our musical event called "Rock for the River" which is a big concert put on by many of Jay's favorite musicians and friends from around the US to raise money for the non-profit organization Save The River. through that event, Jay and I have listened to and watched each other grow musically, as friends and now as parents...! I should mention a little more about RFTR as it is a really special event. Over the years Jay has invited artists such as Joe Purdy, The Milk Carton Kids, Amber Rubarth, Chris Pierce, Garrison Starr, Meiko, and Sara Bareilles. I believe that all the creative work we have done collaborating for this event really helped feed the work Jay and I put into my "Everything to Me'EP.
R. What's else is on the horizon?
EM. I am looking forward to launching the EP in September, and touring the US and Canada with these new sons. I am also sincerely excited about release of an incredibly poignant music video for my song "Shimmer". I worked with LEJIT productions (Brooklyn) on the video. They are doing such a gorgeous job of marrying the sentiment of the song and music with imagery and beauty of landscape and human interaction.
Beyond that, I have started writing new songs for a full length record which I hope to release in about a year. I have been writing much more with piano and am feeling a little of a pop/uplifting/danceable vibe right now (Perhaps because I have been listening to so much Metric and Daft Punk recently!). So we shall see where that leads. Seriously though, I feel this EP has helped unleash a creative force in me that was waiting to be freed. So, once again, I am trying to get out of the way, and let that voice be heard.
Last but not Least...
R. Name a band or musician, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE, would want to record or perform with?
EM. Jonsi, but I would never say say no to Thom Yorke.
08/19 Casa Del Popolo - Montreal, Canada
09/01 Clayton Opera House - Clayton, NY09/07 Old Meeting House - East Montpelier, VT
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