I recently had the pleasure of touring with awesome German Doom/Metal band The Moth. It seemed like the decent thing to do to ask The Moths bass player Cecile Ash a few questions ahead of thier up coming Desert Fest performance and UK tour with Conjurer.
For those of us who may not have heard of you before, please describe The Moth for us:
We are a three-piece from Hamburg: Drums, guitar, bass. Both Freden, the guitarist, and I sing. Most of the time at the same time. While Freden growls a lot, I sing clear but with a rather low(deep?) voice. Rather Nico than Kim Wilde. An Australian fan once described our music as Slayer-doom. It fits because we have fast metal songs as well as really slow and doomy ones.
How did you get started and how long have you been together?
Freden (Guitar + Vocals) and I were in a band before, for 10 years, Bangkok Cash, where Freden played the drums, I was on bass. We split in 2009. Freden and I kept on jamming, like once a week, but Freden was occupied finishing university. So I patiently waited, haha. Then, one day after rehearsal we had a drink and he said, ok, let’s do it. From then on nothing could stop us. With Freden it’s either 100% or not at all. Freden switched back to the guitar and we started seriously writing songs. That was in 2012. It autumn of that year, after checking out eight drummers, Tiffy convinced on drums, THE MOTH was ready for some live action! We had our first show a few weeks later in a garage.. We were nervous as shit, haha, we had never sung before!
What releases do The Moth have? And where can we get gold of them to give you a listen?
We recorded THEY FALL in early 2013 and released it on CD ourselves. A month later we were signed to THIS CHARMING MAN RECORDS who re-released the album on vinyl and CD in September. Our second album “AND THEN RISE” also came out on this independent label – in April of last year. You can check both albums out on the-moth.bandcamp.com or watch clips we did on www.youtube.com/user/listentoTHEMOTH.
You have a song on the Metal Hammer CD in the UK this month, that’s pretty cool. Have you even seen a copy?
No, we haven’t! Except for on photos. Yes, we couldn’t believe it when they asked us if we wanted to contribute a song. That felt unreal and made us very happy and feel humbled. We sent them FIRE, one of our doomiest, pretty desperate songs.
Any new releases coming up?
Yes. But it might still take a while. We are working on 15 songs right now. Last year we were touring and playing so much, that we were always busy rehearsing for upcoming shows and hardly had the time to work on new stuff. But since our last tour with you lovely mugs, Ohhms, we concentrated just on that. We love writing new riffs and songs and finding vocal melodies that fit. It’s so exciting when you feel a new riff really moves you. We love it, when it’s raw and powerful and nothing compares to the excitement when out of nowhere such a riff comes up. Sorry, I almost forgot answering your question: If everything works out the way we plan, album no. 3 should be out by the end of the year. If it doesn’t it will be by the beginning of next year.
How did your deal with This Charming Man Records come about?
We checked out labels on the internet and found THIS CHARMING MAN RECORDS very sympathetic. It looked diy and had very different bands on it, very heterogenic. We thought: Maybe we might fit in? We sent him a copy of our CD and around the same time a guy we knew a little and knew the label-boss better, told him good things about us, too. Some days after putting it in the mail, I was sunbathing at our hometown’s river Elbe and thought: I’ll just call Chris (the label boss), see what he says. That was one of the weirdest phone calls ever, haha! Me in a bikini walking up and down the beach, trying to do some “business talk”.. Twenty minutes later I hung up and didn’t know at all what I was up to. Did he want to sign us, or didn’t he? I had no clue and told Freden just that on the phone. That same night I was sitting on my couch when I got a Facebook message from Chris with a link: He had listed us on his sight under “Bands”. I couldn’t believe it and was excited like a little kid on Christmas Eve! We had wished for a label, but never seriously dared to believe that it might actually happen.
What is The Moths process for writing new material?
We just walk into our rehearsal room and the riffs just happen. Sometimes Freden brings along some killer riffs that came to him at home. But more and more often they just pop out when we rehearse. Personally, I cannot “work” on riffs at all. They always burst out of me as a whole, at once, without me having any conscious influence on them. I don’t know how that works, really… They are mostly dark, slow and a little sad riffs. Then Freden and I work on making songs out of our riffs. Only when a lot of songs are ready we introduce them to our drummer.
You are coming over to the UK soon I hear, where can we see you? Anyone good playing with you?
Yes, we’ll be back in the UK and are so much looking forward to it!! Don’t know, but we just love you british people! You are really cool, friendly, real and so supportive! We’ll start at Desertfest, where we play at The Black Heart on Sunday, May, 1st at 16:30h. Then we’ll travel to Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds and Margate. Thanks to every promoter who puts us on!! You can find the details on www.facebook.com/listentoTHEMOTH. Conjurer that supported us last year in Milton Keynes will join us on four dates. They really impressed us that night and we are honoured and happy that they will be with us!
What has been your best/biggest show to date?
I think it was our show at STONED FROM THE UNDERGROUND festival in Erfurt (Ger) last year in June. It was the last date after our European tour with DEAD EXISTENCE. After only three hours of sleep we had to get up at 5:30, drive 5 hours to arrive in Erfurt and just an hour later hopped on stage as the first band of the day at 13 o’clock, but it was already 30 degrees hot. The tent got more and more crowded until it was full. We were so sleep-deprived and exhausted… It was like being in another dimension: There was no energy for being nervous or anything: We just gave everything we had, we and especially Tiffy were sweating our arses off while we just enjoyed playing and the cheering crowd. It was amazing.
Having seen you live a few times myself, I notice yoursef and Freden always play with one foot on the monitor, is this a sub conscious thing?
No. It started the moment Freden and I first tried singing. We never used a microphone before THE MOTH and somehow it feels better to sing that way, don’t know why. Also, we have lots of fast parts and found that the guitar moves less and you can hit the strings better when the guitars can rest against your leg when you put your foot up. And as we are bad posers this is also at least a little move we can do onstage, haha!
The Moth play a lot of live shows, how do you balance this with work/ family life? On one of your recent tours you had a stand in drummer (who was awesome) is this a regular thing?
Freden and I both don’t have kids. Freden works halftime to have enough time for the band. I work on my own as a photographer. Only as much as is necessary to get along. Because the band is the most important thing for both of us. We probably have a little less money than others, but having the freedom to do what you love is priceless. We have two drummers, Tiffy and Curry. Because they both have a kid and work full-time they are not as available as we are, even if they would love to. The drummer you met, Thilo, is actually our third one, haha! He also has a son and is busy with his job. He joins us when neither Tiffy nor Curry can make it. All three of them are awesome guys and we are really fortunate that they want to play and travel with us!
What is it you enjoy most about touring so much?
Hmmm. I don’t even know where to start. What I love most is probably spending all this time with my best friends and experiencing so many exciting things with them. I just terribly enjoy that. We laugh so much and it just feels like being on some sort of school trip: Leaving normal, boring life behind and just drive, talk shit, talk more shit, laugh like mad and at night hopping on stage, get to see and enjoy other bands, partying, meeting new people, spending time with the other bands and their funny members. Can it get any better?? On tour you have like no responsibilities: Just drive, arrive to the venue on time, give your best on stage, have an awesome time. Paradise! But what I really dislike: The little sleep. It really exhausts me. But since our tours have never been very long so far, I survived it, haha!
Why does your bass only have 3 strings?
G- Strings are for strippers.
Looking forward, what hopes and aspirations do you have for the Moth in the future?
First of all I just hope that our third album that we are working on now, will turn out good. That we will be able to capture the sound and the atmosphere. That’s tricky as we know now. I don’t care much if people don’t like it – as long as we think that it turned out great. That’s what I really, really hope. But of course it would make me very happy if more people got to know our band and got to appreciate it. It’s a good feeling when people like what you do, when they respect what you worked hard for. We’ll keep on doing that and giving our best. Everything else is out of our control.
You have three stripes tattooed on your side, is there a story or meaning behind them?
Yes. I have three brothers. When the middle one turned thirty, my other two brothers and I wanted to give him a special gift. He already had a lot of tattoos then. We didn’t have any. Well, I had a little one: BASS tattooed on my under lip, but that’s all… So we thought of all getting the same tattoo together. That’s what we did. We all have three stripes, that each finish with the first letter of our siblings names, now. It hurt like shit. I would never get a tattoo on the ribs again! I got another one after that: A rather big cross along my spine and shoulders. But that was way less painful!
Any thing you would like to say to our readers?
Thanks for being interested in our band and all the other bands that aren’t big yet and maybe never will be, but that have something to give and that you recognize that. Cheers!!
Thanks for the interview Cecile, i look forward to seeing you at Desert Fest and the Margate show!!!!