Mosa Wild’s lead vocalist Jim Rubaduka and guitarist Alex Stevens sat down with us at Bushstock to discuss their highly anticipated debut EP ‘Talking in Circles’, touring with Maggie Rogers, retreating to a remote village to make their music, and their affinity toward live performance!
Mosa Wild’s debut “Smoke” was enough to take the band to places that most only dream of. With just one track online, the band supported both Maggie Rogers and LANY, visiting iconic venues such as London’s 5000 capacity O2 Academy Brixton and Omeara. The intoxicating nature of their debut is blazingly evident from just one listen, with vocalist Jim Rubaduka’s vocals almost floating over the enthrallingly atmospheric instrumentation.
Having released “Smoke” in 2016, it wasn’t until this year that the band returned with the brilliantly anthemic sophomore single “Night.” The engrossing energy embodied within the follow-up delighted fans of “Smoke” but also, rightfully, saw the quartet draw new admirers. Their incredible new song “Tides” has seen Mosa Wild turning even more heads, with its ardently affecting and relatable lyricism making for an entrancing listen.
Speaking of “Tides,” Mosa Wild’s Jim Rubaduka shared, “This song was written during a time where a lot of my friends (myself included) felt pretty stuck in life. And I guess this song was born from the realisation that you can sometimes free yourself from the quicksand.”
All three of Mosa Wild’s currently released songs will feature on their upcoming debut EP Talking in Circles, due for release on August 2nd, 2019 via Glassnote Records. While all three are sonically stunning and utterly engaging, perhaps the best thing about Mosa Wild is their ability to craft sensational tracks which encompass their own distinct identity, while seamlessly interweaving with one another to form a larger, gripping narrative.
Having sold out their debut headline show at the Waiting Room this year, the band will descend on London’s Omeara on the 18th of September for what’s set to a glorious headline show. The band will also head on a nationwide UK tour this November supporting the phenomenal Jade Bird, who’s awe-inspiring self-titled album saw her more than deliver on her early promise.
On Monday the band supported the phenomenal Tame Impala at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool and tonight they’ll be playing to the cavernous expanse of Dublin’s 3Arena, which holds 13,000 people. In a way, supporting some of the best live acts in the world is a powerful statement of intent but Mosa Wild’s awe-inspiring artistry and talent, coupled with a relaxed and self-assured confidence, means they feel right at home alongside some of their most acclaimed contemporaries
Mosa Wild’s lead vocalist Jim Rubaduka and guitarist Alex Stevens sat down with us at Bushstock to discuss their upcoming EP, touring with Maggie Rogers, retreating to a remote village to make their music, and their affinity toward live performance!
I’d hate to see your body leaving
It taints the picture of our love
What do you mean you’re really leaving?
The tide will turn you back to me
Stuck out in the blue
Was it me watching you?
I can’t recall
Was it me you saw?
Listen: “Tides” – Mosa Wild
MEET MOSA WILD
Atwood Magazine: First of all, how did you meet as a band?
Jim Rubaduka: We actually met on an app called Grindr (laughs). Nah, I’m joking. Alex and I went to school together so that’s how we know each other. And then the other two boys we met just from playing gigs around London. They were in different bands and we were in a different kind of imagination of what we do now. And yeah, we all became friends and decided to play together, and we haven’t stopped since.
“Smoke” was released in 2017 and has clocked up millions of streams. Was there ever any uncertainty or nervousness about waiting a relatively long period of time to follow it up or did it feel natural?
Rubaduka: I don’t think there were any nerves, it was just the way the universe set it out. Like obviously we would have loved to put music out immediately after “Smoke,” but, you know, it is what it is.
Did you ever think “Smoke” would blow up in the way that it did?
Rubaduka: Not at all, it’s crazy. It’s definitely something that caught us all by surprise but, you know, it’s good. You put a lot of time into making songs so when anyone else, big or small, responds to it positively it’s always such a nice feeling.
What was it about “Night” that made you know it was going to be the second song you released?
Rubaduka: That’s a good question, I think it was very much a team thing. We’re lucky enough to have the kind of people around us that we do and we obviously like all the songs that we do so we’re not that fussed about the order. Well, I mean we are fussed, I think that’s not a good word, but I think it was more of just a collective decision. Just thinking that this makes sense in terms of being digestible and what sonically would be a good thing to put out next.
You released a video for “Night” that blends a cinematic style with the mundane setting of a house. What was the inspiration behind the video, and how was the experience of filming it?
Alex Stevens: Collectively we all liked the idea of it being shot on film, if possible. It’s a really cool format but it’s also super expensive. So we were really grateful that they could shoot it on film, which is awesome. I guess the rear window reference was used quite a lot throughout.
Rubaduka: Yeah, we sent our director through a little mood board, just a little collection of clips that we all liked to get an idea of what we might be into visually. One of the things we sent through was the trailer for the Rear Window or maybe like the opening sequence, where it pans, and you see all the different houses and see into the windows. And that’s something that really resonated with our director Theo and he was like we should do something with this idea and mess with it a bit. He sent through like a little treatment and looked at it and thought this could actually be like fun.
You supported Maggie Rogers on tour and played Brixton Academy with LANY. How was the experience playing those large rooms and supporting two incredible live artists?
Rubaduka: It was definitely a really good learning experience and it just got us really stoked to put more music out and aim to one day be able to play venues like that ourselves. It was just exciting, I think any venue that we get to play we kind of treat it the same, like we just try to do our best and have fun.
How was your first headline at the Waiting Room?
Rubaduka: Yeah, really good. When you have people there just to see you it’s pretty wild.
I think there’s definitely a different energy in the room when you play your own show, like people are coming just to see you. When you support an artist, it’s much more like trying to win over the crowd because they’re just like “Who are you? What are you doing here?.” It’s more of like a time filler thing. They’re both good and we’re up for a challenge so we just approach every single show with the mentality of just doing our best and trying to have fun.
Stevens: With Brixton, we only literally found out a few days before, so we didn’t have the time to worry about it or even really process it. We just got to turn up and play which was incredible.
Brixton’s such an incredible venue, and LANY are incredible too. Did they have that massive video wall thing?
Rubaduka: Yeah, it was really cool. Actually, that’s another thing about supporting too, you can always pick up things from the artist you’re supporting. For me, one of the best things about supporting an established act is just learning from them.
There are lots of little things that you can just take away and learn from. Even from like the set design. Like, obviously, we haven’t got to budget to go we want to do this and this and this but it’s still so incredible just to see what other artists are doing.
You went on a European tour with Maggie Rogers too; how was that experience? I saw her show at the Ritz in February, and her performance just blew my mind.
Stevens: It was great, it was our first touring experience really. We did everything ourselves, just the four of us in a van.
Rubaduka: Yeah, we had no driver, so we had to share out the driving. I think I turned 24 while I was out there, which I think was like how old you need to be to drive like a van out there so I didn’t drive for like the first three days and I think my first experience was like driving us off a ferry in Copenhagen or something.
Was there anything you learned from her, specifically as a performer and artist?
Rubaduka: A lot, I think. Obviously just how much you give on stage, in terms of your energy levels. But also, I think, more important than that, we just how she treats people around her. Just to be kind to people around you, not saying we’re like horrible people (laughs), but just making a bit more effort to be nice to the people around you. If we have people that support us, we want to make sure we get to spend time with them and get to know them.
Your upcoming debut EP is titled Talking in Circles; what’s the inspiration behind the title?
Rubaduka: Good question. The inspiration behind it was basically it just felt like a nice way to tie it all together. Lyrically, a lot of the stuff we talk about on the EP follows the same subject, kind of saying the same thing but with different results. So talking in circles just felt very appropriate. It’s in one of the songs on the EP and where that line falls in a cool spot so I kind of just said the guys “Hey, what do you think about this?” and they were all up for it.
You spent 8 months in a little village to craft the songs. What was the initial thought process that led you to do that, and how was that experience? When did you know it was right to come back?
Rubaduka: We were all kind of living in Alex’s auntie’s outhouse. We just spent every day trying to write something new. It’s cool to go into a space or environment with a very specific agenda of like okay let’s see what happens, let’s just like throw paint at the wall and see what sticks. That’s pretty much what we did for a while and we were obviously sending stuff through to like our management and the label.
Then we got to a point where everyone was just happy with the songs that had come out from that time and they’re all like let’s track it and get to the studio and do it properly.
What was the main rationale behind that decision to go away for those eight months?
Rubaduka: Honestly, I think it was mainly financial. We worked out that there was no way that we could afford to have a studio, that we could just use on the regular. We were actually just working out of Alex’s shed for the longest time, but his neighbours were just like we can’t deal with this anymore (laughs).
So in an effort to keep the peace, we moved out to Alex’s auntie’s in the middle of nowhere, so it was pretty remote.
Where does she live?
Stevens: Near Tenterden in Kent, it’s a really nice place. We were surrounded by nothing apart from fields really. There was no phone service or anything like that we were just left to it.
Do you think that sort of isolation influenced the sound of the EP?
Rubaduka: Yeah, it definitely did. But I don’t know if it was a super conscious thing.
Finally, you’ve got a headline show lined up at Omeara in September. What else can you expect in the future and what you most excited about?
Rubaduka: I think we are all, collectively, just super excited about it all. We just can’t wait to have new music out because, like you said, the time between “Smoke” and “Night” was so long, to be able to put the EP in a couple of months is just great. With the live side too, we kind of just want to be doing more of that.
Like obviously, one affects the other so the more music you put out, the more shows you get to play and we’re just super excited to do more of that.
You’ve played Omeara a few times before, right?
Rubaduka: Yeah, but never for a headline show.
How do you feel like that sort of full circle moment of coming back to headline will feel?
Rubaduka: Yeah, good. I think it’s sort of the natural order and it’s good to see those dreams being realised. Even if they might be relatively small ones, it’s still pretty sick.
Speaking of like the natural order, was it quite surreal to be playing Brixton as a support with just one or two songs out?
Rubaduka: Yeah, but we weren’t headlining that show. What I meant by the natural order was just like supporting a bigger artist at a venue like Brixton and then hopefully one day you get to come back and headline. Kind of like with Omeara, one day we might get to headline Brixton and say, “Wow this is amazing, we were here X amount of years ago or whatever.” But I don’t know, in the same breath, we don’t take it for granted as well, we feel super fortunate to have a good team around us that can hook us up with stuff like that.
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📸 © Hollie Fernando