Overtime with Canada’s Emotive Duo, Bob Moses

Tom Howie // Jimmy Vallance
Tom Howie // Jimmy Vallance

Toronto’s Time Festival (August 6) had a successful sixth year, attracting music fans of all genres with its diverse lineup. What was the best part of it? This year, Time Festival introduced the Overtime Stage, a second spectacle that hosted a staggering lineup of electronic music acts. Headlining Overtime was Canadian talent Bob Moses, the deep house- live act duo that has quickly won the hearts and ears of people all over the globe. With Tom Howie on vocals and guitar, and Jimmy Vallance on keyboards, the pair performed an entrancing live set that secured them as one of our all-time favourites. Having just released their debut album last year, the Vancouverites have owned just about every venue, ranging from The Ellen Degeneres Show to Berlin’s infamous Watergate, while hitting up home turf in between. We had the chance to catch up with the duo at Time Festival and we couldn’t be happier to share with you today…

First off, thank you very much for doing this interview!

Jimmy: Of course!

So, Bob Moses is one of the main acts for Time Festival! How does it feel to be a headliner on home turf?

Tom: Feels great!

Jimmy: It feels awesome, you know? It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll, and we still got a long way to go. But being at the top of the flyer and playing (on Overtime) feels pretty sweet.

Tom: I mean it’s weird because we’ve played at a lot of festivals this summer and this year, you know? Billings are weird things and sometimes you can be further up the flyer and competing with somebody and it won’t be a great show, and then sometimes you can be further down the flyer. I think the spacing and timing of festivals is an art, and some are better at it than others. I think this one seems to be really greatly spaced and timed. *(Pun intended?)*

Jimmy: The artists that are playing are wow- Run the Jewels, Jacques Greene- they booked such a cool lineup.

Tom: Yeah we are stoked to be a part of it.

Tom Howie of Bob Moses at Overtime Stage, Toronto Photo by Brandon Newfield for Aesthetic Magazine

Tom Howie of Bob Moses at Overtime Stage, Toronto
Photo by Brandon Newfield for Aesthetic Magazine

Jimmy Vallance of Bob Moses at Overtime Stage, Toronto Photo by Brandon Newfield for Aesthetic Magazine

Jimmy Vallance of Bob Moses at Overtime Stage, Toronto
Photo by Brandon Newfield for Aesthetic Magazine

Obviously there is a difference between playing in Europe and Canada. However, do you guys find any noticeable differences between the musical atmospheres in Vancouver and Toronto? 

Jimmy: I think one of the cool things about Canada is how across the board everyone is pretty awesome- I guess Vancouver is our hometown..

Tom: The only difference I would say is that Vancouver is a bit more- and this may just be us- hometown feel. It’s funny because I think it was Toronto, which was our first show when we came back and played, so there is a very hometown vibe, but Vancouver has that extra hometown feel. Also, partially because all of our family will come to our shows, my art teacher will come… It’s pretty much the same, as far as awesomeness.

Jimmy: Toronto has been good to us!

We were really in the right place at the right time. There was a place to be filled and we were there to fill that space.

Vancouver does not necessarily hold a large electronic culture, which I can assume is one of the reasons why Bob Moses formed in New York City. What are some of the challenges you faced entering the scene?

Jimmy: I think Vancouver now has great stuff like 1080P and there’s a whole bunch of artists coming out of there now after we have left that are starting to kill it. But I think for us- when we were in Brooklyn playing live music was something that not a lot of people were doing in that scene. We were really in the right place at the right time. There was a place to be filled and we were there to fill that space.

Tom: And you know, New York is New York. If you’re going to go anywhere, New York is kind of the centre of the world in a big way. So, for Vancouver, it’s a smaller town. Toronto has more of a scene because it’s a big, vibrant city, it’s a great town, but New York is one of the major epicentres of everything, whether it’s culture, finance, food, or anything, so I think that was kind of why we both moved there. We both wanted to see what it was about and I think what Jimmy said— we got lucky that we got into the scene and something cool was happening, and we realized that it was sort of happening everywhere in the world. And maybe because Vancouver is a smaller place, it took a bit longer to bubble up to a mass sort of level, but we’ve travelled all over the world now and it’s a similar scene everywhere.

We were running in the scene in New York and that’s what was exciting & inspiring us sonically.

You have fused your backgrounds of trance and rock to create something absolutely fantastic! In some of your songs I even pick up on elements of blues and jazz. Are there any genres in particular that influence your sound?

Jimmy: Big time. We love blues. We listen to everything- from Clearance Clearwater to Led Zeppelin, Massive Attack, Radiohead, Devil Soul you name it, we just devour music. We listen to a lot of stuff and go that’s cool and when you do that, it starts to inspire you to make something.

Tom: I know that’s come up in the press a bit about Jimmie being into trance and me being into rock, but we both played in the same punk bands and metal bands in high school. I think when Jimmie went off and did his trance thing, it very quickly turned into a deep house thing, and then I went off and did a rock thing, that turned more into that as well. When we met up in New York we were kind of on the same page musically, but we also had the same background. We grew up listening to the same radio stations in Vancouver. We played similar sort of bands. We were both kind of song writers and producers. And that was actually one of our challenges at the beginning, because we had a diverse love of music! We would write one song over in the left field and over in the right field, and make a record in centre field. But we knew we couldn’t do all of this stuff. So we had to ask ourselves what is the most exciting to us in terms of creating our own voice? We were running in the scene in New York and that’s what was exciting & inspiring us sonically. So, through that desire — and meeting Francis Harris and Scissor & Thread — that’s what made Bob Moses. That’s how it happened.

The creation of Bob Moses is a really interesting story — where do you think you would both be if you hadn’t reunited in New York City years after high school?

Jimmy: Flipping burgers. No I don’t know. We’re both the kind of guys that we would figure it out somehow, you know? I don’t know. We’re workaholics, so I’m sure we would’ve figured it out. I’m sure Tom would be the next biggest country singer, I would’ve been in gospel, I have no idea. Gospel trance, that’s a genre that needs to happen.

Tom: I wouldn’t know what we would’ve done, but I think we would’ve tried to find a partner that was as close to the other as possible, and then be disappointed when it wasn’t as good. Haha!

Jimmy: In another dimension I’m definitely a gospel trance superstar. And then this outfit I’m wearing would actually make sense!

Tom: I’m going to be country trip-hop music mogul. I don’t know why I got country, I don’t even like country.

Jimmy: I just figured something that you wouldn’t even associate yourself with. That’s it I’m just going to cash in and start singing with a country accent.

Tom: When we were on our last bus tour, we experienced all of these truck stops.

Jimmy: There’s a whole trucker music genre.

Tom: If you have ever driven across America, there’s this whole scene of truck stops and truckers, it’s crazy.

Oh, it’s a lifestyle!

Tom: Yeah, I was like Dude we should just fuckin’ throw in the towel and write like truck stop songs. There was this song… what was the name of it?

Jimmy: Parkin’ lot party!

Tom: Parkin’ lot party yeah! It was this country song and I was like dude this is a fucking hit!

Jimmy: I got a wench and it’s a broken and now I can’t get my truck out of the mud. I don’t know… We got ideas for days.

Haha! We’ll let you can keep those ideas for the next album. Alright, well thank-you so much guys! 

Tom: No worries!

Jimmy: For sure!

Enjoy this recent remix of Bob Moses’ “Like it or Not” by Joris Voorn, out August 2 on Domino Recordings:

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