Live Photo Credit: Vince Jimenez
It’s not often that an interviewer and interviewee become great friends; this is a transient industry after all, but in the case of Manda Mosher and I we hit it off from the first day we connected about 4 years ago and since we have seen one another morph and change both in our careers and personal lives. In fact I think that I can be one of her harshest critics rather than one that simply hands out the compliments left and right because I know what she is capable of doing. Also, while I tend to interview female musicians more than male (though both are great) artists Manda has been one of my favorite Indie artists male or female that I have ever come across. With an amazing voice, soul and songs that seem as if they are speaking to the listener and only the listener- I know why over the last year her career has been taking off-now allowing her to work with such famous people as Kevin Costner and his band. Signed to Red Parlor Records in the last year or so; she has been working extra hard to build the great fan base who tends to show up to her shows in spades.
Manda has also found a record label which gives her the creative freedom she has always yearned for but the best possible outlet for getting her music out to a wide range of people in the music industry and outside. To experience Manda live or even recorded is a treat and people can feel and sense the joy and the charisma which all great entertainers possess. As a music journalist and friend who has been keeping a keen eye on what she has been doing the last 4 years I couldn’t be more proud of her and the amazing band that she has to back her.
A few weeks ago I went to a benefit concert in which Manda was one of many female acts playing that evening. I went to the I Heart Inc benefit concert to see the Bombshell Alliance concert (for more information about this wonderful charity that gives back to Indie artists please visit www.iheartinc.com) and I got to see Manda play live which I hadn’t done in several years. While not surprised that she had grown as a live performer I underestimated her ability to get a crowed riled up and moving. The Hotel Café is a small venue with some sound issues perhaps where the first song or two her band seemed to drown out her voice but she gave a roof raising set of 5 songs. I did notice that while she is extremely strong when actually singing, playing the harmonica or guitar her one area that she may wish to work on is when she is either yodeling or humming. It seems that her voice cracks. Of this live performance her new song “City of Clowns” about living life in Los Angeles was a hit. In the middle of Hollywood for which I believe the highest concentration of “Clowns” tend to be drawn to-she worked that song extremely well-as well as having the LA based audience nodding their heads as their bodies swayed in agreement with the truth behind this catchy songs lyrics. If you don’t live in the LA Basin it is becoming easier and easier to catch Manda’s live act since she has been spending more time on the road than at home. To find out about future tour dates visit her website at www.mandamosher.com.
RRR (Christi B.): Manda it’s been so long since we last spoke; you’re never in LA anymore; now I have to find you wherever you may be. So I just want to open up with giving you a big hug and kiss. (Leave out if no reply any of 1st two questions can open) You know I’m a bit crazy!!!!!
MM: Ah, It was wonderful to finally see you again at the Hotel Show, and give you a big hug in person, finally!
RRR: Manda you have had a pretty wild year this year; one can call it a whirlwind. What emotions and how are you holding up running around for months on end staying in motels, crashing wherever you can find; any physical toll?
MM: It was certainly the most adventure filled year. I took on touring which is not what you’d expect it to be. It’s thrilling but also exhausting. You disconnect from things at home and it puts you living in the moment when you’re traveling to new towns and out of your element. There is loads of driving when touring and to me meeting new meaningful people and sharing music on the road is an invaluable experience.
RRR: I understand, I heard you had been sick. Are you feeling better yet?
MM: I’m feeling good now. I’ve been home for over a month and catching up on life here, and sleep. I’m more susceptible to catching colds on the road because there’s little rest to be had, and ended up playing a few shows under the weather, but nothing serious enough to have to cancel shows thankfully.
RRR: That’s great to hear you’re feeling better.
RRR: When we first met almost four years ago you were a struggling artist unsigned and trying to build a fan base; today you are signed to Red Parlor records based out of New York City as well as something called Bug Music. What is that and how did that come about?
MM: I can’t believe it has been so long since we first met; things have changed so much and I feel that I’m finally reaching many of the dreams I had for myself and career. Signing with Red Parlor was a milestone after finishing my first album, and helped me to evolve and dig in deeper. Bug Music is a large independent music publisher; they’re in the song business so they’re shopping catalog for placement in Film/TV as well as representing songs for other artists to cover. The publishing deal came through Red Parlor who decided to set up a publishing entity with Bug to represent my songs. For me this makes sense to have a team helping with the business, especially when you’re on the road.
RRR: Any plans to really start marketing you or merchandising your image, your Cd, etc? (If I’m right this goes with the Bug Music, so you can explain it here I will edit above question.)
MM: Because I’m most comfortable in a natural earthy space, I can’t imagine slick marketing or imaging that you see associated with today’s top charters being applied to my music, for me all of that has to come naturally. The photographer, who shot the last album photographs, John Halpern, is incredibly adept at capturing the raw essence of an artist sans the Hollywood glitz. I believe it’s simply a matter of exposing more people who understand to what we’re already doing, instead of “packaging it.”
RRR: I know that you have done The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Opened for Kevin Costner & Modern West his band in Aspen. What is it like to be around musicians and celebrities you never thought you would meet much less work with?
MM: To me it’s really an honor because you know how much they’ve accomplished, and the further you get into show business, you recognize the hard work. It’s made to look easy, but it is not. I just feel honored that my work is taking me to these places and adventures.
RRR: You did an interactive video for “One True Love”, what inspired that and how much work went into it for you, your great band and the crew?
MM: Elad Offer, the director came up with and created the interactive concept. I remember seeing a trial interactive video he was working on with Ido Sasson, my lead guitarist. Then the idea came up of doing a video for “One True Love” in a convertible car, and we realized we could apply the interactive part to switching which driver sits in the driver’s seat and allow for the user to automate the individual instrument mixes. Elad put together a traditional music video, and then the interactive version to follow. The band, oh they were great and I was surprised to see them all ham it up for the camera. We did the shoot in one day out in the desert. Working with just natural sunlight and 110-degree heat, we had to move quickly to get all the shots. The interactive video is up now at www.manda-onetruelove.com, and is the first of its kind.
RRR: Can you tell us a bit about your band mates, who they are and where they generally played before you all came together? I think many people find it interesting how bands actually meet and form.
MM: The current lineup starts with Ido Sasson who plays lead guitar and collaborates on much of what I do musically be it live performance or recording. Guy Erez, who produced my debut album “Everything You Need” brought Ido in to play on the record, and we’ve been working together ever since. Ido’s previous bands were harder rock but his playing now brings a great balance of classic rock and modern approach. Alex Balderston plays bass with us, and Ido brought Alex in. Alex is superb in his playing, his feel is far beyond his years, he is not a shy guy, and he lives his life and his music on his sleeve. Working with Davo who was brought in by Guy, and oh I have become very spoiled by playing with Davo; he is just the best. Davo plays with other notable acts Brother and Donna De Lory. Carl Byron who plays keys I met at The Cinema Bar. I saw him performing with the late Duane Jarvis and sometimes you just know. I knew he was perfect, and was hopeful he’d feel the same way, thankfully he did. Ian Gothe I met at a local bar on acoustic jam night, and we became fast friends. In addition to playing 12 string acoustic, flute, and harmonica in the band, he is one of my favorite people to write with. I’ve also played with Mike Medeiros on drums and percussion. Mike came in through Alex, and brings a great percussive sound when an acoustic show is needed and Danny Thompson sat in on drums for our Hotel show in August. Danny plays drums for Scott Weiland.
RRR: From chatting with you several times in the last few weeks I got the impression you are so happy to be back home in LA. Where have you been touring with your band and what were the lifestyle changes you had to make and how exhausting is it really? So many think the life is filled with glamour and nightly hard core partying.
MM: Glamour on the road? Hmm, that’s the furthest world from the road experience, at least for indie acts. You have to be careful with every dollar spent so you stay at cheap motels, friend’s homes, you may not shower every day, do your make up in the car or the club parking lot, no real sleep…there could be hard core partying after the shows, but then who’s gonna drive you to the next city in the morning, you are so you’ve got to pace yourself. I love driving after the show recounting all the moments of the night. This summer was, NYC, Woodstock, Oklahoma, Aspen, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Memphis, Colorado, Arizona, Austin, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Ventura, some great LA shows, and then back to many of them again. It is good to be home, but it’s hard to adjust to when you first get back, you have this urge to keep moving, traveling, playing, and avoid the mundane things like grocery shopping.
RRR: I went up to the www.Iheartinc.com Bombshell Alliance concert at the Hotel Café in Hollywood to see you and the other extremely talented musician’s play, tell us about what www.IheartInc.com is and why you all looked like you stepped out of some 1950’s suppressed type of homemaker or sex goddess sorority?
MM: The 50’s theme tied in with The Bombshell Alliance Pin-Up calendar we were all in, with proceeds from the evening and the calendar going to the I HEART Charity founded by Arrica Rose. I HEART then chooses charitable organizations to donate to or causes to support such as sending kids to The Silver lake Music Conservatory, and supporting recycling programs. Arrica calls us all up and asks us “hey are you up for dressing up 50s for the show and we’ll have your hair and makeup done to style?” I’m like yeah totally, as long as I don’t have to wear the schoolteacher outfit from the calendar on stage =) Rockabilly, now that I can do.
RRR: You played a 5 song set that evening; some of the songs were new like: City of Clowns, The Only One and a Blues song written by Willie Dixon called my Babe which was just rollicking. How do you think these new songs went over with the crowd and were they the first time you performed them live?
MM: I get such a kick performing “City Of Clowns” and thought it worked well as an opener. It’s a fairly new song we have plans to record, but it is a different thrill to play one of the new ones than the standards. “The Only One” we have plans to record as well, and have been playing that song live for over a year, it has that old world romanticism to it, and then My Babe, oh yeah it’s great to let the band stretch out and show their wares on that one. The energy with the crowd felt great in the room that night so I’d imagine the crowd was happy; I get so many compliments on the band, they’re serious players.
RRR: With new songs being performed live that usually means another Cd is going to be cut. When can we expect to get another chance to get a new Manda Mosher Cd?
MM: We’re just about to leave for NY to begin recording for the next release, an EP due out early next year on Red Parlor. The EP will be a bit of a teaser prior to the next full-length album.
RRR: The song City of Clowns is a really cool song, what or where is about?
MM: The City Of Clowns is my nickname for Los Angeles. You always hear City Of Angels, City Of Angels my ass! It’s a City Of Clowns, and the funny part is you end up being one of the clowns by association. When I perform it in other cities, people feel it applies to their home cities too, clowns are everywhere, watch out.
RRR: Do you think people who don’t live in the LA Basin could really get the whole feel for the insanity of this town?
MM: I think New Yorkers understand in a way, but LA is a big façade so I don’t know that anyone really understands it totally. It’s the world of pretend, grabbing for shiny objects that might hold the key to your desires, whatever people are climbing towards – and often that shiny object is a barbed monster. I always felt Las Vegas was more insane, that place is as dark as it gets to me; LA is close. People are gambling everything they’ve got for usually selfish reasons. This is why I love traveling outside of LA, where people don’t care “what you do,” “what you drive,” etc…Most people just want to share how their day was. However, there are good things about LA too. After all-I was born and raised here and consider it my home-at this point I don’t see myself changing the place I call home anytime soon.
RRR: I read you were to go on tour again; when can your fans start getting tickets to your shows? Also, are there any solid dates set up yet?
MM: I have two tours in the works for the beginning of the year, but I can’t announce the dates yet until everything is solidified. I’m planning on the West Coast again and Europe. They’ll be posted on my website www.mandamosher.com
RRR: Manda, I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule. Is there anything you would like to add that we may not have covered?
MM: Christi, it is a pleasure and an honor to interview with you again, and to be friends on this journey.
RRR: Hugs and kisses to you and your family… talk soon!