Extended Q&A with Zack Moscow of Hide Your Mamas
This full Q&A is supplemental to the Fringe’s forthcoming feature on Hide Your Mamas, discussing the group’s beginnings, musical path, and forthcoming debut LP with keyboardist Zack Moscow.
Where are you from, originally, and how did you first get involved in playing music? Were there any early influences that made you lean in a certain direction, as far as your playing style is concerned?
I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, then spent a few years in Philadelphia and eventually landed in Nashville in the fall of 2008. Had a great four years in Tennessee but currently live in Cincinnati (I try to make it back down as much as possible – I really miss the city, the people, the creative energy!)
I’ve been playing music since about as far back as I can remember. I was very lucky to have parents who turned me on to the piano and paid for lessons from age five until I graduated from high school. My formal music education was rooted almost entirely in classical/concert piano.
I started to develop an interest in playing rock, funk, and jazz somewhere around age thirteen, but I have extremely vivid memories from early childhood listening to my parents’ records: the Stones, Los Lobos, Elvis Costello… the good stuff! I think I got burnt out from the confines and repetition necessary in concert piano studies so it was really alluring to find and play music that was a little more unstructured and that left room for me to improvise. I started a band with two of my best friends in high school — we put out an album with some goofy songs and had a blast doing it! I played a lot of music, with a lot of different bands, while I was in Philadelphia, and eventually decided that I wanted to go live in Nashville and try to really give things a shot in the music business.
The band’s Facebook page says you met Tyler [Boone] “while playing in a country-fried rock and roll band.” Which band was that? Did you play in any groups prior? Why do you think your creative evolution led you to the sounds of Hide Your Mamas? Also – how did you meet Jared [Rauso], and what made him a good fit for the new music you and Tyler wanted to start creating?
I met Tyler (our bass player) while we were playing for a country rock band called “Williamson Black.” We would practice way out in the country. During breaks Tyler and I would stay in the jam room and fool around with riffs and song ideas that were a little, umm, outside of the country rock box. I definitely felt like we had some overlap in terms of creativity and writing songs that grooved and funked and were a little left of center. So when Williamson Black started to fizzle out we thought we could start a project of our own. This eventually became Hide Your Mamas.
HYM has gone through a lot of evolution from 2010 to where we stand today. We’ve hired and lost a guitar player, had songs with a lot more traditional structure (and lyrics!) and somehow we’ve ended up as an instrumental organ/synth trio. The only constants: myself, Tyler, and Jared Rauso, our drummer. Tyler knew Jared from the Murfreesboro scene. The first time the three of us jammed together I knew we had the right guy on the drums. Jared has a lot of space to fill as we are only a three piece band, which gives him the flexibility and opportunity to create drum parts with some intricacy and that drive[s] the dynamics of each song.
Through our initial emails you said the group’s debut full-length will include some of the same songs as last year’s EP. How is the band re-approaching them, and how do the new songs differ from the previous recordings, described as “a collection of songs that revolve around driving bass lines, intricate beats, and melodic leads”?
We knew we wanted to write and play our own brand of music. We wanted songs that found complex arrangements and inspired complex emotions from an initial (relatively simple) riff or two. Now that we’ve been playing some of these songs for several years, it’s interesting to look back and see how we’ve changed the execution from then to now. Most importantly, we wanted songs that left us room to think on the fly and express ourselves in a different way each time we played them.
The album we’re working on now will incorporate some of the original songs we put on our demo and a few new ones as well. I think the demo captured the spirit of our music but didn’t have the polish (and more importantly from my perspective, the continuity and energy and feel of our live show) that we really wanted. We are hoping to take a little more time with this album and produce a rounder and warmer record. The new tracks are more in line stylistically with songs like “Bum Runner” and “Don’t Menstrate Me”: catchy and snappy variations on a theme.
There’s an implicit tongue-in-cheek quality to the band that’s pretty apparent through on-stage attire and videos like “Bum Runner.” Do you think this easy-going nature (sort of) breathes through the group’s music?
You really only have to look at our song titles or the outfits we wear on stage to see that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have great fun writing and playing music together and that’s what this project is all about. I hope that when people come to our shows or listen to our music that they can feed off of our energy and creativity and irreverence!
What is the new album going to be called and how many songs do you think will be on it?
The album name and track listing is still TBD…
Connect with Hide Your Mamas via Facebook and Twitter, or listen to their debut 2013 EP here on Bandcamp. The band will be playing a show at The End Saturday, August 9, which will also feature Dilly Power and Quiet Entertainer Orchestra.