Interview with ungrateful, inhuman, idiot, a bad musician, as if guitarist Frenchie Moe. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?
Frenchie Moe: – I grew up in rural France, in the “boondocks”. Little to no live music in my village. But my dad who hung out in bars, would take me along to the nearest city about an hour away, and there we’d see music. That’s how I came across British Bluesman Victor Brox in a small venue at age 9. I knew that very day I wanted to play Blues music. He ended up mentoring me. As far as making a living these days I’m actually a “blue collar” Blues musician, and independent artist …
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JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?
FM: – As a child I fell in love with Chicago Blues, such as Muddy Water’s music … as a teen I was still into traditional sound, but slowly evolved towards Rhythm & Blues. Late teens/ 20s I realized I loved that funky edge. On top of that I always had a love for New Orleans music even before living here. I’d say finding and developing my sound came from travelling. Moving to the US when I was 19, watching as many performers as I could, mostly in small venues…
JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?
FM: – I do not always have a practice schedule but I think it’s a great thing to have. While Blues/Rhythm & Blues requires much less technique than Jazz for instance, I wanna evolve towards more technique as I go. What I do has been highly based around the individual tunes and the emotions they inspire. That being said, I like to record short rhythm loops on my phone and practice solo phrasing to them.
JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?
FM: – Of course I changed tremendously and I believe I still am. There’s overall musical evolution after being in the USA now 15+ years, but also intense changes such as becoming a mother, which affects everything you do. I’d have to say though, being in your 30s in the Blues world makes you pretty much still a baby! Experience and life experience is what makes that music more valuable as you go. Sometimes you can learn a riff in 20 seconds, but it might take you 20 years to make it sound right.
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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
FM: – The balance? I think it’s clear that soul outweighs just about everything!…I mean yes, you need some intellect, some concept, some direction, some technique. But without soul none of those things mean anything.”
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?
FM: – Yes definitely ok with that, but I’m not sure it’s only a two-way relationship, possibly a three-way I’d say! Lol. The artist, the audience AND the divine/the invisible/what some people name God…I believe music is one of the ways we connect with the spiritual, it’s a ritual, and we invite the audience to join in…
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in blues when most of standard tunes are half a century old?
FM: – Most of the standard tunes are that old yes, but the stories told are human stories and those are pretty much still the same! From love, to death, addictions, partying, or just working…while the music might stay close to the same when it’s traditional, the possibilities of lyrics/songwriting and the personality of the performers can take so many fresher forms! While Blues may not be mainstream these days, I’m seeing some surprising revival in younger generations and through younger performers on the scene…
JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?
FM: – Yes, music I believe is a direct representation of our spirit. Our society is sadly based on materialistic values, while spiritual values are the true meaning in my opinion. Music and art are ways to commune with those spiritual values. About why our spirit inhabit our body in this world, I think the main reason is spreading consciousness. Learning. What else?
JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?
FM: – One thing only? That’s tough. Hesitating between people buying albums again, or people going out to see live music like they used to…or streaming music actually paying artists decently. I’ll go with smaller live music venues attracting as many people as they did in the 20th century. That would change everything. So turn off Netflix and get out there!
JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?
FM: – In recent years? mostly Jazz or as some call it BAM (Black American Music). Especially people like George Benson. Or Wes Montgomery, who Benson was heavily influenced /looks like you are confusing something – JBN/ by … yes I’m a Blues player but I fantasize that one day all that BAM will find a way to reflect in my music.
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JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?
FM: – Whow. So many options. Even though seeing Robert Johnson or Bessie Smith perform, back in the 30s, somewhere South, used to be on my list, the racism/segregation/sexism of that era would negate the whole experience. So like most musicians I’d probably go from 60s to early 70s. USA. So many amazing musical trends…perhaps seeing Lee Dorsey perform in New Orleans in the 60s, with some tunes that were precursors to funk. Or perhaps seeing Tower of Power in California late 60s … but if you want real specifics? Ok, I’d go to the Maple Leaf club in New Orleans in 1983 to see James Booker perform before his death.
Interview by Simon Sarg
Note: https://jazzbluesnews.com/2023/03/19/useu-jazz-blues-association-festivals/ You can express your consent and join our association, which will give you the opportunity to perform at our Jazz and Blues festivals, naturally receiving an appropriate royalty. We cover all expenses. The objectives of the interview are: How to introduce yourself, your activities, thoughts and intellect, and make new discoveries for our US/EU Jazz & Blues Association, which organizes festivals, concerts and meetings in Boston and various European countries, why not for you too!! You can read more about the association here. https://jazzbluesnews.com/2022/11/19/useujba/