INTERVIEW: MOA from Sweden is an up-and-coming artist who moved to Los Angeles to follow her dreams. We wanted to learn more!
Hi Moa, can you tell us a little bit about your musical background?
I’ve been singing for my whole life, and when I was 12 I picked up the bass. I have never really been interested in anything else. So, I spent my teenage years playing in bands, the most influential on me being the all-girl, self-proclaimed “bad-ass bitch’n’roll”-band “Thrill Warriors”. But I always knew I wanted more, and I dreamt of a music career in the city of dreams (like so many others). So, I sold everything I owned (aside from a few vinyl’s and a Buddha that I still keep in my mom’s basement to this day) and a few weeks before my 20th birthday I got a one-way ticket to Los Angeles. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to tour all over the world with a bunch of different bands and writing music both for myself and for film and tv.
If feels like there’s a slight change of sound in your new single Learn to Let Go. What was your thought behind it?
Oh, I have never thought of it sounding different. But I guess I would call it growth in that case, a natural progression or something. I come from a background in rock and metal, but I also love pop music, so when I wrote it I wanted something that mixed the 2. The guitar represents the more organic, even if not a metal riff, and is mixed with straight up pop elements and trap beats. The lyrics are pretty dark and at the end of the bridge I even break into a scream a la Caleb Shomo from Beartooth. I love how he screams. It feels so honest to me. So, I guess you can say the thought behind it was the raw energy of a rock song in a pop suit.
How would you describe your music to someone that has never heard it before?
I ask myself this question every day, so if you have the answer please let me know!
What are your musical influences?
I get my inspiration from literally all genres. I love (almost) all music! I get hooked on a band and listen to them until I get obsessed with the next one and so it goes on. My current obsession is Grandson.
Do you write your music by yourself?
Yes! I make shitty demos at home and then I bring them to a producer who can help me bring my vision to life. My partner in crime for both my last EP and for Learn to Let Go was Yianni Anastos Prastacos, who is da best.
You’ve been on tours with different bands playing different genres (and instruments). What experiences do you carry with you and interpret into your solo performances?
At the end of the day, I just love to play music, whether it is my own or someone else’s. Connecting with someone, in this case an audience, through music is the coolest feeling ever. It might sound cheesy, but that’s honestly what I live for. Being on tour you are constantly learning, and for me the biggest thing is being nice to everyone, because you never know when you are gonna see them again. When I started touring I thought I would never see these people again, but I learned quickly that you will make friendships that lasts way past the concert. It’s so cool when you come back to a city and you see the same people you saw last time you were there, or in another city for that matter. When I played South By Southwest in Austin, TX, last month I met not only one, but TWO peeps that I had met when I played in San Fransisco a few months earlier. When playing for Bay Ledges, whom I’ve been playing bass for since last year, I have been super inspired by Zach, who does everything in the band, because, first of all, I love his music, and second, he is just the nicest guy ever. So, I try to take that with me.
You moved to LA from Sweden. How long have you lived here and what made you want to move here?
I have been here for 7 years now, which is crazy to think! I don’t think I really believed I would be there for that long when I moved, but here I am. I came here for school, but music and love kept me here. And being from rainy Sweden, the sun too!
What are the best parts about being a musician? What are the most challenging?
The best part once again is to connect with others through music. It means the world to me when someone sends me a message saying that my song helped them with this or that, or simply through a performance. The most challenging is the constant self-doubt and the feeling of “is this good enough?”. I have extremely high expectations on myself and I don’t want to put out or be part of something I don’t like.
Last year was an eventful one for you; Warped Tour, full US tour, a release party at Gibson, and signing to BMG PM just to mention a few. What was your favorite highlight of 2018?
All of the above!
We know that you broke your foot, what’s the story behind it?
OMG HAHA. So, I had been on tour with Bay Ledges for almost six weeks and it happened right after our second to last show in Orlando, FL. I was dancing with my friend Andres during load out. My foot hit his foot which led to me falling with my foot twisted. At first, I couldn’t believe it, it was so innocent, but the pain was excruciating. After laying on the floor of the club shaking for I don’t even know how long and the pain not going away, the guys literally carried me out and took me to the ER. Turns out I had suffered a Lisfranc Injury and broke 3 bones in my mid foot, one of them being completely shattered and displaced which meant I had to have surgery. I wasn’t allowed to walk for over 3 months, so it’s been a long recovery process and I’m still limping more than 5 months later and still can’t walk downstairs like a normal human being. But I’m getting there, and more importantly, I finished the tour plus did another one two months later with one leg.
What’s next for Moa?
I have another single coming out soon and there’s more shows on the horizon to be announced soon. To say I’m pretty pumped, especially after all the love and support I have received these past few days since releasing Learn to Let Go, would be an understatement.
Interview by: Gosia Machaczka & Rosanna Rundlof
Photos: Andrea Czarnote