Usually if I told you to shake your balls it would be quite rude, but I can justify it due to the names of Moriaty’s latest two singles.
We are from Devon, UK. Matthew is Plymouth based and I live in sunny Teignmouth!
How did you meet?
We used to play in different bands with the same management. During the slow demise of those outfits, we got together at a crazy T in the Park festival and just thought… “let’s have a jam”… here we are all this time later!
How long have you been playing as a band?
It’s been 10 years this year! A decade! Took us a while to get going because it was just for fun at the start… and the last few years have been dogged by several life changing events shall we say… but yeah, 10 year man. That’s insane!
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
It comes from Sherlock. I am a fan of the literature, we are both huge fans of the show. Moriaty just seemed right, but there is a french band with that name. One day someone just spelt the name wrong on a gig poster (dropping the second ‘r’), and that was the moment I realised we could get away with keeping the name.
What are your influences?
It began very much as a blues thing… blind willie McTell, Son House, Blind Willie Johnson, and we chucked in a load of Sabbath and QOTSA. Prior to our first record we were listening to RATM’s Evil Empire and Snoop Doggy Dogg’s doggystyle on repeat and we came across Pantera.
Since then influences have varied from Vulfpeck, to Radiohead, The Manic Street Preachers. MJ/ Prince: there’s a great band from San Diego callee Dirty Sweet.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Well there’s only 2 of us. I guess that’s not as unique as it used to be, but we get a pretty gnarly sound for a duo. Many years, blood l, sweat and gear went into the evolution of our sound and the guitar that I customised/ built/ designed for the purpose of Moriaty.
We are in a box to some extent, and I’ve always enjoyed finding ways to explore that box and stretch out its boundaries. There’s something comforting about being restricted to an extent, because the wilder you make things, the more satisfaction you get. It’s easy to push boundaries when you have none…a lot more thought goes into it when you do.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Yeah for sure. The first record was largely about religion. I was reading a lot of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins at the time.
This one is about change. It’s taken a while to get it out due to life events, and in those few years, the world, both internal and external to me has changed so much.
The internet has been the biggest cultural revolution since the printing press, and as such has begun to tear apart our whole way of existence, in the same way the printed work did in the 15th/ 16th centuries (see Martin Luther etc.).
The economic consequences of the credit crunch of 2008, combined with the rise of social media, data manipulation and divisive leadership across the Western Hemisphere, has created all this.
It’s a lot to get our heads round and as we fumble in the dark, we slowly find and turn the dimmer switch and illuminate what’s been happening. Much of this record is an effort to contribute to the fumble and the illumination.
Combine that with the birth of my two children, the death of my mother, the break up of Matthews relationship, boom and bust and all the other stuff that’s put barriers in our paths, then it’s easy to see why change quickly became the theme,
Energetic, explosive and incendiary are words folk have used to describe us in the past, I’m fairly happy with that. Live performance has always and will always be central to what we are about. That’s where the fun began and in that moment is where it all is.
We have played a lot of shows. Many 500/600?
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
The wildest this I ever saw was the dude from Dillinger Escape Plan shit in a bag and throw it in the crowd at Reading when I was a kid. That was mental.
The wildest thing I’ve done is probably snowboard half way down a mountain mid-set in the Alps… my wireless pack didn’t stretch as far as I’d hoped and it took ages to get back up… guitar in hand throughout.
There was another time in Plymouth we probably did 20 Jäger bombs each during a set… I imagine that got pretty wild but I can’t remember other than getting annoyed that someone was playing my guitar and looking down to realise it was me!
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Matthew is on the Gretsch Catalina Club red sparkle kit that we picked up from a pawn shop in Southampton. He uses the luxurious protection racket cases made by a good friend of ours in Cornwall.
I exclusively now use a Gretsch baritone. I took a jigsaw to it, and re sorted and designed it. I changed the electrics to a system of my own design with two outputs. And use bass strings on the lower 3 strings… the things a beast I like to call Ol Frankie’.
We began life with a strat, a vox ac30 and a big muff. The ac30 is still on board and the big muff is now a teign muff… great pedal… and there’s a big old ampeg bass cab. That’s pretty much the whole thing.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
We have a new single out called “Shake” which is very much about the current policy iso situation in America, the current POTUS and linking him to presidents of the previous century. It questions what Donald Trump would actually do should he ever be faced with hitting a nuclear button. For what it’s worth I don’t think even he would be that stupid… plus in order to press the “button” would mean him actually doing some work and dragging his fingers away from his twitter feed for more than 5 minutes… so unlikely.
The new album The Die Is Cast is out In late October!
What are your plans over the next six months or so?
We shall be playing whatever shows we can in the climate. There’s a few rescheduled for December and we will be booking a tour for next year… but it’s difficult to really see past this winter of discontent we will all suffer as a result of you know what!
In the meantime, more of these… and the record is coming out late October! I cannot wait to finally release it after all the shit we’ve been through to get us to this point!
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Mother Vulture for sure. Keep your eyes out for those guys if they are not already on them! The Scribes, a hip hop group from Bristol/ Plymouth, they are so good and would get people in the mood. And the 45’s… amazing band from Bristol… that 3, cheating I know.