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The best kept secret in music



it's on a roll.

marc hug is on the move. i've caught him shortly before leaving brooklyn to begin the north american tour with his bands mossyrock (with vocalist dominica paige, and peter spiers) and intergalactic faerie funk (IFF).

the industrial noise i hear in the background to our conversation seems worlds away from the organic sounds of the mossyrock universe, where guitars are guitars, mandolins are mandolins, and violas are violas - or are they?

on their first EP released last fall, mossyrock marries the old soul of american folk styles to the uptempo heartbeat of electro. it's a long way from being blown away by 808 state's 'pacific' as a young guy in toronto. but not as far from the quirky style of lullaby baxter, occasional calgarian and perennial musical eccentric. "when i was in ottawa i heard lullaby baxter on the radio and have been a huge fan ever since," hug exclaims. it was such influences, plus meeting the rest of what would become mossyrock in philadephia, that led to hug's technicolour revolution from the more monochrome explorations of dark house music in his older and ongoing solo project, intergalactic faerie funk (who recently got mix/remix treatment from house pioneer jesse saunders). live IFF is "playing improvised versions of the recorded tracks. very electronic. maybe a bass player, but it is very different," from the full, frequent and freaky folky use of live instrumentation in mossyrock.

which brings us to this most brillian of band names - how did 'mossyrock' come to be called
"mossyrock"? marc tells all: "mossyrock is the name of a small town in washington state where i found myself after burning man in 1998. it was a really wonderfully beautiful place and we were in some shitty little diner having wonderful conversations. the name of the place just really stuck with me. i always knew
that i wanted to do something with it and so finally - we did.

marc writes most of the music and then passes it along to dominica who "adds her layer to it by coming up with some vocals and melodies and cello and viola. the third person we work with has the most amazing patience for mastering and eqing and taking care of that side of things". which only goes to show: every good electronic band needs at least one good knob twiddler. even if said knobs are more likely to be virtual these days: according to marc, "making electronic music has definitely gotton easier. i used to use an emu sampler and a groovebox to sequence it and while i made some pretty bizarre samples it would take hours and hours and hours." using ableton live both in the studio and on stage now, the whole process has becom more natural - more mossy(rock), even? "that natural sound is kinda wonderful - not coming back in a huge way but maybe a bit more popular now, again." it's almost like now we have all this technology people were in such a rush to get in the twentieth century, people aren't so happy and want to go back to a simpler technological time. "i don't know if i want to go back, but i'm definitely enjoying using elements of it". - mike pathos - beatroute

"the lovely, electronic, indie mossyrock."

brooklyn group discovers life after house music with organic folktronica.

going from zero to one isn’t that big a step, but for brooklyn’s mossyrock, their latest album solidifies their move away from their four-on-the-floor club cut beginnings as intergalactic faerie funk to the subtler, pop-imbued sound found on their latest offering, the zero to one sessions.

multi-instrumentalists marc hug, dominica paige and peter spiers combine slinky, broken beats with laptops, guitars, mandolin, cello and vocals to create what might be described as "folktronica" reminiscent of glitch-pop heroes zero7 and fourtet. though they have a couple of remixes, singles and seven-inches under their belt, the zero to one sessions find mossyrock solidifying their sound and offering a perfect soundtrack to a lazy summer day.

"it was actually pretty amazing," admits guitarist, mandolin player and laptop operator marc hug. "we went to this huge gallery in kitchener (the zero to one gallery) with this ballroom. so we set up a bunch of fabric in a circle and didn’t leave for 10 days. we actually set up a tent and we’d sleep in the tent and then just wake up and make music. we’d sometimes stop for food, but we’d really just work until three in the morning and then do it all over again." so was born the zero to one sessions – a simultaneously organic and pre-programmed romp through textures, loops and beats. the magic of mossyrock lies in their ability to manipulate the sounds they create live. the most fundamental tool at their disposal is the ableton live program, a loop-based software music sequencer designed specifically to be as much an instrument for live performances as it is a tool for composing and arranging. everyone from blockhead and daft punk to mogwai and the crystal method use the program in their live shows. because of the performance aspect of the program, processing is done in real time, rather than the playback mode typical of most other sequencers and sample programs. this creates an interesting visual effect for the performer and the audience.

"there are definitely moments where i’ve been playing guitar onstage and the audience watching me will see me playing guitar but they can’t hear it," says hug. "i’ll be catching a loop of it and then i’ll stop playing and the loop will play. i’ve seen a couple people look really confused, but then some people do know and get it."

it’s a process that works well for the group both in the studio and performing live. "i’m not a very good guitar player," admits hug with a laugh. "but iwork out these pretty little lines and then loop them. then i’ll do another thing with the guitar and put it on top and blend the two together to create something that really can’t be played on guitar in real time. "all the sounds you’ll hear we’ve created ourselves and manipulated in some way. it’s a whole layering and building process where we’ll incorporate guitar, vocals and mandolin that we’ll catch in a loop. but at the same time we’re playing completely live." - FFWD

"stranger danger"

mossyrock mastermind marc hug seems to attract all the wrong things

Standing next to Marc Hug can get you killed. The guy attracts violence. It's his oddball superpower, like he's got some radioactively-induced compass that inadvertently points him towards massive brawls and drive-bys. Granted, part of the Mossyrock leader's problem is proximity; he and his wife, cello player and vocalist Dominica Paige, live in the borderlands of Brooklyn, that narrow stretch between the tony townhouses of Brooklyn Heights and what the Wu Tang Clan long ago dubbed Crooklyn. So odds are he's going to bump into something shady on occasion. But only someone with mutant abilities gets to witness a knife fight during his CD release party -- at a Chuck E. Cheese. Yet last fall Hug and his friends stood in shock while two families, presumably at the kiddie palace to enjoy the bad pizza, Skee-Ball and ear-shattering noise of 6-year-olds screaming, started going after each other. "They were attacking each other with bread knives or something," remembers Hug. "I've never seen anything like it before."

At least until three weeks ago when, out getting some juice, Hug rounded a corner just in time to witness a funeral turn into a gun battle. "There were 40 people fighting. There were gunshots. We could smell the gunpowder wafting through our apartment," says Hug. "The cops eventually showed up and cleared everyone out, but that night, when the police were gone, these roving gangs were out walking the streets. It was a scary situation."

The thing that makes Hug's odd power even more bizarre is he's as mild mannered as a sleepy puppy. He talks quietly. He looks as threatening as a group hug. And his music is the kind of stuff a diehard clubber would listen to while hanging out with his shoegazer friends -- hushed, mellow and melodic electro-indie rock that floats by your ear like bubbles of sound.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that Hug was once a trifle more aggressive, though just in his desire to have fun. The Canadian transplant was once -- and on rare occasions, still is -- at the heart of the Intergalactic Faerie Funk, a band/collective that pumped out haunting house music with the efficiency and killing power of an M-16. The band's first full-length, The Intergalactic Faerie Funk Debut, gurgled and bounced like a club vixen with the hiccups. But its second disc, The Happy Ending Massage, was decidedly mellower, a lounge-ready experiment in chilled beats and binary code that both opened doors for the band and drove original fans nuts. Reviews were positive. Hug was happy with the music. And while some party offers dried up, the group started getting more gigs, though not in the South. "They didn't like the word 'faerie' much," he laughs. So a name change later, Mossyrock -- and potentially Hug's magnetic pull -- was formed.

"We never intended to be a house band," says Hug. "We just did this house set at a party and that got the ball rolling. We never thought about being pigeonholed. We were just having fun. We wanted to play everything."

And Mossyrock now gives Hug the opportunity to do that. Built around intertwining loops of sound -- from acoustic guitar to horns, computerized noise to Paige's delicate warbling -- Mossyrock is capable of doing anything Hug feels like, from the beautiful, indie-rock-inspired "I Want to Eat Your Eyes" to "Whiskey is the Devil," a track that vaguely sounds like giants dancing during a digitized drizzle. Jazzy bass lines often snuggle up to molasses-coated funk beats. Bits of melody crackle in like someone else's phone conversation. Noise somehow sucked from the depths of space hovers in the background, giving a song like "Lips the Hurt" an otherworldly feel, even as it descends into a drum circle breakdown.

"When I sit down to write I definitely have these ideas of what I want something to sound like," says Hug, "but it doesn't ever quite happen that way. Sometimes something better does. These songs get built up so much, with layers of loops and sound, and I just love it when that happens. The only problem is when we have to re-learn how to play them live so people don't think there's a laptop on stage playing an MP3, but it's definitely worth it."

Even when the bread knives come out. - las vegas citylife - jeff inman

"come on down."

music pick - may 2006

You could label mossyrock as electronic indie artists, but that description might lend comparisons to Bjork, Sigur Ros, or some other transcendent Icelandic band. and while the Brooklyn-based group has ties to Intergalactic Faerie Funk, their sound is not so mythical but rather grounded in real-world bossa nova and down-tempo lounge with the occasional shredding guitar thrown in for good measure.

This is what happens when the price is right theme song is recycled through drum machines, synthesizers and a magical tape loop. Listen closely. It's in there. - salt lake city weekly - jamie gadette

"mossyrock, toof to electronify audience"

Electronic music falls under a large umbrella.
You know this firsthand if you've ever experienced the frustration of browsing through your local CD store's electronic/techno music section only to find all the good stuff shrouded by musical embarrassments such as Right Said Fred, Aqua and Culture Beat. Basically anyone who uses a drum machine falls into the category of electronic/techno. So, like a puzzled biologist who has just discovered a new species, we try to label bands like Mossyrock and Toof - two bands set to play Sunday night at The Nat Ballroom, 604 S. Georgia St. Doors for the show will open at 8 p.m. Opening the bill for the evening will be the Amarillo native band Pickin' Dookies.

Both Mossyrock and Toof use drum machines for their percussions but aren't purely electronic. "There's sort of a group of people that I really like," said Marc Hug of Mossyrock. "And I feel like a part of that world that doesn't have an easily accessible name. There are some who call it electroacoustic. Folktronic. One name I heard mentioned was electronic indie folk." Mossyrock - a trio consisting of Hug, Dominica Paige and Jeffro Richards - combines an arsenal of samplers, guitar, mandolin, viola/cello, keys, bass and vocals to generate creative house vibes for their shows. - amarillo globe news - get out! - trent benson

"disparate house vibes"

mossyrock review - november 2005

disparate house Vibes

Planning on hosting a record-release party at the Chuck E. Cheese in Brooklyn? Talk to mossyrock first. The self-described "dark and lovely electronic indie rock" trio enjoyed their time at the arcade/pizzeria, sure. But the group learned two days later that while celebrating their debut lp the zero to one sessions, they'd narrowly avoided a violent family feud. "We read about these families having a knife fight inside the Chuck E. Cheese," says programmer/guitarist Marc Hug. "There was some argument and one guy was slashed with a bread knife".

Hug, Dominica Paige (vocals, cello, samples) and Jeffro Richards (guitar, bass, keys) have bounced around several cities, seperately and together over the years, but now dance a strange tango with Brooklyn, mossyrock's current base of operations. As Hug says, "Theres just nothing like where we live in Brooklyn." Life on the border of two neighbourhoods - one "historic and nice" the other "historically not nice, " Hug says - plays out in the psychedelic tension in mossyrock's music.
Squeezing sequenced house beats into territories normally reserved for jazz, zero to one starts with gurgling beats that slowly gain momentum with electric rythm guitar and keyboard noises that hint at melody. But whenever mossyrock reaches full-on danceable mode, an acoustic guitar loop is likely to cut a dry swath throught the funk. Even the distant trumpet call in "i want to eat your eyes" seems to come from the song next door - sounds from the real world invading a daydream.

Hug and his cohorts thrive in a live setting and are eagerly touring in support of zero to one during the fall. But back at home, he cites the films of David Lynch, Paiges love of "anything gorgeous and wonderful" and the band's improvisations during their shows (captured on Hug's laptop as they play) as contributions to the songwriting. "The other day i heard someone say, 'i can't play accordion on the guitar,'" says Hug. "and i totally have an idea for a song from that." Perhaps that stabbing at Chuck E. Cheese will become a mossyrock tune as well.
- resonance magazine # 47 - kris kendall

"zero to one sessions"

the zero to one sessions review - august 2005

mossyrock. zero to one.

if wendy/walter carlos had risen to fame for scoring ’70s pornography, this album’s opening track is what it would have sounded like. based in brooklyn but brought to us courtesy of canadian label nice+smooth, mossyrock make up-tempo, instrumental break beats heavy on synths and unusual effects - though that doesn’t really come close to describing the spread of sounds here. in some parts (“whiskey is the devil”) there is a funky latin flavour, while in others (“vino collapso”) it sounds like a jimmy jam and terry lewis production circa rhythm nation - until the acoustic guitars come out, that is.

so it’s hard to know where they’re going with all this, but yet they pull it off. kind of like if tortoise decided to make a “dance” album. how could that not be good? - exclaim magazine - matthew hiscock

"the zero to one sessions review"

toronto-based electronica label nice+smooth mostly seems to specialize in a kind of electro-bossa nova, which makes the decidedly northern hemisphere sound of mossyrock's debut album something
of a surprise.

producer and multi-instrumentalist marc hug, a canadian residing in new york, is the root of mossyrock, and hug favors a kind of d.i.y. brand of indie electronica. the zero to one sessions isn't lo-fi or slapdash, but there's a decidedly insular feel to these low-key, meandering grooves, an appealing sense of playfulness that's quirky without being forbidding or offputting. elements of jazz (particularly in the loungey muted trumpet solos that decorate a few songs) and folk (the strummy acoustic guitars that propel several rythms) are present and accounted for, but for the most part, the zero to one sessions explores what happens when a songwriter/producer happens upon a cool drum machine or synth rhythm, loops it, and sees what happens from there. - all music guide

"the zero to one sessions review"

the oddly named mossyrock make fun cruising guitar and silly electronix based compositions, whose track titles are only marginally more bizarre than the music itself. from the shape of their grooves, one might expect them to hail from the west coast, but the group actually formed in philly and currently reside in brooklyn.

"according to the language fossils" suggests they were frozen in time at an age when stringy guitars and visionary synths ruled the world. the charmingly titled "pissjug" throws electrified keys and synth gurgles against sticky beats and bass nastiness. "stress kid" takes its energy from almost d&b styled percussion, which rattles along under wobbly synths and feeling blue keys. strangely endearing. - mosoul uk - jon freer

"we festival"


As “I Know I’m Not Wrong” began at, I drifted somewhere back into the ‘80s. Ethereal pop made up its sound: sweet and electronic, with rhythms iconic of New Wave; yet, it was not devoid of depth. One listen made it clear that Mossyrock had succeeded the ‘80s, as this band doesn’t depend on simple pop beats to make their music fun. It’s fun because of the variation they put into it, not relying on one genre to get their point across.

“Take the Chill Off” is a perfect example of a diddy that is folk-laden. In fact, the song’s violin squeals in sweet harmony, while the mandolin backs it up to near perfection. I could listen to this song over and over again and never tire of it.

Proving diversity can work in a band, “I Want to Eat Your Mouth” is another step away from the previous two sounds. It intertwines bass lines with horns, and the jangle of the tambourine gives it a sweeping movement that is undeniably sexy.

Mossyrock will probably provide one of the more eclectic and fully entertaining sets on Saturday at 10:30pm in the laundro lounge. - encore magazine


fuck sonicbids. it is a waste of time.
we used it to apply to 5 festivals and our music was only ever played twice. that means no one is even listening to the music.


Feeling a bit camera shy


they are charging bands and venues money and not giving anything back to the music community. you will pay money to possibly be accepted to play at a venue that will not pay you nearly enough to cover your expenses.