The Moulettes were one of my highlights this year at Open House Festival. I can guarantee you’ve heard nothing else quite like them. They throw a huge amount of energy, cabaret and a rich spice of musical styles to conjure up a delectable “Moulette”.
The Moulettes released their self titled debut album “Moulettes” in August to the delight of many. They have received a cavalcade of praise from the music press which will no doubt lift them in stature and recognition.
The band’s current line-up is:
Hannah Miller-Cello, Vocals, Guitar.
Ruth Skipper-Vocals, Bassoon, Autoharp, kazoo, Trombone.
Ollie Austin-Drums, percussion, guitar, vocals. [Also of Moneytree]
Roberto Arcari- percussion, fine baritone.
Georgina Leach- Violin, vocals.
I managed to catch up with them briefly after their Open House Festival appearance in Belfast at which they well surpassed crowd expectations.
Rob is their “newest” member (although hardly new) so he was given the honour of chatting first about his influences and background: “yes, I’m the newest member I suppose. I’ve been in the band for two years now and I play a lot of Afro Cuban and Afro Brazilian percusion and not much of anything else. I met Hannah whilst we were in a playing together in a play. It was an outdoor theatre thing”, Hannah chips in “running around with a cello…and an umbrella…it was raining”… “anyway that’s how I met Hannah, we got on well and I weazled my way into their band”.
Hannah and Ruth started the band and although classically trained she had a folkie upbringing: “background wise I was classically trained but I played in my Dad’s folk band, he plays borders pipes mainly. He combines elements of Breton influence and Spanish “furious”; I was always listening to it”. It may be that that furious element does find its way into The Moulettes performance. They have the energy and dynamics to take it to a roof raising climax with their array of sounds, the roots of which many will consider energetically driven and fast paced. Their tempo will slow and spped up during tracks giving a gypsy balkan feel to the whole performance.
George also went to music college: “I went to Manchester university and Royal Northern College and studied music. It was full on, lots and lots of scales, in the dungeon for years and years and years. I got to “break out” and hang out and play music with lots of fun people in Manchester. I tried to move it in a different direction from the more rigorous classical conveyor belt stuff, which I love, but it’s quite confined. I then met Hannah, we were on a tour with John Stammers, a lovely folk man. We were supporting Alfie. It took us a while to sort ourselves out after that, but we did, and we started doing gigs. We recorded an EP with Bunty (Brighton – based accapella musician and visual artist) which was recorded in a church, she’s amazing.”
Unlike the girls Ollie comes from a different musical background: “I predominantly come from rock back-ground, I wasn’t classically trained, I never had a lesson in my life. Just me and my brother got some instruments, we started playing in my room together. We were listening to bands like The Pixies, Pavement, Fugazi…it wasn’t long before this that that I met Hannah and Ruth and a few other people that were in the band then, there was Rob Skipper who is in a another band now called The Hares, Ted Dwane of Mumford and Sons, he was our bassist for a while. People have come and gone but it didn’t take me long to get into the folk stuff and I realised then that my parents had records like Jethro Tull so I had to steal them…”
There is a lot of structure and layers going on in the music on The Moulettes, it always sounded well executed however. I asked them about the process of how they work together.
Ruth: “Hannah normally brings new tunes and lyrics to the table and we’ll then all play a part in arranging it, pad it out, maybe add a few bits…that’s maybe why it all sounds a little bit mad…because we’re all addding bits, but it works!” Ollie adds “it’s about listening to eachother and not coming with a preset formula”.
Any band that attempts to throw togther a vast array of musical styles such as Scandinavian Folk, Balkan, Klezmer will normally end in disaster. The Moulettes have both the talent and panache and they carry this off with confidence and gusto. A band to definately look out for!
Buy the CD: Moulettes
2 Dec 2010 The Snowdrop, Lewes
3 Dec 2010 Haymakers, Cambridge,
4 Dec 2010 Orange St Music Club, Canterbury
5 Dec 2010 Jericho Tavern, Oxford
7 Dec 2010 The Lexington, London
9 Dec 2010 Hare and Hounds, Birmingham
10 Dec 2010 Ruby Lounge, Manchester
11 Dec 2010 The Canteen, Bristol