When The Moots turned up to a recent bFM studio session, drummer Alexandre ‘Zander’ de Reuck found he had nothing to play his drums with. Musical improvisation was needed. “I forgot my sticks, so I grabbed some [tree] sticks from outside. And it totally worked,” he says. “We had to mute my snare with a towel and we had to try and even out the sound.”
Cue laughter. Gabriel Everett (vocals and guitar), Guy Beca (bass) and Zander have been together for around six years, since the good friends met through the School of Rock, an Auckland band mentoring programme. They’re now 18- and 19-year olds, with two Smokefreerockquests (including placing second in 2013), several gigs and a debut EP, under their belt. Released in November 2014, the self-produced and self-titled EP took three days of recording at The Lab and Depot Sound studios, with sound engineer Dave Rhodes.
“The purpose of the EP was to have some material available, that can be used for whatever opportunity that came our way, Gabriel says. It is trickled with hints of a relationship breakdown, as in Nothing Has Changed. “We broke up long ago and I moved on because nothing has changed, you’re still the same. But Gabriel insists the songs have more meaning to them, dealing with themes like politics, disenfranchisement, religion and substance abuse.
“I figured it was quite funny to write about relationships and love and heartbreak, but that’s not actually what the songs are about. The songs came together as a question of society and culture. We self-titled the EP and it kind of worked out that all the songs are moot points, they’re subject to question and debate.”
While pushing the EP, the guys’ real focus is on their live presence. Broken windows and body parts are the norm for a Moots crowd, and Gabriel says he loves it when the fans give back some of the energy.
“A lot of our stuff live is driven by the bass and drums. I’m quite hectic and all over the place, so sometimes my guitar doesn’t quite line up, or I decide to stop playing because I jump off stage and put the mic in the crowd.”
“Don’t forget soaking your guitar in blood,” Zander reminds him, prompting the revelation from Gabriel that he has a guitar that’s out to get him.
“Every gig I play, this scar forms on my finger and it just slices open and blood goes everywhere. It helps that the guitar is white, so by the end of the gig it’s usually red.”
The Moots have a largely underage following, and Gabriel says because there weren’t many all-age gigs back in their day they’re doing their best to contribute to the youth scene now.
“The main reason we put on underage gigs is for inclusion and because there wasn’t anything like that before,” he says. “Now, everyone’s keen on going to an underage gig and hanging out with bands their mates are in. Pubs and bars are quite dingy, and it’s just not our vibe.”