Mobvibe gave us a thorough interview before their concert at the Musicngear Livingroom.
What are you working on right now and how does it sound like?
Panos: We are working on new songs and videos, they don't sound like anything else, just MOBVIBE!
George K.: Our focus right now is on promoting our first official EP “NuSixties Invasion Pt1”. Our original plan was to release it sooner, however we had an offer to play live which we decided not to turn down, as it would be our first live show ever. As a result we dedicated all of our time getting prepared for that live and it was not easy, because it was crucial for us to translate our distinct sound equally well in a live situation. We are now concentrating again on our newly released EP. Regarding the sound, one could simply say it’s a mix of vintage with fresh and modern. While we compose we are trying to picture how our music “heroes” of the ‘60s would play if they were writing new music today. We love The Beatles as much as we love Kasabian (...ok, maybe The Beatles a little bit more), The Kinks, but also Tame Impala.
Chris R.: I usually describe our style as “Beatles with synths and a drum machine” but most often people get the hint when I simply tell them “we call it nusixties for short”. So yeah we are working on getting the word out for our elusive first EP, actually we should be famous already ;)
What gear do you use and what gear do you dream of?
George K.: A limited edition, white, 4-string Epiphone Thunderbird bass and an Ashdown Mag 300 Evo II bass amp. Personally, I would love a vintage short scale bass and a couple of pedals to achieve THAT sixties sound and a... keyboard player to play the synth bass!
Chris R.: I use whatever I find in the studio, guitars I have from my childhood years, mikes I used when I was 18. It’s a rare occassion when I buy something new, heck I started with Cakewalk in 1995 and I’m still using the same DAW for production. I guess nostalgia’s got a strong hold on me, no wonder. I truly dream of having a violin, never played one but I always feel like I have this innate ability to play it. You gotta be there when I get my hands on one.
George Cass: Cheap gear but with a “soul” as I like to say. Derived from a traditional family I’ve seen people playing world class music using only spoons or plates! It’s not the instrument but the performance.. For me my cheap Fender feels like a companion. We shared dreams together since I was a child of conquering the stages and invading the radios.. I wouldn't give her up no matter what
Panos: Right now I am using a natural drum set for the 60’s sound. However when I play nusixties I switch to a sample pad. What I would really like to use is Ringo Star’s set!
What sets your live performance apart?
George K.: Polyphony, sound, dance, energy and of course our unique fashion style.
Chris R.: The vibe, man, that’s why we are called “Mobvibe”. You gotta justify it somehow and I believe we do. But seeing is believing so...
Panos: Our music combines the old times with modern sounds that make you dance effortlessly without thinking. It really takes you away to a happy place.
What is your vision as an artist and how do you convey that?
Chris R.: If our songs have touched at least one single soul then I am forever happy. Because I believe in the medium, music can change people and hence the world. And the world needs changing, big time. Back in the sixties music led the charge for change with the hippie movement, people were revolting against the status quo. Try to compare this to now. I believe we need a new kind of hippie movement to wake up and unite people against the travesty we are living through. That is the basic premise of nusixties, to bring that part of the sixties back into our times. I think that’s our vision and why deep inside we are doing this.
George Cass: Being sentimental I remember so many times myself overwhelmed by tears of nostalgia for songs that crafted my youth. Damn! how much I envy that!
Panos: The music that I play makes me happy and I want to have fun through that. I love meeting new and different people that have one thing in common, the love for sound. Music connects people. As long as I have that, I play without any expectations.
George K.: Bright side of life, a return to childhood, carelessness. Most of our songs have an optimistic mood, up-tempo rhythm and melodies that put a silly smile on your face.
What are the biggest problems you faced as an artist and what is your advice for artists facing the same problems?
George K.: We’d like to get more people to listen to our music. Once upon a time you could do it by investing money into promotion, that's what record companies used to do. Nowadays things have changed a lot and there is no money to invest anymore. I believe that the “key” for indie artists is to write exceptional music, to develop a good and honest relationship with their fans and be consistent in whatever they do.
Chris R.: Where to start, so far everything has been a hurdle and in my opinion it is all attributed to our location. We made the conscious choice to retain our normal lives and stay in Greece but that created a barrier to entry that bands in the states or the UK don’t have to overcome. For instance, few live stages, small audiences, limited press opportunities, few professionals. My advice for bands in a similar position is to ignore local and think global. The whole “you gotta be big in your city first” mantra is pure bullshit if you live in Greece or another small country for that matter. It makes no sense to me.
George Cass: My lack of basic musical education is a burden I have to live with. It is very difficult for me to communicate with proper musicians when I don’t know sometimes even how to call a note. The greatest difficulty though is to succumb to their disbelief in my skills. My only advice is that you should be confident in your opinion and don’t hesitate to express it. Afterall being in a band means being able to turn cons into pros as a team
Panos: The biggest problem was to achieve the sound I wanted in a way that pleased me and at the same time appealed to the audience. The combination of 60’s and nusixties was a real challenge. My advice: Do what you want with love and it will pay off.
Where do you think music monetization is headed?
Chris R.: Down the drain. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved vinyl since I was a kid, but really? This is not a revival back a backwards movement. Humanity has gotten lazy when it comes to music tech. Streaming looks like its working, I mean it has somehow alleviated the problem of ownership cause you no longer care to own an album, but I think there is more progress to be made on that path. But we need a rethink from the ground up, and the vinyl situation is like wearing blinders and following the beaten path. It’s not helping us get rid of the past and face the future with clear vision, and that’s not how you make technological breakthroughs.
George K.: I don't think someone could answer this with confidence, for some time now. In my opinion, an artist ought to try all possible ways to generate revenue, like streaming services, live shows, merchandise, placements, social media, sponsors and then decide what suits them best.
George Cass: Where everything else, at least on an industrial level. Robots will entertain us ..or them (hehehe) in the future. So there will be no money at all for the real musicians. In a weird way though humans will insist on writing music. The more depressed their living the deeper will their need to steam off through music be and in the end rock n roll will prevail!
What would greatly benefit your music career right now?
George K.: The enthusiastic response from public and radio producers to the upcoming release of our EP, so that we can build a strong fanbase.4
Panos: money and free time
Chris R.: Press and love. We need both in big quantities!
George Cass: ..a time machine… wait .. there is one in my garage!