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Bob Moses On Their Return To Coachella: "We Feel Embraced"
Los Angeles-based, Vancouver-born deep-house duo Bob Moses have been busy touring the world several times over the past few years, ever since their 2015 track "Tearing Me Up" began to get picked up by alt radio stations.
Ever grateful for the journey they've been on and their underground club beginnings—they cite moving to Brooklyn as pivotal to their growth—the pair acknowledges how great a Coachella return three years later feels for them, for a primetime Saturday sunset performance.
We touch base with Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance, who comment on what's changed since their first Coachella set in 2016, how humor sustains them on the road, and their ultimate goals surrounding Bob Moses.
You're just about to play Coachella—how are you feeling?
Tom Howie: To be honest, I feel nervous in a really good way. You know that healthy nervous [feeling], where you're like, "Oh, this is gonna be a big thing for us." But, like, I feel, I think we all feel pretty ready to rock it. It's gonna be great.
Jimmy Vallance: Yeah, I feel good. I don't feel nervous. I feel like, like ah... Yeah it's hard to find the word. I feel ready to rock, but and excited and looking forward to it, but not worried. Nervousness people, I think like, people associate with worry. I'm not worried, I'm stoked.
A lot has happened for you guys since your first Coachella performance in 2016. How does it feel to be back here? What significance does returning to Coachella hold for you guys?
Howie: I mean, it was interesting and very pivotal point in our career the last time we played Coachella. It was our first time playing with a full band, with a drummer. Things have gotten a little crazy and it's kind of really nice to come back and know what to expect and maybe enjoy the whole experience a little bit more. We're really looking forward to playing today and seeing what playing on the outdoor stage feels like.
Vallance: Yeah, moving from a tent to the sunset slot of the theater stage... We feel, like, embraced. We feel like Coachella set up the best spot for us, which we feel like really stoked about. And it feels like a nice, feels like a nice vibe to come back to a festival that's like so well done. It's like their "welcome back."
Speaking of the last three years, you guys have played a ton of shows. You released your highly anticipated sophomore album, Battle Lines. What have the highlights been for you?
Howie: It's been a blast. It's definitely, sort of like, it's everything we've always wanted. We wanted to tour all the time. Be able to write music, release music, sort of, do it full-time. And be with the label and team and crew that really understand what we're trying to do.
Vallance: I mean, it's funny because when we played Coachella last time, we'd still been touring for like a year, like a couple of years.
Howie: Like, six years. The scene we came from, is underground dance. [We played] three or four shows a week, like, for f**king years.
Vallance: Since October 2013, it's just been non-stop.
Howie: We keep, like, pinching ourselves and trying to remember because... it all keeps going faster and faster... When we [first] played Coachella, it was still like quite early. We've kinda always had this slow burn. Which is really nice because it just kinda like makes for a more fun ride.
When you're touring as much as you do, what's been the thing that keeps you grounded?
Howie: Humor. We laugh a lot. The whole band [has] a really good sense of humor. Some bands, they're not friends with their crew and stuff; it's like a different thing. But with us it's like, we are one big family on the road.
It's very much like a gang of pirates. We're really lucky, we're always around really fun people, we get to play really great shows. Our fans are always really awesome. It's not this manic thing where people are trying to stop you on the street and grab you or anything like that. It's a very calm yet super fun and fulfilling.
Who would you say have been your biggest influences over the years?
Vallance: Radiohead. Nine Inch Nails, Prodigy, Oasis, Four Tet. I'm trying to think of who else. Grunge guys like Soundgarden, Nirvana. I mean, we like so much different stuff because we used to play in rock bands and I used to DJ trance music at one point. We always listen to music on the tour bus.
Howie: We've left some out of course, but like, you know all the typical greats. Tame Impala is a huge influence to us. Childish Gambino even, is a bit of an influence to us.
What's next for Bob Moses?
Vallance: Our vision is, like, trying to write the best, most honest s**t we can and having that take us as far as possible.
Howie: We'd like to have a really long career, like, you know those bands that are, like, 80 and still doing it. We'd like to reach as many people as possible. That's sort of the goal. If that's headlining Coachella in a few years, that'd be great, but if it's, you know, just staying around where we are now or getting a bit bigger, that's [also] fine. We kinda think about it like a journey, as opposed to like one final [moment], like, "Oh, we sold out this venue, we're good, we're done."