Americana music is not dead, folks. Quite the opposite, really. It’s actually thriving across the country, and in our own backyard as well. One of our own stellar, local bands is making big waves with their funkified Americana, jam-band sound, which is both refreshing and classic, all in one. The Moves Collective has been ushering in large crowds of people who want to dance and enjoy the rhythm and vibe of a truly live, no-gimmicks show — with the feeling that you’re getting something exciting each time.
We sat down with Rae Irelan and Tim Norton, founders of The Moves Collective, at Lazy Hummingbird Coffee & Tea House in Ocean Beach to chat about their soon-to-come album, touring plans and what keeps them afloat as local musicians trying to make it.
How did The Moves Collective get started in San Diego?
Rae: Tim and I met in school in Boston. We started playing music out there together. We spent eight months traveling the country and took our time driving from Boston, all the way to San Diego, up to Seattle and then back. As soon as we got back to San Diego, we met our bass player and decided to start The Moves. I’m from here originally and my family is here, so this was always kind of a stop for us and now, we’re here.
How has it been in San Diego for you guys, playing Americana-based music?
Rae: We have created a lot of friendships with bands here who have done the Americana thing before us. It’s been really supportive and nice to have, like, older brothers and sisters here to help guide us along the way. Brothers Gow has been great. Hot Buttered Rum has also been helpful for us, a great connection for us. We have toured with them a few times and Nat (Keefe), who started Hot Buttered Rum, is going to be coming down to help us with our next album, actually, so it’s been fun. Creating bonds with musicians who are doing what we are doing now or with those who are doing what we want to be doing in a few years, it’s been great.
Your 2016 EP is your most recent work you put out, which had about six songs on it. Are you guys working on any new songs, EPs or albums this year?
Tim: We literally just came from recording a demo right now up at my place.
Rae: The next album will probably be coming out in June or July.
Tim: It will feature some different stuff, which will be cool. We started as like, a bluegrass, Americana-specific group, like barely even having drums. Now we’re to the point where we have some fully electric, psychedelic rock that’s mixed with fusions of every style. It will be a little more full-band sounding, versus just the acoustic sounds.
Rae: Yep, we are definitely pushing more funk and electronic sounds into our music.
Is that style-shift coming to you guys naturally?
Tim: Yeah, it’s a lot to do with environment: where we live, that it’s 2017 and that’s what people like. You can’t ignore it. You gotta hold that in, but then sprinkle it with, like, a little Beach Boys or something like that. Keep it cool, but be open.
Rae: I was a dancer, so I gravitate more toward electronic types of music on my own. It’s cool to bring that into this. Also, in the songwriting, we have been adding a lot more meaningful songwriting. Talking about social justice and not diving too deep into politics, but definitely sprinkling them in here and there. Our main message remains that we are all one and music can heal and connect people. That’s where we stand, but really bringing a message behind our music has helped to unite us as a band, but also as a band. It’s mostly us two writing, but it’s definitely a collaboration for all of us.
Is this your first time working with a producer?
Rae: Yeah, this is the first time for us, working with Nat. We have used different engineers and sound producers that help us out here and there, but no one that has come in to specifically come in to help us unify our sound, so it’s really nice.
Tim: They also approached us, which is super nice. It’s like, “Sure man, that sounds like a great idea! We’re in.”
What’s your favorite venue in San Diego and where would you like to play that you haven’t?
Rae: We’d love to play the Observatory North Park. We have been wanting that for a while.
Tim: We love Winston’s, though. We have a good fan base there. The crowd fills out and it’s like every time we play there, we get a great, crazy and full crowd of people.
What keeps you guys going as local musicians?
Tim: The best part is the community we have. We have an awesome family of people who just give us so much love and support and who show up, hand over foot, and give us all we need to take the next steps. We have had a lot of people who have nurtured us, through our Kickstarter where we raised close to $13,000 in 30 days, to now where we have been booking more and more shows. We’ve been able to have residencies in different cities and it has been awesome.
Rae: We want to be more than just touring hippie musicians that are, like, living on the street. You know? We did that, it was fun. We are ready for more. Getting a strong, kick-ass team together, including tech, interns, managers and bookers, is the plan.
We’re going to see your live show: What can we expect?
Rae: Usually we choose songs and create a different set list for each show, but then what really changes in the live shows is the in-between. Sometimes we totally leave a song and go into something completely improvised and on the spot, working off each others’ energies and the audience’s energy.
Tim: It’s like a big amoeba. We call ourselves a collective because we’ve had people come in and out that support us. We are always trying to bring in other inspiration and things to the show, having people sit in with us if we think it’ll be good. It’s always evolving and we hope that is always the case.
The Moves Collective
To be announced
Tim Norton — Co-founder, vocals, guitar
Rae Irelan — Co-founder, vocals
Aquilino Soriano — Bass, vocals
Matt Bozzone — Drums
Cameron Radke — Guitar
Lazy Hummingbird Coffee & Tea House
We grabbed some freshly brewed coffee with The Moves Collective over at Lazy Hummingbird Coffee & Tea House in Ocean Beach. The quaint coffee shop opened its doors in 2011, and has since become a go-to spot for coffee, tea, muffins and acai bowls. The location also showcases live music, hosts community classes and proudly displays the artwork of local San Diego artists.
4876 Santa Monica Ave., Ocean Beach. lazyhummingbird.com