Better ‘days’ for Bob Moses
Canadian electro duo Bob Moses is named after an actual person. In homage to the pair’s adopted home of New York, it was suggested that Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance take their moniker from the mid-20th century city planner responsible for the likes of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Shea Stadium. It stuck.
And much like that urban visionary, his namesakes are master builders in their own right.
First connecting as high school students in Vancouver, Howie and Vallance followed their own paths to the East Coast after graduation - Howie to the Berklee College of Music in Boston and Vallance to EDM production in NYC.
After a serendipitous meeting in an Empire State parking structure, the two decided to join forces. They began to work on finding a way to construct a sound that combined the hypnotic beats and modern vibe of witching-hour dance clubs with organic instrumentation and more traditional songwriting.
If their 2015 Domino Records debut, “Days Gone By,” is any indication, things are going pretty well.
A nearly pitch-perfect mix of long-drive, sing-along pop and just-before-sunrise low-key beats, the album finds a way to harness the intersection of those two worlds that most EDM producers only occasionally explore with an outside guest singer.
“The plan was to make the best record we could and put it out,” Howie told DiscoverSD by phone during a recent day off in Nashville. “We’re both just trying to learn as much as we can as we go. But the whole thing has been a bit of a whirlwind.”
That it has. The pair did 80 live shows when the album first came out, steadily growing the act into invitations from Coachella, “Austin City Limits,” Bonnaroo, Ultra Music Festival, TomorrowWorld, “The Ellen Degeneres Show” and more.
“Days Gone By” was re-released in August (the “Never Enough” edition) with additional tracks and remixes by the likes of A-Trak and RAC. It’s keeping Howie and Vallance on the road through the end of the year and, at least, through March 2017.
“The re-release was the label’s idea, and we liked it,” Howie said. “From an artistic perspective, our interest came because we got to make a cool documentary about it and really put the album out there again. And it was a chance to tell a bit more of the story. It really felt like a good way to do a final run and put a wrap on this record.”
Although fans won’t get their hands on new music any time soon, the band hasn’t let the creative process go stagnant during their continued upward trajectory.
“We’re always working,” Howie said. “But giving ‘Days Gone By’ the attention it needs is an all-encompassing task. At the end of the year, we’ll go through the backlog of all the stuff that has been built up. There are all kinds of ideas.
“Very soon, we’ll both be able to get in there and just go. We’re hungry for that.”
Bob Moses will have to wait to scratch that itch, but every day, the longtime friends are logging experiences that will help to color their highly anticipated followup to “Days Gone By.”
At a recent show in Asheville, N.C., a fan both battling cancer and rebounding from a miscarriage drove more than five hours to give the band a tear-filled testimony to the healing powers of their debut. And to Howie, that’s what it’s really all about.
“My goal,” he said, “is to make music that does things to people that music has done to me.”
The random and delicate nature of their own existence isn’t lost on them, either. Thanks to a chance meeting, Bob Moses has gone from casual acquaintances to DJing illegal warehouse parties in New York City to being one of the most sought-after live acts around the globe.
“I don’t believe in fate or some preordained thing,” Howie said. “But I think if you put something out there, you want it for the right reasons, and you work for it, then it can happen. The most beautiful thing about the success that we’ve had is a testament to that ideal. And it’s happening right now. This is when it all gets exciting.”
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Music Box, 1337 India St., Little Italy
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to email@example.com.
Sign up for the Pacific Insider newsletter
PACIFIC magazine delivers the latest restaurant and bar openings, festivals and top concerts, every Tuesday.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Pacific San Diego.