Interview: Moxie Raia
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 12:01:45
Now, we know what you’re thinking. Isn’t “Buffalo Bill” the bad guy in The Silence of the Lambs? Well, you wouldn’t be wrong about that, but Moxie Raia took his name and turned it into a term of her own. It’s got deeper philosophical implications involving being free, letting loose, and just having a good time, but she’ll explain those best down below. Most importantly though, Moxie is one of pop’s most powerful newcomers. She’s got a sexy, slick, and soaring sound that’s soon going to be everywhere, and you can thank us for first hearing about her on ARTISTdirect.com. Meet pop’s new heroine and get ready to go "Buffalo Bill" in the process.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Moxie Raia talks "Buffalo Bill", her forthcoming album, and so much more.
"Buffalo Bill" definitely has some tangible attitude.
It has a lot of attitude, but I still wanted there to be depth. It's like the anti-club song in a sense. You invite your small group of friends over, and you just chill together. You know what I mean? There's a sense of community and friendship, which are important to me.
What's the story behind the song?
We actually wrote that song on a piano without anything. I'm signed to a production company called The Brain. It was started by Freddy Wexler a couple of years ago. He got a group of musicians together who hadn't really met before. We sort of knew who each other were, but we didn't know each other. We all lived on the East Coast. Almost like a social experiment, he said, "I want to move all of you guys into a house together. I think you're all really talented. I want to see what it's like if you all live, work, and write together every day". It becomes a creative commune. I was studying jazz at Columbia. I dropped out of school and moved out with six guys into a house in L.A. and started this company. We used to have these parties, but they were art parties. We'd jam and write. All of my friends are in the arts. They're painters and poets so we would get together and jam. We'd go around in a circle and freestyle. Some cool people started coming to these parties. We used to talk about this feeling. It was overwhelming with so much creativity. It was like a creative high. We were like, "What do we call this creative high?" Freddy said, "Let's call it 'Buffalo Bill'." That was his name for it. The song is really about the perfect high, whatever that is for you. For us, it was written about creativity and that feeling. It could be drugs. It could be sex. It could be love. It could be a person. It's the perfect high.
Is it important for you to paint pictures and tell stories with the songs?
It's important for me to just be truthful with my music. It all comes from stories and real situations. I try to tell the details of the real situation, and I usually paint a picture.
What else influences that?
Life does it for me. I really take it all from life, honestly.
Do you write things down immediately after they happen?
I have so many blank notebooks that I just write in. Sometimes, I'll open a page and write down a word that inspires me. Other times, I'll write a story like, "This just happened, and this is how I feel". I'll hear a cool quote about a situation and write that down. I go through that when I want to write and get inspired by real situations. I'll write about exactly what I'm feeling in that moment. It's all about experience whether I write it a month later or as it's happening.
Does "Buffalo Bill" open the doorway into the full album for you?
Yeah, there's a consistency with the sound. I really like big tribal types of drums. I like different instruments in pop music. For instance, "Buffalo Bill" has the vintage-sounding horn part. In "I Love It You Cry", we have a sitar that opens the song. "Buffalo Bill" opens the album in that sense and also lyrically. The album is called Reckless Passionate Youth, and "Buffalo Bill" sums up those three words perfectly being a little bit reckless, but being passionate and getting away with it because you're young [Laughs]. "Buffalo Bill" does set it up well. It's probably one of the poppiest songs on the album, but it is a good start.
What artists shaped you?
Hands down, it would be Stevie Wonder. I grew up listening to a lot of Motown. My parents were really into it. They're huge music fans but particularly Motown. They didn't have any problem blasting that shit every night. When I was young, I didn't love it, but I'm thankful for it because it did shape me musically. Stevie Wonder is my biggest influence though. I love how the music is so raw and emotional and the melodies are so beautiful. I love good lyrics and melodies. Stevie Wonder's melodies can cut into your soul. I also love how socially conscious his music is. He's a big influence for me.
If you were to compare the album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a good question. It would have to be a movie about coming into your own, experiencing things, trying out things, and being a bit reckless at times. The first thing that popped into my head was A Bronx Tale. I don't know if that's exactly it, but I do love that movie and the feeling it gives me.
Have you heard Moxie Raia yet?
Listen to “Buffalo Bill” below!