Vancouver-bred duo Bob Moses, comprised of Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance, is best known for producing brooding and smoldering underground beats. Desire, their new album that was released today, is no exception—Desire is dark, sexy and, as Vallace says, “smokey, like a good mezcal.”
As the name suggests, the album explores themes of desire over six continuously mixed tracks. Howie says the concept for the album was conceived after creating the title track with ZHU. “We realized that all of the themes we were discussing were all about the different facets of desire as a concept, whether it can set you free, lead you to ruin, how you present a certain side of yourself in an effort to please others, how you interact with other people, your perception of other people, etc.,” he says. “So all the lyrical ideas were meditations on this idea of desire as a concept, and we always originally wanted to make the tracks that we put on this release continually mixed together because of the inspiration from the DJ set world.”
The song “Outlier” examines desire through the lens of technology, particularly with how social media shapes our desires and our perceptions of others, Howie adds. The album’s lead track, “Love We Found,” explores desire through a sense of longing and wanting, while “The Blame” focuses on the pain from actions taken in the heat of desire. Vallance notes that while the record touches on different facets of desire, the overall inspiration behind all six tracks is the ancient Greek myth of Icarus who flew too close to the sun, consequently burning his wings and falling to his death. He adds that Desire is their modern day interpretation of this ancient story, and the album’s cover art is even a nod to it.
Desire follows Battle Lines, which was released in 2018 and utilized a live band as opposed to the style of DJ sets that Desire was inspired by. Howie and Vallance both initially started out as musicians before entering the DJ world. Though they are both from Vancouver, their music relationship didn’t form until much later in life.
Howie says they attended the same high school, and although they had classes together they weren’t friends outside of being friendly to one another in those shared classes. Coincidently, they had both moved to New York City and rented out studios in the same area of Brooklyn. One day they ran into each other in a Lowe’s parking lot, and after reconnecting they decided to have dinner together. It wasn’t until they got together in the studio that they realized they had a great musical chemistry. It was then that Bob Moses was formed.
The duo have since toured the world and performed at numerous acclaimed festivals, such as Glastonbury, Coachella and Lollapalooza. They have also been recognized numerous times as Resident Advisor’s Best Live Act, performed on “The Ellen Show,” won a Grammy and secured a top 15 U.S. Alternative radio hit with “Tearing Me Up.” Indeed, they boast an illustrious career to date, and both musicians agree that the highlight of their careers has been performing their music around the world and having fans sing their songs back to them. As for what’s next, they plan to perform live stream sets and work on another album.
Learn more about Bob Moses here.