Saturday, September 3, 2011

INsite Exclusive: Catching Up With Ian Moore

Transformations. Moore Than Meets The Eye
By Sean Claes. Photos by Machelle Dunlop

Ian Moore is one of the most original and interesting artists I’ve enjoyed keeping track of over the last 20 years. The Austin-born musical Houdini first emerged as a budding "blues guitar slinger" with many comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughan. But then, he took a left turn and experimented musically for a number of years with several wonderful and distinct styles until he ultimately became just who every musician hopes to become… their own definition.

You can say he has a total Ian Moore sound to him.

Last month he rejoined the original Ian Moore Band for a string of shows celebrating the Austin blues-rock that many still associate with him, playing Antones in Austin as one of his dates. He returns to Austin on Tuesday, September 6 with his current band, Ian Moore and the Lossy Coils to play the Scoot Inn (1308 East 4th Street).

We talked with Ian Moore about his past, present and future in the music business.

Sean Claes: Can you tell me a little about that time (mid 1990s) in Austin, Texas and for you musically?
Ian Moore:
I know that it was an interesting time for me. Tons of musical growth amongst myself and my friends.

It seemed like as I got bigger there was less synergy between what I was into and my fans were into. Always digging, always searching, deep into soul, jazz, a lot of psychedelic music, especially the stuff that was coming out of the UK at that time.

Claes: In 1998 you came out with the stripped down album of covers Ian Moore’s Got the Green Grass. Since then, you seemed to have reinvented yourself musically. Was there a plan set into action there?
I think people that really know me would tell you that my music never has 'a plan'. Otherwise my moves would be much more calculated. I'm a reasonably intelligent guy that has always been aware of what is going on.

My music takes its own paths though. Ultimately what I write at any point is what sounds best to my ears. I've tried to fight it, but I find myself lost in the wilderness with no sense of direction when I do.
Claes: Was it difficult to shake the “another blues guitarist from Austin, Texas” or “The Next SRV” references?
Moore: I feel like it never defined me as a musician so I fought it. If I felt that it was who and what I was I would have embraced it.

I think it is a part of me, mainly because I grew up with it. Ivan Neville grew up with the Neville Brothers; consequently you hear a deep influence there. I did not start listening to Austin music at 16, I was birthed into it. Most of those influences came into my world in my first decade on the planet.

Claes: You’ve released 5 albums from 2000-2010. Do you feel each album has been a departure or a building block from the previous?
I never intentionally decide anything. I just groove with whatever I'm into and try to make it the best it can be.

Claes: You relocated from Austin to Washington a few years back. Why leave Austin?
I left Austin to grow up. I had so much love and support, and was really nurtured by that for a long time, but I started feeling like always being on the inside was not healthy. I think looking back on the last decade; it has really helped me become a more rounded person and a better musician. I will always be an Austinite.

Claes: What are your favorite songs of your own to play live?
Whatever I have just written. I love the feeling of pulling things together as you figure out form and function

Claes: What was it like to step on stage at Antone’s to play the material from your first few albums with the original band last month?

Claes: Tell me about the new Ian Moore Band album, recorded in the 90s with the original band?
That was the band coming together to make a really powerful, cohesive record. I think it would have done quite well. It was fated to be the way it was.

The label head was dead against the direction of the band and wanted me to fire the guys, work with session players, and make a record he could understand. We were just on a different trajectory, and ironically were trying to make something that would work for him and the label. It’s the last time I ever let conciliatory feelings alter my ballast

Claes: You’ve also released an album with your current outfit Ian Moore and the Lossy Coils. Tell me about El Sonido Nuevo.
I think it is the best record, front to back, I have ever made, and let me qualify that by saying the record is 2 years old, so I have had a lot of time to get past the honeymoon. I just think there is a really good balance of many of the elements I have been trying to combine

Claes: What are some of your favorite songs from the new album?
Moore: I always like the dark horses, so “Newfound Station,” “The Levees” and “Sad Affair.”

Claes: Do you expect to see a lot of the same faces who made it out to see the Ian Moore Band reunion last month, out at the Scoot Inn on September 6?
Moore: I have no idea. I got a lot of positive feedback from folks that came out to the show, and my hope was that they see that my energy is more open than they may have thought. I don't harbor these vast negative feelings about the past, I’m just not ready to spend my life living there; still too much to do. I hope to see everyone there!

Claes: Where are some of your places to go when you visit Austin?
Moore: Mostly my friends, try to see music. I find myself on the Eastside a lot these days. Of course the Continental Club, my fave Mexican restaurants (a major dearth in Seattle) and Barton Springs

Claes: You’ve probably had your share of critics bash you for the choices you’ve made over the years. But, you seem to have run your career on your terms, well. Looking back on your 20+ year career thus far, is there
anything you would have done differently?
Moore: I would be less conciliatory. I think setting a tone for who you are as a person is very important.

One of the lies about the music industry (or maybe half-truths) is that you compromise and then you gain enough power to make other choices. That may be right if you are a Justin Timberlake, but I think culture is more complex and when you make those compromises you are surrounded by a different type of person. I think it is important to know what you want to do and stick with it, with grace of course.

Claes: Last year you played guitar on tour with Jason Mraz. How did that happen?
My friend, Carlos Sosa, is MD for the band, and offered me a tryout. It was a totally new thing for me; I wasn't doing a ton with my band, so I ended up spending the summer and fall playing with those guys. Great experience.

Claes: What’s next for Ian Moore?
I need to make it through the coming weeks, and then I’m putting the periscope up and searching for land

Catch Ian Moore and the Lossy Coils on Tuesday, September 6 at Scoot Inn (1308 East 4th Street).

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