Moxai, young group from North Devon, want to do a gig

00:00 7 March 2022

North Devon music news with Andy McAuley:

Here’s another rising band I had the pleasure of meeting and getting the scoop on their new single ‘Feeling’ worth checking out…

Hello Moxai, I hope you are doing well. If you want to introduce yourself and what you play in the band

LG: Hi, my name is Lily Graver and I play drums.

LHP: Hi, I’m Lily Hanlon-Penny and I play bass.

C: Hello, I’m Cerys Hemmings and I sing and write the songs.

N: Hi, I’m Noah Houghton and I play guitar in the band but I play bass as a daily job.

Where and how did you all come together?

LG: I studied music at A level before starting the course where I met Cerys and Lily – and Ben! Cerys messaged me afterwards and we chatted. I tagged Cerys in a TikTok from a function band playing at a wedding, Lily saw this tag and we decided to start a band.

LHP: The TikTok video showed the feature band playing “Life Is A Highway” and we thought it was hilarious and thought it would be great to start a band after seeing how much fun it was.

C: Yes, we struggled for so long to find a guitarist but luckily we found Noah who was very close because he and I are together!

What are your musical or non-musical inspirations?

LHP: I feel like one of my biggest inspirations is Nothing but Thieves, me and Cerys were lucky enough to see them live.

LG: The punk genre inspires me a lot, especially the Riot Grrrl subgenre. I’m inspired by bands such as The Wood Burning Savages, Touts and Cherym. My music teachers and tutors encouraged and inspired me to look into music. I only started playing the drums three years ago!

C: I did my first solo in the choir when I was three and it really took off from there. I dabbled in musical theater and opera for a decade, then got into heavy alternative indie music, which helped me move away from my musical theater tone – but I’ll be forever grateful to my experience as a performer and my classical training. I like to take inspiration from soul singers like Ella Fitzgerald.

N: I’ve been playing bass for nine years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were a huge thing for me when I started on bass so it’s only natural that I take inspiration from them now that I play guitar. There’s something about John Frusciante’s game that speaks to me. A lot of my inspiration comes from jazz, funk and soul, I just wish I could play guitar properly!

You just released your first single ‘Fleeing’, how was it and where did you record it?

C: “Fleeing” is a very special song for us. We thought it would create a community for those who have struggled with creepy individuals following them or those who have felt uncomfortable around people.

LG: As we are a relatively new band, we decided to do everything ourselves. Guitar, bass and vocals were recorded in Noah’s bedroom. He sent me the project to which I added drums and mixed and mastered. Distrokid helped me distribute “Fleeing” on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud and YouTube. Fortunately, the timing worked out and we were able to release it on February 3. We’re going to release an EP this year, which will be a full studio recording.

What are your passions or hobbies outside of music?

LG: I’m a long-time supporter of Derby County Football Club – you’ll no doubt see me wearing a football top behind the drums! Otherwise, my interests are strongly rooted in music, whether it’s playing drums, bass or guitar, performing live, recording sessions, producing, journalism or break down !

LHP: I do a lot of different art styles and will help create eventual album covers, merchandise and anything art-based for the band.

C: I am an avid crystal collector, I have over 200 different types of crystals in all colors, shapes and sizes and I love all things spiritual.

Moxai at the Palladium Club
– Credit: Stuart McConnell

I saw that you had a few gigs under your belt, how did it go and what was the funniest or weirdest moment for the band?

LG: At our first gig, I rocked too hard and cut my finger. I had such an adrenaline rush that I didn’t even notice until afterwards. Things went well. Just hitting things up and hoping for the best.

LHP: I think at most I yell at others saying I don’t know what I’m doing!

C: Yeah, I remember bursting out laughing because Lily said she didn’t know what she was doing and Stuart from The Palladium took a picture of that moment on our Instagram.

What do you think of the music industry as a young band?

LG: Competition for bands doing it themselves has increased due to the rise of TikTok and other social media platforms; we use the DIY punk approach to our advantage. Our ages range from 16-19, so we know what appeals to people our age and post engaging content on our Instagram, TikTok and Facebook @MoxaiBand

LHP: I feel like since Covid there has been an increase in younger groups and we need to find ways to stand out from the rest

When and where will you play next?

LHP: We haven’t booked any concerts yet, but we hope to participate as soon as possible!

LG: We are now concentrating on writing new songs for our EP. Remember the name – it’s pronounced mok see

Keep rocking, rockers!

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