Frederick Moore - 10 Questions Music Interview
Frederick Moore survived a declining factory town and a Catholic school upbringing before he left home at the age of seventeen to pursue music. He got married and bought tickets for a 78-hour Greyhound ride to LA. In LA, Moore received regular exposure through concert venues and local radio (mostly KPFK, KCSN, and KXLU). Moore is noted for expanding the boundaries of electronic music with atonal chamber and orchestral composition. Today, he has a Masters degree, teaches literature, and continues to release albums. His latest release, American Pentimento, is his tenth album.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Bob Dylan’s mystique was certainly one of the things that really roped me in. I loved the fact that even when his lyrics were seemingly incomprehensible they still meant something very real to me. Soon the Beatles were doing it. I’m still doing it.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career? It’ll be more interesting to discuss the musical move on my part that probably struck others as my craziest move. In my early 20’s I aspired to be a somewhat rockier version of someone like Jackson Brown. By my late 20’s I aspired to compose cutting-edge electronic music and orchestral works that might be programmed with the major works of Stravinsky or Schoenberg. Most people who responded to my earlier work were probably perplexed by what I did for the next decade or so.
What has been the high point of your music path?
There is a recurring high point that come with every piece I work on. About 80% of the way through there comes a moment where I can suddenly see all the way to the end. There may still be much to do, but I can now see the work as an object independent of me. This is when I start the 12-hour sessions. And this is probably what keeps me moving forward.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Usually I have fragments of text or of harmonic progressions that bounce around in my head for a few years until two or more of these unrelated fragments start blending together and interacting in ways that lead to places I hadn’t foreseen. Eventually a clear direction emerges and in time I arrive at that 80% moment referenced above.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
As for the music industry I’ve been working “off the grid” for a long time. Technology has largely democratized music production, but a byproduct of that democratization is that we artists are always swimming in an ocean of musical output which makes it almost impossible to be heard. I do wish that fewer radio stations were so locked into specific genres. For those of us who can’t help but cross genres, cultivating a taste for the satisfactions of creative obscurity becomes essential.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
I left my hometown of Niagara Falls, New York when I was 21, but there were some great musicians there and I played with quite a few of them. I’m really kind of ecstatic that John Pitarresi (drums and production) and Jay O’Rourke (guitars) are on my new album. The three of us played our first bar gigs together while in high school, and we later lived together while playing in a mostly original band. I’d love to do more with these guys as well as a number of the other great Niagara Falls musicians I grew up with.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
It took me a year to complete “Dark Moon”. When the different fragments began to interact I could see that I would need a structure that would be as complex as many symphonic first movements. Hopefully, after dozens of hearings, new details and connections will still be discovered.
What's coming up in the future?
I’ll spend a month or two more trying to promote "American Pentimento" (my 10th album), but I’ll then focus on my eleventh album.
Tell us where fans can access your music?