Interview with Stanton Moore (english version)
Stanton Moore - Drums, foie gras & Pinot noir
(Interview by Nicolas Ragonneau, for Paris DJs - early 2011)
One of the greatest and most powerful drummers is a tireless man. Not only is he drumming for Galactic, the hottest New Orleans band, but he also finds time to run side projects with his trio, jazz-psych-punk-progressive band Garage à Trois or Midnite Disturbers - to name just a few. He’s also played for young Diane Birch, Joss Stone or timeless Doctors legends Dr. John and Dr. Lonnie Smith, not to mention his collaborations for drums magazines… We’ve added one more job in his demented schedule with this interview. So… thanks, Stanton.
1. You were born in NOLA. Was music important in your family?
Yes very much. My mom loved Mardi Gras parades and brought me to all the parades from the age of 8 months, so I'd hear the drums coming down the street. I got very excited by the drums from an early age. I'd go back home and hit on pots and pans and boxes and my dad would be listening to all the Mardi Gras music which consisted of Professor Long Hair, Dr. John, The Meters and the Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indians.
2. What were your favorite musicians and band when you were a teenager?
In my early teens it was Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, then later, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, the Meters and James Brown.
3. What brought you to the drums?
Hearing them in the Parades and in the streets. Then seeing a drumset at my parents friends' house. Their son had one and I thought it was the most holy thing I had ever seen. Also seeing kids playing the drums at my grade school. I knew wanted to do that.
4. What makes NOLA's music so special according to you?
New Orleans was the only city in America that allowed African slaves to play their music on American Soil. This happened in legendary Congo Square (now Louis, Armstrong Park). So, many African rhythms, music and culture were kept alive in the square and eventually mingled with all the European instruments and music. It's this cross pollination of African and European rhythms, music and culture that eventually developed into the unique forms of music that we know to have come from New Orleans.
5. 'Ya-Ka-May' displays a very powerful and innovative sound I guess, very different from the previous records.
Thank you, we wanted to make a "new" New Orleans record, where we invited some of the legends as well as some of the current new comers and put our own unique spin on it all.
6. The whole album is quite provocative and iconoclast: while the hip-hop planet is mainly homophobic, you choose to invite trans bounce stars like Big Freedia or Katey...
Yes, we wanted to do things a bit differently and shake things up a bit. We wanted to put our spin on what we thought was cool about the music scene in New Orleans today. We felt like the sissy rappers in the bounce world were doing some very interesting things, so we wanted to include them in the record and we felt like it would make for an interesting combination.
7. In Ya-Ka-May there's a sample of Kocani Orkestar. There's also a crazy nice track you play on stage called "Balkan Wedding". Do Galactic musicians listen to gipsy music or Brass bands from Balkan and Central Europe?
Yes absolutely. Our saxophone player and producer, Ben Ellman is very into gipsy and Balkan music (especially the brass bands). Ben and I have also been involved with the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, so we've been into music from central and eastern Europe for a while.
8. Do you think there's a chance to see Ya-Ka-May's tour in Paris in 2011?
We certainly hope so.
9. There's Galactic, but there's also The Stanton Moore Trio going on with Will Bernard and Robert Walter. What do you like doing with the trio?
The trio allows me to interact with the band and improvise and solo a bit more. Galactic is like driving a large Cadillac, whereas the trio is more like driving a small sports car. Both are fun to drive, but they handle differently.
10. What's your definition of "Groove Alchemy"?
Creating new "golden" grooves by using certain creative processes that consist of combining and altering existing grooves and rhythmic elements.
11. Tell me about "Power Patriot", the last Garage à Trois album. There's an incredible and apocalyptic sound on this album.
The sound of the band evolved naturally after playing together and discovering what we sound like as a unit when we all come together as individuals. It took a few months of playing and working together for us to discover what our "sound" was, but once we all started writing together and putting the record together, we were all very happy with the results. We go in the studio to make a new record this month.
12. Galactic made a cameo in the new David Simon's series TREME (HBO). What do you think of the series?
We like the series and we feel like it is good for the city. It is bringing a "TV" version of New Orleans culture into the living rooms of millions of people. We hope that's a good thing.
13. Do you think the series could help the people and city of NOLA in a way?
We hope that it will increase the interest in New Orleans music and culture and will increase tourism. That would be helpful to the economy of NOLA.
14. There will be a second Treme season. Any chance to see you and Galactic in this following?
Yes, we have already filmed a big scene for the first episode of the second season.
15. Would you like to make a solo album one day - the kind Billy Martin did solo?
I've considered it.
16. What's the most funny/weird/pathetic thing you've ever experienced on stage?
The most pathetic thing would be... Galactic was playing the song "Big Chief" at Tipitina's, Bo Dollis, the Big Chief of the Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indians dug it and came up on stage to sing. He is one of our favorite vocalists of all time. He got up on stage, the crowd went wild, he went to belt the opening lines of the song and the sound guy hadn't turned his mic on! The amazing thing is that I could still hear him, that's how powerful he is.
17. You played on one Rachid Taha's album... How did this happen?
He and his producers wanted to come to New Orleans and record a funky New Olreans band for the record. We got recommended and they came down and recorded us.
18. Which young musicians from the NO new generation you would recommend to follow?
19. What you do on stage is physically-demanding... do you have particular exercise to keep you in form?
I've done P90X off and on. I need to get back to it.
20. Do you find time to have a hobby to do something else than playing music in your terrible schedule?
Yes, Hanging out with my wife and daughter, going to the beach, swimming, watching movies, riding my bike, practicing jazz drumming and brushes, reading about music history.
21. Food is very important for NOLA people. What's your favorite restaurant?
Right now, Restaurant August.
22. Name your favorite dish, the one you would die for?
23. Let's have a glass of wine from your side of the Atlantic and mine. What do you fancy?
Interview by Nicolas Ragonneau
Photos by Allison Murphy
Stanton Moore : officiel | discogs | facebook | myspace | soundcloud | twitter | wikipedia | youtube
Galactic : official | discogs | djouls | facebook | myspace | parisdjs | twitter | wikipedia | youtube
Garage A Trois : official | discogs | facebook | myspace | parisdjs | soundcloud | wikipedia
Stanton Moore's favorite restaurant : restaurantaugust
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