Chrome Moses Bassist T.j. Connolly took a few mintues to talk about their new release, Mother Volt.


So we first met a while back and I really loved the band-- how long have you been together?

T.j. Connolly--  Chrome Moses has been around for a while in one way or another.  But we've been with Clarence and this version of Moses for about 4 years.  Joey and I have been playing music together out of Pittsburgh for over 15 years.  Clarence is the son of renowned keyboard player  Clarence Grant.   Sometimes there is some confusion there.
Clarence grew up around some of the players from the Valley.  I'm not 100%, but I think his old man has keyboard credits on some Donnie I songs.

Very cool. I was checking out your influences. There's a real blues flavor in your music, but it's definitely more rock. I get the feeling you guys could do some serious improvisation as well-- is that something you enjoy as a group?

T.j. Connolly--  We do.  Depending on the audience.  But, in all honesty we keep that to a minimum most of the time.  We think that creating solid 3:45 tunes can be more challenging than jamming out.  Now, there are some nights where things just happen, but most of the time, we stick to the script.  Hahaha.

Solid philosophy. I think it's important for bands to have grounded game plan for their live shows. Playing live as a 3-piece, reproducing studio stuff, that has to be a challenge, but as I listen to the CD, I'm thinking you don't employ a lot of studio tricks. The live aspect is present-- is that a conscious thing or just the way it works?

chromemoses mothervoltT.j. Connolly--  We track live in the studio for a bunch of reasons.  Energy, efficiency, grit, etc.  The sparsity of 3 pieces is always a challenge and it's one that we embrace fully, we always talk about how Moses couldn't really be anything but a 3 piece.     
Up until Mother Volt, we didn't add too much as far as overdubbing goes.  On this new record we did add some auxiliary dubs, like keys, acoustic guitars and lap steel.
The biggest studio trick that we try to pull off is tracking live to 2" tape.  We basically just have really nice gear, going into nice mics, going into tape.  We build the records from that place.

Chrome Moses            2013
Tamaraine                   2015
Mother Volt                  2016

Mother Volt, our latest record, and the one before (Tamaraine) are sister EPs.  They share common themes, but are their own works independently.  Their artwork corresponds.

Ha! I was right! lol... I love the live feel of the album! I feel like most modern music is way over-produced, at least rock anyway. Rock should have a raw element, which you guys absolutely have. Do you write as a group?

T.j. Connolly--  Almost always Joey brings a rough tune into rehearsals.  We work the songs up from that point as a group.

The chemistry is another thing you have. Are you guys pals off the stage as well? I know you said you and Joey go way back, but do you guys just hang out?

T.j. Connolly--  We are very very close to each other.  Brothers.  Clarence and I met playing in a 3 piece rock band called 9th Ward.  That was over ten years ago.  He and I have played drum/bass together for a while now.  Joey and I met in high school and immediately bonded over music.  We started up bands around then.

I think bands with that kind of familiarity tend to be better overall. Sometimes it includes turmoil-- The Who, Fleetwood Mac, for example-- that also contributes to the band in positive ways musically. Has that been your experience?

T.j. Connolly--  A rock band that works nowadays is a gift.  It can be over at any minute no matter what level you are on.  The shared vision that the 3 of us have is one of the things that keeps us going.  We believe in this music, we all like diggin in on stage, letting it rip a bit, cutting loose.  I don't know that it would be easy to do that with people who weren't very close to each other.  At times you also have to be highly critical of your mates,maybe that'd be harder if there wasn't a bond. Plus, you have to do 3 in a room at the Econo Lodge.  (Laughs).  Gotta be close to each other for that stuff, too.

Category: Main Stage