All Go For Mojo
Francis Jones meets raucous Lisburn rockers mojoFURY
LISTEN to mojoFURY: The Mann (1.8mb)
‘mojoFURY’. It’s not Austin Powers' pet name for his raging libido, rather it's the perfect moniker for the feisty, frisky rock of three Lisburn lads.
Three is the magic number for the mojoFURY trio, their devastating sonic trident of bass, guitar and drums annihilating audiences, and now as they approach their third anniversary they’re ready to take things up a level. And yet, in the beginning, there were only two.
‘We all met at Tech,’ recalls James Lyttle (Guitar). ‘We were all doing different things, but Ciaran (McGreevy, Bass) and I already knew each other and decided that we wanted to do something connected with music.
'We were already doing covers at this stage. Then Ciaran met Mike (Mormecha, Drums / Vox).’
‘At first, though, he didn’t want anything to do with the band. We kept coming up with all these reasons why he should join with us two, desperately trying to persuade him,’ adds McGreevy. ‘In the end I don’t know what it was that convinced him.’
‘They were a lovely couple of people!’ laughs Mormecha, ‘and I think it was pretty clear after that first practice that it was gonna work out fine, that it was the right combination.’
Though there were the few odd wrinkles to be ironed out, as Lyttle notes.
‘We’ve all got pretty different influences, so with the band it was a case of merging those to create something we all liked.
'It wasn’t easy. Some of us are into Westlife while others are into Scandinavian death metal, so finding common ground was quite a challenge.’
Thank Lordi that they managed to avoid the Scandinavian death metal/Irish plastic-pop route and instead fostered a songwriting style that combined their love of blistering, balls-out rock and melody.
The resulting songs are by turns bruising or full of vulnerable bravado, but frequently brilliant. As McGreevy confirms, there’s ‘no set format’ to the songwriting, hence the diversity in sound.
‘We’ll try things one way today and a different way tomorrow. We’ll experiment and see what happens. That why we’ve got days and days worth of material that we’ve ended up binning.
'There are too many bands who record any old rubbish, just for the sake of having a recording. We want to build up a strong batch of material.’
The mojoFURY sound is difficult to pin down, swinging from one side to another of the musical spectrum, melodic and meandering one minute, maniacal the next.
The band themselves find it difficult to reconcile themselves to any particular description. Well, there is one term they quite like.
'Caveman rock’, that’s the best we’ve heard,’ says McGreevy.
In the live setting, the Neanderthal tendencies come to the fore, mojoFURY serving their audiences blood-raw rock.
Their music touches on some pre-programmed, primordial pleasure zones, they go straight for the listener’s heart and not always delicately.
Nevertheless there are the odd, fragile moments, a cover of The Beatles' 'Come Together', for example, providing anaesthesia.
Then there are the lyrics. They can be unusually sensitive, displaying a sense of empathy not heard since Lou Reed took a walk on the wild side. Captain Caveman and chief lyricist Mormecha explains.
‘It all comes back to writing about your life experiences, though our new song is about a tranny. Though that one’s not so much from personal experience. Imagine though, waking up one day and deciding to live life as a woman.’
Gender metamorphoses aside, the mojoFURY threesome have more pressing concerns.
‘I think this year, hopefully, we’ll be able to get right up there,’ says McGreevy.
‘We haven’t done too much in the rest of the UK, so that’s something we’re looking at. We’re also playing down south, Dublin and Sligo. And there are a few Belfast shows; we’ll be supporting Hell Is For Heroes in March and then Fighting With Wire.’
‘This year already feels like it’s gonna be a really busy one for us,' adds singing sticksman Mormecha.
‘I get the feeling that things are gonna keep rolling on, getting faster and faster. We’ve progressed so much in the three years, our songwriting was relatively straightforward when we started and now it takes a lot more to satisfy us musically.
'We’re trying to incorporate more electronic elements and even have some cello and piano on the forthcoming EP.’
The wonderfully titled ‘Travelling Hours of the Travelling Circus’ promises to be one of the most interesting NI releases of the year, a release with the potential to surprise quite a few and win copious new converts to the mojoFURY sound.
Nearing completion, the forthcoming six-tracker threatens to be the most rounded and satisfying recorded encapsulation of mojoFURY to date.
‘It’s exciting right now, we’re at the mixing stage and can hear what we’ve got. This EP is quite diverse, there’s punkier stuff, melodic stuff, even a piano version of one of our heavier songs, six tracks in total so quite a wide range,’ observes Lyttle.
Intriguing and also, hopefully, a significant release for mojoFURY, if the fates align just so, then maybe ‘Travelling Hours... ’ will help them take the leap their riotous rock so richly deserves.
‘We feel like a proper band now,’ insists McGreevy. ‘Hopefully within this next year we’ll be able to do go full-time. We want people to take us seriously, to get the chance to be a touring band rather than just playing the odd gig here and there.
'We’ve been doing this for three years now and generally when people see us they like us, or at least respect what we’re doing. If we can get the chance to get out there we’ll get even more people on our side.’