Local rock quartet Moxxie hasn't even hit a stage in Indy yet, but even quick glance at social media shows their name's on everyone's fingertips. It's a rare thing to have this much hype in advance of a band's very first live performance. But Moxxie is a rare band.
First envisioned by Jamie Jackson (drums) and Ryan Gibbons (guitar) of Shine Indy, the band only moved from concept to reality when they realized singer/guitarist Jessie Phelps, formerly of Ghost of Kin, was looking for a new project. And Jessie happened to know a bass player from Bloomington, Paige Talbert, who helped seal the deal. And as they've each been part of various bands, having all this come together quickly hasn't, to them, seemed strange in the least.
“We're just a band out of Indianapolis with members who have experience in different areas,” says Jackson. “We wanted to bring it together and try to work with each other to build something strong.”
“The thing about it is, we've all been around Indy for a while,” Gibbons adds. “Jamie and I work with organizations that have tried to help bands get out there. But through all of that we learned a lot about the business of music. We knew about the business of music before, but now it's like we started to see what people do and what they don't do. And you realize there's so much opportunity out there if you just do it the right way.”
Since their first rehearsal, sometime in March, Phelps took the reins as the band's lead songwriter and driving creative force. And in a few short months they've managed to put together a finished EP, Fake Summer, which they plan to give a “soft release” during their debut at Radio Radio on the 28. Though you won't have had the chance to see them live prior to that show, they recorded their EP live at Azmyth Studios in Indianapolis with minimal overdubbing. So, as they'd say, what you hear is what you get.
“When it comes to what I do personally, I prefer the live way,” says Gibbons. “I think about the bands that I love like Led Zeppelin. Those guys weren't fucking around spending an entire day re-recording a snare hit. It was always more about the emotion and the feeling of the moment.”
“That's what's the realest too,” Phelps agrees. “That's what you're going to see on stage. Why would you want to rely on a computer? We might as well have a sound guy on stage, a puppetmaster … I want to always sound real and raw.”
The band will bring that sound to the stage with support from Among the Compromised and The Prowl, two bands from Indianapolis they personally selected for the job. “We did toil over it, because we had several options for the show itself,” says Jackson. “But as a group we wanted to get a bill that was just a solid rock-and-roll 'bring the action' bill. And we wanted to keep the ticket price down because the show is not about us making money. We want a lot of people to be there, because we're very proud of what we've been working on.”
“Picking the bands was the fun part of it, I think,” says Phelps. “We got to choose who we felt would really bring the sound and the energy and the crowd, but then at the same time who would be cool to just chill with afterward.”
Unlike Among the Compromised, who seemed to hit the Birdy's stage this spring as a fully-formed juggernaut no one had prepared for, Moxxie has its members' experience in other bands to fall back on, something which already has them looking toward a future well beyond their first show together.
“I think we've all been through struggles with other bandmates where we know what we could do, but were held back or things got cut short,” says Phelps. “That's been the case with me. And I think we all know we're very confident in who we're playing with, so we're ready for this show in a sense that we know we're going to bring it.. We can sense the good outcome.”
“For me, it's all about the music,” Jackson explains. “And everybody says that, but the four of us tend to live it. I hate it when people say they make sacrifices to do things that they love. We don't make sacrifices. We just make it a part of our daily thing. This is fun! And a fun byproduct of it is we've all become pretty good friends. When we communicate now it's not just band stuff, everything flows together. It's funny how that works out, and how you build on that.”
Gibbons says in the end the bands live and die on the songs they bring to the table. “The big thing to me is the songs. That's why it's been so much fun playing with this band, because Jessie writes in a way that connects with me as a player, and I feel what we're doing is going to connect with people when they hear it.”