Moses Eder is a jazz drummer in New Orleans; here is a link to his website:
Q: What made you interested in becoming a musician?
A: My parents exposed me to music at a young age, which meant long drives out of the Santa Clarita Valley to Los Angeles. That sense of
seeking out the chance to hear something meaningful, and later to produce meaningful things out in the world is what I observed as a
guiding force lives of musicians. Music meant escaping the monotony and predictability of the suburbs to learn about other cultures, the
chance to communicate with people who spoke other languages and an opportunity to form my identity while living in a valley that’s
sometimes referred to as a ‘culture free zone’.
Q: What inspired the song Peyote Rattle?
A: A peyote rattle was the device commonly used as a part of consciousness driving trance rituals of the Navajo Indians. We mean for this album to be a tool to guide and aid its listeners while conjuring and manipulating themes which represent a polarity between
the deeply rooted cesspool of personal experience and the soaring, chaotic adventure of exploration.
Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: My biggest influence is Captain Beefheart, who’s avant-rock music has been a guiding light through several steps of my life. Alot of my
personal heroes like him, the recently deceased jazz musicians Ornette Coleman and Paul Motian as well as the Maverick composer John Cage are
all people who invented creative languages and were each anomalies with their own personal voices. I’m inspired when I see my peers and living
legends who masterfully craft their own worlds out of imaginative elements or unique treatment of non-imaginative, more canonical elements.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your work?
A: I’ve worked with dogs for the last two years, walking them in Bushwick and Williamsburg Brooklyn for 1 1/2 yrs and doing petcare in a
vet’s office in New Orleans since I moved here. Working with animals, and dogs especially, gets me in touch with a spontaneous, non
linguistic approach to communication. Engaging animal behaviors and playing music both share the capacity to develop empathy, understanding,
intuition and fast reflexes that are required to lead the life of an artist, which doesn’t make promises and takes you out of your element at
Q: What is your strangest New Orleans story?
A: The first time I came to New Orleans, I was in the middle of moving my stuff from Los Angeles to Brooklyn. The bisexual couple I
ride shared with from Texas showed me around, taking me to dirty dozen brass band show st N awesome outdoor festival, my first strip club visits in my life and then to The Country Club (2 1/2 years ago, giving me chance to see how comfortable I was with my body. And this was all in the first day! Although I was dead set on New York City at the time, the prediction from a stranger who read tarot cards for me in Congo square was true – that I’d never be able to leave New Orleans.
Q: What different styles of jazz do you like to work with?
A: My introduction to Jazz took me ‘through the back door’ into free jazz styles of the 60’s and open improvisation as a foundation.
Although I academically progressed through bebop and modern jazz and now am immersing myself in the folkloric, traditional jazz that’s so prevalent in this city, I resonate with the extended sound palette used by free improvisers and the ideologies surrounding that music (thanks to my mom, a contemporary classical music specialist), as well as with the folk/oral music practices exemplified by early jazz and blues (thanks to my Dad, a specialist in west African traditional music of Ghana). Thus, I get along with jazz musicians who aren’t style biased, so much as they approach the music with a balance of historical awareness and the freedom which allows one to be simultaneously
spontaneous and socially conscious as a musician in the digital age.
Q: Why the drums?
A: I started on classical piano, since I grew up listening to my mom play, but for frustrated with it after 6 years. I wanted an instrument that was fun, and listening to the British Invasion bands like Cream, The Who, and Led Zeppelin guided my choice to play the drums. Also, hearing my father practice with the Ghanian drumming and dance group, Zadonu, created strong ties between drumming and motion in my mind. I was a super hyper kid, so it was a match made in heaven!
Q: What trends in music annoy you?
A: Frankly, musical trends annoy me across the board. I believe that somewhere between a music career’s demand for inspiration and for real world application, a lot of artists second guess themselves and sabotage their own unique voice. While its impossible to avoid being a part of trends contextually (especially in our deeply commercialized, statistic driven culture), I gain the most inspiration from …artists whose
voices seem the further away from the social contracts that define styles,
marketability and culture.
Q: What is the best advice an older musician has given you?
A: During a q&a with Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center, I asked him how he defined jazz in a time where more and more other styles and hybrids of improvised music are coming into being. His answer upset me at the time: “If I want gumbo, I ain’t gonna want no Cap’n Crunch!”. By that
point, even mentors were warning me that I could ‘never be as authentic as the greats’, or ‘never be as swingin’ as an African American’, so my teenage brain processed Wynton’s response in the same light, thinking that he was labeling me as the bland, non-substantial essence of the jazz community. Now that I live in his hometown of New Orleans, a city founded on cross cultural understanding and the desire to create and preserve unique art with what everyone brings to the table, I am starting to think that his ‘gumbo’ metaphor was referring to the
borderlessness and fearless spirit of collaboration that defines this place and its greatest contribution to defining a nation of immigrants, jazz. This spirit is what allows me to musically converse in any language as well as to examine and thoughtfully apply a broad musical palette of ideas.
Q: You get to hang out with the ghost of Buddy Rich! Where do you go and what do you do when you get there?
A: I’ve heard all too much about Buddy Rich’s temper, so part of me really wants to see how far that would extend. I’d want to interrupt a show of his in some way, by pushing over his cymbal stands while he’s taking one of those unnecessarily long, technical and unmusical drum solos, or by slipping him a laxative before he starts playing a big show.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)