Monday, October 11, 2010


Philadelphia's Mose Giganticus has been getting a lot of publicity lately for a variety of reasons. First, vocalist/keyboardist, Matt Garfield (the only permanent member of the band) plays the keytar, which is awesome. Second, he tours the country in a van fueled by vegetable oil that he and a few friends converted from gasoline, which is really awesome. Also, he's been known to fund his tours by participating in medical research experiments, which is both awesome and creepy, but still pretty awesome. And Gift Horse, the bands' recently released second full length and Relapse Records debut, which explores the correlations between God and Satan and the inherent flaws in Christianity, is quietly being hailed as one of the most impressive releases of the year in metal circles, which is awesome as well. So things are going great for Mose Giganticus, which is, of course, awesome as well. But...
Am I the only one that sees something slightly, I don't know, apocalyptic about the idea of a keytar wielding bearded metal dude driving around the country hopped up on experimental medicine in a van fueled by discarded french fry goo, singing songs about one of the oldest problems in western civilization to a bunch of teenagers and college kids? It's like some strange relative of Hunter Thompson, Charles Manson, and David Foreman escaped from whatever attic he was being held prisoner in and decided to travel the world spreading the strange, sweaty gospel he'd cooked up while living on the scraps of food his CIA captors would allow. This is the guy your parents should have warned you about - the guy that kept them awake late at night worrying that you'd meet him in some slimey bar once they'd sent you off with all of that college money they'd been saving since you popped out of mommy's belly, and then you'd drop out of business school, start studying the history of Inuit art, develop rampant addictions to heroin, meth, and sex, and worst of all start voting democrat, or even worse for Ralph fucking Nadar or socialists like Obama. This is the guy you're supposed to run from when you see him, the guy you're supposed to avoid at all costs, the reasons cans of mace and home intruder alarms exist...
Which is exactly why I expect to see all of you this Sunday when Garfield brings the socially brutal sonic assault that is Mose Giganticus to The Boobie Trap in Topeka. Luckily we were able to distract Garfield from all of his corrupting of the youth for a few moments to answer a few questions...

The Point: You' re on tour down south right now right? How's that going?

Matt Garfield: Things have been going rather well this year. We've been touring since May and, yes, we're making our first pass through the south right now. We're in Texas heading north to Kansas, then we'll be hanging a right and heading east-bound and down on our way to "The Fest 9" in Gainesville, FL, our second pass through the south. We normally tour in "IZ", our tour bus powered on recycled waste vegetable oil, but IZ is getting some repairs done at the moment, so we're touring in a newly acquired "spare" tour van this time around.

Can you give me a short history of Mose Giganticus? How the band came about?

Mose Giganticus is and always has been my personal project. I started this in 1999 as a solo project, but didn't write anything recognizable as the "Mose Giganticus of today" until about 2005- which eventually became my first record, The Invisible Hand. Once that CD was out, I started touring as a solo act across the country. By 2008, I had brought on a backing band to expand the live sound of Mose Giganticus and released my next EP, Commander!. I booked us an 8-month tour to Alaska and back and put together our vegetable oil powered bus to make the trip in. That tour was amazing, but it took a lot out of me physically, mentally, and financially. In 2009 I started writing and recording my next album, Gift Horse, but the year was marred by a series of unfortunate events such as multiple catastrophic vehicle failures, canceled tours, and financial desperation. It almost knocked the wind out of my sails completely. But, by the end of 2009, I was in talks with Relapse Records over the songs I had recorded for Gift Horse and 2010 has been a complete turn around. We released Gift Horse on Relapse in July and we've been on tour since May, so things are back on track.

Regarding the new album "Gift Horse". You've described it as concept album about the Christian notions of God and Satan, but i've also read that you're an Athiest. How does that perspective help to inform an exploration of Christianity?

Yes, both of those statements are true. Gift Horse is a concept album about the ageless struggle between the mythological figures of the Christian old testament God and the fallen angel Lucifer. Its an amalgam of biblical interpretations, mainstream pop-culture beliefs, and a bit of my own interpretation of how the argument between these two deities may transpire. Being an atheist, the story told is not religious in it's approach. I was raised Catholic and spend 12 years in Catholic school, but started questioning and stopped believing as soon as I was old enough to know better. Not being fettered by the beliefs associated with this subject matter left me free to explore the characters and their interactions without bias. I find the story and religious mythology surrounding the Battle of Armageddon to be fascinating. I'm a sucker for an "end-of-the-world" story.

I read or heard an interview with you in which you said something to the effect of "Every album I do is a concept record and probably always will be. It's just how i work." Why is that?

As most artists might say, I work best when I'm inspired. From time to time, I become consumed with fascination over certain topics. I like to approach each album as a complete packaged idea- music, art, lyrics- all contributing to the overall concept. I wouldn't know how to work with a mish-mash of different ideas for each song. It would feel disjointed and unfocused and would make it difficult for me to gain momentum. Maybe it's an obsessive fault of mine that I can't divert my attention to more than one topic per album? Maybe that will change over time? But for now, concept albums seem to work best for me and I don't intend to change that soon. So for now, I'm in search of the next topic of inspiration to explore for the next album.

The sound of Mose Giganticus seems to have grown heavier over time, and especially with 'Gift Horse'. Is that something that you've consciously pursued or is it just an natural evolutionary thing (or am i full of shit altogether?).

Ha ha, no, you're certainly not full of shit! There has definitely been a sonic progression towards the heavy-side. It's come about through the evolution of my personal musical taste and how I've been able to adapt the resources of Mose Giganticus, as in my personal abilities. I've enjoyed the challenge of working keyboard and vocoder into heavy music in a way that I felt contributed to the overall sound rather than distracted from it. On the last EP, Commander!, I wanted to try to write a heavy, doomy song and the track "Days of Yore" came out of that. I really liked the way the setup of Mose Giganticus (keyboard, vocoder, electronics) lent itself to that style, so with Gift Horse I wanted to further explore that writing style expanded into a full album.

What effect has working with relapse had on your songwriting?

Well, so far, working with Relapse has had very little effect on my song writing because I wrote all of "Gift Horse" before I was involved with Relapse at all. However, Relapse has certainly influenced my song writing through it's previous signees. Relapse has maintained an impressive roster of heavy bands over the years and it'd be silly to think that almost anyone writing heavy music today could be completely outside of their influence. When Relapse heard the first version of Gift Horse that I had recorded, we began talks of a partnership and I'm sure the influence of bands such as Mastodon, Baroness, and Neurosis were apparent to them.

What can people expect from a mose giganticus live show?

Mose Giganticus comes from a long history of DIY touring. We bring that ethos to the show every night. I squeeze out everything I have in me at our shows. Each show starts loud and heavy, and ends with me standing in a puddle of sweat and a coarse rasp of a voice left in me. I've been told on more than one occasion that as heavy as we sound on Gift Horse, it does no justice to our live set.

Mose Giganticus will be appearing at The Boobie Trap, 1417 Sw 6th, in Topeka on Sunday, Oct 17, 2010. (Photo credits: Jana Miller, Geoff Hall)

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