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An Interview with Liela Moss from Roman Remains

Roman Romains were here last Friday opening for Gary Numan with an electric set that started the night off just right. The band is comprised of 2 members from The Duke Spirit, Liela Moss and Toby Butler, along with a drummer. They recently released their first album Zeal. Their music is a combination of dance with industrial and goth touches with the centerpiece being Liela’s vocals that could be compared to Bjork coupled with the menace of the Knife. Their set was a rousing experience with Leila dancing around at times striking boxer poses, looking fierce and beautiful in the same moment. Before the show Liela filled me in on the forming of Roman Remains and how the tour has been going thus far.

MCB: Were either of you involved in synth-oriented projects before Duke Spirit?
Liela: Toby remixed some songs for friends and labels we are buddies with - you can find them if you look up Bad For Lazarus from Brighton, UK. He also did stuff for a fave UK label Heavenly so the last Mark Lanegan project called Black Pudding! Then the Gary Numan mix, which led to the tour...

MCB:I hear a lot of post punk/industrial elements with Roman Remains, tell me about some bands you love that may have some impact on Roman Romains sound?
Liela: SUNNS, NIN, The Knife, Major Lazer, Bjork, Depeche Mode, FuckButtons, Caribou

MCB: When you were first developing Roman Romains songs did you think you would tour with it?
Liela: We had zero expectations! We weren't sure how it would work logistically! Toby spent a long time thinking out how to make it viable and actually keep lots of live elements truly live and organic despite the programmed foundation to it.

MCB: You have played the Detroit/Pontiac area a couple times – how have those gone for you?  
Liela: I can't really remember! I guess that means they were fun

MCB: What do you like most about touring in America compared to other countries?
Liela: Big Horizons, crossing Desert then mountains then woodland - basically the geography keeps changing and startling us with its beauty...the food can be pretty delicious too, when you drive off the beaten track...

MCB: What’s been surprising for you so far on the Gary Numan tour?
Liela: How hilarious and humble he and his band are. How articulate he is when discussing music. Very interesting and inspiring - he works so hard he literally doesn't stop. He's very generous with his energy to fans.

MCB: With social media and an ongoing internet presence, do you think fashion is becoming a more important aspect to the visual representation of music?
Liela:  I'm not sure. It's always had an importance for people that connect costume and style with performance.

MCB: Do you spend a lot of time on the internet while on tour?
Liela: Not as much as my band mates! I am addicted to looking at property on an app as I go in and out of cities. Last week I wanted to move to Austin. Now maybe Nashville or New Hampshire where I had a good breakfast in an idyllic little town. If people but the album maybe I can live in all of them, haha!

MCB: There’s a lot of nice balance with the elements of Roman Romains – it’s all noisy, sensual, fun and dark. Was there a lot of intentional thought about the balance of sound or was it more organic?
Liela: There was lots of attention to detail and to keeping things evocative all the way through.

MCB: I love your song titles, but my focus leans towards the musical and vocal textures of your songs, so much so, I really have no idea what you songs are about! Can you explain a couple for me like “Tachycardia” and “Thirsty As A Truck”?
Liela: “Tachycardia” is really a mantra for myself to remind me to move through life spontaneously in the spirit of non-attachment or concern with who stands beside you in life.  “Thirsty as a Truck” is a collage of lyrics about trying to satisfy desires by misusing alcohol or misusing people's generosity. It's some observations on craving, greed and how isolating that can be...

MCB: Does this time away from Duke Spirit re-invigorate you for what lies ahead for Duke Spirit?
Liela: Yes definitely! I have Duke spirit ideas on these journeys.

MCB: Do you think any of Roman Romains sound will creep its way into future Duke Spirit?

Liela: No idea!

More picks can be see at the Most People Are DJs Flickr page

Interview and pics from the show by Mikel O.D. of MPAD Media