It was only about a week ago that my mom and I were treated to the unreal talent that is Moji and The Midnight Sons. A band which consists of Moji Abiola (Vocals), Bjarni Sigurðarson (Guitar) and Frosti Jón (Drums). The trio – who met due to the musical stars aligning just right in the skies over Reykjavík, Iceland – were passing through the Pacific Northwest and stopped in at KEXP in Seattle for a quick set before playing in the Laser Dome the following evening.
After hearing just a couple words come through the monitors, it’s more than enough to understand that Abiola‘s vocals – as natural as they are – certainly are not from this planet. The simplistic setup of a guitarist and a drummer as support lends itself perfectly to a talent that does not need any computer made bells and whistles to deem it “popular” or “radio-worthy”.
Lucky for me, I was able to chat with Abiola and Sigurðarson after their set (Frosti went missing somewhere in Seattle Center). Here is how it went…
Brandon: Alright, well, thank you so much, Moji. It’s absolutely a pleasure to have you here and chatting with us for the magazine. So first of all, you guys were phenomenal today. It was absolutely a treat, but first…I know you have probably been asked this a million times on tour, but for the magazine, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you met.
Moji: I am an engineer by background, but have been singing on and off since like 2007. Different projects, but never like the blues/rock thing.
Bjarni: I’ve been a musician since I was 15.
Moji: Yeah, he is kind of a big deal!
Moji & Brandon *laugh*
Brandon: Now you’re from here in the States, but they’re from Iceland. You guys met while you were on vacation and that seems incredible how that could just happen.
Moji: Well, I lived in Houston and I was working for an energy company. They were doing layoffs and I kind of like put my hand up and was like, “I want to go, give me a packet and let me get out of this.”
Because for a while it had been tugging on my heart that maybe I could be doing music full-time and I knew that would make me the most happy. So I did it and I’d seen Iceland on a postcard and I was like you know, “I’m going to go there one day.” One day became April and that’s when I met Frosti for the first time at a bar.
It was like two days before I was about to leave for Europe to visit some friends. So when we met we talked a bit about music. I wrote just the lyrics and some melody ideas while we were talking and he played me some music that Frosti and Bjarnie had already composed. The second track that he played, I was like, “Yeah, that’s it! Just press record and let me do something.” That ended up being “Broken Bird” on the record.
Brandon: That is so cool. It’s interesting to hear you say, “I think I can make music full-time” because listening to you, it’s just like, what did you have to trade for that voice, what did you have to give up?
Moji: I don’t know, it’s…
Bjarni: She doesn’t have a soul obviously! * sarcastically laughs*
Brandon: Right? I know her soul is gone. It’s nonexistent. *laughs*
Moji: I didn’t sell it to the Devil. If I could both play guitar as well as I sang, then you guys would be thinking for sure that I had made some kind of a deal with the Devil. I mean I can’t do long division. So there’s that.
Brandon: Okay, so it’s math.
Moji: It’s math. I gave up math. *laughs*
Brandon: If only us normal people would give up math, right? We would be able to sing like you, but we can’t give up our math.
Moji: *laughs again*
Brandon: Now you guys were just in Portland and obviously there’s a rivalry between Seattle and Portland. So this is your favorite city right now between the both of them?
Moji: I’m not a person who looks at things as favorites. I try to find the good in everything and that is the most diplomatic answer I can give. I know more people in Portland than I do in Seattle.
Brandon: Okay, that doesn’t matter though, you can whisper that Seattle is the better one, okay?
Moji: Seattle is great. *laughs*
Bjarni: Yeah, but nobody has given me weed yet…
Brandon: There are plenty of dispensaries, dude – I swear – if you just hang around, somebody will offer you their weed. We’ve heard a few of the songs that are going to make the next album and I know you’ve been giving them all a try on tour. What’s your favorite one to play right now?
Bjarni: I really like “Heat Wave” the last song we played today. It’s Aerosmith-y…
Moji: Yeah, it’s punchy. It’s kind of bold and in your face.
Brandon: Yeah, you kick it up a bit on that one, eh?
Moji: Yeah, I like that one, but I also kind of like “Saga Song”. It’s pretty and it’s soulful. It reminds me of something Otis Redding would sing.
Brandon: Tomorrow you’re playing at the Laser Dome, which is always just a cool venue to even say, right? What can people expect from a Moji and the Midnight Sons show?
Moji: I think there is a lot of energy that people are taken away with. They feel the emotions. They feel the story. They can kind of feel themselves in the first person as they’re going through it. At least that is what I would hope for. The songs aren’t all autobiographical, but I think we convey the sense of the emotions very well that afterward they’re like, “Phew!”.
Bjarni: You get all the nuances as a trio too and it’s more human.
Moji: We don’t even know what visuals the Laser Dome are going to concoct. I am really looking forward to seeing what they do with these songs, because you actually give them your set list beforehand and I am looking forward to what they do with a couple of the new songs.
Bjarni: I am just hoping I don’t get lost in the lasers and distracted! As a trio you have to be on.
Brandon: So besides winning Grammy Awards and getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…
Moji: *knocks on wood table*
Brandon:…what are you guys looking forward to here in the future?
Moji: I think with this album, we had a really great time in Chicago. We met some people who were really interested in helping us develop the music, but I think right now in the immediate future, we want to get a really solid group of songs together. We need to sit in a room together and get that all mapped out.
Bjarni: It just takes a day it seems.
Moji: I know!
Bjarni: I think we’ve had four writing sessions?
Moji: Yeah, and we have like 19 songs. We turn them out, but it’s one of those things where I am trying not to tempt fate! We’re just going to “put in the hard work” and act like it doesn’t come easy even though it might come very easy. Definitely looking forward to building the right songs and then getting the right people around us to push out the next baby.
Check out Moji and The Midnight Sons previous performance on KEXP back in November 2016. And do not forget to pick up their latest album, What I Saw On The Way To Myself, on iTunes now!
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine