RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LA ARTIST MOSES MIKHEYEV
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I started writing songs in my head probably around the age of ten or so. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and knew I wanted to be an artist of sorts. I thought I’d end up becoming a writer or a poet, so I didn’t seriously consider becoming a musician until I was twenty or so. I suppose I was under the impression you could only be one or two things in life. Later, I realized a lot of people did all three (poetry, music, novels, et cetera). I’m still embarrassed to tell people about all the things I do. I don’t know. I’m also a registered nurse. And I’ve written award-winning papers in theology. Go figure. But music was always the first love of mine.
Introduce us to the members and your musical history?
I started recording music with James (Jimmy) Hill at his home studio back in 2010. Eventually, he built his own studio in Spokane, Washington. It’s probably the best studio in the Pacific Northwest. Amplified Wax Recording and Design Studios, that is. I used to be in a Christian rock band back when I attended Whitworth University in Spokane. At the time, the band and I recorded all our songs with Jimmy.
The band fell apart, as most bands do, and I moved to Atlanta to do graduate work in philosophy and theology. I continued to write songs during this time, but only recorded a handful. Years later, I returned to the music scene as an independent, solo artist in Los Angeles. I teamed up with Brandon Zano (of the rock band Zaano). He and I recorded ‘Somewhere in My Blood’ in his studio. We liked each other enough, we decided to continue recording my debut album.
Eventually, David Gavrishov joined the team, bringing tape machines, analog equipment, and his audiophile ears to our masters. Later still, I teamed up with the legendary, multi-Grammy winning producer and engineer David Kershenbaum (Duran Duran, Bryan Adams, Tracy Chapman). He’s currently producing a rock pop song of mine called ‘Ghost Town.’ He will likely produce more songs on the record (he really likes ‘Somewhere in My Blood,’ and wants me to record a new version for my debut album, I ONLY HAVE A HUNDRED YEARS TO LOVE YOU). So that’s a little bit about me and my team.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
That’s easy. “How tall are you?” Which is usually followed by (if it’s a girl): “I’m so short compared to you!”
Yes, ma’am. Yes, you are.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
I sign up to a few of them (though not many!). Musically, I have two theories. One, Michael Jackson was not a pedophile. I think he was a good human being that was greatly misunderstood and, arguably, milked by schemers for his money. Two, I think the 90s were awful for pop music in general. To be more specific: I think production during the nineties was terrible. I love The Backstreet Boys, and in a parallel universe I believe they recorded ‘I Want It That Way’ using good microphones, tape machines, a full-on rock band, and an orchestra. The song would have killed it had it been produced in the late 70s or 80s. But since it was the nineties (to early 2000s), the fake digital drums and garbage digital sounds reigned supreme. It’s not a surprise no one remembers NSYNC. As you can see, I prefer analog equipment, real drums, real guitars, real violins, real vocals, et cetera over anything fake. I hate fake. Cannot stand it, in fact. Give me the real thing. Please.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
I think I bought a pocket pussy. But I don’t really use it. It’s too much work. Cleaning up, that is.
What useless party trick do you have?
I play Here Without You by Three Doors Down. I play it instrumentally on acoustic guitars. Girls love that shit. It’s great!
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
I was partying in Orange County and got super drunk with my friends. We went to a karaoke bar. It was the weekend, and it was packed. I looked like shit. (I have videos of me wearing plastic flip-flops and these ugly, blue shorts.) Anyway, I got on stage and sang ‘You and Me’ by Lifehouse. The entire crowd ended up going wild over it. I was a success. (I thought I sucked.) But, apparently, I had a line of people just trying to meet me. I was nervous as fuck, and had sweaty hands.
Oh well. You asked to shake them. Not me.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
I touched on this briefly, but I’m also a travel nurse. I’ve worked at Cedars-Sinai, Keck Hospital of University of Southern California, and at the University of California, Irvine. I’ve also worked at Atlanta Medical Center and at Swedish (up in Seattle). So, I’ve been around the block a few times!
If you had to describe your music to an alien, how would you describe it?
Analog, organic rock music with slow-ish, calming ¾ time signature beats. Something very 70s, 80s-esque. Made with breathy, singer-songwriter male vocals. And add reverb. Lots of reverb. Then throw in a bunch of romantic, poetic lyrics—and you have my music.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
I think I have—somewhat!—of an original sound. I write in ¾ time. That means I already fall into the “rare” category for that alone. But the list goes on. I like old stuff. Vintage equipment. I enjoy tape masters over digital (in general). So, yeah. I’m basically an old soul. I don’t belong in the 2000s. I want my music to sound different. And I love crescendos. I also write slow intros to most of my songs and have them build up to a crescendo. People tend to skip songs if they don’t like something the first few seconds. It’s a shame, really. Because you miss the songs that are trying to take you somewhere. Slowly. It’s seduction. I’m fingering you. And the orgasm won’t happen till later, much later. Relax. Why the hurry? Where are you rushing? There’s no point. Turn on some music and let it take you someplace else. And don’t rush it! Everybody is trying to rush things these days. They want things fast. But some things come slow (pun intended).
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
I don’t like a lot of modern music. It’s trash. There. I said it.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
I think ‘Black Sky, White Moon.’ It’s sensual, intimate. It can be done well with just me and the guitar. There’s something awfully organic and real and romantic about that.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it?
I have several songs in the works. Well, lots. But the following are already recorded: ‘Naked & Bare,’ ‘Ghost Town’ (David Kershenbaum Version), and ‘Lullaby for Love (I Belong To You).’
Talk me through the thought process of your debut album I ONLY HAVE A HUNDRED YEARS TO LOVE YOU?
It went through numerous revisions and such. I still don’t know which songs will end up on the record. I’m moody and indecisive. I’m actively recording songs, throwing shit against the proverbial wall, and seeing if anything sticks. The idea behind the album is: release something that’s good in its entirety, something very much organic rock-sounding. I’ve always wanted to record something organic, full-band, and sensual. There’s a lot of vulgar stuff out there. And that’s fine. I just wanted to record a record you could have sex to. Something a bit nostalgic. Something magical, even. I don’t know. It’s hard to put into words. And who the fuck knows if I ONLY HAVE A HUNDRED YEARS TO LOVE YOU will live up to my idea of what it should be. I’ll let the listeners determine that. A year from now. It should be out September 2023 (or something like that).
What was the recording process like?
I’ve been recording songs for I ONLY HAVE A HUNDRED YEARS TO LOVE YOU for over ten years. It’s been a long time. I’m a perfectionist. The album was supposed to be released in 2019. Obviously, that didn’t happen. I hated a lot of the stuff. And when I’d record something, I’d immediately hear a million things wrong with it. I’m my own worst critic. Hence why so many songs that I like are currently being re-recorded.
Another major issue was finding a vocals microphone that worked for me. We finally—finally!—figured out a 251 works best. That’s what you will be hearing on ‘Black Sky, White Moon’ and, later down the road, ‘Ghost Town.’
What are your plans for the year ahead?
I have two novels coming out 2023. A science fiction/fantasy children’s book called ‘Olivia & The Gentleman from Outer Space.’ And an adult science fiction novel called ‘Vanishing Bodies.’ I’m really excited for both projects. ‘Vanishing Bodies’ will be released alongside my debut rock record, so that’ll be cool. Some songs on the album tie into the novel. I hope fans enjoy both. I’m very much excited about 2023.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
As an artist, my hope is always that, in some small way, I was able to connect with fans—and add something of value to their lives. Music, like love, is meant to be shared. I hope people find at least one song on the record they really enjoy—and that they share it with someone else.