In what is a first for our ever growing list of wonderful Alphabet Bands, we indulge in a little alliteration with our latest entry. We have come to know them colloquially within the office as M&M, though they resemble neither chocolate treats nor a bleach blonde rapper, Mahoney & the Moment are actually a melodic folk duo hailing from both New York and London.
Emily Moment (New York) met Steve Mahoney (London) in the Big Apple back in 2011 when she entered a folk and bluegrass competition he had organised. ”I won the competition”, Emily explained to us. ”we had a discussion, he was almost finishing his album ‘When You Least Expect’ and he said ‘you know I really need a girl’s voice on a certain song, I think I wanna try something’”. That impromptu recording session led to some live performances together, working together on each other’s solo stuff, and eventually, organically, the band came together.
The result is some of the most charming folk-pop we’ve ever heard. It radiates a warmth and compassion like a mother’s hug, sweeping you up into its arms. Emily is blessed with a voice that could light up a room and Steve’s isn’t too shabby either. On their eponymous album, lead vocals are alternated between the two, an approach born out of their song writing style so far.
Having worked as solo artists before joining forces, the pair both brought quite a bit of material with them which the other has been able to help refine. Old tracks have been dusted off and given new life, Emily adding piano and harmony to a song Steve wrote five years previously for example. With the wealth of material they had to work from, their initial process has effectively been to compliment and flesh out what they each had. It’s an approach that both feel has worked so far and helped keep them moving forward. Emily confesses that working as a solo artist can be boring while Steve enjoys the diversity the pairing has brought to each other’s sound. ”My songs are quite poppy and folky”, he tell us, ”and Emily’s are a bit more stylish, a bit more cool”.
There is no sense of a disconnection within the album though, the coming together of two differing musical styles hasn’t proved difficult for the listener, and if anything it has resulted in an extremely cohesive sound. The tracks flow smoothly from one to another, like lovers finishing one another’s sentences. Moving forward, they say, the writing is also becoming a little more collective, Emily giving lyrical input to compositions, Steve finessing structure, the pair trading verses as new material comes together.
The sound too could well be getting a little bigger, when we meet in the shadow of the giant TV screens in Hyde Park just as the Olympic hullaballoo was about to explode across the nation, they are due to meet with some potential new band members in the afternoon. Indeed since we spoke, a new drummer and bassist have been recruited and a handful of shows have been played as a full band. It’s something they had in New York and were keen to recreate now they are based in London, especially as they plan to take the Mahoney & The Moment show on the road soon and show Emily what the north of England looks like. She’s excited and so are we as we know just how good the two of them are on their own. Tomorrow you can see the first of two tracks the pair very kindly performed in session for us, amongst the rain and the students in Hyde Park.
Mahoney & The Moment, the band’s album, is available now from their Bandcamp page either digitally or on CD in the excitedly named, Party Bag Edition.