The M.O.A. 'Mind At Large' Single Launch
The M.O.A. 'Mind At Large' Single Launch

The M.O.A. 'Mind At Large' Single Launch

with special guests
Croxton Front Bar (Thornbury, VIC)
Saturday, 31 August 2019 8:00 PM
5 days away
18 Plus
Music

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The M.O.A launch 'Mind At Large' at The Croxton

Two Birmingham tradies walk into a recording studio in Melbourne armed only with a drum machine, a cold slab of Carlsberg and a notebook full of striking poetry. A white hot spark of creativity ignites, they draft the engineer, call in another mate and The M.O.A is born.
 
Mind At Large is the debut single for Melbourne via Birmingham quintet The M.O.A Featuring the aforementioned Brummie tradesmen - vocalist and singer Daz Houghton and his long-time mate, junior football buddy and guitarist Rossi, along with Melbourne musicians AJB, Donovan and recent addition Conrad on guitar, bass and drums respectively.
 
Written at that catalytic first session, Mind At Large is a spacious cinematic drive, metered by the pace and urgency of Houghton’s inventive wordplay. There is much being said, but it is being done with such economy and muted colour that only the key words, phrases and feelings latch on initially. Hidden lyrical gems begin announcing themselves as repeated plays bring familiarity.
 
While bands with a similar level of life experience to The M.O.A. are usually bathing in the golden mid-light of their careers, the opposite seems to be true for these late bloomers, and in particular for the band’s lead vocalist and deep-feeling lyricist Daz Houghton. Mind At Large marks the official beginning his musical career. 
 
As Houghton explains, “I had always wanted to make an album of music, play some live gigs and at times that had seemed unlikely to happen. It was bothering to keep trying that got it to this point.”
 
The construction worker and floorer by trade has a poetic turn of phrase not usually found in the toolkit of your regular blue-collar artisan - but then again, Daz is not your regular tradie. Carrying seismic emotional scars of a life well-lived, Daz has poured his heart and very soul into one of the many lyric books that have travelled with him throughout his life. Deep musings on love, loss and heartache, private moments, both halcyon and horrid.
 
As the singer reveals, “I find it helps to express things that I sometimes struggle to communicate in everyday life, it gives all the thoughts somewhere else to live for a bit. I’ve gotten around a fair bit over the years and I’m interested in different cultures and different perspectives, I think that’s played a part in how I think and see things. I think I’m generally questioning stuff, rather than claiming to know stuff.”
 
Arranger and guitarist for the band AJB gives some further insight on his bandmate, “Daz left school at 15, he’s working class, he’s married, but within his six-day-a week, high-viz-wearing life, like a majority of the world he has been a desperate man. He’s been desperate for something other than the work/sleep cycle, desperate for a way to deal with the world around him.”
 
Cast Houghton’s plaintive reading of his songs, voice cracked with emotion, against the evocative widescreen soundscapes that his fellow M.O.A band mates conjure and what you have is undoubtedly one of the more engaging and instantly relatable musical propositions to come out of Melbourne in quite some time.

Each member of the group also brings skills to the table which allow the band to be fully DIY when it comes to recording, producing and defining a visual image. Covering the tyranny of distance (Houghton is based in The U.K. but travels regularly to work with the band) by jamming and writing together then sending the resulting ideas to the singer to see if they set off any inspiration.  
As AJB concludes it’s clear that Houghton is the gatekeeper when it comes to the band’s quality control, “Daz, well he’s a total vibe man. So if you’ve got an idea that you think might be great, if he doesn’t respond to it then it won’t happen!”