SXSW Interview: Sea Moya

The interplay of music and location are something essential to Krautbeat pioneers Sea Moya. The three-piece of German natives crafts their unique genre from a mixture of Krautrock, Afrobeat, Psychedelic, and Hip-Hop. And holding true to their international stylings, the group has recently uprooted themselves from Germany to Quebec. But despite how drastic this transatlantic move may seem, it was only natural for the three members of Sea Moya, who have made a habit of leaving home to draw inspiration.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Elias and David of the band while in Austin, where we discussed what nationality and location means when it comes to making music.

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How did you all form Sea Moya?

Elias: We met back in Germany in Mannheim, you [David] were playing guitar, some synth guitar thing and you changed to the drums, I was playing guitar as well. Eventually the band split up because the head guy didn’t want to do that and anymore. Then it was us two and another guy finding ourselves in a situation like “What do we do now?” And we’d just started writing songs and it felt really good and then it became Sea Moya. It was just really natural, we were doing music anyway and just wanted to do something new.

What has been your favorite part about SXSW this year?

Elias: Camping, tacos are amazing. Everyday. What are we going to do when we leave Texas? Back to baguettes & croissants… Dammit

I understand y’all played a string of shows on the way down here, how did the tour go? 

Elias: The preparations for the whole tour were kind of hard because with the election and with the administration right now it got harder for foreign people to enter the country and also the cultural support of music kind of faded away a little I guess, so the visa situation was hard to deal with. But then, we had this one situation in Houston, our drummer did this exchange program and that just showed us just kind of how wonderful people can still be here.

What spurred the decision to get out of Germany and get into Canada?

Elias: We had kind of a very comfortable situation in Mannheim where we had our studio and we always did stuff like packing up our studio in the van and driving through the Baltic states and that is why the last EP was called “Baltic States” and we wrote the songs in the van with our studio gear, and it just felt right to be out of our daily surroundings to write songs. And we kind of wanted to take the next step and just throw ourselves in a new situation, a new surrounding, and wanted to go somewhere English speaking because we also wanted to improve our English and Canada is kind of easy in terms of visa applications, and that was kind of a door opener

David: And at the same time it was kind of an intuitive decision, cause at the same time we were sitting at my room back in cologne starting to think about it and after 30 minutes we were like “eh lets go to Montreal Canada” and we applied for the visa and it worked out, and here we are.

Elias: I mean Montreal has such a cool music scene and I knew a lot of bands there I really liked before and that was really awesome, and it definitely lead us to the idea of moving to Montreal

David: Moving to a different place kind of uses you out of your comfort zone, that kind of set some energy free.  Back home you have your studio and that stays the same but sometimes you need a change and the different people and surrounding, even though hard sometimes, is energizing.

Despite being based in Canada, you seem to hold your German roots tightly, especially with your fusion genre Kraut-Beat, obviously based heavily in German styles.  Is keeping that German identity of your music and as a band important to you all as artists?

Elias: It feels really like we have this German thing going on anyways cause we’re from Germany. But it feels like, we always did this kind of worldwide international sound because we mix all that stuff from Africa like afrobeat and from the us like hip hop like J Dilla stuff all of this world wide stuff, and now it feels like we’ve translated that into our personal lives. It feels more naturally international even if we’re still l3 dudes from southwestern Germany living in the same city now but in Montreal.

David: I think we can relate to the history of German music and we kind of dig it but I wouldn’t consider myself as a German band. I don’t think our music is German branded. But there is lots of German music going on we can relate to like from the 70s.

Elias: A friend of ours came over the bassist Michael from Mt. Joy he was like “Germany is such an amazing country” and we were like “Eh… I don’t know” and I think this brings us to think about that, if we want people to identify us as a German band, or if we want be a Canadian band. It’s weird.

David: And in general the concept of nationalities if it needs to be like that.

Your sound is so unique bringing in everything from krautrock to psych to electronica to some Afrobeat all wrapped up so seamlessly.

We did and get inspired by all different kinds of music, instruments we want to try. Its just about messing around with sounds and messing around with instruments and trying new things.

Y’all have been around a few ears now but stuck primarily to EPS and singles. When can we expect an album from you all, and what are your upcoming plans for the band 

Elias: We actually have been in the Italian Alps, northern Italy and we wrote and recorded an album there, in a mountain hut in the middle of the Alps it was beautiful

David: It was super chill, we actually one time i spent 2 weeks not going down to the city and didn’t get to speak to anyone aside from the band

Elias: It was intense, but we have an album in our backpacks actually, we’re not quite done with it but we plan to release it this summer maybe

Outside of the band what other pursuits do each of you have? Whether musical or otherwise?

Elias: I do a lot of video stuff as well. Our music videos are mostly shot and directed by me, I love them. I always have visuals in my head when playing the songs. And to translate that to video is amazing, it feels really good. I think arts in general is the overall language we’re using. It doesn’t matter if you do abstract paintings or music, I think we’re all in the same boat kind of.

David: We were in New York a few weeks ago and we had a couple of days off, and we went t the Guggenheim museum, and it was a f***ing blast.

Elias: We had these audio guides, and there was this one guy talking about what is art for him and how he sees art and how he likes to be creative, and i thought its the same thing about doing music. It doesn’t matter if you output is music or painting something or taking a photo or doing a video the creative process can be quite similar

It’s cool to see that if you want to see stuff you just can do it.

Will you stay in Montreal?

We just moved to Montreal and it feels really good. I do not think about leaving. So we have this visa thing going on for one year and we have to see what to do next, but we’ve already decided that going back to Germany is not an option.

While still being finalized, the trio has a forthcoming album due some time this year. Check out the video for “Nothing is Real” below!

by Jackson Tucker

Photos by Christian Senf

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