Rob Moir The Big Heart
Traveling, Change and Smiling Again
By Aaron Binder
When your life is full of big expectations it hurts like an axe to the face when you inevitably fall. How you weather the fall is what makes you human…or shell. When you reminisce back to your youngest days, what was it you wanted to become? Have those dreams changed? Have you ‘checked reality’ and turned it into something more realistic?
For many of us, our childhood dreams become exactly that, something we hearken back to every few years and laugh about, meanwhile ignoring the honest truth that if we could, we would trade everything for one more shot.
Then you have a guy like Rob Moir, someone that is living that dream, consequences be damned. Rob is a guy that spent most of his formative years attempting to make that dream happen with Dead Letter Department, the band that almost did. So what do you do when everything falls apart? In his case, write, write, write, and become fascinated by all the little places on the map.
Rob’s journey isn’t so different from many of ours, but where he strays is that he’s still living it, running from place to place and changing lives along the way. It’s not easy becoming yourself, but Rob is attempting to do that through his music. We chatted about his new life, why the change had to happen and all of those fun little places on the map, take a look below for the full story.
Aaron: So you’ve been on a couple of big trips over the past little bit…
Rob Moir: I went to Europe just to visit some friends and a friend in Paris said ‘if you want to bring your guitar, we’ll set you up with a show and you can play it’ and in my mind I’m thinking next year I’ll go to Europe for as long as I can and just play. I just love that continent, I love how tight the transportation is and you can go to these cities and play these gigs and in Europe playing music is almost respectable whereas over here people are always asking you when you’re going to get a real job.
So he asked me to come over there so I grabbed the guitar, threw it on a plane and I’ll never forget when I got into this dingy little basement, some bar in Paris and I’m standing in front of about 40 of these kids like 18-22 and it’s mostly guys and I’m just thinking ‘how is this going to work’. I like some sense of variety but after about the third song in, everybody just kind of shut-up and by the end of it they just got it and it was a big surprise but very cool. So that was sort of the first part of the tour, but I think it was something I just needed to do.
Aaron: In relation to that damn the consequences attitude, after listening to the EP today, it seemed like a big album of change, I picked up on two things really, a childlike innocence and personal change, coming of age, it sounds like you really moved from one stage of your life to the next and put a lot of stuff behind you with the release of these songs.
Rob: Yeah, I think so. It’s weird when I think about that record now because it’s a little old. I think live if I played 10 songs that sounded just like that EP it would just be like ‘yeah, I get it, you had some bad break-ups in your 20’s’, but at the same time when we hit these songs, I love them because I love having something a little more raw and quiet and a bit prettier. So certainly from the record I put out in 2005 to this, it’s night and day. I think it’s a good move and the next thing I do is going to be a little different as well. That’s evolution.
Aaron: It’s that constant change, if you’re not moving forward…
Rob: I don’t like it if it’s moving sideways, haha, who knows; maybe the next record I make is going to be the most punk rock record I ever made. I can’t say for a doubt that it couldn’t happen.
Aaron: Yeah, once you start planning it, it gets a little boring.
Rob: I think so, the cool thing is, and I’ve been on record labels before and there’s nothing wrong with the one I was on, but the cool thing is when you just put out a record, you make up your own world. If you want to start a tour in California and end in Ottawa…Or something, you can just do that and nobody can tell you that it’s a bad idea.
Aaron: I spoke with Charlotte Cornfield in December who did a Greyhound tour and she was telling me it was one of the best times of her life, she met a bunch of people, didn’t get hit on too much, which I find weird because she’s a beautiful woman, but it seems like a really connective thing to do to tune in with yourself and your writing.
Rob: Oh absolutely, I think that’s exactly why I’m doing this project. I come from a rock scene, the idea of idolizing something is so taboo, you would never consider having just my face and on a poster and my name being that big on a record, that’s something I’m trying to get more comfortable with because ultimately I think about that and it makes looking at the map more exciting.
As far as why I’m doing this, it’s because of that, I can go out on VIA or Greyhound every night and it’s feasible. When you’;re in a band it’s so much logistics, economically, emotionally, I like the fact that I can sit on a bus for 8 hours and not talk to anybody.
Aaron: Yeah, there are definitely pros and cons to taking the journeyman’s path of a singer/songwriter and ultimately it’s a bold move because a lot of people ultimately fail.
Rob: And everybody is a singer/songwriter too, there are just so many of us out there. For me, I don’t see it as how I can stand out from everybody else, but just based off the way I pick my music, there isn’t any way I could be anything else in my music.
So yeah, I agree with you, it’s a tough thing to do, I’m looking at it this way too, it’s and adventure, it should be tough, it should be fun! If you’re not having fun with it than why are you doing it? I’m excited; I think it’s going to be really cool.
Aaron: What are you looking forward to the most?
Rob: Honestly, and because I’ve been to a lot of these cities before, I’m looking forward to playing every night and crafting it, that’s really exciting to me. I’m not even concerned to say this, but I’m looking forward to getting better at this, every time you play as a singer/songwriter, the one man show, it’s a hard thing to do and so if you can learn how to captivate audiences, you can probably fix the deficit problem in the United States.
Also, I like the idea of touring Canada in the dead of winter, and yeah the negative aspect of that is the cold but I want to put myself through that at least once, I think that’s interesting. I wouldn’t drive this tour, so that’s why the Greyhound aspect is appealing. The roads are…you don’t really want to take them in Winter.
Aaron: Do you have plans for when you return?
Rob: Yeah, we’re going to do CMW and that’s going to be fun, beyond that I’d like to be in Europe in September for I’d like to say as long as possible, it’ll probably be about two months.
Aaron: Is there anything else coming up aside from the tour?
Rob: It would be really cool to do a 7 inch during the months I’m back for, but I would definitely like to do some writing. The songs you heard and the songs that are on the EP are in a lot of ways really ancient.
Aaron: You seem far too happy right now to have just written those.
Rob: Yeah, exactly, it sounds kinda bad to say this but it really reminds me of my 20’s. Like drinking way too much and just being really messed up. I’ve also been having these really wide eyes about looking at maps and being really excited about them so I’m really looking forward to moving beyond that.
Aaron: Cool, thanks for chatting today.
You can check out Rob on tour across Canada right now:
Jan. 27 @ The Ministry of Casual Living, VICTORIA
Jan. 28 @ Diners Rendezvous, NANAIMO
Jan. 29 @ The Showroom, DUNCAN
Jan. 30 @ Cafe De Soleil, VANCOUVER
Feb. 2 @ The Jasper Legion, JASPER
Feb. 3 @ The Marquee, CALGARY
Feb. 4 @ The Hideout, RED DEER
Feb. 5 @ The Black Dog, EDMONTON (early show)
Feb. 5 @ Burnsy O’Flannigan’s, LEDUC (late show)
Feb. 6 @ The Haven Social Club, EDMONTON
Feb. 9 @ Artesian, REGINA
Feb. 10 @ The Spot, YORKTON
Feb. 12 @ The Lo Pub, WINNIPEG
Feb. 17 @ Gus’s Pub, HALIFAX
Feb. 19 @ Governor’s Pub, SYDNEY
Feb. 22 @ Baba’s Lounge, CHARLOTTETOWN
Feb. 23 @ The Sunstar Lounge, SAINT JOHN
Feb. 24 @ Plan B, MONCTON
Feb. 25 @ The Capitol, FREDERICTON
Mar. 3 @ Le Bar Freddy’s, SAINTE MARIE, QC
Mar. 7 @ The Mansion, KINGSTON
Here’s a music video!