Built upon the dreamy, ethereal vocals of Anna Toy, and surrounded by moody, atmospheric keyboards of Andy Toy, Moxi are, in a nutshell, “dreamy, indie pop”. It’s synth driven pop music. And it sure as hell is catchy. “We really approach our music art”, Anna said when I spoke to her. “I think that’s what is so special about it. The world doesn’t really need more music that’s just noise. But it does need more art. We are trying our best to contribute to that”.
She’s right you know. The industry, at times, can be under-whelming. Naturally it’s refreshing when a creative force wants to be more than just another noise. Drawing on elements from pop and classic cinema, Moxi boast dark electronic textures and enigmatic innovation with their melodies. The story of Moxi began in Fullerton, CA, about six years ago; “I got asked to write a song for a housing development commercial”, Anna began, “and suckered Andy into helping me write ‘In My Dreams’. Which actually turned out fantastic! It ended up becoming the first song we released as ‘Moxi’. We haven’t really stopped since, and we aren’t planning to stop anytime soon. So get used to us!”.
We spoke about ‘Dreamland‘, a single released late last year, because the idea behind it fascinated me. It was written about alien abduction after a little too much chartreuse on their writing retreat to Big Bear; “We were up late talking about Alien abduction stories and ended up writing this track. We are completely fascinated with the idea of life outside of earth”. Of course, they both love X Files and Alien is an all time favourite movie. “Dreamland is out take on what an alien abduction might be like. The opening line is ‘They hollowed out your face, replaced it with diamonds’. I just love the imagery that line creates. I think the mystery of it is what fascinates us the most. We definitely believe”.
For Moxi, they tend to be more inspired by visual art than music. With the exception of ‘Dreamland’, most of their music is written about personal life experiences too; “We write about supernatural things, but most of it is stuff that’s happened to me directly. I’m influenced by everything that’s going on in my life, including world issues and events. I think in the political climate we are in right now, it’s impossible to not be influenced by things going on in the world as an artist. But if I do write about politics, or world events, it’s definitely subtle. I like to write in a way that leaves things up to the listener to interpret”.
Moxi’s EP, ‘Figures Bathed In Light’, is another result of the writing retreat to a cabin in the desolate mountains of Big Bear. The weekend of escapism was a catalyst for all creativity on the record. The isolation forced the duo to confront life altering experiences which fuelled the EP with spiritual reflection, and facing the dark as well as the light. The title track was conceived after they escaped a near fatal car crash.
“Almost every song on our EP was written on our retreat”, Anna said, speaking about the experience. “We packed up all our recording equipment, bought a bunch of booze and holed up in a cabin for a few days. It gets hard finding the time and space to be creative in our day to day lives so getting out of the city really helps”. Continuing on about the title track, she said, “We were driving through the windy mountain roads near Santa Barbara when our car clipped a guard rail which sent us flying off the road toward a 200 foot cliff. Our car ended up crashing into a rail right at the edge of the cliff, and we walked away with just a few scratches. We felt like we had survived for a reason”.
The track itself was recorded a few weeks later, and Moxi find themselves having an emotional response to art and life experiences. Music and art are two important elements in the life of Anna Toy and she speaks openly about having a deep, emotional connection with them. “I’m a very emotional person”, she said. “I feel things more deeply, and music is something that has always made me feel understood and heard. It’s therapy for me. It’s how I process my feelings and emotions, and how I respond to what’s happening in my life. This connection has always been present, but the negative life experiences have ultimately deepened this. They’ve made the connection stronger. When we were in our car crash, I was so shaken I remember crying myself to sleep that night after we got home. I really think that experience changed me. We went full force into creating music as much as possible after that. Life is so short, we can’t waste time on things that don’t matter”.
For every musician and artist, getting into the right headspace is inevitably different, but it’s something I always like to explore. Moxi are inspired by every day life. They are inspired by the things that are happening to them on a personal level, as well as what is around them. “I’m a little crazy and have a hard time turning my mind off”, Anna continued. “I usually have a lot of stuff that I need to process and as I said before, music is therapeutic for me. We also love the idea of going on retreats to escape the city and town. We often want to go somewhere new where we can completely decompress and focus on creating”.
As someone who has gone through most of her life feeling misunderstood, Anna Toy understands the need to feel understood; “It’s my hope and dream that people can feel understood and heard through our music. Hearing just one person tell me that they connected to one of our songs makes me never want to stop doing this. I’ve always been a little bit of an outsider, and kind of strange. Creating and writing music has really helped me through feeling out of place”. She said it’s all she can hope for that people will connect and feel accepted through their art. “I’ve also struggled a lot with depression and anxiety throughout my life”, she continued. “I find myself writing a lot about that. The more I’ve talked and written about my struggles, the more I’ve realised how many people struggle with the exact same thing. I hope that our music can help people feel less alone. We are all in this together”.
It goes without saying that the music industry is tough because it’s filled with a lot of ups and downs; “I’ve decided over the last few years that I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to stop making music, because it’s important. We are making this music because we believe in it, and we think it’s important for the world to hear. I can’t control what happens beyond that. Failure is often the line of least persistence. The worlds needs more art so we are going to keep at it. People shouldn’t give up on their dreams. Don’t play the comparison game, it’s completely foolish. Be confident in who you are because you are unique and so special. Hard work pays off, so always be a learner”.