Just days after Bob Moses wrapped their last tour, the world essentially shut down, forcing the Canadian duo and much of the music industry to retreat. But what came out of those months of lockdown is probably the pair's best album yet.
"Our last show that we played with the band was March 7," recalls Jimmy Vallance of Bob Moses, speaking with Variance ahead of the release of The Silence in Between. "We went into building our studio in L. A. to start this record and literally lockdown happened, I think, 10 days after that. Fortunately, we had booked the time off to make a record, but we had no idea that any of this was going to happen."
He continues: "We literally watched the world change, things bubble up to the surface in America, conversations that needed to happen and all of that inspired the lyrical content and inspired what Tom and I were going through as people. And we got to experience a new perspective on so many things in life. And I think that scared a lot of artists, but for us, we found a lot of inspiration and creativity in it. We wrote more music than we ever have in the last couple of years, and we feel very fortunate that we were able to stay creative and be able to write together."
While much of the world was in some form of quarantine due to the pandemic, Vallance and his bandmate Tom Howie remained part of each other's "bubble" and kept working together despite not seeing many other people. In a way, it was a sort of reality check for the two musicians and producers, who have become mainstays on the festival circuit and touring hotspots.
"Our identities as these two traveling music guys who play music for people many weeks of the year was sort of stripped away," says Howie. "It was just the two of us back in the room not seeing other people. And it was very humbling and sort of, and it was real. It was kind of tough at first, and we realized that when everything is kind of stripped away, music is our life raft. It's the core of our bond and also the core of who each of us is in a really big way, and that allowed us to get very honest and very intimately into the process of writing music together in a way that we haven't really been able to in the past."
According to Howie, being in this "moment of crisis" added a level of immediacy to their writing and it empowered them pour more of themselves and their true feelings into the music they were making, which was reflective of uncertainty and fear as well as hope.
The duo isn't wasting any time now that they're releasing new music again. Admittedly, they have renewed energy and they're eager to be back playing for fans.
"We basically head out on March 17, and it's going to be two months long with a two-week break," says Vallance. "It's six weeks of pretty intense touring around North America and then we go to Europe in the summer, playing festivals, and hit Europe again in the fall and do some states later on. So we've got a very full year of touring and promoting this record. And it's amazing because, for two years, we haven't really been able to tour."
He adds: "For the last few months, we've been doing DJ sets, which has been sort of a blessing for us because a lot of artists depend on having more substantial dates or where they can bring a band out, and we're very fortunate that we can go away to a club for a weekend and try out material. So we've been down to South America, Central America—and it's been amazing to be out there in some capacity. But doing it with the band and having a crew and the lights and new music, it's a different animal. And we're really looking forward to this."
This album also marks what Bob Moses calls a "rebirth" and a bit of a full-circle moment for the duo, as their former manager Toby Andrews, who previously signed them to Domino Records, is now the president of Astralwerks, their new label home, with The Silence in Between being their first album released on that imprint.
"It's such a great moment," says Howie, who notes: "Making this record, it really felt like we were just two dudes in a room again, before Bob Moses was even a thing. So to be back out in the world, releasing our strongest record yet, and our most honest, it's been really cathartic, and we're so proud to share it."
The Silence in Between is out now.