2003 saw Mal Holmes working with singer Jo Mooney on a series of songs that captured a soulful, reflective element. This archive interview reveals his thoughts at the time…
What’s the plan of action with the EP?
I’ve sussed out exactly what’s going to be happening. Pretty much decided on the tracks for it. We decided on three of them instead of four. Jo’s coming around to work on all the sleeve notes and ideas for what it’ll look like. We’ve done a photo session so we’re going to put it together through the three of us really. I’ve got to do some mastering at Gary’s house. Gary’s going to help out with some mastering on one or two of the tracks.
So what are you doing in terms of promoting Jo and this EP?
I’ve been working on this with Jo for probably about 18 months and we’re 7 tracks into it, so what I really want to do is just to test it out on the hardcore supporters. So ideally to get it out through the web, through you guys, and we’re also going it get it out to radio stations as well and generally see what the reaction is from radio stations, punters, listeners and try and get a bit of regional and national press on it as well.
Are there plans for Jo to do some concerts?
Yeah well that’s the next stage for us is to get the band together. My and Jo’s plan is to try and get her off the ground. So, the single first, see what the reaction is, and then team her up with either a keyboard player or a guitarist so she can actually go out and do small gigs basically. Or if we can get her onto a bigger support tour through one of the agents we know then we’ll get her out on the road with a bigger act.
So the idea is this is like the first year of Jo. I’d like a slow build. I’ve done the record company stuff before and thrown tons of money and stuff, but if we find out what the reaction is, get her out working, picking up gigs here and there, so she can actually build up a bit of a following herself. And hopefully the music and her will be the statement. I don’t want to go for spending millions of pounds on marketing and the all the rest of the stuff. I’d like to think that Jo and the music will stand up by herself.
And she’s also not short-term either Paul. This is just the start of it really. She’s still a young kid, she’s 22, she’s got a hell of a long time left in the industry so building her up from the ground roots is what I’ve always wanted to do with her and develop her career.
I think there’s a lot of potential there. There’s some impressive demo tracks on the CD
I think it gives a wide range of where we’re at, because Jo’s just started writing herself and lyrically she’s starting to get some real good lyrics together. She’s a real wildcard is Jo, you can’t pigeonhole her into some kind of pop box or rock box or whatever. She is what she is. I think it’s a pretty good choice of songs.
As the album comes together it is quite diverse, the writing and the tracks and also Dean Johnson’s influence as well, Dean’s co-written a couple of tracks and also been an encouragement behind some of the tracks. So it’s a real cross-section of stuff that she’s doing. But it is contemporary.
I understand you were also planning to get the Liverpool Philharmonic in to provide some strings?
Yeah absolutely. That’s the whole plan at the end of the day. These are not so much working demos, they are master recordings but for the album I would like to slightly rework them, maybe bring in another bass player, certainly to top up the strings. Everybody’s ready to go with it basically. It’s just a case of when we can do it. So the Liverpool Phil are up for doing it. For the album I’d like to think the Phil will be on it.
This interview was originally conducted in December 2003.
Original interview by Paul Browne
Revised text 13th May 2014
Publications that have featured his contributions include Electronic Sound, Metro, Japan Update Weekly, J-Pop Go, Wavegirl and The Electricity Club.