You know that feeling when you find a band that many of your friends have not heard of before and whom you believe they will love. What can be a better feeling then introducing people to this great band and seeing them falling for their music. If your musical sensers were right , you can watch the crowd around the band grow. Those are the best things about music - enjoying it and sharing it with other people.

About 2 months ago I came across a largely unknown band that are just amazing. The band are called Moly and come from Guildford which is in South East England , and about 20 miles outside London. Moly consists of Neil Sharkey (guitar), Mark Sharkey (bass), Richard Fennings (guitar), Greg Foord (drums), and are an instrumental band with a real gift for making vivid, visual music. As I am writing this I am wondering what will be my friends’ reaction to Moly’s music when they see them live.

I'm certainly not the first person to believe that Moly have a lot of potential. In the 4 years,since the band first formed, they have built up at a faithful audience at their shows. These often take place at the Star Pub in the centre of Guildford. In 2002 the band also attracted the attention of the Tenor Vossa record label , who later that year released the band's debut album 'Your Life Is In Danger'. This album was followed by an EP, 'It Rained But We Cheered' , which came out in October of this year.

I caught up with the band one Saturday afternoon at the foermentioned Star pub to talk in more depth about the band's music and their promising future.

Moly first formed back in 1999 when brothers Mark and Neil Sharkey first started writing and playing together in Mark's previous band Narcotic. "Mark was in Narcotic at the time so we formed it within that " recalls Neil as we sit around a table at the venue in front of the stage and begin by talking about the band's early years. "But pretty soon we realized that the members in that band weren’t really right for what we wanted to do so we decided to go our separate ways."

Shortly after that Mark and Neil recruited 2 new musicians for the band, Sarah Morrissey on vocals, and Chris on drums. Things, however, still didn't feel quite right. "The first few gigs were slightly different” says Mark, looking back. “They were sort of what we did with the last band. It was a bit more poppy and structured than now."

The key turn for the band came in 2000 when Moly decided to drop the vocals and to become an instrumental band. "I can't really remember why we decided to play instrumental music" ponders Mark. "Oh, I know! It was when she didn’t turn up for a rehearsal and the song sounded as just good so…" he pauses for a moment, and then laughs and adds "I found that the vocals were making it boring."

When Sarah left, Moly continued as a trio but felt they needed another guitarist. That is when Richard Fennings joined the band after answering of an advert in NME. "Yeah" confirms Richard. "I found their advert saying 'Guitarist wanted for experimental rock band into Mogwai/Sonic Youth.' I rang them straight away."

NME is also responsible for the band finding a record label to release their music. Tenor Vossa put in an advert, advertising that they were looking for new band. "That was a bit of luck" Mark reveals. "Because we answered to the advert but the advert was actually not supposed to be there as they were running a week over!"

Tenor Vossa is a London based independent record label with two other 2 bands on its roster called Breathless and Scenic. Breathless features Ari Neufeld on bass, who is also the label’s boss. “Breathless have just released their own album 'Behind The Light'.” says Richard. “We have a good relationship with them. They keep in touch and work really hard."

The next big step for Moly came in 2003 when they were asked to take part in South by South West. This festival takes place every year in March in Austin in Texas, and features many great bands from all over the world. Moly took part in it this year alongside Explosions In The Sky, Josh Pearson (From Lift To Experience), the Coral, Polyphonic Spree, Yo La Tengo and many many others.

"It was the first time we'd done anything like it so was quite exciting " Richard reflects. "The best part was meeting other like-minded bands from around the world who we could keep in contact with, swap CDs and help each other with gigs. The festival was well run and we were treated well by the organisers , even if one local Texan took a pretty dim view of us!"

The South By South West festival was one of the first gigs for Greg who, with Chris having left, had only just joined the band as its drummer. This was the last line-up change, and since then Moly have been more than happy with everything.

Most of Moly's music the band write together. "We all write. but most of the songs are just structured at rehearsals” Neil says. “One of us will just start playing and and we all just join in.”

'Your Life Is In Danger' came out in 2002. The music on the album is in general quite dark. On the first track  'Streptomycin Karachi' you can even hear a voice shouting in the background and suggesting some kind of disaster.

Most of Moly's songs use quite descriptive titles such as 'May Your Path Lead To Wisdom’, ‘On The Verge Of Immolation’ or ‘Vison Of Hate’. It's natural to look for a connection between the title and music, but that could be misleading as Greg reveals. "I think you don’t really want to limit yourself like that. I think you would be putting a limit on yourself. It’s free expression."

The album closes with the inudction of stripped down music that is on a different wave length to the rest of the album. It, however,makes the perfect finish. "When we were in rehearsal we were playing slightly differently" recalls Neil. "And then we thought we could end it like that. It just worked out that way."

While 'Your Life Is In Danger' is a great album with a lot of strong music on it, 'It Rained But We Cheered' is even better still. The music has got a powerful, but seductive edge to it.

Moly are currently working on more music and writing new tracks for their next release. "We have just bought a 24 track" says Richard. "We are going to work on a new album ourselves hopefully. That is … if we can work out how to use it" he adds laughing.

"Yeah" confirms Mark. "We just want to record our own stuff because we think we sound so much better when we record things ourselves,even though we might not get that clear a sound. Sometimes though music sounds better when it’s got a rougher sound. Think of the Velvet Underground's recordings!"

The majority of the band's gigs take place in Guildford. The band organize their own gigs under the name Trash and No Star at the Star Pub. The band have played a few London gigs as well, but these didn't leave a good impression on the group. "We have been put on some really horrible line-ups" explains Neil. "There would be some heavy metal band and then some poppy band. So people who had come along to see you would hate the other band and their audience would hate us . There was just no point. So we decided to do it ourselves here in Guildford."

"We once got a gig at the London Garage" continues Greg. "But we didn't know it was going to be upstairs. They took us there through the back and through the big venue downstairs. So we saw a big massive stage and they said “You are not playing there. You are playing upstairs” and they took us through the kitchen through this little hatch. It was really bad."

"We did play a gig once though and even got paid!" continues Mark.

"Tenor Vossa sorted a gig for us and it was at gay club called Duckie at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern." add Greg with laughter. "The audience there were all going 'Yeah!' even though they had never heard of us. And the girl who runs it (As it turned out later the girl was Amy Lame who apparently hosts a program on Virgin Radio) came to us just before we were going on the stage saying 'How do I introduce you?' And we were like 'What?' "

"And then she came on and and said 'And here they are-Moly. Put your hands together!' and we were like 'Oh, no!'. At the end she came back and wanted us to go back on the stage. She is a big woman so we were like 'All right'."

"It was the nicest gig we have done though" concludes Richard laughing. "But we are not a gay band!"

As for the future, Moly will appear at Penny Black Music night in early February. Even thought their latest EP only just came out a month ago they are already working on new music.

"We've got loads of new songs and can't wait to get working on them" says Richard. " We'd also like to do some sort of tour next year. We might apply to the CMJ festival which is similar to SXSW but in New York."

Moly are step by step making their way up. Their potential is undeniably there and they are confidently appealing to more and more music fans. You might just be one of them.


Moly will appear at the 4th Penny Black Music Night on the 7th February along with Vic Godard, Venus Ray, Sunshine Walley Dance Band and Saint Joan.













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