Brother Moses was founded in 2014 at the University of Arkansas by high-school classmates and college dorm mates James Lockhart and Moses Gomez. Soon after meeting percussion student Michael Seck, the trio began hauling all of their gear, on foot, under cover of darkness, to meet once weekly in a basement rehearsal space that they weren’t technically allowed to use, all so that they could practice for the University Battle of the Bands, which they lost. Undeterred, as soon as the school’s dorm-only living policy expired at the end of their freshman year, the band moved into what they dubbed “The Farm”, a tiny house at the edge of campus with a converted garage studio space, named for its comically large backyard.
Lockhart and Gomez spent the summer sweltering in the garage space, recording sweat soaked demos (the decades old air conditioning at The Farm was no match for the relentless Arkansas summer) that would end up evolving into an EP, Thanks for All Your Patience, released independently in March 2015.
Thanks for All Your Patience was hailed by Independent Clauses as “Clean, tight, clever, and earnest...a remarkable debut EP that leaves a big impression.” The project cast Lockhart’s young adulthood anxiety and loneliness against a backdrop ranging from indie rock minimalism to hollowed out walls of sound, catching the attention of not only the local university crowd, but of friends and collaborators in the Fayetteville music scene, Matthew Heckmann and John-Lewis Anderson, who would join the band as full-time members shortly after its release.
The five-piece booked several DIY tours to support the EP, taking their music far from isolated Arkansas to play in almost 20 states and one Canadian province over the next few months. While away, the music stirred up a devout local following for the group, packing out hometown shows that gained notoriety for their raucous energy and intense audience participation (their first headlining show at local flagship venue George’s Majestic Lounge ended with a healthy portion of the audience onstage.) By fall 2015, Brother Moses was making big waves in the land of Walmart, imploring a friend to send some of the band’s demos on a whim to LA-based producer Raymond Richards (Local Natives, Avid Dancer).
Richards, impressed by the strong vocals and energy of the demos, invited the band to re-record them as a proper EP with him behind the boards at his home studio in Rancho Park. Completely broke but relentlessly optimistic, the band looked to their local following for help funding the recording, and used Kickstarter to completely crowdfund the project. Although nearly every member of the band was enrolled in a full schedule of classes, the group collectively played hooky for a week to travel to California. (It should be noted that the band made a return to the University Battle of the Bands, this time triumphant, and used the prize money to pay for gas to make the trip to Los Angeles.)
After a whirlwind week of recording with Richards that included total rewrites of songs and a chance meeting with Jeff Goldblum, the product of this trip was Legends, a six-song EP that Lockhart told Punchland was an “exciting, cathartic self-redemption project.” Legends still builds on the band’s sunny indie-rock foundations, but Richards’ production adds a rugged quality to the edges of the surf-tinged tracks. The project takes a step away from the group’s earlier, lonelier themes to address the consequences and challenges of introspective people experiencing reckless young-adulthood.
After the band's lead single 'Crazy Eyes' was featured in Paste Magazine, Legends caught the attention of Newark, NJ label Missing Piece Records, who signed the band in March. Brother Moses shared the stage with Diplo, BORNS, and more at the annual Springtime of Youth festival in Fayetteville, AR. Starting in May, Brother Moses played more than 30 shows on a self-booked tour spanning the entire United States. The band was featured in American Songwriter and Wild Honey Pie leading up to the release of their EP on August 26. Most recently, Brother Moses was featured in USA Today's outlet FTW.
Only time will tell, but the most exciting new faces in indie rock just might hail from the land of Wal-Mart.