Skip to main content
A Magazine for Sheffield

Moby Dickless "Our songs are all based on stories"

We asked the Manchester-based post-punk-jazz three piece about who they are, what we can see inside their sound – and what to expect from them in 2023.

Moby Dickless band photo

A Manchester-based three piece, comprised of Fred, Sloth and Maria, are steadily rising from the bold, post-punk noise lake. If you’re looking for sound-makers and raconteurs settled somewhere between Black Midi and Massive Attack, you’re bound to like Moby Dickless.

We asked the band a few questions about what they get up to, who inspires them and the feelings their music evokes.

Hello! Where are you all from and what do you guys get up to outside of Moby Dickless?

Hello, cheers for having us. Fred is from Nottingham and is a very distant relative of Little John (not the rapper). You can find him at the discount aisle in Lidl or playing drums for his other band (boo) – which doesn’t currently have a name, but previous names have been Shrimp and Death By Vending Machine.

Sloth is from Dorset and is proudly half Cornish (the other half is from Levenshulme). He likes hiking, collecting rocks and pretending he knows all about them, selling walking boots and other outdoor apparel. Sloth is also currently ranked 268 in the UK for Tetris (loser).

Maria is from Portugal and is trying her best to pay the bills through guitar. Other than that, she’s a massive fan of jigsaws, basketball and loves to complain about British food and weather.

Funky band name! Where did it come from?

Sloth tried reading Moby Dick and got to the chapter where Herman was figuring out whether a whale is a mammal or a fish. Mr Melville decided it was a fish. Sloth got angry and proclaimed, “Moby Dick? More like Moby Dickless!”, threw the book on the ground and then thought, “That’s a pretty funny band name.” Sadly it stuck.

You guys have quite a gritty post-punk sound. Which musicians are you currently drawing your inspiration from and what sort of tone do you want to create within it?

We all like different bands, and the bands we like are constantly changing. At the moment, we like this jazz dude from Portugal called Carlos Bica and his band Azul. Massive Attack was an early influence for us and continues to find our way into our tunes.

In terms of environment, our songs are all based on stories. Whatever the story’s saying, we try and create the right vibe for that and aim to bring the audience as deep into that world as possible. Our sound’s been evolving over the years and hopefully will continue to do so.

You’ve recently released a new single, ‘My Unfortunate Daughter’ featuring Spencer Mason, which surpassed 1,000 streams in November. How does it feel and how did the collaborative process work?

This one’s from Spence…

Personally, it feels great. It’s the most exciting collaborative project I’ve done for a while. I can’t speak for the Moby squad, but our process together was a complete joy. I don’t feel like I’ve worked with many musicians who wanted to pay such clear attention, and at times homage, to the lyric within the instrumentation. I feel like I learned a lot, even if I didn’t understand half the terms Maria and Sloth were throwing about when they went into these theory chats to perfect the grungy, insomnia jazz feeling within the sounds. It was just a joy to be asked to write, and a joy to watch the Dickless do the same in response, with so much care.

If anyone wants to work with us in the future, please refer to this wonderful review.

The story of ‘My Unfortunate Daughter’ is told by a parent explaining psychosis symptoms to a child. Where did this concept stem from?

Again, one for the lyricist, Spencer Mason…

As someone who’s lived alongside quite extreme mental health issues my whole life, it’s always been on my mind as to how that might affect the potential of having my own children, especially to disorders/diagnosis that seem to have strong genetic links. In some ways I was just trying to write a poem, slightly fictionalised to keep the emotional distance safe, that would explain this guilt of tainted genetics to my kid, if I ever had one and they were unfortunate enough to carry those genes. Maybe there’s a bit of me trying to say to myself what I wished someone had said to me too. Writing can make a good space for that.

What’s in store for Moby Dickless? The end of 2022 was big for you guys in terms of gigs. Are there more to come?

2023 is gonna be an exciting and busy year for us. Our aim is to release as much music as we can and hopefully our favourite producer, fourth member and absolute babe, Greg Scholes can hack it.

We’ve got a few shows coming up. One at The Snug in Atherton on 25 February, another as-of-yet dateless single release in February at Deaf Institute’s brand-new venue, and another in March in Leeds at the Wardrobe with the band Gloria.

We’re also living out one of our dreams and hosting a jam night at our favourite venue, Band on the Wall [in Manchester], on 23 February. We’ve also got a short documentary coming out very soon and a song about birds coming out in about a month and a half.

Learn more

The music of Moby Dickless is available via Bandcamp, including latest single 'My Unfortunate Daughter'.

by Victoria Ruck (she/they)
Filed under: 

More Music

More Music