Hi, music lovers! Today we have yet another talented band that has found their escape in the music they make. Grace and Martin (Moji) are a couple that use their songs to heal and deal with their relationship problems. Thanks to that, we now have some amazing and relatable music to show you guys, but before that, let's get to know these great artists better.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Martin (Moji): My name is Martin but Grace calls me Moji. I'm a music producer from Sweden but living in Los Angeles together with Grace.
Grace: Hi, I’m Grace. I work as a consultant in the private equity industry, and I’m an artist and music producer with two projects. My solo project is Nolo Grace, and we have a band together called Grace & Moji. Martin and I started a creative community together called PARASOL, where we organize day-long micro festivals combining art, music, mindfulness, and community experiences. I’m also on the board of a nonprofit called Save the Music with a mission to expand access to music education in schools that currently don’t have programs. We live in Silverlake with our dog Wiley.
2. Do you have any musical background? What is it?
Martin: I grew up making music in my bedroom on the computer because my dad had some recording equipment. I loved and experimented with many different kinds of music spanning dance music, indie/folk, death metal, orchestral/scoring, electronic beats and later also more hip hop leaning beats. At the age of 22 I got a job at a music production company in Sweden called Plan8, and there I made music for TV commercials and brands, and that taught me a lot. Since then I've gone on to work with artists, score video games and work on campaigns for big brands and movies. I'm a person who needs to do different things constantly, I can't just stick to one thing. I get super bored and uninspired. Even music makes me bored sometimes and then I try to have fun with photography and Photoshop etc. I just love creating in general!
Grace: I used to sing and play piano, mostly trained in a classical style. I sang in choirs and an acapella group in high school and then gave it up for a few decades because the idea of putting myself out there in that way made me quite anxious, and I felt a lot more secure going down a more traditional path. I worked in think tanks, on Wall Street, and as a corporate executive and then left that all behind and became nomadic for a period of time before relocating to LA and starting to make music. I started writing songs, learning to play guitar, and producing in my late 30s. It’s been a process, and at the age of 41, I feel like I’m honestly just getting started with finding my voice and figuring out what I want to create. I’d love to learn the harp, so I’ll eventually do that, and my next purchase will be a harmonium.
3. How did you meet/decided to work together?
Martin: We met at a friend's party the summer of 2019. Grace got involved with my friend group and we started bumping into each other at parties, and eventually after a performance she had, we ended up all getting drinks and we talked for a long time. After that we wouldn't stop texting and it led to us dating. Three months later we got married! As a creative couple we faced a lot of struggles and friction, and the project was born out of that. We needed a way to express these things and at the same time come closer to each other as both creatives and husband and wife.
Grace: It’s a funny adage that you end up meeting the right person when you’re least expecting it. I had honestly given up on the idea of getting married. I had been in long-term relationships and it was all beautiful, but I experienced many disappointments in love and just felt like I was happy being single. When Martin and I first got together, I felt pretty cagey about the idea of getting into something serious, but it ended up feeling right. Like in all relationships, we had issues to work through, but all of the issues we had in our relationship mirrored issues we needed to resolve within ourselves, and the way I see it is that we were foils to help each other on our own growth path. We made it through rocky moments, captured some of that in the songs we’re putting out now, and now things are pretty smooth. Hopefully, we’ll still have things to write about haha.
4. What inspired your song "Monster"?
Martin: "Monster" was inspired by a drunken rage, us arguing about something. We had to overcome a lot of obstacles in our relationship and this particular song is about anger and other negative emotions that we live with. The song and project as a whole is about the growth we see as individuals and as a couple.
Grace: I have this moment etched in my mind. I’m sitting on the couch feeling pretty stupid, and Martin is looking at me like he doesn’t even know me, like I’m some kind of monster. I tend to be pretty level-headed, but I’ve had my moments, and the emotion I have to wrestle with most is anger. I’ve realized that when I repress my feelings and go against myself, it will end up coming out in some way. I’m working on being more mindful about that - doing the things I want to do, not hiding it if I’m displeased, etc. so that I can live with a greater sense of freedom.
5. What is your song writing process? What inspires you in your music?
Martin: Often there is some initial musical idea in the form of a voice note on my phone, either it's me playing a guitar riff or "beatboxing" a song idea. Then when inspiration randomly strikes we'll suddenly figure out what a song should be about, and then we just write it. Grace usually starts by outputting a ton of lyric ideas, just anything that comes to her with the concept in mind. She'll output like a full page! And then we go through them and I usually start hearing melodies while reading certain lines, and then we start piecing it all together. It's a really awesome process that I prefer over the more traditional methods. As a professional producer and songwriter I've been in countless songwriting sessions and I've seen most ways of working. Our method might not work that well in a room with many people, but for us it's the only way and how we get to the truth and core of the song's message without getting caught up in "it needs to be this or that".
Grace: It’s a pretty fun process. Until this point, I’ve felt inspired to write about our lives, our struggles, the learnings. At the moment, I feel like we’ve pushed through a lot of those things, and I’d love to write some dreamier and more abstract songs, songs that capture a feeling more than the story. That might be after the album, so it might be a while until those happen.
6. Do you have any upcoming projects or collaborations that you are excited about? Can you give us a sneak peak into your music's future?
We have more songs coming including our debut EP! At the same time we've been writing lots for a future album and even some pretty unique covers of songs we love.
7. Any advice you would like to give to your listeners/ aspiring artists?
Martin: First of all: follow your heart when it comes to your art. Don't make stuff just so that other people can like it. You should be proud of your work and feel like this is something that represents you. In this industry it is WAY to easy to get caught up in the trends and simply trying to please listeners with the shortest attention span in history. I think because there is SO MUCH content, SO MUCH music, it all just turns into noise unless you stand out. How do you stand out? Be YOU.
And secondly, if you are trying to work as a music producer or songwriter, learn to separate client work and your own art. The industry always wants you to focus on client work and to make what "works". That's totally fine but don't get it mixed up too much with your art, because I promise that there is more identity in your very own unique artistic ideas than the industry is "looking for". Many people who get caught up in the grind of songwriting and producing for others struggle with their own artistic identity and their identity becomes the helper of others, and suddenly you're not sure what making music for yourself even means anymore. Speaking from experience here. So separate them, allow yourself to be both the person making the poppiest songs, AND the person who allows for more bold ideas to exist in your art. And after a while, the later is what you're known for and that creates a sweet spot in your career.
Grace: Listen to your inner voice. Stay true to you. Put in the work. It’s okay to take breaks. Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on your own process. Build and maintain a sense of inner peace. That’s what’s coming to me now, anyway.
Nobody could have said it better. Whether you are thinking of starting a musical career or already did and you're just trying to find your style, remember to stay true to yourself and make the music you want to make and share it with the world. The right people will always find it.
Until Next Time,