Let's talk about LOVE
With the abundant circulation of mainstream films and media, ideas of love and romance have been warped and fuelled by these idealistic portrayals. Duo Matthew Levy and Moshe Topol of MOSHE, have come together to to combat these unrealistic representations and articulate the genuine trials and tribulations of Moshe’s past relationships and his subsequent emotional developments into a five track EP entitled, Love, in Slow Motion. The EP is also congenially accompanied by a 15-minute short film — made in collaboration with Veronica Charmont — that portrays the many unique embodiments of love and romance whilst simultaneously reflecting on the various honest and uncompromising effects love imposes onto us.
The two came together by chance, having taken the same classes together in their Music Production course at RMIT. Moshe credits the success of their collaboration to chemistry and trust. “The reason I enjoyed pushing ourselves more is because we both have faith that the other one is doing their part. I’m not an instrumentalist, he’s not a lyricist. He’s not a singer, I’m not a producer. So it’s very complimentary.”
The event will begin at 8pm on the 13th of December (Thursday) with an opening act, Soft Powder, who the pair had also met in their course with his first live performance, then followed by the screening of Love, in Slow Motion.
Could you start by explaining the event and what it will be comprising of?
Matthew Levy: The event starts with a friend of me and Moshe’s. Soft Powder will set the vibe and the mood for the screening. He’s literally the sweetest, nicest human being. So humble and so down to earth. We’re really excited that he’ll also be playing that night. We directed this fifteen-minute film with a new friend Veronica Charmont. It encompasses this whole EP and we shot the whole thing on super 8 film.
Being from the south side, what does having a new venue venue like Classic Southside mean for you?
Matthew: The space is brand new and we’ll be one of the first live performances there. It’s a nice small space similar to the Gaso’s upstairs and definitely more intimate.
Moshe Topol: This is from the bottom of my heart— none of this is an exaggeration. I grew up at the Classic Cinema. I had birthdays there, saw all the Harry Potters there during the premiers. And I went to drama school because I wanted to be an actor because I saw movies at the Classic. It’s now very very surreal to have my little childhood boy self be like ‘oh this is happening’. It’s very surreal.
Matthew: For me, I’ve lived in the south my entire life. I love music and culture and I’ve had to go to the North almost twice a week to see music. It’s just a shame that things in the South don’t exist in the same way they do in the North because there are people in the south who crave that culture and crave that live music and want it to be the same progressive but not just punk rock. They want good progressive, experimental live music and that’s why we chose Classic Southside. We feel like we have the space to put whatever we want into it.
How did the both of you end up making music together?
Matthew: Well last semester at Uni, we actually took the exact same classes together and I found out he was a vocalist. I have a mini studio and so I had invited him to come round to mine sometime. We had a similar vision and by the end of the first session we were already had the basis for one of the songs. We were all on the same page, we didn’t want to just make pop, we wanted to make something that was unique and its own vibe. I’d call it ambient pop.
Moshe: This story I really love and hold dear. I have collaborated with producers in the past and that has not been a rewarding experience. I won’t get too much into that but they were very fixed in their ways and it had kind of blemished my idea of what music was. So then, I’m in class in uni and Matt shows me his Bandcamp and I was obviously impressed. I then sent him a clip of me singing a Jorja Smith cover (On My Mind). That song literally got me through my break up a year ago. And he goes “come over” and he had the composition for what eventually would be ‘Delight Me’, one of the two singles. I had written a song and it just synchronised. It was a serendipitous moment where the music that he had created perfectly spotted the song and the melody and the lyrics that we had come up with.
Matt and I are very fortunate that we have such a trusting and symbiotic relationship because he is a wizard when it comes to composition and production and my part of the project is the lyrics, melody, writing and the singing.
So we were sitting there at the end of the day, I look at him in the face after just listening to the first demo. And I say to him, “Matt, people sometimes call me dramatic so I’m going to preface what I’m going to say with that,” and then there was a pause, “please can we make music together for the rest of our lives”. It felt so good.
Were there any artists that you felt influenced you in the production of the EP in terms of sound or themes?
Matthew: I’d say Blood Orange, they’re a big influence. I listen to every genre there is and I’m influenced by a lot of different things. I feel like experimental music influenced me a lot when I was making this. I couldn’t boil it down to one artist but I feel like there are elements of a lot of different things in it. It’s hard to narrow it down to one thing.
Moshe: I’d say that the artists that I’m listening to, let’s say, Jorja Smith, James Blake, Frank Ocean. All these people, at the end of it, they’re just very honest. Through good and bad, they name everything. Even if it’s uncomfortable, they’re just say it how it is. That honesty inspires me to be as honest as I can. And the more honest I am with myself, when you then listen to it, you’ll be like oh maybe I felt that as well. If I make stuff up, it’s very disconnected and detached. It doesn’t feel right.
How did you decide to produce and direct the film that’ll accompany the EP?
Matthew: One day we had finished the EP completely with two main singles and three poetry interlude singles and we were talking and went “yeah let’s make a film clip for the whole EP”. We thought about how could we release this and capture people’s attention. A lot of things just get lost and we didn’t want to put all this effort into our EP and have it just get lost. So we decided to make a short film which people can speak about.
Veronica Charmont is the drummer of another band and studies visual art at VCA. She had really wanted to start making films, so we said let’s do this. She has a super 8 film camera and we had seen the stuff she made for school and they looked really cool. So, we went for it and trusted her— put faith in her.
All three of us brought something unique to the film and it felt really good working together and bringing our own creative edge. It was the first time for all of us to be directors and me behind the camera. It felt good.
Moshe: It was a very in the moment decision. It was inevitable that we would create a visual accompaniment. I came over one day and he said, let’s make another song. And I’m flicking through my notes on my phone and I had all these poems, which weren’t really song lyrics. They were poems. And I recorded them and Matt sets music to the poems. And then we had three pieces of poetry that had music accompaniment and we had the songs. We were thinking about what to do with it so we decided to turn the whole thing into a film with five chapters. When I was interacting with people I never thought that it’d make a great movie one day. Haha. So when I looked at each chapter, I realised this literally followed me from one break up to the next, from falling in love and falling out of love. So it was easy to stitch it together, from beginning middle then end.
So would the film almost be following your relationships?
Moshe: Yes, although they are represented with people. I am in two relationships in the film, and there’s a couple, there’s two friends and there’s one other person dealing with a break up. I’m really grateful for all our friends who showed up and exceeded expectations and delivered. They did such a good job and we smashed it out so quickly. To have had that support from our friends was invaluable.
Would you be able to provide a general synopsis of the film.
Matthew: The film’s about different relationships and we were trying to capture really unique relationships and a lot of the relationships in the film are about real relationships of people who are actually dating. We wanted to make it as real as possible and we were trying to capture something that people are actually going through. We went and shot in different locations with a lot of different casts, who were all fantastic. It’s incredible. The filming of it came together nicely. Everyone stood up and brought their A game.
Moshe: I would say, or what I’ve been telling people is, that the narrative trajectory of the story is pretty much the disintegration of relationship and losing love then having to grieve that love. Then being jaded and being fearful, then working towards finding and reviving and believing in love again. I feel like on my own journey, it’s taken a long time.
One of my favourite chapter of the film is ‘Friend Love’ and it’s about two friends expressing how much they genuinely care for each other. It’s nice because that’s where I am in life right now where being single has allowed me to consolidate and deepen my friendships.
Finally, the theme of the EP is in its eponymous title- Love. How do you feel about the EP and film’s presentation of Love, and your understanding of it?
Matthew: Moshe will have a lot more things to say about the themes of love in the EP. All the lyrics and all the words are written by him and are really his story. It is what people need to hear in the 21st century about love. All the things you see in the movies that portray love and fuck you up. The film is basically saying all of that is bullshit but it’s also very very personal.
Moshe: This EP was written since I was 19 and I just turned 24, so it has taken a long time to live through everything that has been written about, some more painful than others. I guess, essentially, it’s me navigating love and having my heart and trust shattered and having to recover. And ideally, when you’re listening to it, you’ll be able to go, ‘Oh, he’s talking about what I’m feeling at the moment’. Anyone who’s been in a breakup or experienced something difficult will be able to understand and learn from it. The album is definitely therapeutic.
Love, In Slow Motion is premiering at Classic Southside on Thursday Dec 13, with an opening set by Soft Powder and a closing Q and A with Matthew and Moshe.
See the event HERE