Today Toronto-based musician Keith Mosfet releases his brand new single “Breathe” off his upcoming EP of the same name. He sat down to chat with RX Music and detailed his love of home-studio recording, the importance of experimentation in music and why you should always keep your 200 year old sheepskin bagpipes properly oiled.
RXM: Thanks for your time today Keith! You just released a record in November and now have another upcoming EP, so you’ve been pretty busy!
KM: Yeah, I’ve been releasing quite a bit of music, I’ve been recording a lot of music lately. I released the first track from this EP that I’m releasing right now about a month ago but that was a bit of a teaser track and this will be the main single from this EP called “Breathe.” I just got a vinyl recording of it today so, feeling pretty good about it.
RXM: Have you test played it yet?
KM: I have not. I just got it, I came right here!
RXM: From listening to some of your other discography, “Superficial Hypocrite,” your track from 2019, to some of your older recordings, you’ve gone from acoustic to lo-fi garage…You’ve taken a lot of different sonic departures— how would you describe where you are now?
KM: I feel like my first album was all over the place cause I was just kind of writing a lot and recording and wasn’t really thinking about it, but I feel this EP is very cohesive. All the songs I’m doing right now fit one little chapter quite well. This EP sounds like kind of indie rock, some kind of post-punk psych stuff. I just kind of put in a lot of stuff I thought was interesting.
RXM: Sometimes when music doesn’t necessarily fit into one typical genre box, fans come up with interesting descriptions or commentary. Can you think of any funny or memorable commentary you’ve gotten from a fan that stuck with you?
KM: Funny commentary….I once had a girl ask me for a vile of my blood, but that’s not really funny commentary. That was like 2 years ago, we had just played a show…we’ll come back to this question (laughs).
RXM: We can revisit. You’re working under your stage name Keith Mosfet. But as far as I know, that’s actually not your real name, however eerily similar.
KM: That is not my real name. My real name is Keith Moffat. “Mosfet” stands for “metal-oxide-silicone-field-effect-transistor.” It’s a type of transistor that’s used in high powered applications and switching circuits. I studied electronic engineering, I can also ride my bicycle super fast down hills!
RXM: So in university when people were like, “Have you met Ted?” You responded, “Well actually the name’s “Metal-Oxide etcetera.”
RXM: And you decided to keep that moniker within music?
KM: It’s was kind of an accident. I was with another band and I was trying to make music and it was already kind of my nickname on social media for like years so I kind of went with it. I was looking at bands like Unknown Mortal Orchestra or solo acts that had cool names and I just really couldn’t think of one, so I’m like, “I’ll just use my own name, it is my own word play.”
RXM: In terms of promoting yourself independently, that can often feel like a full time job, just because there’s so many platforms you have to constantly update— what’s the main message you’re trying to get across to your fans with your music?
KM: I feel like with social media or with band pages, they always feel like they’re trying to sell you something. When you look at someone’s page it’s always like “Go check out this! Go do that!” They’re always trying to get something from people, so I’ve tried to make, well at least my Instagram, just be me fucking around. Sometimes, I do plug it, but I also fuck around a lot and do stupid filters and be myself cause it is still my personal page. I feel like that’s a little bit more attractive.
RXM: So all your recordings are done in your very own basement! Tell me about ‘Chez Keith.’
KM: ‘Casa de Keith’…’Chez Keith,’ I like that…I have a really crummy basement apartment and I can make cool sounds happen. Plus I get to do it whenever I want. So the problem with recording at a regular studio is you spend thousands of dollars working up to one day where you’ve built up to go do it and then you know, your voice kind of hurts that weekend so you’re not gonna sound great and then you’re fucked.
RXM: Seems easy to romanticize working on music in your own place, you could record in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning?
KM: Its fun. It’s a lot more fun to do it this way than it was ever doing it in the studios. I think it comes out in the music, that I’m just having a good time. I’m mixing and I’m like “Ouu”— I get this idea and I’m just thinking about it and I walk around and I listen to it, I’m just doing my thing.
RXM: And mixing you like to do yourself as well?
KM: Yes. So my first record I mixed the entire thing myself. This record, I mixed it all myself and then I exported the stems and I brought it to a studio in Hamilton called Threshold and I worked with my friend who works there, Michael Keire. We then bounced the tape and we got rid of some of the bad sounding noise and stuff, got the vibe exactly where we wanted it and we did that with the whole record. Did it in like a few hours. That was the last record and the one I just did as well. I did record an entire other EP that I’ll release probably next year and I just finished that.
RXM: I was listening some of your older discography and then I listened to “It’s You,” (2020) and there’s that dirty bass driving the song along. I was immediately reminded of “Welcome to Paradise” by Green Day. There’s that interlude there where the drummer and bassist just go full force and drive the whole song home. Evidently your older stuff sounds quite different. I almost wouldn’t necessarily think it was the same artist…
KM: Yeah, I have this one sarcastic country song and if you heard that one and “It’s You,” you wouldn’t think it’s the same person at all. I just like writing songs and mixing things together. With that bass tone in particular though, all we had was this kind of tiny Fender rumble. This like $200, not that great of a bass amp, but it had really cool cleans, so we did that and I rented this Soulfood bass pedal cause I wanted to get more balls –more aggressive…
RXM: More umph?
KM: More umph out of the bass and so we had this Soulfood and we ended up just buying it after. It was just like, “Oh that tone is fantastic.”
RXM: The musicians that played with you on this EP, they’re part of the band?
KM: Yeah, they were in my old band and then somehow they ended up in my new band.
RXM: So do you have any upcoming shows?
KM: I’m playing Ireland. I’m gonna do some shows there.
RXM: Wow, how did you swing that?
KM: Through Blowtorch Records asking me if I wanted to come play Ireland and then play a bunch of shows with them.
RXM: That’s a DM I’d like to receive.
KM: Pretty sick DM.
RXM: Is the whole band heading out there then?
KM: Our bass player is going to come and we’re going to have someone else sit on drums.
RXM: I caught the end of your show at the Dakota Tavern back in January…and you guys have a hell of a lot of energy live! It seemed like that was the way you envisioned the songs to be played. Loud and in an intimate venue.
KM: I have like 30 songs so for that kind of show I purposefully chose the songs that were really higher energy cause I felt like playing a punk show that day and so you caught me in a mood where I wanted to play punk. But if you get me in a different mood, I’m not gonna play like that. (laughs)
RXM: Can you think of a band who’s inspired you in that way– sort of curating songs to the space? Is that something that you consider when you have a show?
KM: Hmm, no but it should be. I just kind of did it. I do that but I never really thought of it as a thing until right at this moment. I really like just taking different ideas and songs and putting them together and kind of finding my own sound. On this record I just finished, I had this indie-acoustic kinda thing and I made this male/female back and forth vocal thing and I mixed in this drum machine samba beat thing. Somehow I managed to mix in a bunch of different genres but make it sound fantastic together and don’t know how. But I like that, I think in the future I’ll do a lot more drum machine stuff, I think it’s pretty cool.
RXM: So when you said you were playing in Ireland, there’s a fantastic live local music scene out there. Any artists you’re familiar with that you’d like to play with out there?
KM: I don’t really know anything about it. I have an Irish passport, but I’ve never been.
RXM: Well that’s a pretty valid right of passage I’d say.
KM: Yea its like, I got the passport, I gotta go now.
RXM: Okay, they don’t have to be Irish, any artist you could share the stage with? And a venue to match, to paint this picture.
KM: John Lennon. Paupers Pub down the road (Bloor Street and Bathurst), with a bowler hat with perfume and a single plum inside that hat and that’s the venue.
RXM: Very nice. I read that once upon a time you used to play the bagpipes? Would that ever make an introduction?
KM: I have not played the bagpipes in a long time but that was my first instrument, yes. I’ve thought about it but it hasn’t come up. The music kind of chooses the instruments. Like, I have asthma, that is not going to be fun. (laughs) The bagpipes I have are my great grandmother’s 200 year old bagpipes with like sheepskin and if you don’t oil them and stuff, the inside is probably dust, would probably kill you if you tried to blow into it.
RXM: Noted. So, your single “Breathe” is out March 12th. When can we expect the full EP?
KM: I’m going to release the other two songs over the summer or probably fall. And then I’ll be done with this EP and then I’ll be gearing up for the other EP that I finished.
RXM: And when is the Ireland show?
KM: April, in Galway.
RXM: Awesome, that’s coming up fast. Anything else you’d like to add about your single or the upcoming EP?
KM: Oh! I only made 100 of these vinyl, $20 CAD. It’s half red, half yellow. Get it while its hot!
RXM: Sounds good. Thanks for chatting with me! If I can’t make the Ireland show, I know I can grab some cool vinyl.