Songs without words for Moksha


A WIGAN band is following in the footsteps of some of rock’s most trailblazing and imaginative acts in choosing not to use vocals to accompany their dark soundtrack to everyday life.

Instrumental five-piece Moksha have spent around 18 months developing their sound, which brings together a huge range of influences but is based around post-rock acts such as Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky.

The band, made up of guitarist Rob MacDonald and Andrew Hesketh, bassist Andrew Smith, Al Grundy on percussion, glockenspiel, synthesisers and trumpet and drummer Rory MacDonald, quickly decided on a music-only approach after developing their sound spontaneously in rehearsal.

The band has since made its first forays into the live arena and is preparing to head into the studio next month to commit its first group of tracks to disc.

Guitarist Rob said: “I decided to start a band when I moved back to Wigan from Birmingham and I already knew the guys so it was just bringing everyone together.

“It was really strange, we started rehearsing and everything just fell into place. No one made any deliberate decision, someone just had some chords and we started rehearsing around them.

“We still leave things quite open because we all listen to a huge range of music, but we’ve also now started to work out which songs go well together and which need to be left on the backburner.

“When we started we actually left parts for a singer if we got one, but at our first gig people said we should carry on.

“We’ve all dabbled in instrumental music before and we all listen to a lot of music without vocals, so we just padded out the songs further.”

The band juggles an enormous list of styles and influences, with Al adding trumpet playing derived from his time in Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra, Rory bringing an interest in prog rock and Andrew contributing his experiences in a couple of indie bands from the Wigan scene.

The band will head into the studio at The Old Courts, where Rob is based, and possibly also the Scout Hut recording studio in Wigan to lay down the drum tracks for its forthcoming recording, using modern technology to cut down the cost of creating EPs.

Rob said: “These days you only really need the studio to do the drums, you can record guitars by plugging them into a laptop. We will just use our recording time to lay down as many drum tracks as we can.”

The group made a memorable live debut at the Gathering in the Woods festival in the Lake District and have since performed a hometown show at The Old Courts.

With their unusual name derived from an Aldous Huxley novel the band’s music takes a look at the more unsettling aspects of modern life and also contains a second, spiritual meaning.

Rob said: “I think Moksha is one of the medicines in the Huxley novel Andrew Smith was reading. At first we weren’t sure about it but now it’s grown on us.

“It’s also the name of a mantra which is also quite appropriate because we have some drone aspects.

“Our songs are about daily life and its feelings of clockwork, of going round and round. We do have some uplifting parts but the music it’s mostly minor key and I’m not going to kid anyone and say we’re a happy band.”