MOJA

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By John Glynn

Moja are a two piece Japanese rock band. Haruhiko Higuchi (bassist) and Masumi Sakurai (drummer) exude an infectious type of oomph, something that was also associated with their previous four piece band, Gorilla. In 2006, Gorilla broke up. Undeterred, Higuchi and Sakurai vowed to continue on as a duo, laying the groundwork for what would quickly become Moja’s signature sound. They both agreed that keeping the bass-drum route was the best option; this decision seems to have been absolutely merited. They began on the streets and in budget studios, quickly moving on to Tokyo live houses. The band rapidly gained a reputation, people spoke flatteringly about Moja’s unusual tendency to set up and play slap bang in the middle of an audience.
When Higuchi and Sakurai decided to re-form as Moja, Higuchi stepped forward and took over as lead singer. Their high-speed rise to success seems to indicate that there is something rather special about Moja. The guys won the Japanese stage of the 2007 Global Battle of the Bands (GBOB). In the final round of the tournament, they competed in the UK against representatives from twenty four countries. They placed a very respectable third position. People, music critics included, began to sit up and take notice. All of a sudden the world was their oyster, doors opened up all over the place. Moja performed at Japan’s Summer Sonic Festival, Canada’s Envol et Macadam & NXNE, Italy’s Italia Wave, as well as hot spots in The Big Apple, Liverpool, and Hong Kong. Their debut album “Moja” was released in February of 2009. Shortly after the release the guys went on to achieve a significant milestone in their career, on August of the same year the band performed on the Side Show Marine Stage of Summer Sonic. This is a stage for various indie acts to showcase their talents.
The highly energetic band will land in Korea very soon, no doubt hoping to continue making sonic indentations on their dedicated Asian fan base. It’s rather incredible that two people, with just a drum and bass, can create such an immense wall of beautiful noise. Moja’s upcoming Seoul gigs will be their first time performing here. Both shows were arranged by Korean rock band Apollo 18. Moja and Apollo 18 formed a type of musical alliance when they performed together last year at the world famous SXSW music festival in Texas.

Below is some information for Moja’s upcoming Seoul concerts:
March 18 @ Club FF — 7:30 pm start / 20,000 won at the door
Moja, No. 1 Korean, Juck Juck Grunzie, The Magicians & Gravity

March 19 @ Salon Badabie — 7 pm start / 20,000 won at the door
Moja, Apollo 18, National Pigeon Unity (This will be National Pigeon Unity’s last gig before they begin their mandatory military service).

Moja’s new album can be downloaded from their website: www.hellomoja.com

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