Naomi Hooley and Rob Stroup were mainstays of the local music scene—that was until they decided to pack up and leave town last fall, landing in the drier environs of Truth or Consequences, N.M.
Moody Little Sister’s decision to leave Oregon was not an easy one. But Stroup, a native Portlander who ran the active 8 Ball Studio out of his home, and Hooley, a Pacific Northwesterner who moved from Alaska to pursue music professionally in the lower 48, found it increasingly difficult to afford living in the city they loved while following their artistic paths.
So Stroup left his studio space in the capable hands of Peter Rodocker (who has rechristened it Yellow Room Recording) and started prepping for a new desert outpost: Cosmic Turtle Sound Studios.
But it’s not like they just walked away, never to return. In fact, they took plenty of the Northwest with them, including their first new music since leaving town.
“I Got Soul” was recorded with Pete Droge at his Puzzle Tree Studio on the rural Vashon Island across the sound from Tacoma and Seattle. Bob Dunham of Portland's The Resolectrics contributed bass and guitar layers as Moody Little Sister “finished most of the tracking on this song before we moved to New Mexico,” Hooley and Stroup say, but continued to work on it from their new home.
The single “introduces a new chapter of songwriting for us,” the pair tell. “Since our move to the enchanted land of New Mexico, the new songs haven't stopped coming, and our life here has had a profound effect on our songwriting. Come to find out, we weren't the dark, depressive personalities we thought we were. We just needed some friggin' sunshine! Sunnier, brighter and more soulful songs are coming from living in a small, artsy town, with an abundance of sunshine and inspiration from a Southwest lifestyle, and a supportive community.”
"It's a song about leading with your soul first,” they continue. “Because who doesn't, deep inside, want to be loved for who they really are as a person, instead of what you look like, what planet you came from, how old you are, or how you identify?”
The track’s video is truly a showcase of the new community Moody Little Sister have found down south—and also a reflection of their nascent experience in their new home. “The story of the spaceman, a loner and kind of an odd fellow, looking for a place to belong and finding it in TorC, is a very real experience for many people who have found a place to belong here in our hot spring desert town,” they tell. Showcasing the town’s only brewery, Truth or Consequences Brewing Co. (which is run by a couple of Seattle transplants with “an ‘art first’ vision”), the burgeoning community space and music venue “has started to shape the town, as well as the touring corridor of many musicians looking for a place to land a gig somewhere between Albuquerque and El Paso.”
Penning some 30 songs since their last record, “We are hoping this single is a little seed that will grow into a full-length record. We will start making a record this fall here in our new home town of Truth or Consequences. Between the new recording studio here in town—Cosmic Turtle Sound Studios—and our little home recording set up, we will put Rob at the helm, doing what he does best: making amazing sounding records. We hope to have a spring or summer release for our 2019 tour next summer when we come back through the Pacific Northwest.”