[Interview] Exclusive interview with Derek “Mo” Moore from Nektar

Dear Readers, we have the honor and the pleasure of being able to interview one of the historical bands of European Prog, Nektar, one of the longest-running groups formed in 1969 and still in activity today.

First of all, thank you for taking the time for this interview, how are you?

Mo – Doing well, thanks. I just got back Monday from New Jersey where we were rehearsing, brushing up our existing music and writing new material. We get together every week on Zoom (I live now in North Carolina) and I go to New Jersey once a month for a musical get-together.

The members of the original band were British but the project was born in Hamburg. What do you remember of those times and where did the choice to propose Progressive Rock come from?

Mo – We lived in Hamburg, at the Hotel Pacific Annex, at that time in 1969. Our lead guitarist, Colin Edwards, left the band we had, the band was named Prophecy. I sent a telegram to Roye, who was in Sweden, and asked him if he would like to join us. He said yes and I sent him the money to get to Hamburg. Roye had jammed extensively with Ron at the Star Club and we knew him from his band Rainbows. After he arrived I booked us a gig at a youth center. We turned up and jammed the whole night and it went down really well; note we had never played together as a band before. We decided if it went down badly we would tell the reporters we were called Pollen, and if it went down well it would be Nektar with a K as it looked harder, like the music we were rocking.

The history of the band has been characterized by continuous lineup changes. How did they affect the compositional process and what did the members who entered bring to the sound?

MoThe original band was together through December 20th of 1976. The band was prolific and produced many albums during that period as well as live albums. On December 20th when Roye left to go back to Europe we were living and working in New Jersey in the USA. We had to find a guitarist fast as we had a New Year’s Eve gig and needed the money to live. We auditioned over 200 guitarists and we hired Dave Nelson as guitarist and vocalist and made an album, “Magic is a Child,” and toured extensively. Roye came back in 1979 and did his album “Man in the Moon,” based on music we wrote together in Munich in 1979. After that this band split up; there was a 21-year layoff until Nektar reformed with the original lineup of Roye Albrighton, Mo Moore, Ron Howden, Taff Freeman and Mick Brockett in 2001 for Nearfest, which was a great event for us. After announcing we were back together Nearfest sold out in 45 minutes, great concert. We then did a European tour and I left again and was replaced by Randy Dembo, who is in the present band (we have 2 bass players) They recorded “Evolution” with songs by Roye with help from Ron, the only other original member. In the time between 2004 and when Roye died in 2016 the music recorded was all from Roye, with only sporadic touring.

Are there any anecdotes or details you want to remember from the band’s early years, something to tell to old and new fans?

Mo- We were a Jam band and enjoyed playing anywhere anytime at our peak we were playing 200+ gigs a year. The only big tour we really enjoyed was touring Europe with Frank Zappa, which for me was the pinnacle tour, and helped break the band to new audiences. We recorded “Remember the Future” August 12th to the 16th and then straight on the Zappa tour August 18th to September 14th – 15 dates across Europe that were incredible.

Your last reunion led to the production of the album “The Other Side” which we enjoyed and positively reviewed on our webzine. How would you describe the album?

Mo – The album is a love song about The Other Side starting with a guy meeting his significant other in “I’m on Fire.” In “SkyWriter” he’s writing love letters to her in the sky hoping she can see them. Then there’s the Long Journey to the Other Side (“Love is/The Other Side”), floating in space (“Drifting”) traveling to The Devil’s Door (“Devils Door”), seeing the Light Beyond with dead voices (“The Light Beyond”), the introspective of “Look Through Me” and finally, “Y Can’t I B More like U 2020,” where he is looking for answers. The whole album is a story – a concept. We really enjoyed making this; all of the basic tracks were live in the studio, which has always been our method of recording.

During the long career that has exceeded 50 years of activity, you have always continued to publish music. How has your sound evolved over time?

Mo – I think the sound has evolved pretty well to create all of the albums we have done. I think the latest album should be considered a follow up to “Recycled,” the last epic concept album we did. The feel is 1978, right where it should be, and the continuance is clear to hear. Every album we have ever done has been different from the last but has still had the same “feel,” and this one is no different

The music market has changed a lot in recent years. What advice do you want to give to the new artists entering the current music scene?

Mo – Do what you do best. Try not to make your music fit in, rather play your style to the best of your ability until it sounds right for you. It will either work or not, but at least you will like it.

Unfortunately, the recent global Covid pandemic has forced many artists to reschedule live events. What are your plans for the immediate future?

Mo – We will go out to the East Coast and Midwest in February/March/April and then forward into the New Year 2022. We hope to be careful and not get COVID, but I think the mutations are getting less and less deadly even thought they are more contagious.

Regarding your studio activity, do you have any new projects planned?

Mo – We are currently writing new stuff for a new album. This will also include music that was left over from 1978 with a 2022 spin on it.

We leave the last question as usual in our interviews free, if there is any topic you want to talk about that has not been proposed in the previous questions, feel free to talk about it here.

Mo – I think we covered it all; however, any time you want to come back to me with more questions, I will be here to help you.

Special thanks to Derek “Mo” Moore from Nektar for their availability, wishing the band the best for the continuation of their long and important career studded with historical Progressive Rock albums.

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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