Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mokai's Latest Distraction: Fingerpicking Blues Artist Releases New CD

Equal parts activist and artist, Mokai has been serving audiences of all kind with some of the finest folk blues and fingerpicking guitar work to be found on the West Coast. Those audiences will be delighted to find that he's just completed a new CD "Any Distraction'll Do" that he's celebrating with a concert in Berkeley this week. Fresh from the Far-West Conference and primed to perform in support of the CD, Mokai answered a few questions about his work.

Q: Can you talk about the process of recording this time around?
The recording of the album was a particular good experience. I worked with Jon Evans, who is an excellent engineer and a great musician and acoustic bass player. He was part of the Tori Amos band for years, and worked on her albums. So for me it was the experience of working in a really professional environment, with the best equipment and, most importantly, someone who knew how to make things happen without wasting time or spinning my wheels.

Q: How did you go about choosing these particular songs? Are they from a span of years or were they written together?
I had been working on these songs for some time. I was thinking of home recording, when I heard about Kickstarter. So I was able to raise some of the funds there, and get folks activated anticipating the release. In the final stages of preparation a few new songs emerged that became part of the final collection.

Q: You've a CD release party—what can your audience expect? Any guest musicians or surprises? 
I'm excited to be sharing my CD release party with Professor Burns. We met through friends a few years ago, and I've become enamored of his vibe. Very rootsy and smart. I'll be accompanied on my set by upright bassist Joshua Zucker, who's been playing with me on and off over the years. Those who are familiar with my music know they'll be hearing some of my signature fingerpicking, including a few solo instrumental guitar pieces. I have some easy-going songs, and then some that have some challenging lyrics, hopefully get people to ponder some ideas, and enjoy my exploration of the craft of songwriting.

Q: Will you be touring in support of the CD? What do the next 6 months look like?
I'm most eager to play house concerts, so anyone who hosts or knows anyone who does, get in touch. Also, those who want to try out hosting a party with a concert in the middle. I'm hoping to take it on the road in 2012 to the Pacific NW and the SW, with a few things on the East Coast next summer. I'll make sure that people who follow my Facebook page know what's up. Thanks, let's keep the music going.

CD release party for the new album “Any Distraction'll Do” 8PM, Thursday, November 3rd, Subterranean Arthouse, 2179 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA. With Prof Burns! Buy advance tix here, and get a free CD at the show:

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