Published Jan 21, 2020Although Toronto garage-rockers the Mooks formed just three years ago, the trio's respective careers span over a decade. Vocalist and guitarist Mookie Morris was even a Top 5 finalist on Canadian Idol in 2008.
So what makes the Mooks stand apart from its members' past projects? As Morris tells Exclaim!, it's their shared drive. "I think we all had a sense of urgency when this project started. We're not the spry, early 20-year-olds that we used to be," he says.
"It feels like this is the last stand. It feels like every week I see a musician I know step back or do other things, like jingle writing, starting a podcast or working on the business side. Collectively, we've always felt in the minority of thinking that we're going to keep chasing this dream, regardless of how irresponsible we are with the rest of our lives. I don't want to call it a desperate hunger, but it's at that stage for us in our lives and careers. We're all really committed to make it work."
Morris and bassist Owen Norquay met at their day job. Although aware that they were both musicians, they initially had no desire to play together. "We were two jaded guys who were like, 'you're a musician? Oh, good luck!,'" Morris laughs. The two finally struck up a friendship and Morris sent Norquay the demos he was working on. A week later, they decided to jam with drummer Luis Figueroa, a longtime bandmate of Norquay, and the Mooks were born.
"We all come from really different backgrounds and places and we've all been in the Toronto music scene for about a decade. That's the thing that's linking us — all of those experiences," explains Norquay.
In June 2018, the self-described "punchy pop" band turned Morris's demos into their debut EP, Singles. A year later, the Mooks put out their sophomore release, I Hope That You Feel the Same. The songs on both releases are marked with an infectious, scruffy sound that the Mooks say is continuously being shaped by the response to their fervent live shows.
"There's definitely a feedback loop with our audience, in terms of what we're creating and how we're performing," says Norquay.
"As we keep playing, we realize that the more raw and nostalgic-esque that we can make [our songs], more people actually engage," Morris adds.
As an independent band, the Mooks are enjoying the freedom of working for themselves and right now are taking things day-by-day. But with new music on the horizon and shows in works, the Mooks are excited for whatever the future may hold.
"With the Mooks, we've always run before we could walk," says Morris. "There's this common theme of things happening where we're just not really sure what we're doing, but we know that we have to move forward. It's always a case of we're going off a whim and we just continue on. For better or worse."
The Mooks play Exclaim!'s Class of 2020 concert series, co-presented by Collective Arts, on January 24 at Lee's Palace in Toronto with Human Magic, Grizzly Coast and Portland TV.