Mo Douglas is an innovative and unique artist who’s sound is like nothing else at the moment! I was very impressed with his latest release, The Most Expensive Restaurant In Portland, and wanted to find out more, hence this interview.
By Jane Howkins
You recently released a track titled The Most Expensive Restaurant in Portland, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the song?
The structure is just one chord – I got it started with a simple blues phrase on the Telecaster played through a Tone Master amp. I added a relentless chord on the backbeat, then I stacked it up with melodic and rhythmic decoration from there. The title of the song is a line from Weekend at Bernie’s 2, one of the better films ever made, with the city changed from New York to Portland.
Your music tends to be more instrumental based. Do you plan on including more vocals in the future?
The Mo Douglas stuff is an outlet for my instrumentals. To hear my playing, composition, and production with vocals, Mariya May’s albums would be recommended.
Has the pandemic hindered your work much?
Primarily I produce music at my small home studio, so there was no tour to interrupt or live dates to miss. It just happened that I could keep doing my thing.
Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?
Since The Most Expensive Restaurant in Portland, I’ve released two more Mo Douglas singles: Ample Room For Grooving and Surrounded By Grapefruit. Not sure yet if there will be more singles before I release the next album.
Have you started writing for an EP or an album?
The three recent singles will probably be on the next Mo Douglas album. I’ll make several more new tracks and put them together. It will be the ninth album.
Your music seems to have a 60s vibe to it. What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?
Yeah, I’m among the many who consider the 60s a very high point in music. Stuff as far back as the 1930s all the way through the 1990s accounts for the majority of my influences, but I can get into any era if I find out how to discover the good stuff. I got to see Bob Dylan perform in Portland recently, and Ludovico Einaudi in Seattle. Both were fantastic.
Are you based in Portland itself? What is the music scene like in your part of the world?
Yes, Portland. Locally, there’s a lot of great musicians and plenty of music lovers. It’s understood that Portland has music people, so most national and international touring acts make a stop here.
Am I right in thinking that you’re also a chef? How do you balance that with your musical career?
Mo Douglas songs usually don’t have words, so I don’t have lyrics to extract a song title from. I love how vintage instrumentals were sometimes titled with food terminology – soul, jazz and funk instrumentals. I think it’s soulful how they did that. If food-related titles can lead listeners to give my songs a chance, that’s good.
Do you have any tour dates lined up?
Touring isn’t realistic for me at this point – I’ve very focused on trying to make good albums.
Any last words for the fans?
If you dig the Mo Douglas stuff, check out the other releases on the Ten Dollar Recording Co. label.