An Interview with Derek “Mo” Moore of Nektar

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In the spring of 2020, veteran Prog-Rock outfit Nektar was riding high on the heels of a 30+ city tour supporting their new album The Other Side, and then COVID ground everything to a halt.

Since then, stalwart bassist/keyboardist Derek Moore has patiently been waiting to get back on the road with the newly invigorated lineup, which reformed in 2019.

In this interview, among other things, Derek and I cover his early musical origins, the beginnings of legendary German Prog-Rock outfit Nektar, the band’s influence on the genre, new music to come, and a whole lot more.

If you would like to learn more about Nektar, you can head over to the group’s website and dig in. Once you’ve done that, chow down on this interview with Derek “Mo” Moore. Cheers.

Andrew:
Derek, I appreciate you taking the time today. What have you been up to?

Derek:
We completed a 31 date tour here in the USA and then that ground to a halt on March 8 2020 because of COVID.  We are now gearing up to start or restart a new tour on September 21 starting in Sellersville, PA.

Andrew:
Before we dive into your professional career, let’s go back a bit. What first got you hooked on music?

Derek:
My Sister Sheila was/is a great piano player and I would sit and listen to her. When I was 7 she started teaching me to play and I was hooked.

Andrew:
Who were some of your early influences?

Derek:
Early influences were – The Beatles, Moody Blues, Vanilla Fudge, Chicago, and many more but mostly we influenced each other to find something new.

Andrew:
Tell us about the formation of Nektar. How did the band get its start?

Derek:
The Band was formed in Hamburg, Germany. We were Prophecy and we needed a guitarist as ours had just left. We knew the Rainbows well and we heard Roye had left them and was in Sweden. Ron had played with Roye often in the afternoons at the Star Club. I sent Roye a telegram asking if he would join us. He said, “Yes” and the rest, as they say, is history. This was the end of 1969.

Andrew:
One of the group’s most well-known and well-loved records is Remember the Future. What do you recall about the recording of that album? Looking back, what are your lasting thoughts on it?

Derek:
It took on a life of its own in the studio. We had the basic music done and recorded it the first day live. We wrote most of the lyrics in the studio as Mick and I pieced the story of the album together. We had booked the studio for a week, 24 hours a day so we decided to use all of the hours we had. We did a set up of the equipment and got all of the sounds, then a 15-hour session a 36-hour session, and a 72-hour session, including the mixing, and it was done. When we mixed it in London, the speakers were out of phase and the guitar on that version almost disappeared. We immediately flew to Copenhagen for the start of the Frank Zappa Tour through Europe. On our way through Germany from Scandinavia, Roye and I left the band in Hamburg and flew to Koeln to Dieter Dierks studio where we met Barry Hammond and we re-mixed the album and then flew out to meet the band in Frankfurt.

Andrew:
After some years of inactivity, Nektar reformed in 2019. What led to the reformation?

Derek:
Roye died in 2016. In 2018 Ron approached me to help him form a band to continue Nektar. I reached out to Ryche Chlanda who we had played with in 1978. I called Mick Brockett and asked if he would join us with his light show and he agreed. Then I looked to Randy Dembo to come in as a second bass player, he also plays 12 string and bass pedals. Two bass players is an awesome sound. We added Kendall Scott who was the keyboard player for Ryche in his band Ryche Chlanda’s Flying Dreams. We had a band. I had no intention of going out and playing gigs but after we wrote the new album The Other Side but I was sucked in. This band is the real deal. I was hooked before the last tour started. Wow, it is so good I cant wait to play live again and watch our fan’s faces.

Andrew:
Let’s talk about recent events. Tell us about your upcoming tour. What can your fans expect going into the shows? After the nightmare that COVID has been, how excited is the band to get back to it?

Derek:
The band is excited to go back out. Mick and Jay, (our head technical guy), have been digitizing the light show and have lots of new visual aids to attack the senses. We had 3 hours of music by the time we stopped touring. We now have 4.5 hours. That is plenty of music to do a different show every night. We listened to our fans who were always asking for more and more old pieces of music and we learned more including the entire new album, all of Tab in the Ocean, all of Remember the Future, all of Recycled, and a big chunk of Sounds Like This and Down To Earth. If we are playing multiple gigs at one venue or in the same driveable area, our fans need not worry about not getting new music we always plan it that way.

Andrew:
Prog-Rock is a very expansive and diverse genre. I’ve always felt that Nektar is a very important, if not underrated band within the genre. Looking back, what are your thoughts on the band’s impact and legacy within the cannon of Progressive Rock?

Derek:
I feel we impacted many bands including Iron Maiden and Pink Floyd. We also influenced light shows including Hawkwind’s and others. Multi-Media is the way to go. Nektar, music, and light theatre.

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Cassettes? CDs? Or are you all digital now?

Derek:
Digital does not do it for me, at least not completely. When we did The Other Side we mastered the album for Vinyl and CD separately as they each have a different feel. The vinyl is definitely warmer with each instrument having its own space. The different space idea carries for the CD too. That way every time you listen, you will follow a different instrument and the music will have a different feel to it. Since I came out of retirement, I have not had time for music other than our own. Though there is a lot of music I like. We are already involved in writing music for the next album which we will do next year.

Andrew:
What other passions do you have? How do those passions inform your music, if at all?

Derek:
I have a passion for life and from that comes music. I also like to shoot sporting clays and recently moved to North Carolina so lots of new influences.

Andrew:
In your opinion, what is the state of the music business these days? Should artists be hopeful? Scared? Both?

Derek:
The masses will always need music, it is how we get feelings. Music is a great medium encompassing all we do. Try to watch a movie without the music it has no feeling, the mood for the film comes solely from the music.

Andrew:
Last one. We seem to be nearing a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of COVID-19 restrictions. That said, what’s next on your docket? You touched on this a bit before, but can we hope for any new music from Nektar in the future?

Derek:
We will tour everywhere we can for as long as we are able. We will go to Europe next year for a major tour of as many countries that we can. We also want to go to South America, Brazil, and Japan. New music is being created as we speak. Watch for it. Also, look for a re-release of our album The Other Side with a companion DVD of the Making of the Album from the first rehearsals to the first concert.

Interested in learning more about Nektar’s newest record The Other Side? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

Andrew has always felt himself to be a "jack of all trades, master of none" type of person. With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found Vinyl Writer in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Stories from the Stacks. Over time, the column grew into a website which now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process.
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