Pisces Rising, a Gypsy Folk Duo based out of Raleigh, NC is comprised of two established singer/songwriters and poets Arielle Bryant and Austin Moss. Their sound is a remarkable blend of strong, rhythmic acoustic folk noise coupled with harmonies that will haunt your head space for days.
What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
Pisces Rising has recently released their first collection of songs on their self titled EP, available for download on Bandcamp.com. You can get it for free or, if it pleases you, you may join the ranks of many other outstanding citizens who have chosen to "name their own price" in a communal efforts to help support this budding local sound.
When and why did you start playing?
Arielle: I started playing guitar at 13, there was always music in my head and I guess I wanted others to hear it as well.
Austin: I've been playing piano for longer than I care to remember, and around 15 or so I started writing music with guitar and piano. I never wanted to simply express what others had written; I guess I needed to express my own thoughts after expressing others' for so long.
Do you play an instrument(s)?
Arielle: I play the acoustic guitar and the "voice box".. which is my fancy term for singing.
Austin: I play acoustic guitar, bass, drums, piano, organ, a smattering of violin, and I sing.
Is your family musical?
Arielle: Actually, the only other musically inclined people in my family are my cousins in France and my little sister Angeline. My older brother Christophe was in a garage band back in highschool.
Austin: Not entirely. I was always encouraged to play music and only myself and my two little brothers really took to that encouragement.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
Arielle: I feel I speak for the both of us when I say that mewithoutYou is a band that we admire, very much. We cover a lot of their songs and they have had a great influence on us. Their music is driven by the very poetic lyrics of front-man Aaron Weiss, much like our own.
Austin: I absolutely agree with mewithoutYou. There is no other band I have ever heard that has impacted me in such an extreme way. Personally I admire Ben Folds, Aesop Rock, and Ratatat. I feel as if the three of them have a very definite grasp of who they are as people and as musicians and do an exemplary job communicating that in their music.
Listening to your tunes, It seems it has a European feel to them, mostly French, do you mind elaborating?
I think I know who it is :),
Arielle: I think that would be my end of the collaboration that you are picking up on. I am half French, my mother is from the south of France, Nice to be exact. I speak French and it is a part of my heritage which comes out in my music and poetry.
Austin: For sure the Frenchiness comes from Arielle. In that respect I'm along for the ride.
Which famous musicians have you learned from?
Arielle: This list is always changing for me, but recently I have learned a great deal from Edith Piaf, Madeleine Peyroux, Aaron Weiss, Jason Mraz's music from back in the day, and many local musicians that I have fallen in love with over the many years of playing in North Carolina.
Austin: Tricky list for me also, but recently it has been Aaron Weiss, Tchaikovsky, and The Features.
What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
Arielle: Wow..there are so many that I am fond of. For me personally, some of my fondest musical memories would be the time I spent in Greenville North Carolina as a member of the musical community and a part of the Spazzatorium Galleria ( a local, completely independent music venue/community ). During my time there I had the honor of playing with many of the musicians that I admired, and still admire to this day. It was an honor to be a part of such an amazing community who's goal was simply MUSIC, LIVE MUSIC and INDEPENDENT MUSIC.. nothing more.. nothing less.
Austin: I might be pandering to my cohort, but the first time I played guitar in front of Arielle is a fond memory. When I finished she asked when I would be opening for her, and I guess that turned into this. I'm pretty pleased with the turn of events.
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
Arielle: Power through them, make them funny, laugh with the audience. Mistakes are real and performances are always full of them haha!
Austin: Keep humility, keep a smile, hold the audience with me in that moment of human error. Mistakes happen, and like Arielle said, they're real.
Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?
Arielle: Not any more, though when I first started playing live around the age of 15, oh yes.. I got very nervous.
Austin: For sure I still get nervous. I think I speak for many people when I say that Arielle is in the upper tier of musicians, and working with her I always want to support my part of the performance for her and for the fans that have been with her for so long. Performance is what we do though, so the nervousness takes a backseat to the show in the end.
Lose yourself in the music and nervousness will never cross your mind.
Laugh. Laugh at something absurd before getting on stage. Remind yourself that you are you, the audience is the audience, and this is something you're setting out to do together.
How often and for how long do you practice?
We try to get together and play as much as possible, but for the most part, our "practice" sessions are just a product of us hanging out. We used to just play covers of our favorite bands and have fun at open mics, living rooms, sing harmonies with each other in the car... now that we are an official duo, we get to have fun even more frequently!
What Arielle said, although she doesn't see the hours I put in trying to perfect that one melody or strum pattern. I know for a fact that she takes her work seriously too when we're not hanging out.
How do you balance your music with other obligations - mate, children, job?
I lost my job back in January, though I'm still looking for some part-time in my field of work, music has become the primary focus of my attention. My family lives in Wake Forest and I get to see them quite often, in fact, we recorded the entire EP at my parent's place and it was a blast! My "mate" is really supportive of our music and helps us out in any way he can, taking pictures, networking, throwing us endless streams of ideas! We are very fortunate to have friends and loved ones that support us so vehemently, we can't thank them enough. :)
I quit my job recently to focus more on music and my independent writing, and I have no mate (but keeping my eyes peeled). My family lives in the area and I come around from time to time. In the end I consider myself so fortunate that I am able to devote so much time to this craft and the people who enjoy it with us.
This is the end of the interview and thank you so much for answering our questions, do you have anything to add?
Yes! Thank you so much for your time and appreciation of local arts and music! We are happy to be a part of your magazine's aim to turn Raleigh's eyes toward local producers of art!
I echo Arielle, and also want to thank you for your time. As local musicians, this is our life, and to have someone encourage us and our ilk to keep at it is a great encouragement.