Moqita is Billy Blaise, JG, and Ashley Thomas.
or to their parents, Billy Blaise Dufala, Justin Geller, and well..Ashley Thomas.
Moqita began as the work of JG and Billy Blaise. Two musicians from Philadelphia, friends for the past 11 years, Billy and JG met when they were in a rock band together in New Jersey. The band ended, but their friendship lasted and after a brief hiatus, while young Billy finished high school, they hooked back up when Billy went off to college in Philadelphia. Billy made his mark with his quintet, Groove Funkshen, playing shows around the area and spreading his own form of funk jazz. JG, on the other end, was making waves in the drum and bass community with his group, GFS, with partner J.Smooth. They had several drum and bass lables and put out a slew of twelve inches. They even had their fun on Warner Brothers' dime when they were signed to the short lived, but prolific F-111 Records. But, like many major label stories, they released a few records and were swallowed up by the AOL/Time Warner/ Supergobalmegacorp craziness.
When the bottom dropped out on seemingly everything in the music world, JG and Billy found themselves at a crossroads. Billy couldn't deal with the hassles of his young band, and JG couldn't listen to another two step jungle beat with a hoover synth bass anymore. They got together to see what would happen if they just stepped away from what they were doing. Looked at music again like they did as kids. When music just made them feel good. No sitting down with a set of rules, a set tempo, and the required sounds. They wanted to take it all in and see what came out. And it became Moqita. What's it like? Well, imagine Stan Getz jamming with Autechre in the living room at the Miles Davis' house, while Lou Reed eats cornbread in the kitchen with Lee Perry. Sorta like that. Or for the clerks at the record store: A bit like Zero 7 or happier Massive Attack.
The project grew while the boys absorbed everything they could into their music. JG went back on the air at WKDU 91.7FM with his eclectic weekly radio show, re-educating himself and his listeners with all the musical knowledge he'd obsessivly gathered in his life. Billy made giganic metal sculptures at school and won a bunch of prestegous awards, including a hefty bit of prize money to finance a two month backpacking jaunt across Europe. Even there, he sharpened his musical skills by playing saxophone and flute for spare change in places like Prague, London, and small towns in Italy. Moqita is all of that in more, in an audio form.
At some point, Ashley came into the picture. Ashley was another long time connection having spent considerable time in JG's home town of Ocean City, NJ. She's even done more than her share of world traveling and recorded a amazing downtempo/hip hop album in Germany. J.Smooth brought in Ashley for some vocals on his tracks and Moqita enlisted her talents for "Round the Way". After honing their studio output and fine tuning their live show, the boys thought it was about time to fully bring Ashley into the fold. She was a natural fit. Amazing voice, music flowing from her veins, and generally just an inspirational catalyst for creativity. And then there were three...