The multi-talented Roger Mooking has a lot on his plate right now. He’s ecstatic about the release of his latest album Feedback. At downtown Toronto’s The Rivoli the humble, yet excited, Juno award-winning celebrity chef opens up about his five-year hiatus and his return to making music.
WHAT’S THE MEANING BEHIND THE TITLE OF YOUR ALBUM, FEEDBACK?
You can look at different definitions of [the word] feedback. If I asked a lot of people they would say Jimmy Hendrix’s guitar that sound is feedback or you do a questionnaire [that’s also feedback] and also the food resonance, that’s feedback as well. I took all of those elements and I wanted to feed people really dense stories that they can relate to. Feedback is about sharing and there’s a give and take there.
A LOT OF STORIES ARE BEING TOLD THROUGH YOUR MUSIC. WHERE DOES THE INSPIRATION COME FROM?
Most of them are just from my life. I travel a lot, meet a lot of people every day, I hear their stories, and some of them resonate with me because they are similar to some of the things that I have lived in my life. It really struck me that there are universal truths out there and I wanted to share those stories. I just wanted to be really candid, graphic and honest. I’ve never been so personal and just raw on a record before.
YOU TENDED TO DO SHORT INTRODUCTIONS TO MANY OF YOUR TRACKS. WHY IS THAT?
I wanted to make the album visual. When you’re reading a great story the opening paragraph places you within an environment and then the story starts to unfold. Because each story is so different I wanted when you moved into that next song you’re immediately placed into the setting.
HOW DOES FEEDBACK DIFFER FROM ANY OF YOUR PREVIOUS ALBUMS?
I think it’s my best work to date. [It’s] my most comprehensive, clearest, honest [and] most powerful work to date. The last record I was exploring soul music, but this record I wanted it to feel [like] creamy centres and raw edges. Sonically I wanted that feeling, emotionally I wanted that feeling, story-wise I wanted to capture that feeling and I felt that the best way to go about that is what you hear. Before we started making the record, I had a very broad concept of exactly how I wanted it to sound like in my head and I achieved that, which for me, is artistic nirvana to get that close to your dream and be able to execute it.
DO YOU HAVE THE SAME APPROACH TO BEING AN ARTIST THAT YOU HAVE AS A CHEF?
Yeah, I think there’s a craftsmanship in making a dish that’s the same kind of craftsmanship as making a song. You start with an idea, you hone that idea, you refine that idea, you develop it, re-refine it and then you give it to the public for consumption.
WHAT KIND OF DIFFICULTIES DID YOU ENCOUNTER BEFORE ACHIEVING THIS LEVEL OF NIRVANA?
It’s [been] five years since I made my last record and I’ve just lived a lot in those five years. I’ve seen parts of the world that I’ve only dreamt and read about. I’ve had kids; I’ve lost kids, my career on the culinary side just exploded. So many things have happened in the last five years that I just felt I needed that much time to be able to tell rich stories.
“I’ve just lived a lot in those five years. I’ve seen parts of the world that I’ve only dreamt and read about. I’ve had kids; I’ve lost kids, my career on the culinary side just exploded. So many things have happened in the last five years that I just felt I needed that much time to be able to tell rich stories.”
WHAT LED YOU TO CREATE SUCH AN UNIQUE SOUNDING ALBUM?
When I went out to make this record I was not thinking of radio records. I was thinking of records that I really loved that I felt were extremely honest, personal, but dynamic. Whether you listen to that song like “Daddy’s Little Secret” and you’re like “I hate that song!” you’ve [still] got to feel something! It’s my job as an artist to make you feel something and to start a conversation. That’s what Feedback is about. If I haven’t created a piece of work that doesn’t draw an emotion out of you I failed.
Words By. Shakiyl Cox