by Sari Delmar
Lately, I’ve been talking a lot with those around me about passion. Is it necessary to find your one passion in life? Some people never do, and I am aware of this. So what are they doing? Just aimlessly drifting through life? It’s weird to think about. When I was on the phone with John from New Jersey’s indie-rock favourite’s Holler, Wild Rose!
We got knee deep into this idea. He shared a story about how he found his passion for music.
John Mosloskie: I’ll paint a story for you.
Truth.Explosion: Awesome, go for it!
JM: So it was about five years ago. I was working outside and it was February.
TE: Where do you work?
JM: I clean up shopping centers basically. There’s a lot of them and I clean them, so it’s a janitorial job. I’ve been doing it for six years.
TE: Oh wow!…ok continue…
JM: So It was raining, really bone chilling cold rain and I’m cleaning this parking lot. My raincoat’s got all these holes and the soles of my boots as well, and I was just so soaked. That kind of soaked where your limbs are numb and I was just in a place. I was in a place in my life where I just quit this punk band I had been with throughout high school. Just out of high school and being a bass player in a punk band…I couldn’t really write music. I knew I was passionate about music and I just felt horrible because I was in this place in my life where I was unable to pursue my passion. I was just pretty much depressed. I didn’t go to college. I didn’t have much as far as prospects for the future. I was disbanded, depressed.
TE: Oh no, so then what?
JM: I’m just out there feeling dejected and thinking about all my inadequacies and shit. Then something happened that I didn’t expect. All of a sudden in one moment that was broken in me. All those insecurities just broke and left me. On the outside I was a soaked 18 year old kid and I looked up and just felt relieved. Like I just saw things differently, it was like all my doors were shut and then I realized I just needed that moment and I realized all the joy that was waiting for me in life. And then I started Holler, that’s what started it.
TE: So you were the one to start the band?
JM: Yep. About a year and a half after that moment we got started. I always made music with Ryan and then we picked up Ryan, our guitarist, and about May of 2003 we were Holler, Wild Rose!
TE: So it sparked from this moment in the rain? How so?
JM: Yea that moment acted as a personal milestone for me. A lot of things in my life at that time became the songs, the ones. It wasn’t this big instant and it wasn’t all automatic, life’s not like that, but since then I could see the joy that’s made my life more worthwhile. I found the music in the rain and all these ideas from there.
TE: Do you think everyone has this moment of clarity some point in their life?
JM: I don’t know. I feel almost like… No. It’s sort of a shift in thinking, but it wasn’t. It was something special because it was me, but just the way that people reacted to the music kind of confirmed that that was a special moment, later. We’ve played shows where people come up to us after and tell us “I just broke down and cried” and that’s just so… humbling because that’s just the outpouring of our spirits, and they can actually feel it too and be inspired. It’s this whole theme that we want to put out there that when we are playing and singing what we are inspired by is the idea of a joy beyond circumstance. Just the idea that whatever is going on in your life the downtrodden ness, the depression, there’s something deeper than that, there’s still somewhere to find joy and that’s the bedrock of why we play. It’s really the cause and the effect.
TE: Wow, cool. So you’re outside, were you ready for it? How did you feel?
JM: I had no clue it was going to come and in an instant I just looked up and started laughing. I felt as if a weight was lifted off my shoulder. I got the idea for the song “Mercy Beat” then. The metaphor for the rain, the rhythm of the rain is the rhythm of life. We can become so bogged down and numb to the rhythm and caught up in the mundane-ities in life. It was in that moment I saw the big picture. Totally unexpected.
TE: Do you think it was just the time in your life you needed a change? Like you had to feel that depression of not being able to do what you want to in life, to put you in a place where you’re ready to have this realization and start fresh with a new outlook?
JM: Yea, I think I had to be in some valley to be able to look up and see the higher ground. It’s weird. I was thinking about this last week. Just that the privileges we have growing up in western society. We grow up in America, middle class, and how much hardships we endure, like socio economical pressures. There’s so much that we don’t feel that the rest of the world feels, so I was thinking why are we so emotionally distraught? We’re medicated, we’ve got therapies so why is it that we can’t cope and I think it’s because we don’t endure enough hardships that when we do face those circumstances we aren’t prepared to react. So yea, I don’t think I could have seen the joy of that moment if I wasn’t in that state of mind.
TE: So you were down because you weren't making music and such, but what about people who never find out what they really love in their life? How do you feel about those kinds of people who just aimlessly work jobs and never really find their passion?
JM: That’s why I feel like we’re sort of blessed in a way to be those people who know what we’re passionate about and what to pursue. It gives us the advantage to plan and sing about what we know so that maybe those people can come out and see us and we can evoke something in them, stir something in them. At least they will get a glimpse.
TE: I’d say in school kids aren’t really taught to follow their passion, more so what you’re good at and what will make you money. Some people get stuck in these jobs and life’s they totally don’t enjoy because really, they don’t know better. What would you say to those kids who kind of just feel they have to follow a path?
JM: I don’t know. I think if you’re doing what benefits you financially or what gives you some semblance of what society says, it’s just short changing yourself. How can you ever really know yourself if you never took a chance?
TE: For sure. So even though now you’re making music and satisfied with your lives, you’re still working a janitorial job during the day and at this independent stage it’s got to be really hard work to keep this side of your life functioning…
JM: Yea, it’s definitely lots of work. Each of the band members has a different job and we’re all just hoping that it takes off. We believe in what we’re saying and what the music makes us feel so we’re willing to work hard to make it happen. Hopefully with the new album and us playing shows, coming down to Toronto next weekend, we will be able to spread the word about what we’re really all about.
TE: Awesome. So what is the “truth” about Holler, Wild Rose?
JM: The truth about Holler, Wild Rose’s music is….. I’ll give you a limerick.
TE: Ok sweet!
JM: Holler, wild rose is a wild rose and all the world shall see, that the holler kind of a wild rose set a train full of captives free.