Interview With Caitlin Moe, Electroviolinist Extraordinaire

by SUSANNAH LONG · March 26, 2010

    [Photo by Matt Wignall] They say she looks like Britney but plays like Beethoven. Electric violinist, vocalist, and songwriter (that's a lot of titles, guys) Caitlin Moe is conquering the music scene, one bariolage and see-through tank at a time. -

    We've noticed that electric violins are increasingly popular on the New York party scene, and Miss Moe is a favorite. Fresh from a gig at SXSW, Caitlin talked to us from a snowboarding slope in Vail. The peptastic musician gushed about playing at Perez's SXSW Swagg party, where "people went wild. There was fistpumping, tons." She loved "Courtney Love. Oh my god, she was unbelievable, Courtney Love!" And she says Danish pop group Alphabeat is one to watch.

    [Photo from PMc] Moe herself is one to watch . . . and listen to, and follow on twitter. This unfailingly energetic and sure-fingered (orchestra fanboys across the country just giggled to themselves) 22-year-old has been hurling herself into music from a young age.

    "My mom put the violin in my hands when I was 4 1/2; It was one of those things where I loved to practice so much that they'd have to take it out of my hands to eat dinner."

    Initially immersed in classical music, Moe made the sequined, lip-glossed transition to electropop after realizing,

    "The thing I'd always get criticized for was that I was too emotional and too energetic, you know? They didn't like the way I moved onstage. I was so frustrated by people telling me I couldn't do it.""

    Classical Establishment, you asshats. Some (fusty) people might cough on their mustaches at Moe's kinetic, muscle-rippling, floor-straddling performance style, but it's the perfect complement to her fusion music. And it makes for electrifying (ha! we can make puns!) photos:

    [First four photos from Zimbio; last three from PMc]

    So what's next for the bowing beauty? Moe's EP dropped last spring, but her 2010 tour schedule - including a recently wrapped stint with The Transsiberian Ochestra - has been keeping her from heavy recording in her own studio on her next album. While she aims for a summer release, Moe's steeping herself inspiration from Thom Yorke and the composer Shostakovich, "because he's a little bit more badass." She's also been forging a partnership with DJ Mia Moretti, who has expanded Moe's musical tastes and, yes, served as a buffer against the pressure cooker of pro musicianship.

    "We're writing our own songs, and it's really opened my eyes to a lot of different kinds of artists and different genres of music that I wouldn't be exposed to. And exploring that kind of music enhances and gives me more direction for my own music. It's easier to do stuff with Mia, because when I know it's only my own name behind my own songs, it's kind of scary. You want to play out in the world, but you're so vulnerable to it. I can go out and play with Mia anytime and not think about that, not worry about it, but when I do my own stuff I have a mental block sometimes."

    DJ MIA MORETTI and CAITLIN MOE from matt wignall on Vimeo.

    And how does Miss Moe feel about that pop tart comparison? Does she want to spin her image away from the fans who post "I want to date you, Caitlin!" and hail her adorableness? Nah.

    "Oh no! I find it kind of funny.  A lot of times when I'm at festivals and I first play violin,  people are just like, "Uh huh, I'm sure. A white, blonde, American girl. She's not Asian, you know, I doubt she can play violin." It makes it kind of fun for me. because I have the upper hand in a sense."

    Yeah, we get the attraction.

    Visit Caitlin Moe's on MySpace or at her website, CaitlinMoe.Com.