Travel Profile: Joey Nester of The Moms
By Sean Ritchie | Published on November 30, 2016
Travel Profile: Joey Nester of The Moms

No, they have no children. They don’t even possess the organs necessary to bear children. In spite of their name, The Moms identify as a power trio, whose long history of making music together has nurtured a powerful, exciting sound. Officially formed in 2011, The Moms are a permutation of suburban New Jersey kids who have been making music since their elementary school years. What began as a reuniting of creative minds in a New Brunswick closet, quickly evolved into a national DIY touring act hell bent on their “ride or die” attitude. In 5 short years, The Moms have garnered a loyal fan base, playing hundreds of shows all over the US, including tours to Canada and Japan.

The band has captivated their small-venue audiences with an impressive delivery of their own rock-punk blend. With only a short catalog (released by Panic State Records and Paper & Plastick Records), The Moms have already established themselves as a band with staying power — delivering ear-worms in a manner seldom seen in the recent past. Be sure to check out their latest “Snowbird” EP release that dropped in September.

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Sean Ritchie: You’re originally from Florham Park, but grew up around the Morris County area?

Joey Nester: Yeah, right around here. I really haven’t gone too far. I mean, for a minute I lived in New Brunswick. I got a big taste of that music scene. I lived in West Orange for a minute. Now, it’s nice, because I live and work in Morristown. I’ll wake up in the morning and walk to work. This is the first time we, as a band, have live together. It really opens up a whole, new realm of possibilities. It’s just so much easier to just jam, and have all of our gear in once place — equipment, trailer. Whereas, if we wanted to go to New Brunswick, 45-minutes down the road, we’d have to run around [getting everyone and the gear]. It was a whole lot of running around. But, it’s also easier to sleep in.

Travel Profile: Joey Nester of The Moms© Chris Bartow

SR: Yeah, you have so much more access to somebody. Now, what specifically about Morris County and North Jersey as a whole stands out to you?

JN: It’s a really nice place. We’ve been everywhere in the country. People have tons of things to say about New Jersey, not often good things. It has a reputation for some reason. But, we really have everything — mountains, the beach, cities and farms. Morris County is really just right in the heart of it all. Growing up here, I have a very subjective take on it. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes I can’t wait to hit the road.

SR: Definitely, people are usually surprised coming here. There’s a reason it’s the Garden State. Now, you’re kind of in the middle with New York City to the east and Philadelphia to the south, do you guys regularly play there? Other destinations?

JN: Occasionally, yeah we’ll play in Manhattan. We haven’t played Philly for a good while, for whatever reason. It is definitely an advantage being a band from NJ, not only with the tons of places to play in NJ, but there’s just so many cities close by that all have good music scenes. If we go and play somewhere like Manhattan it’s not super difficult.

Travel Profile: Joey Nester of The Moms© Chris Bastian

If we play “The City” usually it’s Brooklyn. The only thing with there are the bridges and the tolls. I hate to say the juice isn’t worth the squeeze, but it’s hard to do. Last time we played Brooklyn we got stuck in traffic for four hours. There’s just so many cool places to play locally. When we’re home we play strategically. We’re also always been conscious about not overplaying our market.

SR: I can definitely understand that. On a broader level, you said you’ve been all across the country. What are some cities that stand out to you? Maybe some that had a real, cool crowd that you were kind of surprised at?

JN: To this point, our touring, I don’t want to say “low key”, but it’s been your typical punk rock DIY tour. We book it ourselves. We find ourselves very surprised, or we have in the past, that where we go has a really good scene. You could be in the middle of nowhere, it’s not so much the cities, when you go to a big city there’s a lot of competition, but we’ve played shows in between cities in small towns. It just so happens that there’s a really big music scene. [No matter the weekday], everybody in that community will come out if there’s a touring band coming through. That’s the thing to do.

SR: A lot of bands that we interview talk about how the crowd gives them energy, and the more energy the crowd gives them, the more energy they want to perform with. It’s just this constant circle of energy. Talk about how cool it is to travel the country, play shows and have that connection with people that are from all different walks of life.

JN: It’s definitely true. If you’re getting energy from a crowd, you’re going to give it back. It’s a very symbiotic relationship, the crowd and the performer. You saw it when we played in Morristown, everybody was going crazy and so were we. When we’re traveling around as a young band that’s just starting out, sometimes we’re playing for nobody. It’s kind of paying your dues, but it just makes you that much more amped when people are getting excited.

We were in the middle of a tour a couple years ago, and we were coming from Utah and had a show cancelled in Colorado, so we were scrambling to find another show. We remembered in our messages that somebody from months beforehand messaged us and said, “Oh, you have to come to Kearney, Nebraska!” So, we looked at the map and really only had to go up a little bit. So, out of the way it was probably like three hours. I don’t think there was a guarantee for money, but what else were we going to do?

Travel Profile: Joey Nester of The Moms© Brian Roberts

So, we’re in the middle of nowhere. This show was booked like three days in advance. We go to this place, I forget what day of the week it was, but it was a small, western city, almost like a ghost town. There was maybe a row of four buildings, but it’s a college town. We showed up and it was packed, and people already knew our songs. They were really excited to have us. Which for us, out of the blue, was like, “Damn! Let’s give them everything we’ve got.” At that point you’re just so thankful. You feel vindicated for every dime lost. That’s why we do it.

SR: That must be such a surreal experience going all that way for people to be excited and know your music.  I remember, we interviewed Will Pugh from Cartel, he was saying how traveling across the country in a van, especially out in the middle of the country, it’s almost like a religious experience seeing the sun go down driving. Talk about traveling in the van as a whole, and how cool it is to really see the country in that perspective.

JN: Yeah, I definitely know Cartel. I’ll talk on the realm of a full national tour. We traveled a bunch in a Chevy conversion van. We bought that in high school and traveled a bunch. We took that as far as Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle and up to Vermont. We’ve literally traveled the four corners of the country in that van. In those days you’re really crammed. Then we upgraded and got an RV.

Travel Profile: Joey Nester of The Moms

When you’re travelling like we did there were times where you had to drive straight through the night. I remember one time we were driving from Central California to Las Vegas. We were driving through the Sierra Nevada mountains. I was driving when the sun came up. It was some serious [stuff]. At the time, you’re just like, “Wow, I’m seeing this!” I was 19-20 at the time and all I was thinking about was, “How many of my friends can say they did this?” It was just something that crossed my mind, but it really was beautiful.

SR: Absolutely, I remember long road trips to Indiana and watching the sunset over the farm fields. Those images really stick with you they’re so beautiful. Switching it up and looking back a little bit, what was some of your travel history when you were younger growing up?

JN: Growing up it was really the Jersey Shore and once a year my family’s friend had a condo in Georgia. We would take a big road trip down there. As soon as I started in high school that’s when music really facilitated travel. I grew up playing instruments and eventually joined an orchestra that went to China for 10 days. That was the big trip. That was my first, big international trip. It was an effective tour. We played five-or-six shows. That was really cool. A couple years later, with the same orchestra, we went to Austria and the Czech Republic.

Travel Profile: Joey Nester of The Moms© MM

SR: Lastly, to wrap this up, what are the next six months look like for The Moms?

JN: We have a couple shows lined up to get us to the end of the year — local, regional touring. By the end of the year we hope to go to the studio. This past year we’ve been kind of quiet, writing a ton. We’ve just been jamming a couple times a week. A couple weeks ago we went and demoed 30 songs. So, the plan at this point, if all things go accordingly, is to be back in the studio this winter to record a full-length album. That album hopefully will be released in time for a spring tour, starting down at South by Southwest.

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For more on The Moms visit their website:

Travel Profile: Joey Nester of The Moms

About The Writer
Sean Ritchie

By: Sean Ritchie | Published on November 30, 2016

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