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Moldover, Happy Chichester, Exaltron to take over Columbus with unconventional instruments, sounds

Courtesy of Ed Spinelli

Most musicians travel with hordes of guitars, drums and keyboards, but electronica musician Moldover tends to bring more unconventional instruments on tour.

“I have a box called a Mojo, which is a controller. There’s a new thing I call the Robocaster, which is like a controller built into a guitar. And then I have this thing that I haven’t named yet which manipulates my voice,” Moldover said.

Moldover, whose real name is Matt Moldover, is scheduled to bring his collection of instruments to Columbus this weekend when he performs at 8 p.m. Sunday at Kobo alongside electric rock/pop musician Happy Chichester, whose real name is Harold Chichester, and fellow electronica artist Exaltron.

Although he was trained as a traditional rock musician at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Moldover said his love of video games and technology inspired him to make his own instruments, which he builds and wires from scratch.

Moldover coined the term “controllerism” to define his sound.

“There wasn’t a good word to describe what separates DJs from live performers,” Moldover said. “Everybody came to understand what turntablists are, so I sort of borrowed that term and used it to describe what I work with, which is controllers.”

Although he’s recently been focused on touring and working on new music, Moldover said he has also been hard at work building more instruments.

“My current goal is to divide my time between my new music and other side projects like building these things called jam boxes – they’re controllers like the ones I play where people can play together so they don’t have to go through years and years of the technical torture that I’ve been through,” Moldover said.

Chichester, who said his music is more traditional than Moldover’s and Exaltron’s, said he is excited to see what Moldover brings to Columbus.

“I love to see what Moldover is doing,” Chichester said. “Last time we played a show together … I was in awe of him using this large controller that he built himself out of pieces of a pinball machine. He’s taking music and slicing and dicing and totally manipulating it in the most fascinating, adventurous ways.”

Chichester, who plays drums, piano, guitar and bass, said he also prefers to stray from predictable ways of making music, especially when playing live.

“You turn on the radio and it’s verse-chorus-verse-chorus, and you can easily take that route but … I try to avoid a cookie-cutter approach,” Chichester said. “During live shows, I run the gamut from playing old school songs on the piano to manipulating electronic loops and remixing those things on the fly, to symphonic moments and old school blues, all in one presentation.

“That live performance aspect isn’t this prerecorded karaoke thing, it’s this excitement of a tightrope walker that could fall at any minute,” Chichester said.

Jacob Wooten, who works at Kobo, said Chichester has played there before and draws a “different” kind of crowd.

“Happy’s a legend, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a really eclectic crowd with a bunch of different demographics,” Wooten said.

Chichester, who has lived in Columbus since he was 9 years old, said he enjoys playing at Kobo and other smaller venues around the city.

“I love the musical community in Columbus, which includes not only the talented and generous musicians, but also the community of music and fan support, which is sometimes overlooked,” Chichester said. “Coming back from a tour, you realize not every city has that.”

Moldover, who lives in New York, also said that playing in smaller cities is more appealing to him.

“It’s more fun to play small towns because people there are so much more enthusiastic,” Moldover said. “I’m excited to bring this thing I do to people who may have never seen it before. There’s something new and current and relevant about the stuff we’re doing.”

Kobo is located at 2590 N. High St. Tickets for the show are $5 at the door for ages 21 and up and $7 for ages 18 to 20.

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