MoJiles Guitarist Tim Stephens Discusses Time With EMF, New Band, Transition To United States

Tim Stephens, a former member of the band EMF and current member of the band MoJiles, discusses EMF, his new band, and the transition he has made to the United States.

Tim Stephens of MoJiles and formerly of EMF interviews.

Tim Stephens, a former member of the band EMF and current member of the band MoJiles, discusses EMF, his new band, and the transition he has made to the United States.

If you haven’t heard of the band MoJiles yet, you are missing out. Currently a rising force in the Southeastern area of the United States, the four-member band is beginning to break onto the scene in a big way as they continue to crank out their new singles.

While MoJiles may not be a household name just yet, they have been playing around 150 shows for the last eight years. They bring an intriguing mixture of music to their shows, including Top 40 Country Hits, 80s Rock, 70s Classics, and Top 40 Dance. Their shows are high-energy and entertaining, to say the least.

Among their current band members is former EMF guitarist Tim Stephens. Those of you who have heard of EMF know how big of an accomplishment having that band on a resume can be. Stephens has also been a key part of helping MoJiles take leaps and bounds over the last couple of years.

He has had some struggles making the transition to the United States, but could not be more excited about the future of MoJiles and his role within the band.

We had the opportunity to talk with Tim about a variety of different topics. Among them include his tenure with EMF, transition to the United States, why MoJiles is a rising threat, and much more.

Tim Stephens of Mojiles interview with IQ.
  Image via / Tim Stephens

First up on the agenda was to find out about his EMF days and how it felt to get that kind of an opportunity.

“It’s actually a funny story. At the time, I was dating a girl who was the bass player for the punk band, Red Letter Day, and I was working with Mitch Glover from Kosheen in the studio with Papa Fuzz (producer from Southampton). My girlfriend and I had gone on holiday to the south of France, to visit my folks and have a break from everything. My parents live on a 98ft Dutch Clipper barge called Tortus and it was moored up at a place called, Nimes, an old Roman town that is absolutely beautiful. I remember sitting in the sun one afternoon on the top deck, drinking a nice glass of Pino Noir, when my phone started to ring from an unknown number. I answered and on the other end was a west country voice asking ‘is this Tim Stephens the guitarist?’… Now you must understand how weird this was for me, A] I wasn’t expecting any calls and B] Anyone calling me with a west country accent, in my world, was off my radar as I had moved from Cornwall as a kid and left the west country accent behind. Anyway, the gentleman said, ‘this is Mark from EMF and we were given your number as we are looking for a nifty guitar player.’ Now, this sent alarm bells ringing as I loved the band EMF and thought it was just some Cornish friend prank calling me! Well, turns out it really was Mark and he invited me to audition with the band in Birmingham when I got back from France. Mitch Glover had passed on my number when he was at a festival with Kosheen and the band had expressed interest in finding a punk looking guitarist with the chops to play their repertoire. Well, anyway, it is a long story but I got the gig and here I am.”

As those of you who are fans of EMF are well aware of, their song “Unbelievable” is a favorite of many. He went on to discuss what being a part of that big of a song was like for him.

“I remember when I was young, seeing EMF on BBC’s Top of The Pops playing ‘Unbelievable’ and turning to my mum and expressing how much I would love to be in this band. A few years later, it happened. But, that song really is huge.. It is bigger than the band. Every time I would play that song with the band during the set, the crowd would just go nuts. I think that was the first time I felt like.. ‘This is it, THIS IS IT!’ – hearing a small crowd of just 5,000 people sing the chorus with you, is deafening! It makes you realize how amazing music is and being in a band is one of the coolest things in life – period!”

He also opened up about when he first thought that he would have the chance to make a living doing the thing he loves most, which is playing guitar and entertaining crowds.

“I was very fortunate as a kid, my parents were always so encouraging. My dad was a Rolling Stones fan and my mum was into The Beatles, so I had a great foundation of Rock n Roll history to grow from. When I was a teenager, my dad used to drive to gigs to watch and perform with Dave Houghton and his band Heart n Soul. Dave was the drummer for Joe Jackson, best known for his hit songs, ‘Is She Really Going Out with Him’ and ‘Steppin’ Out.’ He took me under his wing and I would say he was my biggest mentor growing up. I got to cut my wings playing guitar on stage with Dave and his band and it was my first taste of working on my craft with established, famous musicians. Let’s be honest though, what young teenager wouldn’t give their right arm for that kind of experience? Let alone making a few pounds on the side!”

Coming to the United States has not been all fun and games for Stephens. He was happy to explain what his biggest hurdles have been throughout the process.

“Well, I have to say that the language barrier has been tough. A lot of things we say back home in blighty mean total different things here! The other things that are different are really the style of food, drink, or cooking. I haven’t been able to find ‘Piccalilli,’ which is one of my favorite things. But I am very grateful that Publix exists…they have an international food aisle that has a nice assortment of British stuff like, Yorkshire Tea, Heinz Baked Beans, and Jammy Dodgers!”

Moving forward, Stephens was happy to share more about MoJiles and tell those who haven’t had the chance to hear them play what they are missing out on.

“So I have been playing with the band, Mojiles, for around three years now. I am the guitarist in the band and also one of the main songwriters. Jon Kott, the singer of Mojiles, is the other main songwriter. We have a great relationship in the band and I feel we work together really well. We are a Houston, Texas-based band and are primarily known in the genre of ‘Bro Country’ or ‘New Country.’ You can check out our songs on iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora.”

Where can you see MoJiles play and what kind of traveling schedule do they keep? Stephens dished on that as well.

“We are constantly on the road touring. Anywhere from Florida to California. We do have a few favorite places to play. My three favorites are The Library in Oxford, MS, where we get to play for Ole Miss and all the crazy college kids down there. Boots N Spurs in Ocean Springs, MS, is where I am currently living so its classed as a hometown show to us and it too gets packed with crazy college kids, it’s always fun. Texas is very cool, I actually wouldn’t mind living there soon. We play a fun show in Tyler, TX, called Ricks on the Square. It’s a great venue and the Tyler fans are insane, in a great way though! Oh, and I do love flying out to California to play at UFC champ Dan Henderson’s pool party in Temecula. It’s always a fun-packed weekend, especially if Randy Couture turns up, he plays the harmonica and always gets up and plays with us there, but getting used to that hangover is getting harder and harder the older I get!”

MoJiles have been releasing their own music and will continue doing so in the future. Stephens talked about what they hope to do moving forward when it comes to their own music.

“To me, the future looks bright. I think as a band, we are growing stronger and stronger and the more songs we write, the more shows we play. It makes our profile as a real hard-working band higher. I’m just enjoying growing with Mojiles right now, but this year should be huge for us.

We have three singles out right now. ‘Spring Break Party’ and ‘Call It A Night’ were released last year. We did a collaboration with EMF, James Atkin from the band did a great remix of ‘Spring Break Party’ for us that we just released in January. Our next single ‘Seen The Best Of You?’ was released on February 14 for Valentines Day. It’s a big song and I think all the country girls will dig it!

As for an album or such, we do have plans for that sometime in the future, but right now we are currently just working on writing great songs and trying to get them published in the right areas. If we could get a few songs in a new Hollywood blockbuster then we would be really happy. I have a soft spot for NASCAR and I think we have a song right up there alley, fingers crossed we can get it over to them to hear soon!”

He was happy to give a brief breakdown of where MoJiles would like to be in the new few years to close out the interview.

“Mainly, I think we will be looking at opening for some major bands/artists like Florida Georgia Line and Eric Church. We have a desire to start touring with bands and artists like this but first things first, we need to get more original songs out on the radio and get the bands profile bigger.”

Needless to say, MoJiles is an up-and-coming band to keep an eye on. They may not be touring cities near you just yet, but don’t be surprised if that happens in the near future.