Hrsta (pronounced her-shta) is the brainchild of singer and guitarist Mike Moya who, along with a revolving cast of musicians, has performed under the name since 2000. Moya was a founding member of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and was a core member of other Montréal groups Molasses and Set Fire To Flames. He has frequently played as part of Elizabeth Anka Vajagic’s band, and in various other projects.
Hrsta harnesses traditional and otherworldly sound as Moya sings lyrics cribbed from lost faerie tales in a voice that recalls a more blissed-out Daniel Johnson or a less blissed-out Wayne Coyne. Moya’s electric guitar work is unique and recognizable to many from the early Godspeed records – a haunted, reverb-drenched, oscillating siren-sound, guided by a focused and soaring melodic sense.
Hrsta’s critically lauded debut, L’éclat du ciel était insoutenable, was released on Fancy Recordings in 2001 (distributed by Alien8Recordings). Work with Molasses and Set Fire To Flames kept Moya busy through 2001-2004, and he regrouped Hrsta in 2004 to record the band’s second album, Stem Stem In Electro, released on Constellation in 2005. This recording featured a large cast of Montréal musicians, with Jackie-O Motherfucker and Swords Project alumnus Brooke Crouser (organ, guitar, effects) and the rhythm section of bassist Harris Newman (ex-Sackville) and drummer Eric Craven (ex-Hangedup) emerging as consistent Hrsta members for studio and live playing.
Hrsta has toured primarily in Europe since 2006, with Moya and Crouser forming the core of the touring group, and Crouser establishing herself as Moya’s primary writing/arranging partner, further shaping the Hrsta sound with her array of acoustic and electric organs and effects. The full flourishing of this collaboration can be heard on Hrsta’s third record, Ghosts Will Come And Kiss Our Eyes, released on Constellation in the fall of 2007.
As of 2009-2010, Hrsta has added Lisa Gamble and Nick Kuepfer to the touring lineup.
In December 2010, Mike re-joined Godspeed as Godspeed re-joined the road.