Indie + Alternative culture appreciates new rising artists that create diversity and new insights within their respective genres. We constantly feature notable indie and alternative artists on the verge of success.
Meet this week’s featured artist in an exclusive interview. Introducing You To Your Next Favorite Artist: MOON
MOON is fronted by singer/bass player Chelsea Davis and guitar/synth player Dan Silver. Together they descend the spirits of lush soundscapes over gritty beats with insatiable attitude. Their new EP will be released later this year.
We recently talked with Chelsea and Dan to get MOON’s take on alternative culture. Read on to find out more about your next favorite artist, and stream their latest single We’re So Close below.
Comments from the Curating-Editor
MOON is making quite a name for themselves in the SoCal area, getting much deserved airplay on KROQ’s Locals Only with their latest single We’re So Close. The track is a refreshing and refined anthem that lives up to its Soundcloud tag of “desert rock:” it has the perfect vibe of a cool, pensive night under the stars with its hopeful and captivating tone, those dynamically silky vocals, and a subtle synth glisten to top it all off. It captures the mysticism of the desert, while retaining some edge in it’s alt rock underlayer. With an infectious melody, this song will be on constant replay in your head, and you won’t mind because that aural MOONlight is just so awe-inspiring.
What are your top 3 favorite albums that inspired you to get into music?
what she (Chelsea Davis) said: Bjork – ‘Homogenic’, Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack – (‘self titled’), Prince and the Revolution – ‘Purple Rain’
what he (Dan Silver) said: This is always a tough question, because I really love bands like the Clash ‘self-titled’ (or ‘Clash On Broadway’ – a box that starts with their first 1977 single through the ‘Combat Rock’ album), Slowdive (‘Souvlaki’ and ’Pygmalion’ are sooo amazing, but i was first hooked on ‘Just For A Day’), Spiritualized ’Pure Phase’ (although it’s tough to leave out ‘Lazer Guided Melodies’ and Jason Pierce’s previous work with Spacemen 3), Joy division ‘Unknown Pleasures’, The Jesus and Mary Chain ‘Darklands’. All that said, i grew up on Beatles, George Harrison being one of my favorite guitar players. As a teen, I discovered the amazing artistry and musicianship of players like Son House, Skip James, Sun Ra, John Coltrane, who i’m highly influenced by amongst many other r&b and blues musicians.
What are your fondest musical memories?
what she said: Auditioning for my favorite band, theSTART, then touring with them for 5 years. And filling in on drums with Berlin (Terri Nunn is fire!). I had a great experience as a fan when I saw Prince at Coachella. Pink had parked her tour bus in artist parking right next to theSTART’s touring vehicle. For the second half of Prince’s set I decided to listen from the top of the motorhome. During ‘Purple Rain’, Pink (also enjoying vehicular rooftop seating) started singing along. I joined in for only a chorus. I stopped singing because I just wanted to hear Alecia! … Also fire.
what he said: Lately one of my favorite moments as a listener was the first time I saw Prince perform in London’s Wembley Arena in the early 90s (at the time ‘The Artist (Formerly Known As Prince) and again in 2011 at The Forum in LA, opening night of his month long residency. That was insane…he performed at least 3 hours straight, and then about 7 encores! Both shows I didn’t intend on going, and I was lucky enough to be invited by friends and these are probably some of my most favorite performer moments. There has never been an artist like him, the man is one of the best performers of all time!
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
what she said: Patsy Cline’s been a new love of mine. A lot of old country and Bossa Nova this summer so far. In a digital age, old dusty recordings feel great to listen to sometimes.
what he said: i’m pulling out my old vinyl a lot lately, i just updated my set-up and spinning a lot of vintage soul…Donny Hathaway Live at Bitter End 1971, Sly and The Family Stone, Ottis Redding ‘Pain In My Heart’
What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process? Is there a particular message or theme central to your creative works?
what she said: Starting with a concept, a mood and letting a song spill out is always the goal. Sometimes a song needs to be written on a guitar, sometimes a piano. Sometimes the lights need to be completely off. Sometimes I need to get a little high… on life. And sometimes a song start as a shoddy chord progression jotted down on a napkin, or a top line you struggle not to forget before you can write it down. I find most often these days that I’m just trying to catch ideas as they come. When Dan and I get the chance to create more material, there is never a shortage of voice notes or napkins to start from.
As far as a message, we understand that there is a certain amount of cultural responsibility involved with making music. We want to encourage people to be better while identifying with them. We are also people, at the end of the day. We try to stay close to what we believe in, and that’s making life better for everything and everyone. #WeAreTheHumanRace
We’re a firm believer that the cities that artists are based in helps craft their sound. How would you describe your city’s music scene? How has it inspired you into crafting your sound?
“LA churns out an enormous amount of bands/artists of all kinds. What’s really characteristic of this city, is that it has many characters. But whatever it is, if it’s lasted, has been sharpened. The LA crowd is hard to please and is very critical. A lot of ‘A’ game comes out of here”, says Chelsea.
“I agree, and being one of the most influential cities in music, yet the hardest to break through, makes for tough musicians who work their asses off to get there. The city brings an urban gritty flavor to our music, the tattered and weathered edges are brilliantly engrained in our minds and pours out into the music”, explains Dan.
How would you describe your visual aesthetic, in terms of album artwork, music videos, and artistry? How does the music you create contribute to your visuals? Does this extend to your live show experience?
Moons visuals are simple and that’s what we like about them. A ‘get the point across’ kinda style. As we establish a ‘brand’, we want to make it easy to pick out. Dan’s been assembling some video that we either shot on his cameras, smart phones, or by our good friend, Director Benjamin Atwell. Dan has a photography and graphic design hobby which influences a ton of our imagery. We plan to put it all together in the live show when it makes sense for us. The visuals are very honest and telling to how weird we are… or just telling to how much we appreciate found objects, and David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick films. As a start you can find our lyric videos online along with a series of Interludes – comprised of ’stripped down’ audio from upcoming releases incorporated into short form moving-graphic videos. A type of photo/video essay, Dan’s been working on. There’s a series of 10 we did as a MOON artistic project to get things moving. You can expect a lot more of this from us!
As an indie artist in the digital age, social media and streaming are essential tools for marketing and promotion. What do you think about online music sharing, both as a music fan and as a musician? How do you think social media/music streaming services impacts the rising musician?
what he said: When I started performing, there was no social media or internet outlets. It was just the start of a digital government program we were starting to hear about, we laughed about “E-mail” at the time. In those days we just booked shows by phone, jumped in a cargo van with gear and sleeping bags, talked to local press and radio in each town, and showed up hoping to meet fans we can hang with the next time we come through…that was DIY! Everything was word of mouth. Now, we are inundated with digital messaging in every direction, sometimes hard to tell which way to turn or where it’s coming from. In many ways, we absolutely love the free tools that are inherent in today’s technology because it allows us to communicate broadly and stay in touch with large amounts of people with a click of a button. At other times, it’s extremely tough to cut through the digital madness. This is a challenge we all have, and therefore it just goes to show that the songwriting/performance craft is still #1…you must be good and rise above for the world to know who you are.
what she said: I remember reading about how little Portishead made in one year with the most streamed song on this particular service. Less than $3000 for billions of people to stream their song billions of times. It’s great that it was streamed, but the band saw very little. This is discouraging. We just need to change our culture and teach it to appreciate music and the arts again. If we put money back in schools, this and most of our problems will iron themselves all out. So I don’t think streaming is a bad thing. As a listener, I LOVE how easy it is to listen to music that you just learned of. It’s just how we stream that’s messed up. Just as we ‘everything else’ in this country and others. Big business gets the money and the people that really worked for it get to fight for the scraps. If the big business mindset would change, then our programs will work more honestly and transparently. So if you are going to take a good ‘swing’ at your own music without big business, social media is an obvious avenue.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
I’d give my ‘left anything’ to work with Bjork, says Chelsea with Dan nodding his head “YES”! Working with an artist that has such an enormous imagination like Bjork has, has got to be one of the most fulfilling endeavors on this planet. I think we would both agree with this. We get a lot of inspiration working with artists who have been doing what they do for years, there’s a lot to be said for ‘experience’ and ‘time’.
Which songs are you currently obsessed with? What new acts do you recommend to our listeners? What bands do you believe are your best kept secret in the indie community?
what she said: I dove right into David Bowie’s “Black Star”. This record rips as a piece of musical brilliance and comforts every Bowie fan that loved his use of saxophone and intricate grooving. I still cry when I listen to ‘Lazurus’. Bjork’s new groundbreaking album is also something that everyone in any artistic community should invest time in. The worlds first virtual reality album? I mean, c’mon thats one of the world’s finest artists kicking the bar even higher for the rest of us. Amazing. As far as Indie music goes, I’m currently loving LA band, Harriet’s new record “American Appetite”. I highly recommend Harriet. Buy their album, don’t just stream it.
what he said: Not gonna lie either, the new Radiohead album is brilliant and stoked they came out with this album, we needed it! I also can’t help but feeling like Courtney Barnett might be one of the coolest modern rock artists we have right now, and the world needs more badass women like her!
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
MOON is working on wrapping up a collection of music we’ve been chipping away at in the studio… but still adding to the pile. Finishing ideas and adding to them. We have quite a lot in the works and are pumped to be doing it. We can’t wait for the world to hear more, but all in due time. We’re both busy in the studio doing a number of things, Chelsea is finishing a book with matching score while composing a collection of percussion ensemble pieces. Dan is remixing for labels/artists, working on a few scores, and producing a band out of Chicago called Star Tropics.