Moontower Gives a Voice to What We're All Feeling on 'What Day Is It?' [Q&A]
Los Angeles based Indie-electro trio Moontower just unveiled their vibrant new EP What Day Is It?. Aptly titled for the current situation the world faces, we are all left wondering that same question as every day blends into the next. The highly anticipated release features innovative and enthralling soundscapes as well as relatable messages including striving for self-awareness and relational connection.
Moontower's music combines quirky pop with French house inspired production. From their infectious singles to invigorating live shows, Moontower is a band on the rise. Ones to Watch had the opportunity to speak with them about their latest EP, virtual tour and musical influences.
Ones to Watch: In late May you released a 15-minute performance video entitled "What Day Is It?". What inspired you to create an EP with the same name?
Moontower: We started Moontower as a live-focussed project and that has never really changed... With that in mind, it's always been our intention to be able to FIRST play our songs live for people before releasing them, giving concert go-ers the opportunity to get acquainted with something new in the space that we intend the songs to be "best" heard. With all of the craziness that is 2020, we needed to get a little creative with how to keep that up! Our hope with putting out the "What Day Is It?" performance at the beginning of the Summer was that people could familiarize and experience the songs with live energy before the whole project was released, the same way you would normally in a venue.
The compelling four-track release has a uniquely experimental sound touching on themes of regret, self-doubt and broken relationships. What prominent message do you hope listeners will take away from this EP?
For our first EP, "Season 1", we used a conduit to tell our own stories, that being a character named William Hollywood - a crime fighting cowboy at the center of our surrealist visual album. For this one, we wanted to tackle something both simpler and more daunting - writing about ourselves without a conduit. With this EP, we've touched very directly on some serious subjects to us personally - deaths in the family, dejection inspired by the downfall of our heroes, the unravelling of a relationship, lovesickness causing personal stagnation, and more. We hope people feel inspired to see the beauty in the process of putting yourself back together, especially when things work out differently than how you hoped.
Moontower just completed a virtual interactive tour. Can you explain more about what that experience was like?
Tom - The most important thing that we wanted to offer to differentiate the 15 minute "What Day Is It?" performance video from the 4 night virtual tour was giving people the closest thing they could have to going to a "real" show even when they can't leave their living room. So, with the "What Day Is It?" virtual tour, you could see everyone else who was "there" and celebrate with them like you were at a venue, you could visit the "virtual merch booth", there was an opening set and a meet and greet after the show. Really, our goal was to not compromise even in the time when so much is different than what we had envisioned before quarantine.
Jacob - It kept us sane. We had our first headline tour canceled, it would have been really easy to slide into a cycle of self-pity. Luckily we never had the time to.. and for that we have to thank our fans. The fact that we have people who want to see us put on something like this, we just wanted to give them (and ourselves) an experience that was deserving of their desire to look forward to something.
Devan - The experience was surreal, all around. It felt like a different kind of live show! For me, what sticks is the delirious, good, tired feeling that I usually get by the end of a show night. On a normal day of show, If I've put everything I could into setup, soundcheck, performing the music the best that I could, and talking with as many fans as I can - it usually ends up with me feeling pretty exhausted by the end of the night (but in the best way). I got the same feeling at the end of each night of our Virtual Tour, which I didn't realize I needed! Putting on this Virtual Tour was not easy by any stretch - but like most things with Moontower, after putting in the heavy lifting we enjoyed every second of the reward.
On the topic of shows, you've performed live with Night Riots and The Driver Era as well as opened for COIN and Cold War Kids. Do you have any interesting tour stories you can share with us?
Tom - I think it is appropriate to give a little shoutout to Riker Lynch, the bassist of The Driver Era who replaced all of our stage water bottles with vodka on the last night of our tour with them. Nothing like sweating on stage and quickly downing a water bottle to discover it is very much NOT water.
Jacob - To jump off that story ^ I usually throw out water bottles to the crowd after our sets (venues charge too much for water) but yeah, not that night. It's beautiful to feel like you're home no matter where you go, that's what our community gives to us…even if nobody knows who you are at the start of the night, you have friends by the end.
Devan - We've definitely had those hilariously classic touring stories, from fast food runs to the strange people you meet, to the unexpected - those never get old. Overall though, I do want to share that we've had the pleasure of touring with some of the most professional people in music. Touring is not easy - it's tough but extremely rewarding work. When we went on those first couple of tours - I had no idea what to expect, yet we had so many pros around us to show the way. Always thankful for their guidance and the friendships made.
Through your infectious indie-electronic music you have managed to grow a dedicated and loyal fan base. Who are some of your musical influences and how have they seeped into your sound?
Tom - Moontower started shortly after Jake and I went to go see one of my favorite groups Lemaitre at the El Rey. They really were (and are) so far ahead of their time and the way that they mixed alternative and dance in a live setting really inspired us to get the project off the ground and influenced what we set out to do in a major way. So much love to Ketil and Ulrik!
Jacob - There's a lot about The Killers that speaks to what we want to do and where we want to go. It's powerful pop-music you can dance and cry to. They've been a band forever, we wanna be touring and making albums together like that and even beyond till we're as old as The Stones.
Devan - Our tastes are pretty different across the board. Tom's typically obsessed with dance, French house, & impeccably-produced songs (SebastiAn, Caribou, Breakbot, Busy P). Jake's got an obsession with well-written songs based on structure, bulletproof lyrics and melodies (Julia Michaels, Phoebe Bridgers, Billy Joel, Manchester Orchestra). I'm obsessed with songs that have grand & strong instrumental harmony (Coldplay, U2, Pat Metheny Group, Tears for Fears). Together, we like the middle ground of Daft Punk meets The Killers - it's our sweet spot.
What is next for Moontower?
We've done a lot that we were very blessed to be able to get done before COVID hit - touring, filming big sequential music videos, promoting our EPs, and playing internationally. What we're so excited to do next is something none of us have ever actually done before: make a debut full-length album. :)
Lastly, who are your “Ones to Watch”?
There's an EP coming from a new artist going by Skofee! Also, always so much love to our friends constantly releasing music we love - Younger Hunger, OSTON, Valley, & Max Leone!