By Meredith Johnston
What Moon Things, a New-Paltz originated Brooklyn-based band, comprise Jake Harms, John Morisi, and Eric Lloyd. The trio just wrapped up a nationwide tour with fellow NYC band Dirty Dishes. This interview took place in March while the band was on the road from Raleigh, North Carolina to Birmingham, Alabama.
Rare Candy: As a group originally from New Paltz, how did you become involved with Hot Grits in Athens, GA?
What Moon Things: We had a friend who moved to Georgia in the hopes of starting a studio. He lived there for two years and we went to him to mix our first record. While we recorded most of our record in New York, we recorded a few songs at The Glow in Athens.
RC: Are you happy with the way the relationship between artists and fans has evolved over the past five years?
WMT: We’ve never actually thought about it before. But, yeah, definitely. One cool example is that we have this friend who is a big fan. He makes all the music for Dragon Ball-Z and we're actually going to do a recording session with him as a result of that; this all happened from him discovering and liking our music. The best thing about this band has been meeting different people and having these individuals in different places. We meet such a variety of people and we wouldn’t even necessarily expect them to like our music. As we move more and more out of our hometown, we meet such a range of people. This really has to do with our music being an attempt to breakdown categories and boundaries.
RC: On your Tumblr you’ve written about the pitfalls of categorizing people. Do you also feel that there are dangers to categorizing music? Do you categorize your own music?
WMT: I don’t know. When we were writing the last album I realized that we had some emo influences that referenced the silliness and romance of 80’s goth, like The Cure. Our music is a bit more dimensional and less sad. It’s definitely not an emo record even though it’s emotional; we don’t really want to share the “emo” label with emo bands. We tend to feel like “emo” is restrictive to the genre of music; we just wanted to make a record that felt and sounded good. In regards to the blogger-sphere, it’s just so label and genre oriented, it tends to make music very compartmentalized, very homogenous, and very boring. By doing these things, you lose what creates dynamisms and other facets of music that are hard to quantify.
RC: Do you feel like live shows are more important to have, now that most people have unlimited access to studio recordings?
WMT: Definitely yes. The energy of live shows comes from the moment. Playing live is about the energy you get; we have an unequivocal love of live shows. But, it can really go either way. Because of easy access to our music, people can happily stay home. Going out to shows is a more extroverted activity, and it feels as though our music more likely appeals to introverted individuals. With each show we play, we go into it not really aware of how many people will come out.
RC: Do you prefer to play venues or college campuses?
WMT: We enjoy playing shows that are put on by groups on college campuses who throw a party in their grungy basement. We have a lot of fun jamming in basements.
RC: Do you incorporate any non-musical influences into your studio recordings or live shows?
WMT: We’re pretty big readers and so words carry a significant amount of importance in our music.
John (WMT): I bought an MPC off eBay and started putting sounds into it and linked it into trigger pads that you can hit and arrange these sounds. It’s actually in the drum pattern of the middle section of the new track, “Party Down the Street” recorded at our friend Scott Nicholas’ studio Stereocilia in Beacon, NY. When we play live, we use the sample as a way to create synthesizer sounds; some bands use a Mac, but we use this thing that just looks like a big toy to create synth sound.
RC: Yeah, I really liked the new track, can you tell me a little bit about the cover art for it?
WMT: So John’s girlfriend, Kayla Curran did a whole series of children in a park. This particular work is of one kid standing in the outfield at a baseball game who refused to pick up the ball. He may or may not be the title character…
RC: That’s awesome! So, do you have any unrealized projects?
WMT: We actually just wrote a rap song the other day about Totoro! So, be on the lookout for that!
Listen to more What Moon Things on their Bandcamp.