Shaky Knees 2017: Lo Moon x Vinyl Mag

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Lo Moon is somewhat a mystery. And it’s that allure and intrigue that’s captured our attention.

In a day and age where audiences are bombarded with high amounts of digital content, Lo Moon has kept it simple. One song. That’s it. We’ve only heard one song, “Loveless,” from the LA trio (Matt Lowell, Crisanta Baker, and Sam Stewart), and it’s left us wanting more.

We sat down with Matt Lowell ahead of Lo Moon’s first festival performance at Shaky Knees this weekend. Check out what he had to share…

VM: There’s a lot of mystery and intrigue surrounding the band. But beyond the mystery, there is a trio that is all about the music and doing the music ‘right.’ I would love to talk about that process of doing that music right.

Matt Lowell: As a band, I think music is so important and integral to our lives. When we decided to start rolling out music, back when making the record and songs, we wanted to take our time and make sure after a certain amount of time passed that we still like what we did and we still had a feeling about it. For us it’s not about just getting it right in terms of getting it right in the way we present it. It’s important to us in the way that we feel about it and I just think now that sometimes music is just rushed out because it’s easy to put it out. We just wanted to go against that grain a little bit. We felt that just because SoundCloud exists and just because we can put it up whenever, and we can get a reaction and put clips up here and there…

Everything right now is very instant, especially with the scrolling culture; you can like and move on and you can like and move on. We just said, what happens if we put something out and we take our time on it, and then we let that live and its own space for a while. Let’s see how many people can find it and let’s see what it does. And eventually it just starts adding up and then it becomes a little bit more real overtime. Then it’s up to us to then decide what the next move is and how we feel about it, because now we’ve got a larger scope. Especially with a song like “Loveless,” we just felt like it was going to take time for people to find it. People are still finding it, and it’s not done. We’re kind of into this idea that song live on and that’s kind of the basis behind my song writing style. It’s trying to make songs that emotionally connect and hopefully live for a longer time than a month on SoundCloud and then replaced by another song the next week or something.

VM: You mentioned taking time in this day and age, because everything today just feels so instantaneous.

ML: Everything is. From ordering food..

VM: Exactly, we can just Uber food now on an app.

ML: And I think that’s great. But I think there’s something to be said about artists having control. The fact that today you don’t necessarily need a label and they can put music out whenever they want. But for us, it took time to find the voice and we then wanted to give that voice some time to find its way.

VM: I think it’s so great, especially in this day and age, that your label and Chris Walla have this understanding of the need for time time and giving you the time to experiment as a trio. I know you guys have been working on an album that it’s been said it’s set to be released this year. What has the creative behind-the-scenes process looked like for that album?

ML: This record was an interesting one. You know, I started working on “Loveless” a long time ago and then move to LA and met Crisanta and Sam, and I had a bunch of songs that we’re just really basic demos. We just started working from the ground up and becoming a band and jamming them, spending hours and hours on one song in my back house just trying to figure them out. The beautiful thing about this band is that everyone, even if it’s something that I wrote, everyone brings their own connection to the music in the way that they approach the song. Everyone is really conscious of trying to feed the song and feed the emotion. With that it just starts becoming apparent when everything feels right. A lot of it is an experiment. When we did have the songs to a point where the band felt really good about them, we then went into the studio and started on the process. Chris then took that and deconstructed it even one step further. There were times when we were just listening to the vocal and then the drums for hours and days. We had to just figure out where the emotional quality was going to fit. Frank Tetaz who also co-produced the record, Frank and I spent months going over lyrics and just him getting inside my head and figuring out what I was talking about, why it was important, and connecting to it emotionally. So when it came out out of the speakers it felt like that. I think that’s what we’ve hoped we’ve achieved with the album and the songs.

The reaction on “Loveless” has been very emotional which is kind of a beautiful thing. That’s kind of the whole point. But behind the scenes there is a lot of jamming, and tweaking, and moving, and building the knocking it down, and building it again until it feels like a thing. I think that’s true with any great art, you just need to work it. I think what we’ve made reflects a time and we’ve put everything we have into it. We gave it the time again, and that feels like the essence and the ethos of this band.

VM: And that’s a beautiful thing for a band.

ML: It really is.

VM: You mentioned being able to experiment. Does that mean experimenting with sound?

ML: All kinds of experimentation, arrangements, sounds. “Loveless” was four minutes at one point, then it became five minutes at one point, then it became seven minutes at one point, and we finally made it to seven minutes because of the arrangement, the feel, and the emotional journey. That song was built over five years. At times the bridge didn’t feel right, ya know, ‘ why doesn’t the bridge feel right? Let’s get into a room and jam it.’ Crisanta would come up with a piano part, Sam would start a drone, I’d be playing a synth, and then all of a sudden it was a thing. It’s all over the map. That song, Chris and I spent over 5 hours arranging it in different ways, moving pieces around, finding out with the second versus trying to say, rewriting lyrics… it’s a lot of whatever it needs. And I think that’s the thing, whatever it needs, you just have to commit yourself to doing it.

VM: For someone who hasn’t seen your live show before, and may only know the song ” Loveless,” what can we expect out of a live performance? I know we’re going to get a taste of new music from you guys, but what does that feel like?

ML: I think it’s a little bit heavier and hits a little bit harder. It’s a little bit more rock. I think the bones of everyone in the band is rock – we were rock kids, we’re children of the 90s. I think a lot of the beauty is that it has a lot of space and it’s just heavier in a way that comes with the nature of just playing live. Anyone who has already heard some of the recorded versions and they come to the show have been really excited about that. I think it’s going to be really interesting putting out the studio versions and seeing what it’s like when people come to the gig.

VM: And we are very excited and looking forward to your set this weekend at Shaky Knees.

ML: This will actually be our first festival.

VM: That’s amazing, and you guys are on some really big festival names following Shaky Knees, like Gov Ball and Lolla. We’re excited to have you in Atlanta, and you’re playing the Earl for a late night show with Temples which will be awesome. Are you excited to see any of the performing artists this weekend?

ML: I think we’re really excited to see LCD and the Pixies. Those are the two we’re most excited for, and to just see some other bands.

VM: Well I know Atlanta will be happy to have you this weekend and like I said, we are just excited to see more music live from you guys. Now, is it possibly the fall, maybe, for some new music?

ML: I hope so. We’re looking towards the fall, but we’re also coming out with a new single right around the corner. So something is coming out soon and then we’ll go from there. We’ll see how that goes and if everything is right, it will be the fall.

Lo Moon plays Shaky Knees on Friday at 1:30 PM at the Criminal Records Presents: Ponce del Leon stage. Don’t miss it!

It all started when a much younger Jackie dove into her parents’ record collection, grabbed that trippy Magical Mystery Tour album, and played “Strawberry Fields” over and over again until it was engrained into her soul. She grew up on the dreams and stories of Simon and Garfunkel, “Bleeker Street” being one of her favorites, the seduction of The Doors, Van Morrison, because “Brown Eyed Girl” is definitely her song, and the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Jimi Hendrix…you get the picture. It may not show on the outside, but Jackie has a hippie heart, and that reflects in her musical tastes today. While some of her favorites may or may not be jam bands, her taste in music feeds into many genres. From alternative, Brit, and indie rock - OK, maybe all rock - to pop, to rap, to electronic, she loves it all. As a northerner, she thought she would never understand country until she found herself on a Georgia farm in cowboy boots watching Luke Bryan shake it for her- yeah, she got that. She is a chronic wanderluster, she doesn't believe in guilty pleasures, enjoys a great Moscow Mule, and is an absolute music festival fanatic- you’ll find her wherever the music takes her.

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