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Moonbell Interview

We recently got a chance to chat with San Fransisco’s Moonbell.

s.o.t.r.-What is the origin of Moonbell? Were you all friends previously or did you come together via the creation of the band?

David (drums) and Garen (vox, guitar) briefly played together in another proto-band that didn’t develop in the direction we had hoped, so we decided to do something ourselves.  We wanted to do something distinctive/different, built around an analog synth bass groove (instead of bass guitar).  We met Lisa (synth, vox) through some weird advert we put in craigslist.

s.o.t.r.-How key is the atmosphere of San Francisco to your sound? Do you think it would have developed the same in a different locale?

Each individual in the band has a unique perspective on that question, but yes, our location is an important influence, particularly when the city is enshrouded in fog.  However, from a writing and mood point of view, it definitely comes more from a mental state that’s independent of the geography… It’s something that’s been with me (Garen) for years, since adolescence, and has never changed.

s.o.t.r.-How was the recording process of the EP Figurine? Are their any plans for a full lenghth release?

We had such a great experience at Tiny Telephone, and recording to tape added such a nice warmth/depth to the songs on the e.p., I think.  We plan to record another e.p. there in the Fall, possibly to be combined with the first e.p. to form a proper full length (vinyl/CD release), depending on our label situation once the new songs have been recorded.

s.o.t.r.-How did you connect up with Lesfe Records/Banter Media?

It’s funny… Independently, around the same time, we had sent our e.p. to Lefse because we like the label, Matt Halverson contacted us about working with Banter.  I didn’t know of Matt’s affiliation with Lefse and said something like “there’s this cool label in Sacramento that we like…” and then Matt filled me in on the connection.  It was a cool coincidence.

s.o.t.r.-What would you say some of the biggest influences are to your dream/psych sound?

We have a big affinity for krautrock/motorik-style bass grooves as a foundation for songs – not sure how obvious that is (or not).  Experimenting with equipment to refine the sound is also a big influence – just trying different things until we hit on something that succeeds in replicating the music in our heads.

s.o.t.r.-“Nostalgia for the Future” is a great title, which also really seems to fit with our cultures obsession
with the past/how the past was cooler, etc. Where did the title come from?

It comes from the longing for things you expected to have in your future, but that never materialized.  Like being sentimental for something you expected, but surprisingly didn’t arrive.  The song is abstractly about losing touch with your dreams and being nostalgic for what you thought you’d have, though you could also apply it to that frustration of not having jetpacks, moon bases, etc. by now, that you hear about in pop culture.

s.o.t.r.-You guys have a lot of shows coming up in the San Fran area, any plans for a national tour in the future?

We definitely hope so.  At a minimum, we’d really like to play some one-off shows in other major locales soon.

Interview by: Stephanie Glass

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