INTERVIEW: John Elderkin

How would you classify ¡Moonbeams No Mas! sound?

Our sound should come across as straightforward and direct. Our style varies a lot. On this record, I let the songs’ styles vary depending upon the action in the story, where in the arc the song comes, who was singing, etc. We go a lot of places, but I think the record as a whole sounds cohesive.

Who are your all-time or current top 5 musical influences?

This changes all the time. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Mazzy Star, Amy Winehouse, Moby, country-style songs by the Stones, and Randy Newman.

What do you want fans to take from your music?

Some fun. The story and the concept of this album are meant to surprise and delight.

How’s the music scene in Chapel Hill/Triangle area of North Carolina?

This area is well-known for wide range of musical styles. There are brilliant musicians playing country, old-time, rockabilly, rock and roll, hip-hop, you name it.

What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing out?

Long ago I saw an early R.E.M. gig that showed me possibilities for living I’d never imagined and changed the course of my life. I also saw a show by the Scottish group the Proclaimers at the Cotton Club in Atlanta that got me re-thinking how bands might generate real power. And they completely kicked my ass.

As for myself, I like letting the songs loose out into the world, that ephemeral kind of sharing that can’t be quantified or put into exact words, but you know it’s occurred, and so do the people there. A little bit of magic between folks, even on iffy nights.

Is there a song on The Fall and Rise of… that stands out as your personal favorite?

There are so many songs that my focus changes from time to time. Danielle Howle singing “Danielle, Long Gone,” when her character quits the Moonbeams band, is a current favorite.

Is this the first release for you and the band? If so, will there me more recordings? Or was this a one time thing? I’m guessing it’s hard to get this many people together.

This is our first record. And yes, it’s a real challenge to gather so many people. I’ve finally figured out that in order to play live, I need to strip it down to its essence. I hope to record again with Chris Garges, and if so, I think we’ll be able to gather folks for it–musicians seemed to have fun with it.

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

You know that kook Father John Misty? I’d like to see what’d going on with him before he flies off to another solar system.

What’s next for John Elderkin?

I am also in an acoustic-driven band called Mad Crush. We call ourselves one part June Carter-Johnny Cash with two dashes of Itzhak Perlman on a hayride. We’ve just released a timely single called “My Pre-Existing Conditions” at

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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