INTERVIEW: LA-based Indie-folk/Americana outfit Moonsville Collective
Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hi Vents, we’re doing well! We’ve been enjoying a couple weeks of downtime, some travels to New Orleans, the Pacific Northwest and Eastern Sierras. No complaints.
Can you talk to us more about your song “4th Street”?
It’s a mellow tune. No big solo, no big bridge – it kind of just comes in, says it’s peace, sits around for a while and then leaves the room. It’s about coming back from wherever you are and realizing maybe some things have changed. Maybe you feel jaded, maybe you feel practical, maybe you realize the difference between loneliness and being alone. That’s in there somewhere.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
The coming and going of friends, family members, myself. Feeling tired and burnt out.
Any plans to release a video for the track?
We released four EP’s this year, and I imagine we’ll release a video for one or two of them as we continue to promote the songs in 2018, but we haven’t put a ton of thought into which one yet. Maybe since you asked – we’ll begin work immediately.
At this point, are you building up to a conceptual record of any sort?
We’ve thrown the idea around here and there, but find ourselves not wanting to lean into something too confined. We like to improvise and keep things fluid in the studio and onstage. We have a pretty tight knit group of rotating friends, singers and songwriters that join us onstage, backstage, the house after the show – that have become like an extended family band. We’ve talked about trying to capture some of that lightening that we get when we’re all together. I suppose our concept would be to put out a collection of songs that span the American songbook – roots, blues, folk, folk rock, etc. Then again, we’ve talked about doing a simple Old Time record.
How was the recording and writing process?
The song took a while to find itself, which lyrically, makes sense I suppose. We wrestled with making the song structure more complex, but it just didn’t want to budge and in the end, simplicity won the fight. Once that was decided, the recording was easy going, being such a straight forward song.
What role does LA play in your writing?
It’s an inspiration, it’s a drag. Its wealthiest places are poor, it’s most tattered neighborhoods are holy. One day you feel at home, and another like foster care, but in a good way. People move around the corner from Skid Row from all over the country to chase their dreams and sip coffee and drink expensive beer. The irony of privilege sharing the same street corner as Jacob, the harmonica playing druggy burnout, is just so conflicting. “Normalcy” is always hanging in the balance. You feel a part of the hype, and you feel a part of the dregs. It’s always on your mind; it always has something to say.
How has your musical background influenced the music you make?
Growing up around Los Angeles and in its tiring suburbs, you didn’t hear much Old Time, Country or even Folk Rock around high school campuses. Indie was big, and bands like the Stones started making more sense. Tom Waits made his way into some of our heads, and I guess what all those things have in common is a bit more darkness (in tone, if not always lyrically) than traditional bluegrass or what we knew of as country at the time. I think our last 5 records reflect that. Then you find Ledbelly, who can do it all, for the record.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
A friend, an uncle, a trip to New Orleans, Grandpa, legendary people, your wife, a book, sitting on a street corner in Los Angeles, sitting in your kitchen, divorce – some things just don’t leave your mind. The things that hang around in there, things that you can’t kick – those are the ones.
Any plans to hit the road?
We have our spots we like to play – San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Yucca Valley and Central Coast. We visit those places a few times throughout the year in batches, but we are talking about maybe going back East to Tennessee again in 2018, or try to get up to Washington and Oregon for the first time.
What else is happening next in Moonsville Collective’s world?
I think we’ll put out another record next year at some point, maybe something live and raw to contrast the 4 EP’s. Dobro Dan will probably buy three new instruments by April to make some new sounds, maybe somebody has a baby. We’ll continue to see what it looks like to walk the line between what’s fun, what makes sense for the band, and what makes sense for our lives so we don’t go crazy. We’ll see you around.