This has been a busy month for Los Angeles based indie-electronic trio Moontower. With the announcement of their upcoming one of a kind virtual tour as well as a new single “Got My Way”, the band has kept busy during this time of quarantine.
When Jacob Culver of Moontower came close to losing someone he cares about deeply, it was a huge wake-up call for the singer. His mother nearly died due to a heart attack and that traumatic experience brought up many intense emotions. Moontower’s latest release “Got My Way”, explores those feelings of remorse and guilt for having taken her for granted. The upbeat offering highlights quirky electro soundscapes and irresistible pop melodies coming together to create a unique track enticing listeners.
During these difficult times of quarantine, we all need something to keep us going. Electro-pop outfit Moontower are providing exactly that with their innovative live performance video and virtual tour. Their 15-minute performance “What Day Is It?” takes an empty warehouse and transforms it into a stunning dusk and dawn esthetic simulating the perception of time melting. The video release will coincide with an announcement of their virtual tour where they will take the stage with some special guests. The virtual tour includes LED light shows, art installations, special meet and greet happy hour, a choose your own adventure setlist voted by the fans and much more. Culture Collide had the chance to chat with the band about this highly anticipated tour, their eccentric sound and more.
Moontower is recognized for their refreshing and upbeat indie-electro sound. How did you develop your distinctive style and how has your sound progressed over the years?
D: Thank you so much! We find that style of sound to be our sweet spot. On the production side of things (Jacob can touch on the lyrical side), our first EP (“Season 1 – The Ballad of William Hollywood”) was very much inspired by our French artist inspirations (SebastiAn, Justice, Daft Punk) and while it took us a while to find that sound for us, it’s still our groundwork/baseline of sound inspo. For our 2020 single releases, we wanted to go a little more on the alternative side of indie-pop, with kit-sounding drum sounds and guitars with a little more space (Season 1 is more in-your-face/very little space with the guitars/bass/drums). For these releases, we looked to our alternative music inspirations (The Killers, Coldplay, The Strokes).
While the 2020 singles feel less left-of-center to us (whereas Season 1 feels a little more distinct), we wanted to establish a pop-ier sound, and also through doing that I think we’re excited for next year’s releases to go back to being more French-house inspired. There will likely always be this push-pull between the two styles.
J: We wanted to create a sound that blended alternative melodies with French House production. It came from hearing our favorite dance records and wishing there were deeper stories in the lyrics, and listening to our favorite alt-pop music and wishing the production was a little more in your face.
Your latest release “Got My Way” was written after almost losing your mother to a heart attack in the hopes that it will inspire others to appreciate those closest to them. What advice would you give someone looking to repair a relationship with someone special?
J: My mother and I have always had a great relationship but in that moment when I knew we almost lost her I felt crushed for taking any split second with her for granted. We have to listen to each other, forgive each other, and respond with compassion. In my life that’s been the key to building or repairing any relationship.
T: Like Jacob said, it’s so important to remind yourself not to take a second for granted. Without sounding gratuitously philosophical, the past and future aren’t real, all you have is now. You should never get too entrenched in what happened or what might be in the future at the detriment of living your truth in each moment, especially when it comes to family!
D: People change all the time! Honest and brutal communication can be so tough but is so vital for healthy and sustainable relationships. When you’re honest, you’re invincible!
You all are known for your invigorating live shows. How have your shows evolved since you began as a group?
D: 🙂 Thank you! The live show is (and has been) our calling card as a band. It feels like one of the aspects that is the most in-our-control. Not only is it incredibly rewarding to play shows, but as a band that falls under the alternative umbrella, it’s vital to our growth, because we hope to be Moontower for a very long time. As a band, we’re not shy about that fact that we use tracks (especially with French house being a huge musical inspiration), but as of recently we’ve been trying to play the most amount of parts possible (drum parts, keyboard parts, guitar parts, vocal harmonies), and it’s been fun to have a little downtime on stage as a result of doing the most we can.
J: We used to play in dirty backyards to hundreds of college kids. We’d roll up to a school with our own lights, production, and speakers and try to give people the craziest show they’d ever seen in a backyard. In many ways, we always want our shows to feel like this. Moontower shows should be a place where everyone feels accepted, where everyone can come together to have a shared experience. The bigger the shows we get to play, the bigger we can dream about how to keep that same energy in our shows.
T: We can’t wait for the day where we have to call our agent and explain that we’ve recklessly spent our whole advance on building some crazy massive stage structure like Daft Punk did at Coachella. We started playing live way before we started releasing music and at the end of the day, wherever we put anything out, it is just in service of playing live.
Moontower has toured the country with prominent acts such as Bad Suns and The Cold War Kids. Can you describe that experience in more detail and how it shaped you as artists?
D: We are lucky to support any group on the road – from acts like The Driver Era, The Technicolors, Night Riots. These are groups that have built followings we hope to also have one day. Between their musical choices, performance style, personality traits – every single member has attributes to look up to when we’re on the road with them. We strive to learn (whether in the studio or on the road), and playing shows with these groups is part of that for us. It’s also been so crazy for us to become friends with these people too (that’s a part of being a musician I never even expected or thought would happen)!
J: Like Dev said, it’s a crash course, it’s a window into the future, it’s preparation. We hear stories about when The 1975 or Local Natives were on the road for 250+ days out of the year and to us that sounds like a dream come true. We live to be on the road, it’s where we’re most comfortable, where we can feel the most connected to other people and our community. When I play a show, I am locked in that moment, it’s one of the only times I can truly say I am 100% focused on where I am standing, and that’s a beautiful feeling.
T: The most beautiful thing about the live shows too is how it can re-contextualize the music. We spend so many months, even years, working on a track and song, dialing it in and getting it just right. Then when we get to play it live and see everyone’s reactions, it’s almost like we get to catch up with an old friend! A song gets a second life after it is out and you never know what it is going to mean to so many different people, it’s so beautiful to see that every night on tour.
On the topic of touring, I heard you guys have an upcoming virtual tour. Can you tell me more about that and how this is unique from other live streams?
J: Like a lot of artists, our 2020 shows were canceled. We’re a live band first, so that was a pretty tough blow. Almost immediately though we realized that we could put on the show of our dreams because we didn’t have to worry about really simple things like how high the ceilings in a venue are, how much space there is on stage, etc. We got to work with our roommate/production manager and put together four insane shows we’re live-streaming out of a state-of-the-art production warehouse. This is not a normal live-stream, and it’s not even a normal show, it’s the biggest live experience we’ve ever done. We love the live streams everyone is doing from their homes, and we’ve done some of those, but we thought it’s time for artists to push the boundaries of what we can give our fans during this time. At these shows, you’ll be able to attend a concert with people from around the world that you might otherwise never get to see a show with, and we think that’s pretty special.
T: Also we definitely need to shout out our roommate Jacob Fishman, his company Glow In The Dirt, and our friends at Eastside LED, who are allowing us to bring this absolutely crazy show via livestream. Each night is so much bigger than anything we could bring on the road and we just can’t wait for everyone to see it!
You are major advocates in the fight for gun control, in particular non-partisan gun-buyback programs. What got you involved in this worthy cause and how can others do their part to make a difference?
J: We believe that as artists who ask people to gather to see us play, that we should fight for the safety of those in attendance. And not just when they are at our shows, but when they are at school, or at a bar, or at their place of worship. Especially in America, we think we are better than turning a blind eye as mass-shootings and escalating gun-violence become a normal part of everyday life.
D: For us, it’s a simple equation of “fewer guns = fewer problems”. There are way too many firearms in the United States (and the rest of the world), so programs like GunxGun productively help solve that problem. While we’ve always been firm proponents in gun control, we found out about GunxGun through one of our mutual friends in college who had a friend of hers killed in the Thousand Oaks shooting in November of 2018. Shortly thereafter, we got involved with gun control programs because we want people to feel out of harm’s way at any live event, no matter the type. Everyone deserves to feel safe and not have to fear for their life – that’s a human right.
Lastly, how are you connecting with your fans during quarantine?
D: We’ve had a couple of weekly calendar-planned events that have been really fun for us to share with the Moontower community since quarantine started. There’s “Coffee Break w/Tom” (either DJ’ing or sharing the production sessions of our songs), “Campfire Test w/Jacob” (acoustically breaking down Moontower songs and songs of a special guest), “Cooking w/Dev” (cheffing up some delectable food). Our hope with any of these series (whether on IG Live, or IG Stories) is just to have content that fans can look forward to. This is a time where anything outside of your control can be the source of high anxieties and fears. We hope that by doing series like these which is in our control and sharing them with the community, everyone can feel a little better.
T: We also have a Discord server called “Take Care Incorporated” that we started at the beginning of the year. We really didn’t know how amazing it was going to be for everyone to have their own digital community when we made it but it has been really special during such an uncertain time. We have a thread for pictures of your pets, emotional support, music recommendations, just chatting, whatever!– it’s been such an amazing place to keep in touch and talk to everyone on a daily basis!
J: We are doing things that keep us sane and hopefully give people something to look forward to and put a smile on their face. We’re all in this mess together no matter where we are, there’s no reason that even in isolation we can’t all have some fun. That’s the main thing we’re trying to do with our Virtual Tour – come together around live music again.
TICKETS HERE: https://thisismoontower.com/
July 5 – Season 1 Performed in Full
July 6 – Unpeeled, an Acoustic Show
July 8 – What Day Is It? Live
July 9 – Fan Selected Setlist