If you're looking for something to fill the gaping void left by once-magnificent bands such as Title Fight and Superheaven getting boring and fading away, Delaware outfit Moonflower just might be "the one"—especially based on the grungepunk/emogaze excellence of their brand-new fourth EP, Feel it Too (their entire discography is absolutely worth a listen, though). Released earlier this month through Impetus Records, I was hooked right from the start of "Philip Morris U.S.A." by the group's perfect balance of atmosphere and energy.
I'm growing increasingly fond of letting bands and music speak for themselves, so stream Feel it Too below, followed by a quick chat with Moonflower's founder, Andrew Weidert:
I was just introduced to Moonflower a mere three days ago, so I'm still getting a feel for how the group has developed since 2016, but it looks like there have been a handful of lineup changes over the past two years—including the loss of two of the three founding members—and I believe you were still solidifying the current lineup as recently as two months ago. What's the current lineup, and maybe talk a little about how these changes have come about?
So, our current lineup is me on vocals, and I'm the only founding member remaining. I had started on both drums and vocals and still write and record our drum parts at the moment. My good friend, Chase, is on guitar. He actually used to play drums for us for a year and some change, which I'm extremely grateful for—he'd never played on the kit prior to 2018 and learned just because we asked him to play for us [laughs]. Another good friend, Austin, has recently stepped in on drums; and a pal we've known from the local scene, Stephen, stepped in on bass at the beginning of this year. The band started with me, my best friend Josh on guitar, and our friend Jordan on bass, and remained that way up until 2018 when Chase joined on drums and I focused on being up front. Jordan moved to Tennessee earlier this year, prompting us to recruit Stephen, and Josh has had a lot on his plate recently and stepped down out of the guitar role toward the middle of summer. Both of them are still extremely close friends of the band, and actively involved in our creative and recording process. This band would be nowhere it is without the three of us having seemingly perfect chemistry, I love those guys to death.
You had been working on the Feel it Too EP on and off for most of this year, and it's been a much longer road to get here than the pace Moonflower had been holding prior. What has that process looked like overall?
We began recording Feel it Too in November or December of 2018, I think? The first three songs were some old demos we had sat on since probably 2017 that never got totally hashed out, followed by "24," which started out as a jam and quickly became apparent that it would be the lead single. The recording process was a whole new thing for us this time around, because for our three previous EPs as well as a single we had released, everything was recorded digitally and I would record sample drums through an e-kit set up as a midi controller. This time around we decided that everything would be live recordings, so that from the jump set us up with some complications with drum and guitar recording. To make matters worse, before things were completely tracked I had my wisdom teeth removed, preventing me from doing vocals for a short period, followed shortly after by a near-death car accident that left me out of commission for about two months. At that point, we decided to take a step back from the record and band as a whole, since we had been nonstop grinding since we formed in the summer of 2016. We took the summer off, fiddled around with our new lineup, and finally buckled down at the end of summer/early-fall to finish the mixing process for the record. It seems like we've had enough time to relax and we're ready to keep pumping out material regularly.
I know it's such a goofy stereotype to talk about a band "maturing" and all that, but it really does feel like that's the case with Feel it Too—both musically and lyrically. Something about the overall vibe just comes across like it's raised the bar a bit on your core foundation. Would you attribute that to anything in particular?
The band actually kind of just started off for us as something new to do instead of hip-hop or just freestyle jamming. We were never really too engaged in writing original music, despite Josh and I having been playing together for the last 10 - 12 years. We had both been going through some emotional hardships and just kind of decided to start a grunge band and try and get some feelings out. We dove right into writing, recording, and releasing almost anything that came out. I don't hate any of those songs at all, but we've both definitely emotionally matured some since then. A lot of songs about girls and heartbreak quickly turned into songs about self-reflection on those sorts of relationships and highlighting other stressors in life that seem to kind of weigh me down. I guess it's a combination of organic development and aging/emotional maturity.
How and when did Impetus Records come into the picture for the new EP? Will Impetus also be releasing the cassette pressing?
Diego is seriously one of my favorite people on this Earth, I cannot give [Impetus] enough praise. He's been endlessly supportive of us since we met in early-2017. The whole Impetus team is incredible, they've got a very special and genuine organization going on and we're grateful to be a part. We had chatted with Diego on and off for probably a couple of years about releasing the next record through Impetus, and it kind of solidified itself and fell into place once we began recording last year. They were some of the first people we let know that we started working on a new record.
The cassette release of the EP will certainly be released through them. As for a timeframe on that release, I unfortunately don't have many answers. I know there have been some difficulties with the pressing plant, but if you check out our social medias (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter), we'll be certain to post updates there before anywhere else.
As an up-and-coming band, you all definitely seem to be out there getting after it, fairly regularly playing shows up and down the east coast. Do you have any advice on that front for other young outfits struggling to get out there in front of people more often?
The first piece of advice I have to give to any band just starting out is to focus on your live performance and stage presence. Those are the first things people at shows will remember about you before any lyric or riff or breakdown. Practice your asses off and bring the most energy you can every single show. We overbooked ourselves to the point of exhaustion our first year as a band, but it absolutely got us more attention than any of our records did. Social media presence is important, and obviously good records will help, too. But nobody picks up that CD from the merch table unless you really showed them what you've got on stage.
I'm ceaselessly looking to check out more and more new-to-me music, so what have you been listening to lately—new stuff, old stuff, no limits, anything?
[Laughs] oh, gosh, I definitely can't speak for the whole band, we've all got some eclectic tastes. A lot of our friends have put out some great music recently. Those have all been in heavy rotation. Closed Casket Material, by Regrown; BadSounds, Vol. 1, by Ricky; Crisis Meditations, by A Paramount, A Love Supreme; the new Soul Blind release is super tight; and of course the new Merger record has been in rotation. As for stuff outside of our friend group, my recent Top 10 in no specific order has been:
- Sheryl Crow, Greatest Hits (I'm a massive fan.)
- Trapped Under Ice, Heatwave
- Deftones, White Pony
- Hum, Downward is Heavenward
- Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream (My all-time favorite.)
- Nas, Illmatic
- Slingshot Dakota, Their Dreams are Dead, But Ours is the Golden Ghost!
- Title Fight, Shed
- The Beach Boys, Greatest Hits
- The Police, Greatest Hits