There's so much more to making music than just making music. There are ideas and stories to tell, and that is exactly what Moontower is trying to do. From their somewhat confusing and hilarious PILOT they dropped earlier this year, you knew that something bigger was happening. And we cannot wait to take this ride with them.
We spend some time with Jacob, Tom, and Devan to talk about their music, playing a sad game of Knockout, and what particular song they love...but hurts to hear.
NON: So tell us about how you guys got started?
Tom: Devan and I met at USC during the first week of our freshman year. We started making music together and we were producing music for other artists. Jake came a semester later and started writing songs for the same artist. We all met because we were writing and producing music for other people. We started to make stuff that was too good to give away and we wanted to keep it for ourselves to start our own projects. That's how Moontower got started, it was super organic. We were just working on music and it just kinda happened.
NON: Where does the name of the band come from?
Devan: The name "Moontower" comes from one of our favorite movies, Dazed and Confused. There's this scene where the Moontower is referenced. It's this big afterparty where everyone from every walk of life goes to. It's this big melting pot of a party. We found that it fit really well under the ethos of what we were trying to do with our music.
NON: We have to talk about a video you guys posted on YouTube. What is going on in the video? There's a guy with no shirt...and he's just digging and digging.
Jacob: All I can tell you is that the pilot features a dear friend of ours named William Hollywood. This video is just the tip of the iceberg., it's part of a bigger story. William is the subject of our first song. Our album that's being released next year is all about him. But, more videos with him will come out to give you some more information.
NON: We love your music. Let's talk about your song "Long Hair." I just saw the lyric video for it and it looks like a really sad basketball game of Knockout(laughs.)
Devan: We do a lot of stuff from an outsider's perspective. There's a line in that song that says, "...I'm gonna quit you like sports, stay inside 'til the season's over." We were just looking at pictures and we realized that the three of us were terrible at sports. That's how we wanted to spin it. We just never really had that one shining moment in high school where we stuck out as much as we thought we did. So, "Long Hair" is about reclaiming the stuff we weren't good at. That video has some of dear friends in it and an accurate description of how musicians play sports(laughs.)
Jacob: It's an anthem of taking control of the things that you have failed at, recreating them and hopefully letting go of negative people, negative energy, and negative things.
NON: What about the lyric video you did for "Leaving You Behind"? Was there a meaning behind it?
Tom: Honestly, that was just a celebration of the summer. These projects kept us busy. We were playing for about 10 months and we decided we were going to go to Six Flags. We wanted to celebrate that only after a year of playing live, we were going to start putting out music. It took a long time to find a day where we weren't doing shows or anything at all. So, that trip became the lyric video. That's probably not that interesting of a story(laughs.)
But, to be real, I have a large obsession with world-building, the theme-ing that goes around theme parks. The logistics behind rides and telling stories through the physical world. That is very much an inspiration for what we are trying to do with our music, what we are doing with these videos, this narrative that we are trying to tell through our friend William, and the other stories we are planning to tell in the coming years. Just the way that people are able to do that to tell stories in theme parks, we kinda draw inspiration from that.
NON: Since we are talking inspiration. Who are some musicians that you admire and inspire you?
Tom: I listen to a lot of Ed Banger stuff. Guys like Breakbot, Justice, and Sebastian.
Devan: I grew up to a lot of U2. I just love the idea of a guitar not sounding like a guitar. I like Coldplay, their songwriting and their ability to make it sound huge.
Jacob: My older inspirations are The Talking Heads and Billy Joel, just big classic baritone singers. Most recently, I like Toro y Moi...and just like Tom, I'm pretty obsessed with french house music. I'm also the Top 40 person of the group, if it's on the radio, I probably listen to it.
NON: Any embarrassing stuff on your personal playlists?
Tom, Jacob, and Devan: Oh yeah, "It's gonna be me" by N'Sync. Also, "Drag Me Down" by One Direction....."Return of the Mack" by Mark Morrison. Ok, really guilty pleasure is "Downtown" by Macklemore, it hurts to listen to but it's hilarious.
(They begin singing "Downtown.")
NON: You guys have been pretty busy with touring. You guys sold out the Moroccan Lounge!
Devan: Yes! The Moroccan Lounge is one of our favorite venues. It's an amazing space, the guys who run it, kill it. It felt like home doing that show.
NON: So what's next for you guys? We've heard a lot of singles...but what's next?
Tom: We have a project coming out in January! It's one we have been working on for a very long time. It's a story that we cannot wait to share with everyone. We talked about the pilot earlier, that video is very important to this project. But, don't look too far into the pilot(laughs), definitely check it out.
NON: Recently we had #WorldMentalHealthDay, and you guys posted something about it on your FB page. We appreciate those words. Can you talk about that a bit?
Jacob: You know, a lot of the stuff we do can be silly and nonsensical, but we just want to spread joy and spread some positivity . Personally, I've suffered from anxiety and depression for 4 years. It's hard to wake up some days, I know that a lot of people know what that feels like. You don't always have to talk about how bad things are to fight depression or anxiety. We need to lean on each other, to empower each other, and to appreciate the good things. When you get to wake up and do what you love or go after what you love, that's a pretty good day.
NON: So what do you do to deal with or escape mental illness?
Jacob: I write every day. I write my unfiltered thoughts down. We try to stay healthy and eat well. Honestly, we hold each other accountable. If we feel that any one of us is feeling any negativity, we don't let that go unnoticed. It's the way that we practice leaning on each other. We always try to find the joy in everything.
For more on Moontower visit thisismoontower.com!