By Nicholas Jason Lopez
As a singer-songwriter, classically-trained cellist and illustrator, Jeremiah Moon is used to the fit of many hats.
The Seattle musician is set to soon release his five-track debut EP ‘Sputnik’ via Southern California’s ENCI Records (Fences, The Joy Formidable, Beach Goons), which will feature the single “Kinds Of Light.”
Influenced by a wide array of acts that range from Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush to Thom Yorke and Sufjan Stevens, Moon was aspired to make sure ‘Sputnik’ paid homage to them, yet carved its own unique path. ‘Sputnik’ explores the theme of connections between people and the ways we try to understand each other, yet still change each other’s orbits. It was recorded with his friend/producer Adam Black in a remote cabin in Florence, Ore..
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to chat with Moon about ‘Sputnik’ and more.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Seattle to someone who has never been there before?
Jeremiah Moon – The first time I visited Seattle, probably back around 2005, it felt completely different than anything I’d experienced before. Something about the damp, salty air from the Puget Sound, the insanely lush plant life and the contrasting cool-grey architecture – you could feel the soul of the place, which isn’t always easy. It’s a place that encourages contemplation, if you’re into that. Lots of spots to hide away and just watch things living around you.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Jeremiah Moon – “Housesitting” was tough. It took me a while to come up with a chorus that I was happy with. I tried singing like I was someone else – putting on different outfits, so to speak – and eventually, the song found its shape. It’s been tough finishing songs during the pandemic, too – hard to feel centered enough to make honest work when it feels like the world is constantly shifting beneath your feet.
Music Bugle – What made you want to sign with ENCI Records?
Jeremiah Moon – I feel lucky to be a part of what they’re doing! Pat has always been super gracious when we’ve chatted and I quickly got a sense that these guys are in the business because they really love music and just want to help artists connect with audiences in a way that’s true to their work.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your debut EP ‘Sputnik’?
Jeremiah Moon – It felt like traveling into the wilderness without a map. Sometimes, songwriting gives you obvious direction and sometimes it leaves you totally confounded. There was a Tom Waits interview where he talked about having to seduce the muse. I think there’s a lot of truth to that idea. You’re in communication with this thing that’s totally beyond yourself and your job is to listen.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Jeremiah Moon – Right now, I’m listening through an excellent album by Helene Vogelsinger. Always listening to Radiohead and I’m finally getting really into Thom Yorke’s solo stuff. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis just put out an album called ‘Carnage’ that’s pretty incredible. ‘Skeleton Tree’ is one I come back to pretty regularly too. Blake Mills’ newest album is great too, endless production inspiration!
Music Bugle – What was the moment that made you want to become a musician?
Jeremiah Moon – When I was young, there was nothing that meant more to me than putting on my headphones and traveling to a sonic world that someone else carefully put together. I think I’ve always sort of known I wanted to do that myself, it just took me a long time to consider it as a legitimate option! Ultimately, I just had to stop running from it and take myself seriously enough to listen to what I really wanted.
Music Bugle – What made you want to put out “Kinds Of Light” as the first single?
Jeremiah Moon – I wanted this song to set the tone for the rest of the EP release. This is the thesis statement for the whole project in a way. It’s also one of the songs I’m most proud of. It feels like it landed really close to what I had in mind when I started writing it.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Jeremiah Moon – Both! It’s much easier to find an audience than it might have been a decade ago, but at the same time, it’s hard to hold people’s attention for long. It also encourages artists to churn out a constant stream of content, with quality taking a backseat to consistency. Not that there aren’t artists who manage to do both well – but I think it can be really damaging to feel pressure to over-share with an audience, when most meaningful work comes from a place of stillness anyway. It’s a tricky thing to navigate!
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Jeremiah Moon – It’s still hard to understand the whole scope of it, you know? There were certain things that were totally magical, I was in a new relationship early last year when everything shut down, so we just got to hang out all the time, set our own schedule, dive into creative projects – it was really idyllic! But then, I think back to how stressful it was just walking to the grocery store and the inescapable feeling of dread that hung in the air and I remember that it was – and still is – an incredibly tough time in a lot of ways. Mostly, I just feel very lucky that my loved ones are safe and healthy.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Jeremiah Moon – It’s more of a story than a quote, but I always love reading about how it took Leonard Cohen five years to write “Hallelujah” and something like 80 different attempted verses and then it took on a life of its own, totally outside of what he was doing musically with his version. What an act of faith it was to slowly chip away at that song for years until he found the right words! It’s a good reminder when I’m tempted to give up on a song. Who knows what it could become if you have the patience to let things take shape?