By: Sam Kayuha, In The Record Store staff writer.
As many the mood makes the man, many the inspiration makes the band. “I am large, I contain multitudes,” wrote Walt Whitman; members of Mister Moon list the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Cattle Decapitation as two of their favorite shows — it’s the same idea, really.
Mister Moon is a recent addition to the Columbus music scene in name only. All four full-time members, and the two part-timers, played in the Womacks, a Norwalk, Ohio-based band who often performed in Columbus. Percussionist Cory Webb and bassist Seth Bain also play with Nick D’ & The Believers.
Though only Bain lives in Columbus, all of the “core four” extol the benefits of the scene.
"We came to the city and were blown away because there are endless amounts of bands and venues,” said Tommy Christian, vocalist and guitarist. “Where I’m from [in Norwalk] the 20-year-olds flee. Here you don’t have to know anyone and there will be young people at your show.”
Webb added, “Warmth doesn’t come from people knowing you, it comes from the city.”
The band may still be lifting off (its first show in Columbus was last December), but prospects look bright. Mister Moon is putting together its debut EP and preparing for full summer, including sets at Independents’ Day and Color Dance in Athens, Ohio.
Things got started for the group after the Womacks, also known as the Womack Family Band, a staple of the small scene in Norwalk, Ohio, disbanded. Christian and percussionist Cory Boomer continued to play and write together, and before long added Bain and Webb, playing together as Mister Moon for the first time in April of 2016. Two other ex-members of the Womacks, Noah Heyman and Tony Schaffer, join the band on occasion.
“There was a slow progression of me and Tommy being like ‘does this stuff suck?’” Boomer said. “Then Seth joined the band and we realized he actually likes these songs.”
Some of the music was written when the group consisted of just Boomer and Christian, but the four of them have been writing together for the last year.
“You can tell the songs that were written with the four of us in mind,” Webb said.
Of influences to its sound, the band cites Gorillaz and Radiohead, especially for its rhythm section. The two drummers are a large part of what makes Mister Moon’s sound unique, a dynamic of Webb’s backbone and Boomer’s flourishes.
“Never do we paint anything but a moon,” said Webb, of each addition to the band’s discography. “But we paint it different every single time.”
“Chimes,” found on the band's website, is the first single from the upcoming EP. It is cautious at first, like teetering on the edge of cliff, before pulling back to its subtly anthemic chorus. Webb calls it one of the fullest tracks he has ever played on.
But the bank members talk about writing and recording almost as a necessary evil, mentioning that they often write to fill a need in the live setlist. The goal is a multi-functional live show, one that satisfies a desire to dance, but can also, according to Christian, leave the audience wondering “what just happened?”
“Eventually I’d love for you to come to the show and you smell the dirt that I’m singing about and you feel the wind,” he said. “If I could write a song about the Cuban Missile Crisis and come out of it on the other end with you being like "I’m pretty sure this song is about the Cuban Missile Crisis’ and not even by the lyrics, just by the feeling... that’s what I want.”
The band trends toward experimentation, but is careful to maintain soft pop edges of melody.
“We do want to be a pop band to some degree,” Boomer said. “But what we really want to do is fit all of our worlds into a pop form.”
On stage, the band takes its pop songs in different directions, twisting the conventional with psychedelic and world influences, tinges of classical, metal and Stevie Wonder.
“You can’t put down on a paper what you can do to a person with a live performance,” said Bain. “Chances are you’re not going to get the same experience from a recording. We all come from a place where live music is king." - SK