On Repeat with Moonglow
Welcome to the 17th edition of the IMF Artist Profile, a series dedicated to the Indie Music Feedback community. The goal of this series is to take a look at the personal lives of some of IMF’s biggest contributors, giving you a peek into who they are as human beings. We’ll pull back the curtain as far as our guests allow and hopefully we will all walk away with a better understanding of the music these individuals are creating as we learn more about them.
Moonglow was born in New Jersey, USA. Currently living in New York, Jeff spends most of his time working in recording studios and as a freelance producer. During the quarantine of 2020 Jeff became deeply interested in new hobbies, like falling in love with old steel road bikes and cycling around NYC daily. He’s also taken an interest in mechanic work, working on old Honda motorcycles. Not to take the focus off the music, Jeff just completed a new Moonglow EP and has been upgrading his home production space while building and modifying his own DIY audio projects.
Moonglow is a Brooklyn-based artist who (to me) sounds a bit like the Arctic Monkeys mixed with LCD Soundsystem. An indie-rock producer with a keen ear for simple beats and well-mixed tracks makes him one of my favorite artists to watch in the IMF community. His latest release, Fall Asleep on Repeat (featuring Elizabeth Wyld), has such a simple beat and structure yet it stands out with catchy lyrics, a killer duet, a surprise visit from an electric sitar, and a melody that doesn’t leave your head for hours…or in my case days. Today we will talk about getting lost in your hobbies, the ups and downs of the freelance industry, and much more.
Now, onto the questions…
Baaz: What brought you and Elizabeth Wyld together for your latest release? Can you also talk a bit about the production process for this song?
Moonglow: Sure thing — so I actually didn’t intend to include this track on the new EP, it was originally 4 songs. I was up late and going over old hard drives, looking for stranded Pro Tools sessions that I never organized into proper folders and I found it floating around. I cracked open the session, it sounded basically like what the song is now, minus Elizabeth’s vocals. I hit up a friend, Sam Sumpter, who worked for SoFar Sounds and I knew was familiar with a lot of interesting, up-and-coming artists around the city. She made the connection with Elizabeth, she came by the studio and we cranked out her vocal parts in an afternoon and the rest is history.
Baaz: Being a freelance producer, and even working in recording studios, must be incredibly difficult right now in NYC. It’s bad all over with COVID, but I think NY has been hit the hardest of many cities in the world, let alone the US. What are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing now vs before the pandemic? How have you adapted?
Moonglow: Business is slow, to say the least! I’ve adapted by trying to lower my overhead to include only the absolute necessities and I’m taking other gigs — more tech work (been working on modifying and recapping a console for a client) as well as flipping things I don’t use, more mixing remotely, etc. I still get one or two decent assistant engineer/commercial studio gigs a week but it’s tough, definitely still working on ways to adapt to the new world here.
Baaz: Were you playing live before the pandemic? If so, where and how often? Can you give some insight into the local music scene in Brooklyn/NYC?
Moonglow: I was working up to it, was rehearsing with a Moonglow live band right before the pandemic hit. I had only done solo performances for this project, really just playing SoFar Sounds events around town. I do play in other peoples’ projects though, mostly with my friends in The Yeahtones, White Cliffs, etc, and NYC/Brooklyn has a great scene. Lots of talent and variety, great venues, and a pretty vibrant community.
Some friends live in Bushwick, which can be pretty affordable and pretty cool in terms of the artist community. It’s a little crust-punk. My buddies live in a building called “The Tea Factory” (which I used to live in ~2015) which is a little rundown, graffiti on the walls, etc, but everybody in the building is an artist or has a band and there’s kind of a general peace agreement with regard to noise complaints. Plenty of indie rock and metal bands in the building, producers, and the occasional jazz trio heard down the hall.
I live in Flatbush, where a bunch of artist friends also live, and it’s a little different vibe. Lots more low-key, cool pre-war buildings, always music in the park nearby. Feels like more jazz cats/serious instrumentalists, but also your fair share of things like noise artists posting up in the park, etc. My buddy Jake who lives a few blocks down has a beautiful Conover grand piano in the center of his studio apartment and he’s pretty active around the scene.
These are just two neighborhoods and a limited perspective but there’s a lot happening all over town.
Baaz: Who are some of your biggest inspirations in the music industry? Current or otherwise.
Moonglow: Big love for Harry Nilsson and the freedom of his songwriting. WILLIAM ONYEABOR is incredible. I am also hugely into Radiohead, The Cardiacs, The Strokes, a bunch of early 2000’s pacific northwest indie rock like Modest Mouse, The Shins, etc. Really respect Phil Ek and his mixes/productions. Phillippe Zdar and the records he’s worked on — that Phoenix record still KNOCKS SO HARD. I like Robin Pecknold’s process with Fleet Foxes, I think he keeps digging deeper into his own artistry and remains open to change while embracing his old identity — I like that idea a lot.
More current stuff? Jerkcurb/Horsey is really rad. Really dig Michael Kiwanuka. Love Oneohtrix Point Never and his use of synths. I was super into Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tame Impala, Temples, and a bunch of other new-psych for a few years, and it informed a lot of my musical decisions for a while but I think I’m feeling inspired by something different these days.
Baaz: What does IMF mean to you right now in your life? How has it affected you?
Moonglow: Especially during the height of quarantine, IMF is a great active musical outlet for discussion, collaboration, and just discovery of new things. It’s nice to know there’s an active community you can share your creative output with and get genuine listens and constructive feedback. Sometimes I’m posting more and giving more feedback, sometimes I’m just lurking and listening. It’s definitely helped me make choices and feel an urgency to release music that I probably would have backburned for another 5 years.