Interview with Moonin Down

Interview with Moonin Down

- in Written interviews

How did Moonin Down form, and what inspired “The Third Planet” album? How has your musical journey from Blues so Bad to Moonin Down influenced “The Third Planet”?
We’ve known each other our whole lives and started playing together for the first time in 1993 in the Blues so Bad project. We have also played in other projects, but we have never experienced the alchemy that forms between us in other projects. The meeting ground of our different musical tastes is Psychedelia and we began as kids to propose a repertoire of covers of quite unknown songs, such as You Never Had It Better by Electric Prunes and others present in the Nuggets collection together with Interstellar Overdrive by Pink Floyd. After the initial period we began to compose our own songs which ended up in our first album in 1998 “The Monday of the Shoemaker”.
The idea behind the name Blues so Bad was to refer to songs that had a Blues origin, but which had deviated towards a dirtier and nastier imprint, such as Killing Floor or Stooges. We have always maintained these types of roots and can be recognized even in the most psychedelic songs. In the 90s the ease with which we were able to play live with that name and repertoire spoiled us a bit and kept us going over the years, but at a certain point, having begun to propose our original songs, having such a clear reference to the Blues in the band’s name became an obstacle because those who could appreciate our music stopped at the word Blues, and those who wanted the Blues couldn’t find it!
After a period of separation from live performances and dedicated to composing new music, we decided to start again almost from scratch with a new project called Moonin Down where all the previous experience came together and which now fully represents us, The Third Planet is the arrival point of transformation, and the starting point for exploring new worlds.

How do you blend Psychedelia, Garage, Hard Blues, and Desert Rock in your music?
In this period we have a lot of feedback and it’s fun to read how you can find references by listening to our music, it’s very rewarding. Having devoured music for many years, I think it is physiological that the unconscious randomly returns the deposited elements, there is no desire to look back, it is more like having it with you in the present, projected towards the future. As we summarized in our press releases, we have always fed on Psychedelia, Garage, Hard Blues, Desert Rock, and the result is what you hear on the album.

How has Italian rock music, especially in the psychedelic and experimental genres, evolved?
There is a lot of excitement and professionalism, there are record labels like our Argonauta which heroically allow many artists to appear on the world stage, I listen to podcasts from different parts of the world and when I listen to Italian productions I find them absolutely worthy of being there. If we look at the highest level of the current psychedelic scene, for example at the main festivals, I notice that it is still difficult for an Italian artist to enter that scene, but it is not a question of quality.

What does PsicHARDelic Rock mean to you, and how does it manifest in your sound?
PsicHARDelic Rock is a neologism created by us to label ourselves before others inevitably do so! We inserted the word HARD in the middle of Psychedelia, both to recall the Hard Blues matrix of our beginnings, and to specify our attitude to psychedelia which goes, especially in live performances, more in the direction of “pounded hard” songs, than in that of atmospheres too dilated and dreamy.

What themes or messages did you explore in “The Third Planet”?
The themes dealt with in the texts are intimist: oppressive moods from which to escape, existential reflections, broken dreams, the inevitability of fate; accompanied by social issues and a dystopian vision of the future of the planet and humanity as in the title track.
The artwork represents a now inhospitable, desert-like and toxic Planet Earth, as sung in the song that gives the work its title: “The third planet was green and blue…”

Can you describe the production process of “The Third Planet”?
The variety of our songs probably also derives from the different ways in which they are born, it can be from a jam, from a phrase that imposes itself on the mind and brings with it a rhythm or a melody, or a topic with its emotional mood attached. The beginning of the album is a recording made on the phone to Stefano who had arrived at the studio early and was trying out the guitar. Hearing that sound repeated in the distance and then closer and closer inspired Bones. We recorded at our Beacon from Mars Studio and then Emil Bureau from The Sonic Dawn did Mix&Mastering

Any underrated psychedelic rock artists you think deserve more recognition?
Apart from the fact that I would like to turn on any radio and find The Black Angels and not Taylor Swift, so in my opinion all Psychedelic Rock artists are underrated, I think that The Sonic Dawn should be in the main festivals, and from the Italian front I would put Clustersun and Repetita Iuvant

What’s the story behind the album cover for “The Third Planet”? Can you describe the narrative arc of “The Third Planet”?
The title and cover of The Third Planet is linked to the song of the same name which represents a now inhospitable, desert and toxic Planet Earth, the awareness of our dramatic times which put the survival of the beautiful green and blue planet and of Humanity at risk , have inspired a dystopian vision of the future. The song describes the condition of a small group of humans who, having escaped the catastrophe, travel between planets to reach a safe haven. The parallel is with the Remnant of Israel narrated by Prophet Isaiah; no matter how great and traumatic the catastrophe, there remains a remnant of survivors from which hope can arise.

How do you view music’s role in altering consciousness or creating immersive experiences?
Music has had the prerogative of facilitating states of consciousness dissimilar to the ordinary waking state since the most remote times. It was used in many cults to reach trance or ecstatic states, its use in liturgies is fundamental and the involvement of the assembly occurred through singing. I think that psychedelia is the genre that more than others has maintained something of these ancient characteristics of music.

Dream collaborations or artists you’d like to work with?
We have composed two new songs and we would like Christian Bland from Black Angels as producer.

How do current events influence your songwriting?
Every historical time expresses a sort of collective feeling, as if it were a background note or a shade of color that envelops humanity. I believe that artists, more intensely than others, are able to perceive that in this historical moment dark colors are gathering, this is inevitably reflected in our songwriting starting from the contents and titles of the songs: “Dark Sky”, “Darker in my mind”, up to the concern for the fate of the Earth expressed in “The Third Planet”.

Do other art forms inspire your music?
Certainly yes, fiction, painting, architecture, film, photography, but also science, astronomy, esotericism, philosophy, everything that filters through our senses constitutes the Raw Material for musical creation.

If you could transport your music to a historical moment, where and why?
There have been times and places that we adore for what they expressed musically, but we think it is very inspiring to live in our time, as a human race we are forced to move forward…

Future directions for Moonin Down?
Move forward…

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About the author

As a passionate devotee of heavy, psychedelic, avant-garde and progressive sounds, my enthusiasm for music journalism has been steadily building since 2020. My writing has encompassed a broad spectrum, ranging from in-depth analyses of album releases to illuminating interviews with exciting new artists on the scene. During my leisure hours, I relish attending live concerts and delving into the thriving local music scene in my Zurich community.

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