LA trio Lo Moon are about to unleash their debut. It's very good, you know.
“Y’know, what I’ve learnt with this band is that everything happens slowly, and it’s a beautiful thing,” states Matt Lowell. It may seem like a simple line, but it means much more. In the space of just over a year and a half, Lo Moon have become a band weaved with mystery, chilling presence and an ability to shine stray lights into dark spaces. Not blazing the safety light loud and proud, but waiting for the moment to pull you out of the darkness. Time is vital, irreversible and inevitable. “It’s just the way that we operate,” Matt continues, “it’s the way the music was built.”
For Lo Moon, now feels like a moment they’ve been building towards long before they even existed as a band - pulled together from across state and country lines. Crisanta from Denver, Sam from London and Matt from New York - the chances of them running into each other’s lives may seem near-implausible, but fate had other ideas. Now they sit on the cusp of their debut album, a mesmerising collection that captures the essence of who they are and lays it out in stunning panoramic majesty, more like an (e)motion-picture soundtrack of stylish synth-pop dipped in noir sauce. A long way indeed from the lonesome nights spent in New York City that Matt spent crafting and scrapping together cuts and tracks from a passion that took over his very life.
“Growing up, there was always music playing in the house,” he recalls. “I grew up playing hockey, but then I started to play drums on the side and then picked up the guitar once I got to high school. It’s weird, music has always been a huge fabric, a massive part, of my being but it wasn’t until the junior year of high school when I decided that this was going to be the only thing I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s the only thing I think about and some days that drives me absolutely fucking mad, but that’s what you sign up for.”
The decision to move to LA was one Matt felt needed to happen, an important step out of his comfort zone in New York. “A bunch of people I knew from LA were trying to convince me that the music industry was moving out there, like all of the artists, and I saw that being from New York," he says. "Everyone was migrating, an exodus to LA almost. I had ‘Loveless’ and a bunch of songs written, and I just needed to find out what could happen if I went there. I needed to find a band and the right people to surround myself with, that had like-minded aspirations musically. I came to LA with an idea of what I wanted to accomplish, and it was to discover more about myself as an artist and to discover what I had to offer as an artist as well. To work out what it was I wanted to say.”
Crashing on a mate’s couch and forming a sort-of mini studio in his house, Matt threw himself into the artists and fellow dreamers all looking to discover that purpose, and before long Crisanta and Sam made their way into his life. He knew from the moment he met Crisanta that a connection was there, “though I didn’t even know what instrument she played, I just knew she was the right fit.” Along with Sam, they began exploring what bonded them together. An insatiable urge to create together and grow blossomed quickly. “We just hung out at my place,” remembers Matt, looking back to those formative first steps. “The studio at the back of my house is called The Shed, and we just hung out there and jammed on three chords making drone noises for days. We didn't play any songs for a while - we just worked out musically where the conversation was leading and what we were into."
It was at that point that the sheer power of Lo Moon started to reveal itself, Matt showing the written tracks he had saved up all those years on his own. An atmosphere where they were all comfortable and wrapped in each other’s thoughts, they became a self-confessed family in a matter of moments. “You need that,” points out Matt. “That’s your team; it’s so important.”
One of the first tracks became their opening statement to the world. The sprawling, jaw-dropping chills that come off ‘Loveless’ are a perfect embodiment of who Lo Moon are. On one side, a detailed and immaculate groove that feels like desperation knocking at the window of a life for that opportunity of something better - and on the other, a track larger than life that across seven minutes makes you feel every emotion and lonely night you’ve ever experienced. “When the producers finally got in on ‘Loveless’, and we finished that, I knew we were on the right track. I got really, really excited about that. It felt like from there we had the sonic palette that allowed us to do things in a way which we felt was right.”
Lo Moon’s self-titled debut continues where ‘Loveless’ burst through, an album of cinematic beauty that feels immaculately delivered and undeniably rich. An ode to the sophisticated-pop era of bands unafraid to push boundaries yet thrive with the shimmering pop they can deliver, it’s a record that nods to those influential beginnings of The Blue Nile, Prefab Sprout, Radiohead and Blur with thrilling results. The strident 80s stomp of ‘Real Love’, the warming embrace of ‘The Right Thing’, the measured build and shapes of ‘Thorns’ or the glitching throbs of ‘Wonderful Life’ - it’s a record confident in its skin. It allowed the band to discover who they wanted to be and the vision they wanted to aim for while crafting its phenomenal sounds in the studio - teaming up with former Death Cab For Cutie hero Chris Walla and renowned composer Franc Tetaz to hone its beauty.
For Matt, being in the studio as a band was a special moment - not just for their debut, but for the records to come. “I think looking back; it was a really important learning experience for us. It became a sort of haven for us to open up and try things and it was made easy for us to explore so much. We had to make sure everything felt right and feels like us; it’s something we’ve learnt pretty quickly.”
Ready to capture hearts, Lo Moon are a band who manage to straddle something classic yet new at the same time - like an open book that pulls you closer, and once you’re there, you’re hooked. For a trio that pours every heartfelt passion into their music, it feels like just the beginning - the opening flash for a catalogue that in twenty years time will have become cult favourites. Saying that, they’re not afraid of wearing their ambition on their sleeve.
“I’ve never shied away from the fact we want to play stadiums one day,” Matt confidently states. “I just think that’s the kind of thing that gets me high. If you can grab that feeling of people connecting with the music emotionally, then they will fill stadiums to come and see you. It has nothing to do with being famous or being a pop act - I think that when you get to that stage, and you have this ability to make people feel something, that to me is just so powerful.”
From their family to the world’s, Lo Moon are about to mean a whole lot to so many people.
Lo Moon's self-titled debut album is out 23rd February. Taken from the March issue of Dork - order your copy below.