This month’s artist to watch is the jazz/electronic/who-the-hell-knows trio Moon Hooch (https://www.moonhooch.com), hailing from Brooklyn, New York. Let me just begin by saying that every time I think these guys can’t surprise me anymore, I see something new that simply makes my jaw drop. Before deciding to feature Moon Hooch this month, all I really knew about them was that they made cool music. After becoming totally engrossed in the world of their artistry, philosophy and … recipes, I am a bigger fan than ever before.
Moon Hooch is made up of Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen on saxophone (primarily) and James Muschler on drums. The trio met while they were all students at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Greenwich Village, and started performing together at subway platforms around New York City. They gained such a huge following that the police had to ban them from performing on certain platforms, which couldn’t handle the crowds they drew.
Self-described as “cave music,” this New York trio’s style is truly unlike that of any other artist I’ve heard. To assign them to any one existing genre is an impossible task that I won’t even attempt to tackle. This music is not for the faint of heart, nor for the genre purist. If anything, I would describe it as equal parts jazz and electronic, with a dash of funk, and maybe just a hint of rock. But do we really need the labels? They’re just cool—not only in their music, but also in their lifestyles.
The band members have stated that they are dedicated to consciousness, environmentalism, veganism, philosophy, and peace. That’s a pretty hefty list, and each plays an important role in their music-making. The group practices meditation and yoga, which has helped them consistently create energetic and focused performances.
For their environmental efforts, Moon Hooch plays benefit shows, supports local farmers, co-ops while traveling, participates in river cleanups, and creates informative videos. They are also officially a carbon-neutral band, meaning they do things like plant trees in order to counteract carbon emissions from driving around on tour. Being vegan while touring in a van sounds nearly impossible, but these guys manage; they share their secrets on their food blog, “Cooking In The Cave,” posting sustainable recipes that they prepare on the road http://cookinginthecave.net.
After performing together for so many years, the members are totally in sync and their music is as tight as it can be—which is extremely important when emulating electronic music through live instruments. They are recreating the sounds and sentiments delivered by a synthesizer with their mouths and some metal (and the occasional traffic cone) with absolute precision. You can witness it here for yourself with their NPR Tiny Desk Concert from 2014:
Their new EP, released at the beginning of April entitled Light It Up, features three tracks that honestly make me feel like queen of the city whenever I listen to them on my walk to class. The drive of the beat, the intensity, and the huge sound provoke strong emotions created by just three instruments. The band has also released music videos to accompany the tracks and, in keeping with their indescribable style of music, they’re unique, to say the least. “Acid Mountain:”
Moon Hooch is currently touring in Europe and will return to the states on May 18 in Asheville, North Carolina. You can find the rest of their tour dates here: https://www.moonhooch.com/tour/
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May’s Artist To Watch: Moon Hooch. Featured image credit: Volatile essence