Sergeant Sparrow Magazine Archives: Moomaw from Issue Three

Astarte by Moomaw:

Moomaw is my name and it’s a snippet of sounds taken from a specific moment in a farm scene. So, essentially the French and German Huguenots descended the name upon me, and where they got it from, maybe only Calvin knows. I’m from the little bushy woods of Western Mass and now I’m mostly located in San Francisco, but sometimes I wake up in Barcelona or on someone’s couch.

What type of Artist would you say you are?
Someone on this last tour said they had heard Moomaw described as a kind of “psychedelic jug band”. So, that. But disco, too.

Tell us the brief history of your music.
Well, it was louder and then quieter and then really quiet and then somewhere in between. Now it’s much louder, but definitely quiet, too.

As a creative person, how has your creativity affected your life? Have the people in your
life been supportive of creativity and if not what have you done to overcome that?

Inspiration is one of the best feelings especially when you share it with people that you love. I’ve certainly had times when I’ve felt my creativity has been a bit stunted and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the feeling that people don’t support the art that you create and appreciate. I try to stay headstrong in my original convictions until they are fully seen through. I often convince myself that lack of support is simply people not understanding the vision. Maybe someday “they” will or maybe not, but it’s all art whether or not anyone ever cares.

Grab Some Sky:

Was there any specific event that sparked your interest in music? How did you begin your process of creating it?
I grew up around music in the sense that my father was a local folk artist in Western Mass and I spent a good deal of my youth going to his shows at parks and gazebos in the area. However, I’m pretty shy and although there were guitars in the house, and I couldn’t think of anything better than playing one, I didn’t get the courage to ask my father if I could play until I was 13 or so. Then I wrote songs and played and sang in a metal band for 4 years during high school.

Who writes the songs & what are your songs about?
I guess I do the songwriting, but maybe someday someone else could write Moomaw songs, too. That’s an interesting idea and leaves me free to chase butterflies. So I write about butterflies and mysticism for mysticism’s sake and the feeling of a bed of leaves on one’s naked back.

Discuss the songwriting process in detail.
They rather just come. The songs. They used to come slower and maybe they will again, but for
awhile they have been coming fairly quick. So I do my best to spit them out, lest they gag me.
The whole thing rarely takes longer than an hour or two, and sometimes they just come straight out.

Do You Feel That:

Who are your musical influences?
Aminalia was specifically driven by the Bee Gees, Syd Barrett, Gram Parsons and Brian Eno. And Wu-Tang. Every time I showed up at the studio and Brad was wearing his hip-hop outfit, I knew the score, but it never stopped us from pulling a card out of Oblique Strategies for spiritual direction.

What are some other influences on your music?
You know those clever things that bands write into the influences field on their Myspace that are some metaphorical abstraction of what they’ve taken in in their life? Well, all those things, plus over and under thinking, or maybe just what one might think of as “love”.

Have you had any challenges? How did you over come them?
If I had a sword or a really fast horse I’d say I’ve avoided or overcome most challenges with those. But I don’t, so I pretend I do and it’s been working out OK.

Have you made any previous recordings? What type of recording process did you use/prefer? Who produced your recording?
Moomaw has done a few recordings prior to Aminalia. Paisley Kisses (2009), 26 (2008) and Tall Oaks From Tiny Acorns Grow (2005) were all recorded by myself in my room, but I’ve recorded in various other settings with other projects. Aminalia was recorded in Cava de Coche studio and was produced by Brad Robertson and myself, kinda just rolling tape, and then sorted through, mixed and mastered with Aubrey Anderson. I dig making personal projects or recordings, like the concept album 26, but recording with other people adds energy and helps free myself from some technical details and can really help the flow, so I like that, too.

Where are some of your favorite places to play and why?
I really enjoy playing outside. In the woods, at the beach or even in a car from one place to another. But as far as actual place places, I’ve been pretty unsuccessful at timing, describing or predicting the magic that can happen at some shows. In general, intimate places like house shows tend to have a really good feeling.

You have recently returned from tour; do you book your own shows?
Yes, I book my own shows or collaborate with whomever I’m touring to fill in the dates.
Do you have any advice for artists about to venture out on their own tour? Plan ahead, start putting areas and dates on a calendar at least 5 or 6 months in advance. Then get in touch with your first choices as soon as possible and and plan the rest around those confirmations. I need to follow that
advice more often, as I’m always booking last minute tours. Food is kind of like showers I guess: stock up on it when you can because it’s not always so easily found.

What are five must have items on the road, aside from your gear…
A bottle of bourbon – never sure when liquor stores close where you’re going and it’s also good for barter/trade, super glue for my fingers kaleidoscopes, a blank book for friends and people at the shows to write/draw in.

Some snippets of Moomaw’s travel diary:

Are there any pit stops you would recommend?
If there’s time I love stopping at national parks and things like that. Or silly roadside attractions. World’s Largest Dreamcatcher in Arizona.

Yeah.

What do you enjoy about traveling?
I love instantly meeting lovely and hospitable people and being touched by them. Aside from being able to play nearly every night while on tour, I really love what ends up happening after
the shows. One of my favorite things is ending up at someone’s house late at night and deliriously listening to records until sunrise.

What do you do when you have writers block?
I stop writing. For me, I believe that writers block exists for a reason, so there’s no reason to fight it. I spend more time listening to music or taking in other forms of art. There’s a time to
create and a time to absorb. If I feel like I really need to be creating something I’ll try drawing or something instead.

How have emotions affected your song writing? Are they beneficial or malevolent, or do you write from a non-emotional space?
Art is a kind of manifestation of emotions in my opinion so writing from a non-emotional space seems like it would be odd. However, I ‘m quite fond of writing stream of consciousness and that often involves a flow of emotions I’m not particularly sure are mine.

Moomaw’s Top Five Favorite Albums:
I’m so horribly bad at favoritism, and this is probably
just what I feel today, but here goes (in no particular
order) -M
* The Velvet Underground
• The Velvet Underground
* The Byrds
• Sweetheart of the Rodeo
* Tyrannosaurus Rex
• A Beard of Stars
* Bee Gees
• Odessa
* Leonard Cohen
• Songs of

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