Today is my birthday. I am getting up there. Maybe one day I will be full-old, not just half-old like I am now, and tour around as "Spencer Krug," playing ancient Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown songs on a baby grand. I'll have a tumbler glass of whisky and an ashtray and a nice jacket. It will be terrible. But until that day arrives I will go instead by "Moonface" - the last moniker I have left to exploit.
Moonface is not a band, just plain half-old me, in any solo or collaborative projects I'm involved in from now until whenever. In early 2010 the first EP was released on Jagjaguwar. It was called Dreamland EP: Marimba and Shit-Drums, and sounds as the title suggests. This past winter, trying to keep sane in my snowed-in Montreal home, I recorded another solo record. This new one is an LP called Organ Music not Vibraphone like I'd Hoped and is due out August 2nd, 2011.
At first this record was going to be another percussion album, not completely unlike the Dreamland EP, done with a vibraphone and some sparse guitar, extra percussion, what have you. But it wasn't happenening. I don't know why. Sometimes it just doesn't happen. Then, one night, laying awake and thinking about music, I suddenly wanted to play an old double-manual organ - the kind from the 80s that you find in your grandmother's basement. I would procure such an organ, hook it up to big whirling speakers and powerful amplifiers, and make a long, drone-filled, lush and noisy album of intense volume and beauty and poeticism. This was the new plan. Half of it happened.
I found the organ, bought it up, plugged it into big whirling speakers and powerful amplifiers, and got down to making some lush drones. But the lush drones did not come. You see, I have a little dude who lives inside me that loves pop music, and he sometimes finds his way into my hands. When this happens, my fingers move toward the catchiest melodies they can, like bees to flowers with the most pollen. It can't be helped. The little pop-dude inside me turns a few notes into a melody and I say, "Okay, that's nice little dude, a little poppy maybe, but nice, maybe we can use that once, somewhere in the song." And he says, "But wouldn't you rather hear it over and over again? Maybe throw it in a few times now, and then a few times again towards the end of the song? And maybe that 'drone' in your left hand would sound better if you moved it up and down the keyboard a little bit." But then I say, "Come on little dude, I'm no fool, that's just a chord progression you're trying to get out of me. Next thing you know we'll be repeating it over and over again, the melody will be a hook, and I'll have made another random half-pop song." And then the little dude says, "WTF, man." And then I say, "Okay little dude, okay, party on."
In the end we have something between pop and lush drones. Though it's only 5 tracks long, Organ Music runs around 37 minutes and is dense, but in a satisfying way, I hope, like eating a small, heavy piece of cheesecake. It's music played with an organ, organ beats, organ beeps and bloops, and some digital drums. Music based on layers and loops, the hypnotizing sound of a leslie speaker, and the onslaught of melody. Originally there were something like 9 or 10 almost fully formed songs, but late in the recording process I decided to cut it down to five, crystalizing the good stuff, killing my troublesome darlings, and avoiding the weighty world of a 1.5 hour double LP. You're welcome. Cutting songs is like shucking the husk off a cocunut. Now we can just drink the milk. Now, in my mind at least, there is no filler on this album. Hopefully you will feel the same way. Please, let me serve you cheesecake and coconut milk. Please, enjoy.
I have always loved the burst of creativity that happens when projects come together for the first time - the first song written, the first recording, or the first show. I love the process. With Moonface I hope to recreate that excitement repeatedly, with an ongoing series of collaborations which will tour and record like any other band, but which have set and finite life spans. Later this year I will be recording with a Helsinki-based band called Siinai. I'll also be working on new percussion recordings and performances with my friend Mike Bigelow, who is a gentle, borderline alcoholic with fast hands also currently helping me to play the Organ Music LP onstage. After this year, who knows? But I think I will stay on a zig-zag path until I fall. Moonface will probably never sound like Wolf Parade or Sunset Rubdown. Lately, my musical ideas are quickly changing things, not steady or constant. They are completely unreliable, and so I lurch toward them impulsively. The results might end up being just as random as the ideas, but hopefully they will be worth the effort nonetheless.