Track By Track: Moon Hooch, “Life on Other Planets”

Moon Hooch is an explosive Brooklyn-based band made up of saxophonists Wenzl McGowan and Mike Wilbur, plus drums and electronics. Over the past decade, they have been developing their own, personal style of music they call “Cave Music,” which mixes elements of jazz, funk, punk, EDM and several other genres. On their new album, Life on Other Planets, they present this music via a program of songs tried and tested on the road, recorded in a series of single-take performances in the studio. The LP was released on January 10 and we included it on our list of albums out January 2020 that you need to know about.

We also reached out to McGowan and Wilbur to take us through each of the tracks on Life on Other Planets. Here, they share facts, anecdotes and comments that allow us to dive deeper into their latest studio project, and to better understand some of the behind-the-scenes work and inspiration that went into the making of this album. Welcome to the cave!

 

“Nonphysical”

The instrumentation on “Nonphysical” is bass saxophone, tenor saxophone and drums. The bass saxophone is providing the thumping bass, the tenor saxophone is singing the melody, and the chords in the background are derived from layered horns, but are processed with digital effects. This has been a challenging song for us and only after playing it for years have we felt that we could really capture the vibe it was intended to transmit.

 

“This is Water”

This song is played by a contrabass clarinet, tenor saxophone and drums. We composed it during soundchecks and it has matured over the years. Enter the water!

 

“Old Frenchman”

Two tenor saxophones, drum set, and synthesizers make up the soundscape of “Old Frenchman.” As you might expect from the title, Wenzl wrote this song in New Orleans. He was inspired by the French vibe that some of the older parts of the town emanate. 

 

“They’re Already Here”

This has taken on many different forms throughout our time as a band. Like a good deal of our material, it was composed over-time at soundchecks but leaves a great deal of room for improvisation. The instrumentation is Moog Synthesizer, tenor sax, and drum set. The song aims towards transcendence in its becoming.

 

“Candlelight”

The tenor saxophone line in this song was incredibly challenging and took a long time to get to where it is on this recording. It took us a while to accept that we aren’t perfect and move past the aggravated tendencies to judge ourselves while attempting a high level of precision. The instrumentation is bari sax, tenor sax, and drum set. The video for this one gives you a good idea of our intentions for “Candlelight” and what we can accomplish with it in the live setting.

 

“Need Your Love”

“Need Your Love” was a total accident and we are still deeply sorry that we have created it. Sorry…

 

“Bronst”

“Bronst” is a dangerous man printed on a record. He comes to life when the record is played, but he does no harm because he is an artistic fiction.

 

“Too Much Hooch”

Some people drink too much Hooch and try to dance to dangerously fast tempos. We are also sorry for making this song.

 

“#4 Solo”

This song used to be a solo section in of one of our old songs, but like a tree on steroids, it grew into a giant conglomeration of absurdity and divine conviction. 

 

To find out more about Moon Hooch, Life on Other Planets and upcoming tour dates, visit them online.

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