I love San Diego. Thinking of it fills me with memories of sandy beaches, seaside cafes and beautiful sunsets by the ocean. Yet, when you realize that bands like Darker My Love, Crocodiles and Moonbeams hail from there, you realize something sinister must be going on there. When I first heard Moonbeams, I assumed they were living in Jim and William Reid’s basement, hiding the bodies. Upon discovering that they were yet another San Diego purveyor of blissful feedback and destruction I felt like Kyle Maclachlan ordering a cup of damn good coffee at the RR Diner. Ryan Lescure talked to TDOA writer Amy McCarthy about their beautiful carnage.
TDOA: Your Myspace page mentions that you are currently separated from your bandmates – why?
RL: I graduated from the college that I was attending in San Diego. The rest of my bandmates still live down there and are still in school or work. I moved to the San Francisco area after I graduated, where I am currently. I occasionally make it back to San Diego to play a show.
TDOA: You’ve self-released many of your albums – why is that?
RL: It’s faster and easier to have control over a self-released album. I can also make it so the packaging and the product itself is as homemade as the recording it contains. Also, when you are an operation as small as Moonbeams, there is not a huge promise that the records will sell well. I think it’s more fair to take on that risk myself. For my next record, an LP, I am using some better quality recording equipment and am putting more time into the arrangements of the songs. I will probably try to get a label to release this.
TDOA: I also noticed that you’re “overdubbing yourself in your bedroom.” Is there no in-studio production?
RL: No in-studio production. Everything you hear was recorded on an old Tascam 4-track cassette recorder and the cheap mic that came with it. My favorite music tends to be very personal. I think home recording is a good way of conveying that to the listener. I plan on Moonbeams always being home recorded.
It’s more personal. I really love music that has a raw feeling to it and chooses to convey a feeling rather than coming off as really polished or technically astounding. I think that a song made of two chord changes and the static of analog is the way to go. I am also a pretty introverted guy and I enjoy sitting in my room making all the overdubs myself.
TDOA: Tell me about the video that’s on your page. It’s super cool. Who produced it and where did the concept come from?
RL: Thank you. I filmed much of it right before and during a show. The other shots were of my room and backyard. It was just a bunch of random shots spliced together. The only planned thing was that I wanted to have every member of the live band in there.
TDOA: There’s a clear shoegaze influence in your sound – what’s your favorite band?
RL: My favorite shoegaze band is Lilys. Their album “In the Presence of Nothing” has made a huge impact on me. Otherwise, I would say my longest enduring favorite band is the Smiths. The only place where that influence really shows is through the lyrics, I suppose.
TDOA: What do you think about the bands today that are making similar music? Is it quality? If so, who do you count among your favorites?
RL: I’m really enjoying Ceremony right now. They are made up of two members of Skywave, another huge influence on Moonbeams. LSD and the Search for God, from San Francisco is also really great. I also really like the music of Electric Sunset, also from San Francisco. We are actually playing a show with them on October 3 in San Diego.
TDOA: Why does the lineup change? I noticed that there were 5 different people that are “Sometimes” members. How does that work?
RL: I like to include my friends in the experience. Some of them sing really low background vocals or play the singing saw on the recordings. Some have played several live shows with Moonbeams. They are all honorary members of the band and will always be a part of it. Many of them have excellent projects of their own and we all love helping each other out. Moonbeams has always been my thing, though, and I will continue to record as that on my own.
TDOA: How do you think your sound differs from the stage to the album?
RL: Immensely. We pride ourselves on being super loud. This has made us enemies with some sound engineers. We are certainly much louder and very wall of sound influenced live. Also, each member brings so much of their personal flair when we play live, whereas it is just me on the recordings. That changes things up a bit.
TDOA: I love the image in the “Sounds Like” field of your Myspace – an open sky with lots of fluffy clouds. Why do you think that image describes your sound?
RL: The music is very introspective and floaty, akin to lying in a park looking toward the sky. That’s what I hope at least.
For more information, visit the Moonbeams Myspace page.