An Interview With The Trio MOONFALL On Their Latest EP ‘Empty Cage’ and More!
Posted On 16 Nov 2017
Music is “the universal language of mankind.” as told by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. If that is so, you can add it to the list of languages the members of New York-based MOONFALL speak fluently. Matthew Howl (vocals/guitar) aligned with multilingual Mei Moor (bass), shortly before coming together with Andrew Chow (drums). This trio of best friends quickly set out to spread their message. Dynamic and texturally creative, they aspire to turn stages everywhere into their proving grounds.
Bringing people together is a mission for MOONFALL. People of all cultures, all orientations and all ages respond to music. “Music has inspired and helped us throughout our lives. It reaches down so deep, so fast,” notes Matthew “so it is one of the most immediate ways to reach someone.” What reached Matthew, growing up, were artists ranging from Coldplay to Muse to Linkin Park. Mei found her musical inspiration in anime, and bands like the GazettE and One Ok Rock. Andrew cites Hip Hop as an early influence, discovering music through the video games he played as a kid, before delving into the heavier sides of rock and metal.
Known for their versatile musicianship and their experimentation with genres since their inception, they quickly honed in on what would become their unique approach to composing. Their songs come together quickly since they all moved in together. The construction of a MOONFALL song starts with Matt, who builds the melody and progression. When the skeleton is done, Mei and Andrew work on their instruments while adding their personal touches to the song, molding and sharing it. Ultimately, they bring it all together, it is not done until they all ‘feel it’ and know their fans will too.
Perspective is the through-line for MOONFALL’s work. Lyrically, the EMPTY CAGE EP tells an interesting story. Matthew explains “We take a lot of inspiration from nature and places we’ve been, trying to capture those atmospheres into the stories we write about. It often happens that when you insert yourself into someone else’s story you find out a lot about yourself.” The EP talks about human frailty and journeys of perseverance. The songs focus on people’s reactions to losing what they care about… and learning to draw on their strength. The last song shows the perspective from the opposite side, of what was lost.
As the OffBeat Music Blog enthused “Moonfall have a passion, sincerity, and talent that renders their music absolutely captivating.” The future will see a legion of captivated young people all over the world following MOONFALL’s rise, because –of course – they’re speaking their language.
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Learn more about Moonfall in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find the band? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it?
Mei: The opening theme for “The Office”.
Matthew: Thank you for having us! We’re getting ready for the last show on our tour. It’s going to be a hometown show for us in NYC.
Andrew: My Spotify is doing its thing, at the moment it’s One Ok Rock.
What are some words you would use to describe 2017? How differently did you all approach this year? What have been some highlights of the year?
Andrew: There are no words.
Mei: This year was the year we really got going as a band. We all breathe music and we all live together, so working hard on our craft is a natural thing. We performed at Gramercy Theatre in our hometown of New York City, played with cool bands like I See Stars and Echos, went on our first tour with Echo Black, and now we’re about to release our new EP “Empty Cage” which we are very excited about.
Looking back on how you all decided to form this band, what do you think first made you all think you could do this and make music together?
Matthew: I’ve decided to form this band before I could even play an instrument. The idea existed in my head since I was very young, but waiting for the right team to start this with was important. I think there’s nothing that can stop us when we all work together. Music brings people together in a very direct way. I don’t know when, but once I decided that by standing in front of a crowd I can help people do that, it wasn’t a matter of choice anymore.
Mei: Me and Matt have always been close, and our taste in music is similar. I was drawn to do it in a way that I can’t explain and just knew that I had to. Our connection with Andrew was immediate, we look up to the same bands. Most importantly, we all want this more than anything, playing arenas and creating music that inspires people is a collective dream – and we’re all putting everything we’ve got into this project.
How did you all first meet each other and come up with your band name? What other band names were you considering? How do you think your name sums up who you are and the kind of music that you make?
Matthew: Mei was there since I was born.
Andrew: I met these guys through an online ad they posted. The rest is history.
Matthew: Mei came up with the name. We wanted something that has to do with the natural world, and the moon was the main focal point. As something that sits there in the sky and watches the earth at all times, it resonates with the stories that inspire us to write our music.
How do you think you have all been influenced by being from your hometowns? Do you think that it has affected your music?
Matthew: I’ve wandered around and can say I grew up in a few different places, so I’ve never really had a place I call my hometown. I think the whole world as my hometown because of that.
Mei: We’ve traveled a lot throughout our lives. It opened our minds to many colors, stories and inspirations. NYC itself is very versatile.
Andrew: I think growing up in NYC gave my creative mind a lot of grit. It definitely affects the way I approach music.
How do you think this group has grown through the years and since you first started making music together?
Mei: We are better at waking each other up in the morning.
Andrew: We’re definitely better at picking and choosing what goes into our songs.
What does it feel like to be releasing your “Empty Cage” EP soon? How was the process of putting it together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
Matthew: It took a long time, longer than we thought it would. At some point it became clear to us that it’s more important to release it the right way than to rush it.
Andrew: We’re really excited to finally put this out!
Mei: We recorded it with Rob Freeman, who was amazing to work with. It all came together pretty easily. We do most of the pre production ourselves so we can really focus on getting the best sound in the studio.
I know it’s hard to choose but what are some of your favorite songs on this album? Can you talk about how a few of them came together for you? What was inspiring you to make this collection?
Matthew: This whole EP started from the title track, Empty Cage. I’ve wanted to make that song for a while, when I finally did all the rest started coming together in my head. This EP is a collection of stories I’ve gathered throughout the years that involve different places and people, but really it talks about human perseverance and everything we go through when we lose something important. Empty Cage remains my favorite out of them, as it illustrates how people always strive to understand each other better. Those big realizations often come from facing hard times, and feeling like you’ve fallen over the edge of the world.
Mei: My personal favorite is “Awake”. It’s the first song on the EP and it has a special effect on me. I feel very connected to it, for reasons I can’t explain.
Andrew: My favorite is Empty Cage. I think it’s the most mature song we’ve ever written as a band.
Why do you think that Outerloop Records is the right place for this band and your music right now?
Matthew: We work very hard on what we do, and are lucky to be very passionate about it. It helps when someone who comes from the outside matches that.
Now that the summer is over, what was something fun or exciting that this band did or tried? Did you get a chance to play out live much?
Mei: We actually took a band trip to Amsterdam and stayed with my family there. It was really fun!
Matthew: We played a few shows in summer, but went on our very first tour in autumn. That was the more exciting season for us.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Matthew: Happiness is not something that stays in one place, you find it at different times in different things. Playing live is more meaningful to me, I think I can say that. Not much can rival the sound of other people singing back at you from the crowd.
Mei: I agree, they’re both part of a whole, and both have a part in what we set out to do. For me personally, the best thing is change. I enjoy getting involved with new experiences, which I get a lot of while being a part of a band, since there’s always something new to try. I like exploring the unexpected.
Andrew: I’m definitely the happiest on stage. It’s where I feel the most free. In that period of time, nothing else matters but the music and to me, that’s a beautiful thing.
How do you think being a musician and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today? With everything going on in the world, how do you think your music is a reflection of these times?
Matthew: Being musicians, for us it’s something that’s interlaced with our lives. Like life, it fluctuates a lot. Sometimes you get joy out of it, and sometimes it can even be aggravating. You learn from both ends of the spectrum. I think our music reflects these times by wanting to be something that brings people together, since it seems people are getting more and more disconnected from each other. At the same time, I can’t say this problem is something completely new. We’re trying to learn things that we can’t quite grasp yet, but as long as people keep trying I believe they eventually will. It’s important to stay in touch with your instincts, and that’s something we try to tell with our songs.
Who are you all listening to these days? What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Mei: the Gazette is a band we all really love. All of us. They have inspired us for years, their music, their respect for one another and their fans. We’d also love to work with One Ok Rock, Twenty One Pilots and Fall Out Boy. All these bands played a part in who we are in their own way.
Matthew: I’d like to work with Coldplay.
Andrew: I’ve been listening to a lot of EDM recently such as Illenium, Seven Lions and Krewella.
What advice would you give to a young band just getting started today?
Mei: Be with the right people. Don’t compromise on that. Nothing beats the feeling of having your best friends on stage with you and know whole heartedly that each piece is important.
Andrew: Be open minded. You’ll never know where you’ll find inspiration.
Matthew: We’re still a young band, so I don’t know if they should be taking advice from us. However, perseverance is the most important thing. Be true to yourself, your music and focus on your goals with a clear mind. Your dreams are only kept alive by your determination to see them become a reality. Without you, they won’t exist. Don’t let them die too easily.
It’s also important to cherish the bad moments as well, and try to learn all you can from them.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves or your music?
Matthew: The best way to learn about us and our music is to listen to it, so I’m going to let our songs do the talking.
Andrew: Thank you for taking the time to read about us!