INTRO BY JOE HERNANDEZ
INTERVIEW BY CAMI LIBERTY
Singer/guitarist Kim Mayo and producer/keyboardist Michael Sachs together are Moonheart, a Brooklyn based electro-indie/R&B duo. First forming in 2015 and releasing their debut EP, Blow, a year later, the pair’s sound has been compared to the likes of Moses Sumney and Björk. In anticipation of the release of their debut album, Feel it Out, Moonheart has released a single and music video for their latest track “Bridestep.”
How long have you two been making music together? How did the decision come about that you wanted to work together?
MOONHEART: "We’ve been working together as Moonheart for about 2.5 years, but it’s been closer to 5 years now since we started making music together in some form. I’d recently moved to New York around then from Boston, where we met at music school, and was feeling a little confused musically-trying to figure out what I wanted to be making versus what I thought I ‘should’ be making, trying to sift through what I’d learned and figure out what to keep and what to set aside, and trying not to go crazy at my collection of weird day jobs. Before this, I was mostly singing standards and music by other people, and I felt at home for a long time being an interpreter of those songs, but there was always a quiet yearning to hear what my own music might sound like. I wanted to be writing all the time and flexing that muscle, and Michael was in a similar space, so we started a song-a-day club between the two of us where we committed to write something every day for a bit, no matter how skeletal, and send it to each other at the end of the night. Even though we have pretty different musical backgrounds, we realized how much shared language we had through the sharing of those songs, and there was a lot of camaraderie built through through that process. Working together was less of a decision and more of a natural coming-together."
How would you describe your music style in three words?
MOONHEART: "Swayable sadboi tenderpop."
In April you released your new single ‘Bridestep’ – can you tell us a little about the song and the inspiration behind it?
MOONHEART: "The song is a years-delayed love letter of closure to someone who I ended a relationship with without saying what I needed to say at the time. I didn’t have the words or the capacity to say them then, and it was eating at me until it became clear that a balm for the sadness of the loss was seeing this person who was a very important part of my becoming doing so well. I think it’s interesting to reimagine how we relate to people in our lives who we’ve had fluid relationships with- people who were once romantic partners and are now friends, people who were once best friends and are now just people you see around, people who are blood family that you’ve had to distance yourself from for whatever reason. How to deal with the loss of one facet of the relationship, how to relate once one level of closeness is stripped away, how to mourn the loss of someone who is still alive and technically accessible to you, how to draw the boundaries if you shouldn’t be around each other anymore for your own good(s), even if the end of your era together wasn’t the “fault” of one or the other of you, but a simple growing apart. This is what I was working through and thinking a lot about while writing this."
You also be released a music video with the song. How did you make sure that the video conveyed the emotions in the song well?
MOONHEART: "The credit for that goes to our friend Charlie Schmidlin, who directed the video and came up with much of the concept. We’ve worked on stuff in the past with Charlie and he’s always been such a supportive and enthusiastic friend and collaborator. We just wanted to make something beautiful, and I think we did."
Where do you find most inspiration when creating music?
MOONHEART: "Mostly outside on walks- cliche, I know. I’m so lucky to live right by Prospect Park here, and it’s really beautiful and full of everything that cuts right through- big old trees, cute animals, people having a good time. I write a lot by the water there when it’s warm enough to sit, or in my head walking or running there when it isn’t. I got a membership to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden for my birthday this year, and it’s the best gift I’ve ever received, I think. I try to go as much as possible and soak it all in. Being surrounded by plants makes me feel connected to the earth, which makes me feel connected to my ancestors and spiritually grounded, and that’s where the good stuff comes from. I also find it in books and poems. If I’m not reading I’m usually not writing. Friends’ music and shows are constantly inspiring, too. We’re fortunate to be in community with so many ridiculously talented people, and watching friends do their thing and thrive and be great is one of the sweetest things and it pushes me to keep at it."
‘Bridestep’ is the first song released from your debut full-length album – do you personally feel that the song is a good introduction as to what we can expect from the rest of the album?
MOONHEART: "I do. The songs are small moments, intimate confessions made larger by Michael’s orchestration and production, and ‘Bridestep’ was one of the first that we made of this collection of songs, so I think in a way it informed what came next. The rest of the album lives very much in or near this sonic space, and the lyrical content- working through the grief of a lost loved one, finding glimmers of light in a sad space, reverence for the people in my life, living and dead- runs throughout the album."
Aside from the album, is there anything else we can expect from you in the near future?
MOONHEART: "We’re working on some more visuals for the album right now, and we’re also working on making our live show as good as we can, so there’ll be plenty of shows coming up."