Betty Moon: Empowered and Empowering

When I was first asked to cover Betty Moon, it was the most excited I’ve been about an artist in a while… A Tura Satana-looking vixen of the most...

When I was first asked to cover Betty Moon, it was the most excited I’ve been about an artist in a while… A Tura Satana-looking vixen of the most badass persuasion, who makes sassily menacing tunes reminiscent of many of the most profoundly enticing sirens of Lollapalooza’s original run… and her latest single was, “No Good,” a cover of Depeche Mode’s “It’s No Good,” and the best cover of a Martin Gore-penned tune I’ve heard in around a decade.  However, I was a bit embarrassed to realize that Ms. Moon has been sonically kicking ass for more than two decades (Her self-titled debut dropped in 1991, courtesy of A&M.)  Betty Moon originally hails from Toronto, where she was a teen model and dancer and achieved a plethora of critical accolades as a musician, but in recent years she’s made Los Angeles her home.  She recently released Pantomania, which blends her take on ‘60s rocking with something a little more postmodern, sensually danceable, and keys-based.  I recently got a chance to chat with Betty Moon, who told me about the reactions she’s been getting, how it is being an artist in L.A., and just what we can expect of her in the future.

Izzy Cihak: Not to start with a pretty enormous question, but you’ve accomplished quite a bit in your career: What have been some of the highlights for you?

Betty Moon: I had the opportunity to meet Bootsy Collins and the Funk Brothers, who as you know, are such characters. They’re so much fun. I also got nominated for a few CASBY’s, which was a really cool experience.

Izzy: And you recently released Pantomania.  What were the album’s most significant influences?  How do you feel like the album compares to previous releases?

Betty: I think I keep trying to write the kind of music I would like to hear and that’s what keeps me deeply engaged in it. Music should come from a real place. People will know when it’s contrived. We had a lot of fun making Pantomania and I think it shows in the music. It’s a bit poppier than my other albums.

Izzy: Have you had any favorite reactions to the album?

Betty: Lots so far, it’s really exciting. The response has been overwhelming. Everyone has been so nice. People have described the album as empowering, which is a huge compliment. The Patti Smith comparisons are extra warming.

Izzy: So I really like the album but I especially love “Thunder,” which reminds me of a brilliant cross between Luscious Jackson and Garbage.  How did that particular track come about?

Betty: Thank you. I wanted to write a song about the pain that everyone sometimes feels and allow that feeling to be powerful instead of something negative. I wanted to convey that it’s okay to feel that way. Don’t hide it – celebrate it.

Izzy: Not to detract from your music, which I’m a fan of, but I’m also a big fan of your personal style.  What does that draw inspiration from?  Do you have any particularly significant style icons?

Betty: I’ve always loved ‘60s glamour pics, Verushka, and things like the Andy Warhol scene – New York City, in the ‘70s. I’m just fond of people that have their own personal style. I grew up with a fashion photographer/director boyfriend and a filmmaker who was our best buddy. Our love and passion for pop culture became a day-to-day topic of conversation, hence I can be somewhat of a fashionista when I want to be.

Izzy: You’ve been based out of L.A. for a while now.  What are your thoughts on the city’s music scene, whether it be the community, the venues, or the bands?  Any favorite local peers?

Betty: Good question. I’m not sure if there is one actual L.A. music scene per se because there are several. The existing talent pool here is as interesting as it is inspiring. You can catch Chad Smith play at a little fusion bar called The Baked Potato or see various individuals such as Johnny Depp play The Mint or Waddy Wachtel at the Joint or jam at Lucky Strike in Hollywood. It’s very strange and somewhat casual and not at all what I’m used to. I do not have any difficulty finding inspiration to write music though, and that’s all I care about. The history here is certainly vast and therefore I believe its energy compounds the various stages of it’s past and present. At least that’s my theory.

Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you?  How do you hope and plan to spend the rest of 2015?

Betty: We have a bunch of filming coming up. We’re shooting videos for “No Good,” “Thunder,” and “Hunger Pants.” We’re also performing a slew of gigs as we begin working on writing a new collection of songs. I love what I do and I hope to continue doing this as long as I possibly can and as long as you’ll have me. Thanks for enjoying the music and keep an eye out for these videos.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.