(Unfortunately, this concert has been cancelled.)
Arthur Moon is nearly as complexly ambiguous as their moniker would imply… Arthur Moon is the project of Lora-Faye Åshuvud, a queer composer/singer/radio host who can’t actually read music… Arthur Moon sees the Brooklyn-based musician collaborating with her closest musician friends, and while her background is in folk music and rock music, her own sounds generally take on a decidedly postmodern electronic tone. Last month Arthur Moon’s self-titled debut LP dropped and Åshuvud is about to kick off a US tour supporting electro-chanteuse Oh Land this Tuesday at the Bell House in Brooklyn. And next Wednesday, September 25th, Oh Land and Arthur Moon will find themselves at our very own World Café Live. I recently got a chance to chat with Lora-Faye Åshuvud about Arthur Moon and a number of the things that inspire her.
Izzy Cihak: I hate to start with a huge question, but I often do: What have been some of the personal highlights of your musical career so far, whether as a composer or performer?
Lora-Faye Åshuvud: I’m in grant application brain right now, so my first instinct was to list my CV of grants and residencies for you, but the truth is my personal highlights are really moments of collaboration—small victories and breakthroughs in rehearsals with my band (Aviva Jaye, Cale Hawkins, Dave Palazola, Marty Fowler), magic moments where everything comes together and we all just take a quiet moment to appreciate that we get to do this beautiful, temperamental thing together.
Izzy: Have you had any particular favorite reactions to your music? You certainly blend the avant-garde with the popular in an interesting and unique way, but many people seem to really enjoy it, despite the fact that it’s difficult to pin down.
Lora-Faye: Abeni Jones at Autostraddle said: “If there was a lesbian multi-nodal polyam relationship between Tegan and Sara’s, Feist’s, and Annie Clark’s music, and they birthed a child during a lightning storm that somehow, Frankenstein-like, infused the infant with its spark… that child could be Arthur Moon’s self-titled debut album.” I mean. I die.
Izzy: Do you have any influences that you suspect would surprise listeners?
Lora-Faye: Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music and Greil Marcus’s writings on it: “Here is a mystical body of the republic, a kind of public secret: a declaration of a weird but clearly recognizable America within the America of the exercise of institutional majoritarian power.” This is the kind of music I try to make.
Izzy: I really like your music videos, especially your recent one for “Reverse Conversion Therapy.” What is it that most inspires the visual elements of your work? Are there any visual artists that you’re an especially big fan of?
Lora-Faye: The main thing for me with visuals is trying to stay super true to the soundscape, which is sometimes obvious (like with “Reverse Conversion Therapy”) and sometimes sort of harder to pin down (like with “I Feel Better” and “Homonormo,” which have a sort of fluctuating energy between goofiness and anxiety). I immediately knew that the “Reverse Conversion Therapy” video needed to be sort of barren and windswept like the song, but it was directors Zach Stone and Gerard Marcus who really pulled us in the direction of the desert on that one. The second Zach started showing me photos of this remote area in the Mojave he’d visited, I was like “Yes, this is what this song feels like, this is what it needs to look like.”
I’m a big fan of the two visual artists who did album art for us. The first is Olivia de Salve Villedieu, who did the album cover that’s up on streaming sites as well as the special album art and design for the limited edition run of vinyl that Vinyl Me Please put out. And the second is Hannah Perry, who did the single art for “I Feel Better,” “Homonormo,” and “Reverse Conversion Therapy,” and who has been helping us out with some merch (coming soon!)
Izzy: You’re about to kick off a number of dates with Oh Land. Are there any shows you’re especially excited to play?
Lora-Faye: It’s funny, I’m the most nervous about the hometown show (which is the kickoff, in Brooklyn), mostly because this is my first time performing the music as a duo (normally we’re a five-piece), but I think I’m also the most excited about it—I grew up really close to the venue we’re playing in and always dreamed of being up on that stage. It feels like a rite of passage.
Izzy: And are you excited to be on the road with Oh Land and get to see her set every night? I’m also a big fan of hers. I imagine she’d make a fun touring partner.
Lora-Faye: Absolutely! We’ve only met briefly in person, but I just spent the summer working on an EP of remixes that she commissioned from me, so I feel like I already kind of live deep inside her musical brain. It’s really fun in there, so I can only imagine she’ll make a fun touring partner as well.
Izzy: What can be expected of the live experience when you play here at World Café Live?
Lora-Faye: Cale and I will be playing 800 instruments each—Cale with utter grace and effortlessness, and I by the seat of my pants. We’ve stripped down to a duo for this tour, so we’re taking over basically all the instruments from the rest of the band (drums, synth bass, etc.) It’s terrifying and really, really fun.
Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you, after these dates wrap? What are you hoping and planning for the remainder of 2019?
Lora-Faye: New music! Writing, recording, workshopping. Cale and Marty and I spent a few weeks this summer churning out new seeds of songs–we loved working this way on “Infield,” which is our co-write on the full-length, so we’re hoping to do a lot more of it on the next one!