An interview with Moontower: everything you need to know about season 1

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Moontower is a three-piece electronic-pop trio dedicated to giving their audiences synth-infused musical experiences capable of captivating even the most cynical of listeners. The band went public early 2018 and since then the three USC students who make up the band have built their own interesting version of reality within their singles. They’re currently readying up to release their first big project on April 25th titled “Season 1: The Ballad of William Hollywood.”

Being naturally curious, I contacted one of the members; Jacob Culver in hopes of revealing the most salient details necessary for understanding what exactly they’re doing with their new project. To my surprise, he and the rest of the band were incredibly congenial and equally as eager to spill a few choice details about their imminent project. So without further ado, here is everything you need to know about Season 1.

First and foremost, for anyone not familiar with who you are, who William is, or what you guys do, in your own words give us a brief rundown of who you guys really are and what you’re doing here.

Tom: We are an indie electronic band made up of Jacob Culver, Devan Welsh, and myself, Tom Carpenter and we’ve been playing together as Moontower for a little less than a year and a half. Although we started off by simply putting on shows in backyards and house parties without music released, we are so excited to now be touring across the country and are gearing up to share our debut project “Season 1: The Ballad of William Hollywood”

Jacob: Just for clarification… Season 1 includes everything Moontower is going to be doing for the near future. The live shows, the music, all our video content, and the branding are all under the “Season 1” umbrella. “The Ballad of William Hollywood” is a three-part video series inside of Season 1 that tells the origin story of William Hollywood. You’ve gotten to know the three of us pretty well, and now it’s time for you to get to know William.

You’ve been crafting an intricate story with your music for over a year, what’s this all building up to? How does it play into “The Ballad of William Hollywood?”

Jacob: We have been hinting for a year that all the music, all the imagery, the oranges, the single covers – all are a part of a bigger world. “The Ballad of William Hollywood” and Season 1 is that world, but we needed to take the first year to figure out our sound, and our brand as a group. We always knew that we wanted to tell multidimensional stories, but we didn’t want to put the cart before the horse. We needed to know what Moontower should sound, look, and feel like – and we could only learn that through trial and error. If we would have released Season 1 at the beginning, it would have been disingenuous, and not fully realized. That’s why we waited so long to put music out and then once we did, waited even longer so we could play live and meet as many of our fans as possible so that we knew how to tailor this world to the people who would be open to falling in love with it. I think you’ll find that, while The Ballad of William Hollywood is weird and surrealist, its message is universal. Everyone has at some point tried to be something they’re not. Love can make you lose sight of your own identity, but it also eventually is where we find peace.

What made you choose a season based structure rather than just releasing regular albums?

Devan: We love regular albums! Nothing against them. If the goal behind a Season is to create a multi-dimensional story-based world to fall into, then the music has to have depth in the narrative. In terms of albums, the three of us can trace some of our favorites back to concept albums, where there’s a bigger picture, instead of just a compilation of good songs. When I first met Tom in our Freshman year of college, his 20 favorite albums were up on his dorm room wall (most of them concept albums, no surprise there). One of them, “Modern Vampires of the City” (Vampire Weekend) is an album I’ve come to appreciate much more because of Tom’s love for its narrative (which I’m sure he’d love to elaborate on) – not only is the sound of the album very well done, but the story makes you fall in love with it that much more. One of my personal favorites is Coldplay’s “Mylo Xyloto”, an Orwellian society-type setting where a “love conquers all” type narrative takes place. Besides it being some of Coldplay’s best pop music, I fell in love with a story that helped me get through some of the harder times of growing up.

Tom: I’ll talk Modern Vampires for way too long but it’s just such a beautiful coming of age story. You definitely need to listen to it if you haven’t! It’s just so powerful and inspiring when the artists you look up to put the work in for there to be rabbit holes to fall down, extra little tidbits which make tracks hold hands on a project or sonic universes to get lost in.

Jacob: We’ve always tried to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. That’s why when we started Moontower, we built all our own staging, lighting, production, visuals, and basically toured a mini-festival set around college campuses. We didn’t know what we were doing at first, but the idea of learning something new every day got us out of bed and excited! When we thought about releasing our first project, we wanted to keep that same mentality. All of us have released music before and played live before – that just wasn’t going to be enough for us. We dove headfirst into creating the world that is Season 1 because we wanted to challenge ourselves to do more, to learn something, and we thought that our fans deserved more. We created Moontower to be a world you can live in. With most other bands, you’re just watching from the outside.

How is the pilot you guys released back in February 2018 going to differ from the real thing?

Devan: For all intents and purposes, the Pilot is the intro to William’s character and the backdrop for Season 1. It’s not necessarily supposed to answer any questions, but moreover, give an idea of the weirdness behind William’s proclamation of love. The only way I can explain the Pilot episode is this: you know how when you watch Planet Earth and see birds trying to impress other birds, and as a human, you have no idea what’s going on, but the birds do? Anyways – episodes of Season 1 will answer the questions we wanted people to be asking when Pilot was released.

Jacob: William also needed us to make the Pilot so he had something to show Fat Beep (the production company behind “The Ballad of William Hollywood” and a lot of Season 1). It was a proof of concept and a way to prove to ourselves that we could do this.

Speaking of William, we see a lot of him on your official Instagram and we hear a lot about him in your wonderful songs, but who is he?

Devan: William is our roommate, friend, and a talented film-maker! We met William during our Sophomore year, which was around when the ideation phase of this project began, and told him our idea for Season 1, which he heavily related to.

Jacob: William’s story, his upbringing is shockingly similar to ours. While it’s most natural for us to tell our story through music, he expresses himself visually, and so it made perfect sense for us to let him head the creation of his own ballad. What he created was perfect – you get our story told through the music behind the episodes and his story is told literally by him acting it out on screen.

What are a few things your fans can expect from this upcoming season? Are your enigmatic single covers finally going to make sense?

Tom: Our goal is to make music that you can enjoy on its own but becomes all the more potent when you have the whole thing. If you love a single on its own, that’s awesome! But if you want more, to lose yourself in the entire project, we really hope that you do.

Devan: The single covers are all plot points of Season 1, so yes, by the end of the episodic narrative, the singles we’ve released will make more sense.

Jacob: We just hope people find themselves in the videos and find a home in Moontower. One of the most beautiful things is to see all of our fans becoming friends and supporting each other. It seems like the further we go the more that happens, I hope that continues.

How long has this project been in the works for?

Devan: About a year and a half, which is about the length of time that we’ve been a band for. The plot was created around late-August of 2017 which is when our first show was.

What are you guys hoping to achieve with your first season?

Devan: One the surface, hopefully, some sense of nostalgia for the way you felt when you were younger. More specifically, we’re happy to finally share the story and its parts – the videos tell a beautiful narrative, and we stand behind every sound and lyric in the music.

Jacob: We hope people feel like they’re part of something new, part of a community, and part of something that’s only just beginning.

Tom: I hope that you see some of yourself inside of the music and videos and that, even if it’s not for you, you come to expect more from other projects.

How many seasons do you guys plan on doing? Is William going to be the main focus for everything? Is it going to be episodic or will each season be boiled down into one video?

Devan: We’re not necessarily sure! As long as we possibly can.

Jacob: “The Ballad of William Hollywood” is just one part of Season 1. There will most likely be other long-form video series within Season 1. As Dev said, we’re not sure how the other Seasons will play out, depends on the stories we want to tell, when it makes sense to, and how they develop day to day.

Tom: Our heads are all already in Season 2 and 3 though already… there are a lot of stories we want to tell!

Where can your fans connect with you in order to deepen their appreciation for your incredible sound?

Devan: Our live show means everything to us. See us live.

Jacob: Yeah, see us live. But also, come hang after the show, we love to tour because we love to meet people. We’re thankful that our fans always make us feel at home wherever we are.

Tom: Yes! Like Jacob said, come dance with us while we’re on stage and kick it with us when we’re not. Being able to meet new people is what Moontower is all about.

Our Instagram (@thisismoontower) houses all of the news and info.
Our YouTube (@FatBeep) will house all the episodic videos for Season 1 and other Seasons to come.
Our Spotify houses the music – Season 1 will be officially released May 9.

Season 1 premiers tomorrow on FatBeep then will follow a weekly schedule until May 9th, be sure to tune in!

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