Artist: The Soft Moon
Genre: Post-Punk / Psyche / Electronic
Release Date: 30th March 2015
Label: Captured Tracks
The Soft Moon is the project of Luis Vasquez, a self-taught musician of Cuban origin who lived most of his life in Oakland, California, and now resides in Berlin. The Soft Moon created a new style of music back in 2010, a crossover music that combines Post-Punk, Shoegaze, Cold-Wave, Psychedelia and Electronica. ‘Deeper’ is the 3rd album from THE SOFT MOON and it marks a clear evolution for the project. Luis Vasquez: “Yeah, it basically represents my evolution as a songwriter, exploring my inner dimensions. I definitely wanted to express more song-written material, whereas before I was more into sounds and experimentation. With this one, I wanted to include more melodies, more structure, from the start to finish and I also wanted to learn more about myself, as extremely as I could. Which is why I called it ‘Deeper’.” (read the full interview HERE!)
The album is indeed a good combination of the heritage from the first album; it is introspective, dark, emotional, claustrophobic but at the same time, the sound and the arrangements are strong and engaging. There are indeed more “real” songs here, with clear vocals and melodies. There is even a song played and sung on the piano. ‘Wasting’ even evokes DEPECHE MODE or TEARS FOR FEARS: very interesting! During our interview, Luis Vasquez gave a few comments about each song of the new album:
RoD: Let's start with ‘Black’
LV: “That's the song that makes me feel confident, because I feel so insecure and I suffer from anxiety, I'm so self-conscious as a person, so creating something like ‘Black’ gives me a sense of power, that it's ok, I'm finally who I am, there's nothing wrong.’
RoD: Then there is ‘Far’…
LV: “’Far’ is basically trying to get out of my head because I don't trust myself. Sometimes I'm so scared of going crazy and I want to remove myself from myself. Here, we're coming back to the enemy thing. I need to get away from me because my conscious is my enemy.”
RoD: Then ‘Wasting’: this song was a big surprise for me because, as you said, it's the first time you are doing a real song with real vocals, real melodies, nearly synth-pop kind of DEPECHE MODE-ish vocals...
LV: “It also reminds me of TEARS FOR FEARS...”
RoD: Yes, precisely! I had also written TEARS FOR FEARS on my paper. (laughs)
LV: “It's funny because I don't predetermine the track. I don't say: ‘I want to make a song like that’. I basically create something and I realize later ‘wow, it sounds like TEARS FOR FEARS or whatever’.”
RoD: To be honest, I even thought you had a guest singer on this one! (laughs)
LV: “No, it's my voice (laughs). It reminds me of ‘Shout’ or songs like that. But I'm happy with that. It goes back to the kindred spirit thing. There's a world of similar musicians. I'm a part of this world.”
RoD: It's quantum mechanics, there's nothing to do about it...
LV: “Yeah, exactly.”
RoD: The things that are created have echoes everywhere.
LV: “Like stardust...”
RoD: Then there's ‘Wrong’...
LV: “Here, I wanted to do something more electronic, something robotic, an interplay with my subconscious. Basically, there's me singing a line and then the robotic voice singing “wrong” and then “right”: it's like an interplay. That song was very fun to make because I wanted to do something experimental, a little bit different. It wasn't going to be on the album but as it developed, it seemed important and I like to versatility it adds to the record.”
RoD: Then ‘Try’...
LV: “It's my suicide song. That was a heavy one for me. I remember being very depressed in Venice one night and it was even to the point where I was texting friends saying “I miss you”. I was hardly on the verge and I got to a point where I started writing a song. I initially wrote it very slow, super depressing and then, to step out of the negative mood, I made it more dancy, more optimistic. That song actually helped me live...”
LV: “This song is kind of my guilty pleasure song. I wanted to make something poppy, appealing to a wider audience. Something dancy, like a MADONNA song or a PRINCE track. That's my version of a pop-dance track.”
LV: “This song is not about love, it's actually about my relationship with my mother. I was disconnected from her as a child and for many years. It's funny because I haven't shown her that song and if I do, I won't tell her it's about her...”
RoD: ‘Feel’ is about “why are we alive?”...
LV: “Yeah, it's like in my head on repeat...”
LV: “It's my inner hell. How I feel inside. Basically, it expresses my total struggle with living. About torturing myself to write music. I feel like it's full of sin. As I was writing, it reminded me of Dante's Inferno, you know, the seven layers of hell. So, I adapted the structure of the in function of the poem.”
RoD: And then ‘Being’ is an amazing song...
LV: “That's everything on the plate. For me, it's sadness, anger and optimism, all in one song.”
RoD: It wraps up the album perfectly as the last song.
LV: “I wanted to leave the record open-ended with no closure. I'm asking this question but the finale of the song is just noise. There's nothing you can gain from it.”
RoD: It was meaningful to add this three minutes noise.
LV: “On the vinyl, it's a constant loop. You have to remove the needle otherwise it goes on forever...”
RoD: Great idea! I wonder whether it's the first time someone does that?
LV: “Some Hardcore bands must have done it before. It's kind of my Hardcore track.”
As a conclusion: this album is a real success. Luis Vasquez managed to give shape to the quintessence of his art and to open new doors for future developments. Felicitations, Luis!
www.thesoftmoon.com / https://www.facebook.com/thesoftmoon
Total: 8 / 10
Reviewed by Phil Blackmarquis, with the help of Luis Vasquez