It’s been quite some time since the Florida music scene has had the opportunity to hear Moon Hooch and their eclectic, self-dubbed “cave” music. We recently sought them out after Beardfest in New Jersey where we talked with horn player, Wenzl McGowen. Wenzl gave us detailed insight into their new Light it Up EP, the evolution of their music, and how the band’s spiritual practice influences their music.
Read the interview below and get the Light it Up EP here.
Your Light It Up EP is out now, and there is some new material in the works according to your Facebook page. Do you have a time frame for your next release yet?
We are currently working on expanding our live show; we added several new songs and transitions. We will play this new material live for several months before releasing it.
I noticed you co-wrote the story line on the “Growing Up” video. What is the concept behind the video?
The video is about a male and female creature who get in an argument. The female then shows the male that there is a whole other level of existence when you open your heart. At first it exhausts the male, but then he practices and learns to hold that energy. Eventually they both let this energy carry them, which brings them beyond the physical universe into a stratified field of multidimensional light.
There are some side projects being worked on as well. Tell us about each members’ other projects/interests.
I make a lot of ambient meditation music which can be found on my website.
Mike makes so much different music, some of it can’t really be categorized stylistically, but you can check it out here.
James recently recorded a piece that is inspired by the evolution of life on earth.
Explain the evolution of your music equipment/instruments over the years. How does the sound compare now to when Moon Hooch first came together?
We are now using more electronics and since we have become much preciser musicians and sound engineers, our music has become a homogenous blend between acoustic instruments and sound design.
Do you have plans to incorporate new instruments and/or equipment in the future?
We will see where this journey takes us. I would love it if James would take his gong on the road, but it is 40 inches wide, and we would need a proper case.
How much of your music is improv verses a structured idea? Give us some insight into the writing process.
There is a lot of improvisation, but it is within the context of a through-composed set. So we improvise within certain parameters. We know how long the solo will be, what the chord changes are, and what the energy arch should look like.
Tell us about your food interests and eating habits. I was reading about your mobile kitchen and eating green/organic.
In a way your body is made up of the food that you have eaten. So it makes sense to think about your diet. This is why we are all vegan and try to eat as much local and organic food, but that isn’t the only reason. What kind of food you buy also supports an ideology. When you buy meat your actions are saying that humans have the right to enslave and kill other animals. Buying food is philosophical and political. Every kind of food is produced in a different way and when you really study how food is made, it makes you think about what kind of food you want to buy. We feel most comfortable buying from food coops that distribute local and organic vegetables.
Are you still working on the food blog?
Yes, James posts recipes that he invented once in awhile at Cooking in the Cave.
You also practice yoga and meditation. How and when did you start learning?
We all have a different relationship with Yoga and meditation, but through out the last five years those practices have definitely helped us all with the intense life style of touring musicians.
How has the spiritual practice affected you musically and personally?
Meditation has helped me get out of the way and allow the music to speak through me. When you practice to let thoughts go, it effects every area of your life. Thoughts can push and pull us if we aren’t aware of them.
Do you have any tips for traveling musicians on working in healthy lifestyle practices?
Be authentic and reflective.
Moon Hooch is currently on a world tour. Find a show date near you and purchase tickets on their website.
Cover Image Credit: Jon Tresco
Beardfest 2018 / Photo by Jen McKinnon for Creative Gold, LLC