Interviews

Introducing: New Hampshire’s atmospheric post punk / shoegaze artist OLD MOON

Old Moon
Tom Weir (aka OLD MOON) is a rural New Hampshire artist, who’s been putting out some classy singles throughout the past months of the year, and today it’s our pleasure to give you the full profile of an interesting new artist, capturing capture the nuances of some of the dark aspects of life, locking them in a pleasurable, hauntingly beautiful sonic experience. Soothing, resolutely unfiltered, and magically uplifting, OLD MOON’s offerings promise an enlivening experience and cozy artistic rendering that captures the essence of intimate stylistics of this musical niche.

Both new tracks, “Past Lives” and “Exile Theme” are forerunners of the new EP “Past Lives”, scheduled for a June 19th release digitally and on cassette.

We caught up with Tom to give us a bit more details about his background and what led him to start OLD MOON, as well as loads of other insights that can be learned after the scroll (other bands recommendations, Spotify Playlist and “Top 10 Artists That Inspired Old Moon” included).

I came up with the name Old Moon this past winter, when the world was looking bleak, little did I know it would get bleaker. For now the band is just me (Tom). I’ve had collaborators in the past for other bands and am open to working with people again in the future, especially for live shows; but right now it works best for me to do everything and make all the creative calls myself. I have a studio at home where everything is recorded and I’ve found that I can work super efficiently on my own there.

While I do love being in control, I grew up playing in punk bands and have been in a lot of different tiny bands over the years and sometimes miss the camaraderie that comes along with that. If the right people come along in the future I think I would be open to bringing in some other members. I have a background working in the music industry in NYC, but several years ago moved back to rural New Hampshire which is really when I started getting into fleshing out my studio and digging into this more melodic and janglier style of post-punk.

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑃𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝐿𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝐸𝑃 𝑎𝑠 𝑤𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑎𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑙𝑒𝑠 “𝑌𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝐴𝑟𝑚𝑠” 𝑎𝑛𝑑 “𝐻𝑒𝑎𝑣𝑦 𝐴𝑖𝑟” 𝑏𝑜𝑡ℎ 𝑐𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑏𝑦 𝑎𝑐𝑐𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑡.

Just tinkering with my guitar turned into a body of songs that meshed really well and captured a moment in time for me perfectly. The sessions started right around the time that our community was going into lockdown/isolation mode with the current pandemic. I had a lot of time at home thinking, and the songs on Past Lives really reflect that.

The lyric themes from Past Lives deal with a lot of personal issues, from insecurities to past destructive behavior and some of the guilt that comes along with that, but as the EP progresses the songs get more hopeful, sunshine starts to peek in through the cracks. The singles are more hopeful as well, with lyrics that speak to positive relationships and the strange comfort of isolation.

Asked about his plans for the rest of 2020 and some possible new music, Tom commented:

Past Lives comes out on June 19 and there will be cassettes available for purchase on my Bandcamp. I’m working on a free covers EP that should surface later this summer too. I’m sitting on a bunch of new material as well, and hope to put something new out in the fall – either an EP or LP. I record all the time. I would love for the world to return to normal so I can play these new songs live soon too, but I guess we have to wait and see what happens.

Track by track commentary:

Past Lives EP

Past Lives: This was the first song I wrote for this EP and I think it really helped shape the tone of the rest of the songs. This song is about learning to forget about dwelling on the past and all the shitty things you’ve done.

Tyranny: This is probably the darkest song of the bunch. Tyranny is about a time in my life when I lived very self destructively – drank too much, did too many drugs – I was sort of on the brink of it taking over everything.

Cycles of Guilt: I love the chorus of this song, it’s where the hope starts to shine through.

Exile Theme: This is probably the most melodic of the songs on Past Lives. I was super inspired by the way Peter Hook does a high vocal and a low vocal on New Order’s “Dreams Never End” and I wanted to try that same technique here. I think it works super well. This song was written when we were really in lockdown mode over here not leaving the house much, but the song takes a positive spin on it – there’s really something nice about just digging into your own space sometimes and hiding out from the world.

Your Arms: I love this track, but didn’t feel it worked with the EP which is which I released it for free along with Heavy Air. It’s definitely janglier and a little more melodic, which I don’t think is a bad thing.

Heavy Air: I thought this song worked super well as a standalone B side to Your Arms. It’s melodic and jangly but still has that vibe.

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐶𝑂𝑉𝐼𝐷-19 𝑝𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑐 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑘𝑑𝑜𝑤𝑛 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑔.

I have a lot of friends in bands who have had tours and shows cancelled because of the pandemic. I feel really lucky to have a job that lets me work at home, so I haven’t been too affected financially. But still, it sucks – especially as I’m just getting Old Moon off the ground more and would want to be playing shows. I’ve just been at home all the time which has let me spend a lot of time getting lost in music in the studio. It feels like the positive side to this is that there is a lot of good new music coming out, and people are doing what they can to support artists – I know I’ve been buying a lot more merch and vinyl than I usually do – but I know a lot of people are struggling and I hope that things can return to the way they were.

New Hampshire independent music scene

Where I live is super remote, so I envision the “scene” here being a bit more geographically diverse than in a typical city. When I was growing up there were a lot of awesome young punk bands here like the Foodstamps, The Yarbles, Bombs Away, and My Revenge that sort of petered out as people got older and moved away. Vermont and New Hampshire still have a lot of bands, but they’re pretty spread out. The River City Rebels who have been through countless iterations but always keep the punk spirit alive are from a few towns over from me, so that’s cool. Burlington, VT has a lot of good stuff going on with some great new hardcore bands like Gone Wrong, southern New Hampshire has some great bands too like Notches and Terror Forms. But it’s not as tight knit as scenes in other places – I have to drive a ways if I want to see a show.

Other bands worth your time

Fearing – I absolutely love this band, their new album Shadow has been on repeat all spring.

True Body – This band is on the same label as Fearing and is also absolutely great, every song on their album is an anthem.

Greet Death – These guys made an absolutely perfect album at the end of last year. Everything they do is great, and they mix slow sludgy rock with americana heartland type songwriting – it’s genius.

Maladia – I don’t know a ton about this band but they put out a demo tape on Cold Comfort last year that is an absolute ripper! Death rock meets crusty hardcore.

Gone Wrong – Teenage skate punks from VT making classic hardcore, you’ve gotta love it.

“Strange Days” Spotify Playlist:

𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑠𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑠𝑝𝑖𝑛𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎 𝑙𝑜𝑡 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑤𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑂𝑙𝑑 𝑀𝑜𝑜𝑛 𝑠𝑡𝑢𝑓𝑓. 𝐼𝑡’𝑠 𝑎 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝑑 𝑚𝑖𝑥 𝑜𝑓 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑐𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑐 𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑡-𝑝𝑢𝑛𝑘, 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑑𝑐𝑜𝑟𝑒, 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑗𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑟 𝑠𝑡𝑢𝑓𝑓.

Top 10 Artists That Inspired Old Moon

𝐽𝑒𝑠𝑢𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑀𝑎𝑟𝑦 𝐶ℎ𝑎𝑖𝑛

I still remember when I heard Psychocandy and was like “what is this?” What are they doing to the guitars and vocals? That’s when I got super into fuzz and reverb.

𝑁𝑒𝑤 𝑂𝑟𝑑𝑒𝑟

I really dislike a lot of the later New Order stuff but the first couple records are undeniable. Martin Hannet’s production is great, and there’s still a looser feel to the electronic elements. Peter Hook’s bass playing is an obvious influence for me.

𝐹𝑢𝑔𝑎𝑧𝑖

This doesn’t come through in my sound at all, but 13 Songs was huge for me growing up. It was the first punk record I had that wasn’t four to the floor with buzzsaw guitars.

𝐽𝑎𝑦 𝑅𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑎𝑟𝑑

Talk about a life cut too short. Jay Reatard was a genius. His earlier Matador singles were all so incredible, and the way that he was doing DIY production and recording and playing punk on an acoustic guitar really inspired me.

𝑂𝑎𝑠𝑖𝑠

I get shit from people for this one sometimes but I stand by it. Oasis wrote some incredible songs on their early records. I used to blast Definitely Maybe on my cassette walkman when it came out.

𝑁𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔

Hearing these guys for the first time was an eye opener. I was working in booking in NYC and someone send some tracks from their first LP to the company I was working for. We blasted it in the office and I was blown away. I wasn’t super familiar with a lot of shoegaze at the time and was was like “holy shit this is incredible” mixing the heavy sounds with the dreamy sounds.

𝑅𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝐶𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑅𝑒𝑏𝑒𝑙𝑠

Another pretty niche choice but I will back it to the day I die. I went to see these guys play in a parking lot in New Hampshire in like 2001 or something and they had the hand tattoos, bondage belts, creepers, it was a watershed show that got everyone in my area into punk. At the time they were playing straight ahead street punk, this was when they were on Victory Records so it felt like a really big deal to get to see them locally. I think every kid at that show went home and started a band.

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑀𝑎𝑟𝑘𝑒𝑑 𝑀𝑒𝑛

These guys still do it right to this day. Smart, snappy punk with incredible hooks and songwriting.

𝐶𝑜𝑙𝑑 𝐶𝑎𝑣𝑒

Following along with what Wes has done over the years has inspired me a lot to know that I can produce and create music without needing a band, and that not every song needs to sound the same. There is also a sense of poetry to everything they do which is lacking in a lot of today’s bands with the same sound.

𝐼𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑎𝑟𝑦

I don’t just listen to more melodic stuff! I used to love going to see Incendiary when I lived in NYC, these guys are one of the best modern HC bands out there. Totally huge sounding hooks and awesomely tight production as well.


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