I’ve yet to see The Soft Moon play, even though I’ve already had a close encounter of the peculiar kind with the frontman and mastermind Luis Vasquez, leading to an impromptu interview at SXSW 2012. Now, if you follow my work for Remezcla you might already know that Vasquez and his team of dreary, San Francisco minimalist-new wavers are at the top of a very short list of favorites for me. Ever since I first heard The Soft Moon’s debut EP in 2010, I basically became a slave to their dark underworld, electro synth dungeon broodings and seductively syncopated beats.
Stemming from a very intimate delving into childhood memories and anguish, Vasquez gave us a soul ripping ode to krautrock-esque bauhaus ritual noise, like some goth baby’s junk graveled heart vomited into Grails‘ stripped soul and Joy Division‘s purest nightmares. Other bands obviously worth mentioning in comparison here are Soledad, Veronica and of course, Bestial Mouths, whom I also had the privilege of conversing with at SXSW 2012. Since then the band dropped another killer album, Zero. Their latest fills me with the best and the worst kind of elation, especially since I’ve yet to see them live.
At SXSW this past year my hurried mis-adventures led to a happenstance interview with the main man himself. Our awkwardly, or abstractly filmed conversation caught all the mayhem on the streets while briefly hashing out The Soft Moon’s vision and history. On route to Barbarella’s to supposedly see the Soft Moon, I wandered for the first time through the very mardi gras-esque streets of downtown Austin, winding through the garbage littered paths and dauntingly drunk crowds.
Upon arrival, while waiting for the band to start, I notice Luis Vasquez standing alone in the crowd. I scope him out for a little while, unsure if I recognize him from the rare photos released by his publicist at the time. What’s he doing standing around in the crowd? He should be backstage somewhere getting ready for his show right now. I approach him, hesitantly. “Excuse me. Might you happen to be Luis Vasquez?” He looks at me surprised, “Yeah, yeah I am.” So, I mention I’m a fan, I’ve been in touch with so-and-so, and ask for an interview.
Vasquez politely agrees, visibly humbled to be recognized at all. We step outside the packed bar, but as I mention how excited I am to see him perform, he looks at me inquisitively. “We’re not playing tonight.” Turns out I don’t know how to read. The Soft Metals are about to go on instead. I quickly brush off my embarrassment. Vasquez is inviting, eager and chats me up after the interview, mentioning how geeked he is to see //Tense// and even introduces me to the rest of the band, laughing about how often people mistake his band’s name for the other’s. What are the odds, though?
He says The Soft Moon played the previous day somewhere. They won’t be playing any official South-By sets and the prior show went horribly. They’re “a night-band, and the visuals are a big part of the show.” We’re just hanging around the bar like old buddies now. I ask about his oddest job as a struggling artist, before all this “fame.” He confesses, “I used to clean buses for a while.” He also confides he used to live in Argentina working as a web designer. We bond slightly over our triles and tribulations abroad. After shyly mentioning a rough sampling of his work for my fumbling as a neophyte emcee, he passes me his email. He’s genuinely intrigued by my “freestyle-gothica.” Of course, he’s a fan of Latin freestyle as well. A true 80’s baby.
After sharing a beer, the conversation starts to wain, and I bow out gracefully, still reeling from the strange coincidence of it all. Vasquez wasn’t even scheduled to play that night. Thank all the dark gods of the underworld for my minor dyslexia.
The Soft Moon / January 12 / The Empty Bottle