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As Live As It Gets 

Moon Hooch has a new album coming in January, with each song recorded in one take

Have you ever thought about what jazz music would sound like if it was played by aliens in outer space? No? Well, Moon Hooch might be the closest thing you'll ever get.

For those looking to get their groove on this week, the Moon Hooch show should be at the top of the list. - CALABRO MUSIC MEDIA
  • Calabro Music Media
  • For those looking to get their groove on this week, the Moon Hooch show should be at the top of the list.

The trio of Mike Wilbur, Wenzl McGowen and James Muschler have pushed the limits of their sound to become a finely tuned mashup of jazz, funk and EDM. I spoke with Wilbur about the album the day before Thanksgiving, right after he had just finished reading George Orwell's "1984."

"It's an amazing book, dude. You absolutely should go read it," says Wilbur. "It's not exactly uplifting. By no means is it uplifting in fact. But, it's pretty accurate."

Next on Wilbur's reading list is a book from his bandmate McGowen before it gets officially released. Read the rest of our interview below.

Source Weekly: When you guys were first starting out, you would play on the streets of New York. How do you think that experience helped shape you as performers?

Mike Wilbur: Well, having to entertain complete strangers that don't necessarily want to hear your music is a really good exercise in performance—because it trains you to not fully consider what the audience is experiencing. And you kind of disassociate from them and totally dive into the music. But it also helped us recognize what people liked and what the majority of people would react to.

SW: Were there any moments when people were enjoying the music so much that you knew things were getting out of hand?

MW: All the time. Whenever big groups of people get together—especially intoxicated people, things can get crazy. There were times when people almost looked like they were going to fall into the [subway] tracks. We were lucky that didn't happen.

SW: You have an album coming out in January called "Life on Other Planets." From my understanding, you recorded each song in a single take. What was that experience like?

MW: It was really fun. I think that album captures our live energy really well and it captures the most out of any album we've released. It also includes some improvisations from the live set that we haven't really released ever.

SW: If you were DJing a party right now, which song off the album would you play to get people dancing?

MW: Mmm... "Nonphysical."

SW: That's a good one. I was going to say "Old Frenchman." That one has a really good groove to it.

MW: Yeah, I was going to say that! But then I forgot about "Nonphysical." Both of those are good.

SW: Like you said before about playing on the street, you're pretty in tune with the art of reading the room and crowd. What goes into that when you're on stage and what things are you looking for?

MW: It really depends on the night. Some audiences are not very engaged. That alone has to do with demographics and geography. So some places are more wild than others. But I do notice that if I'm really focused, engaged and energetic, then the crowd responds to that, whereas if I'm standing still with my eyes closed the whole time the audience kind of goes into that zone. Which makes sense—because like everyone's there watching you and they're kind of, in a way, mirroring us.

Moon Hooch
Wed., Dec. 11. 9-11:30pm
Volcanic Theatre Pub
70 SW Century Dr., Bend

About The Author

Isaac Biehl

Isaac is living proof that "Iowa Nice" is actually a thing. A journalism graduate from Iowa State University, he regularly writes about music, the outdoors and the arts/culture scene. Isaac loves the Trail Blazers, backpacking and a good IPA. He plans to one day win Survivor. Your move, Jeff Probst...
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