MOONDY: From Turnip to Puffers and the Humanity in Music that Binds Us All
“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” ~ Desmond Tutu
Eclectic, improvisational, and experimental are all words to describe Moondy’s artistry. “Incorrigible,” “intense,” and “slightly fruity” are all words to describe his personality. Encompassing each trait to its core, Moondy is known among Atlanta’s music elite by his vivid moniker which stems from a deep appreciation of social rights activist, Desmond Tutu. Much like the wonder of his music, Moondy’s tuneful messages deliver the warmth of his spirit and, as he expresses, joins him with the world.
“Music is meant for people to enjoy in mind, spirit and body,” stated Moondy. “I think any artist will tell you there is reciprocity within music, and our creations serve as connective tissue that helps people stay conjoined.”
Purposely creating “compelling, unusual sounding music that pushes the realm of what people can imagine,” Moondy’s albums, Turnip and Puffers, are for audiences celebrating a renaissance, for those branching out to expand their minds and musical tastes.
Produced in 2001, the appeal of Turnip is timeless and arose from the stories and emotion swirling around in jam sessions with friends, some seasoned pros others with no experience. Praised by Creative Loafing upon its original release as “keyboard-driven songs [that] inhabit a world of timeless pop — sometimes Beatlesque, sometimes new wavey, sometimes reminiscent of ’70s AOR singer/songwriter fare,” this collection of songs is about friends (“Kim’s Song,” “Melissa’s Song,” “Ricky’s Song”), family members (“Linda Lee’s Song” and “Dylan’s Song” pay homage to his wife and son), the life of a troubled soul (“John’s Suicide Song”) and the passing of a revered music icon (“Benjamin’s Song”). Rooted in the belief that music is best experienced as a community, Moondy’s Turnip honors the human condition on a visceral level, encouraging the simplest concepts of communication, friendship, loss and love.
“Art is so much about our society and our need to have an experience,” says Moondy. “I’m continually involved in intense experiences and, through the ebb and flow, no matter what, it all boils down to communicating and listening to one another.”
Moondy’s fascination with keyed music took hold at the age of five when he discovered his parents’ player piano and fell in love with the sound produced when the keys played up and down. Inspired by the greats in music before him, he recognizes he is a reflection of different music. Artists that echoed his “love of noise, pop sensibilities, melodic contents and most of all words,” included The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Elton John, Elvis Costello, The Ramones, The Go-Go’s, The Pixies, Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead, Dandy Warhols, and Interpol.
As tastes changed and life provided more content, Moondy transitioned into the noise rock style exhibited on Puffers, his second album that is scheduled for release August 5, 2014. Driven by sounds and effects, distortion, and even cartoon sounds, his need to “make it groove” was influenced by the noisiness of Sleigh Bells and other bands of the era. A musical mosaic of “fruit flavors,” Puffers shows a flair for the orchestral and interesting.
“All I want is to write songs people will love, cherish, and remember,” Moondy claims. “That’s what life is about as an artist, and as a friend, making moments that can be archived as an enjoyment.”
As Moondy begins the promotion of Turnip and Puffers, he turns to his wife Linda Mitchell, a celebrated visual artist, to bring his music to life in more ways than one. Aesthetically, she designs artwork to accompany Moondy’s music (along with her sister, photographer Mary Anne Mitchell) and, recently, her prolific style has been seen in lyric videos and in the unique illustrated characters that have taken shape in many of the songs. More importantly, she has the ability to help Moondy “string together words and melodies against my incoherent verbiage.”
It’s at this point one is reminded of Moondy’s humanity; he is a man with a palette of interests and aspirations just as much as he is a musician with an innate need to let loose and create. In a very subconscious way, Moondy knows that all he does off the stage will eventually coincide with all he does on it. An often common occurrence in our own daily lives, Moondy is the epitome of art imitating life.
“As any artist will tell you, there is blood in anything you do artistically. That blood can come from drama, exultations, celebrations and even failures from other sources in our everyday lives but it all comes together fundamentally at some point,” Moondy exclaims. “When your art resonates through your other practices, that’s when you realize art is found in many different realms.”
Linda Mitchell is an Atlanta artist who creates richly textured narrative paintings in which animals often become surrogates for human beings and their emotional lives. Her work can be seen on www.lindamitchellartist.com
Mary Anne Mitchell is a fine art photographer who uses black and white film and wet plate collodion to create her surreal images. More of her work can be seen on her website at www.maryannemitchellphotography.com