skip to Main Content

M.O.O.N.: “Being an ‘artist’ comes with a massive amount of self-doubt and anxiety”

Lisbon-based artist Stephen Gilarde, best known as M.O.O.N. has recently celebrated the 10th Anniversary of his seminal 2011 ‘MOON’ EP (which catapulted to fame due to its inclusion in the ‘Hotline Miami’ video game soundtrack). Now, the producer is behind the drop of ‘Come! See!!’, his first album in five years this May. Described as “a therapy session in album form”, Stephen re-opens the M.O.O.N. chapter of his life, exploring new directions and old processes to present a look at how he has evolved in the decade since the first ‘MOON’ EP.

EG caught up with M.O.O.N. to learn more about the drop of his new ‘Come! See!!’ LP, his 5-year hiatus, the natural evolution of his sound, workflow in the studio, and more.

EG: Hello Stephen! We’re very happy to have you here with us today. How have you been? Where are you right now?

M.O.O.N.: Thanks! I’m well. I’ve been living in Lisbon for almost two years now, and I love it more and more each day.

EG: Congratulations on the release of your ‘Come! See!!’ LP! What has the initial reception been like?

M.O.O.N.: People seem to be enjoying it which is nice! It’s always a weird thing to release music now, as it takes so long that you go from being hyper-familiar with the songs when you are making the record, to them almost feeling foreign by the time everyone else hears them.

EG: This, of course, is your first album as M.O.O.N. in almost 5 years. What motivated you to revive your M.O.O.N. moniker?

M.O.O.N.: In the summer of 2020, I was going through a stretch of writer’s block while working on my other project, Was Fret. At the same time, I was moving my back catalog of M.O.O.N. releases to a new distributor, which required going through and listening to all my old masters, some of which I hadn’t listened to in years. I started thinking about how I used to write music when I was younger compared to my process now, and as an exercise, I decided to dig up some old unfinished ideas and play around with them. Eventually, this snowballed into the album as it is.

EG: And how would you say your sound has changed since the first M.O.O.N EP, which became a cult classic following its inclusion in the ‘Hotline Miami’ computer game?

M.O.O.N.: I definitely know what I’m doing more now! I think I’ve developed a deeper palette of sound, less synth-heavy and more organic. The early EPs are very simple sound-wise. But I also think the way I arrange a song is pretty similar to how I approached it a decade ago.

“I think the process of making this new record helped me work through a lot of those feelings and come to a healthier place in my relationship with my work”

EG: ‘Come! See!!’ is described as a ‘therapy session in album form’. In which ways? What topics do you explore on the record?

M.O.O.N.: Being an ‘artist’, especially in the social media age, comes with a massive amount of self-doubt and anxiety. These were things I really struggled with during the making and release of my 2017 album ‘Clinically Blasé’, and I think the album suffered from it. I have a bit of a complicated relationship with my previous work in general, and I think the process of making this new record helped me work through a lot of those feelings and come to a healthier place in my relationship with my work.

EG: What would you like listeners to take away from ‘Come! See!!’? What would you say is the perfect setting to listen to it?

M.O.O.N.: I can’t really picture what people will take away from the record, as it’s pretty personal to my experience. I’m always surprised by which tracks people latch onto though, it’s never the ones I expect. As far as the setting, the record is quite dark and spacious. I think a small, dark, foggy room is a good starting point.

EG: What does your studio look like at the moment? Can you give us some insight into your workflow? Did you pick up any new gear or software while recording the album?

M.O.O.N.: My workflow is nearly entirely in-the-box these days. I have a small set of external tools that are mainly effect processors. I use an Eventide H9 and a Hologram Electronics Microcosm more than anything, for a wide range of special effects. I also have a Tascam 414 Tape Machine, which provides a lot of color.

EG: How did you first get into electronic music? Was there a record or gig that particularly caught your attention growing up?

M.O.O.N.: I started being interested in DJ’ing around age 13, coming to it from a hip-hop perspective. When I was in high school though I got really into electronic music, especially the stuff coming out of France at the time. Artists like Justice, Kavinsky, and Mr. Oizo, that sort of sound were really influential to me.

“I’m always surprised by which tracks people latch onto though, it’s never the ones I expect”

EG: What’s next for M.O.O.N. in the next few months? What new milestones are you looking to celebrate?

M.O.O.N.: I have a live set I have built, so hopefully I will be able to bring that around to some places soon!

EG: Thank you for your time, Stephen! We wish you all the best for the future!

M.O.O.N.: I appreciate it! Thank you for having me.

M.O.O.N.’s first album in 4 years, ‘Come! See​!​!’ is out now. Purchase your copy here.

Follow M.O.O.N.: Facebook | SoundCloud | Twitter | Bandcamp

Back To Top