The Stolen Moans Q&A
Los Angeles band The Stolen Moans released their new single 'Falling Into' last month, another fine addition to their catalogue of eclectic, DIY indie releases veering towards noisy punky rock 'n' roll with literate and hard-hitting lyrics. Frontwoman Vivian kindly found some time and answered a few questions for 'Ballroom Blitz's Man At The Back' on the band, the pros and cons of being in a trio and what's happening in the LA underground scene at the moment.
The Stolen Moans are Vivian (Lead Vocals, Cello, Theremin, Bass Synth), Chane (Guitar, Piano, Backing Vocals) and Eric (Drums, Trumpet, Backing Vocals).
EP 'Trees' (2021) and singles 'The King Of Claws' (2018), 'Bad Guy' (2019), 'More' (2021) and 'Falling Into' (2022) can be picked up from all the major digital sites and The Stolen Moans Bandcamp page - www.stolenmoans.bandcamp.com.
Hi Vivian / Guys, thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions. First off, for those readers who might not be familiar with The Stolen Moans, could you give a short history of the band?
We were all friends from playing in each other's bands. One day, we were the only three people to make a rehearsal. We still plugged in anyway and something clicked. Fully formed ideas started to pour out, and that’s when we decided to see where this new trinity would take us.
And who would you say were the main influences on The Stolen Moans?
Our individual tastes are so disparate it’s almost comical! In retrospect, I’m not sure how symphonic power metal, funk, Latin jazz, avant-punk, musical theater, orchestral choir, hip hop and dance-pop all fit under the same roof but somehow we make it work... being friends definitely helps.
You’ve a new single that was recently released - ‘Falling Into’; do you have a sense of how the single is doing out there in the big wide world?
Because the world holds so much uncertainty at the moment, it feels like 'Falling Into' is connecting to people on a very relatable level. We’ve gotten some really great feedback with the song and received a lot of support with DJs and radio stations that champion indie bands. Which, when you’re a DIY band is a great feeling.
Where did you record ‘Falling Into’? Was it somewhere you have recorded before? And was it self-produced or do you have somebody helping you putting the records together?
Being an indie band means getting creatively strategic with your budget. For drums, we’ll save up for recording in a professional studio. Almost all other instrumentation will be recorded elsewhere, from someone’s garage, to sitting on the floor of a bedroom closet recording harmony vocals on a gaming headset. When it comes time for mixing, depending on availability, we have two engineers we love to work with. They both bring another level of creative collaboration and perspective to help you finish what you started.
‘Falling Into’ is your fifth release; do you have a favourite track you’ve released so far and if so why?
While I absolutely love how 'Falling Into' came out and think it's one of the most accessible songs we’ve released to date, the 'King of Claws' is probably still my favourite because it was the first track we put out as The Stolen Moans. Plus, the animated music video we have for it is insane! We don’t have the time here for the story of how that all came together, but it’s fantastic and Trevor Von Klueg spoiled us. Everyone should see it!
Your songs cover a wide range of topics from workplace misogyny (‘More’) through to ‘the dizzying intoxication and lingering turmoil of intense romantic entanglements’ (‘Falling Into’). Do you have any particular themes you like to explore in your songs?
In previous bands, I would have brought songs or lyrics to the group, but there was always a need to pitch or sell your concept for group consensus. It was exhausting and often tension fraught. Now, it’s a much more fluid experience. Everything starts from a collaborative space musically, and themes effortlessly emerge. I’m lucky to have supportive partners that allow me space to express my voice and thoughts (and sometimes let me dress them in crazy costumes.) It’s been some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing music, while also wrestling with heavier topics like sexism, violence, corruption, greed, humanity's purpose, etc etc.
And musically, how do the songs come together? Does somebody come with an almost finished song that the other two members add their parts to or do they come out of a more ‘band-orientated’ scenario? Both! The track 'More' came out fully formed from a rehearsal jam while 'Falling Into' was initially a little tune quietly written on a couch. Overall it’s the three of us coming together to play with various puzzle pieces, sparking off one another to find the right idea.
As a band, what have been the highlights for you in the 3-4 years you’ve been together?
We’ve all had some wild and crazy moments playing music in Los Angeles. Highlights specific to us, would be not getting arrested during the recent 'More' video shoot when my bandmates decided to play with fire and explosives (music video coming soon!) And some of our first shows, where I was nervous about how the new material would be received. We were all excited about working together but performing in such a stripped-down way was still unproven. I remember feeling like a weight had been lifted once we played that first show. Now I can’t imagine working any other way.
Having all been in bands previously, is this the first time you’ve individually been in a trio? What are the pros and cons of being in a trio compared to bands that have a larger number of members?
I think we’ve all had some previous trio experiences (folk, acapella, jazz, etc) but none with a setup quite like The Stolen Moans. The cons are, there’s nowhere to hide. Everything, from the grooves to the presentation has to be locked down tight. The pros are practical things, like less gear to lug to shows and way easier to reach band consensus. Also the limitations have forced us into finding a new sound and way of working together… a true case of necessity being the mother of invention.
Do you feel there is a good independent music scene in LA at the moment? Any bands from the city you’d recommend to readers?
While covid and aggressive gentrification has killed many performance spaces and venues, a vibrant independent music scene can always be found in Los Angeles. Bands and artists are everywhere, as the DIY, backyard, open space, live music scene thrives in sunny LA. A highlight of last year was when a huge underground punk show (held under a freeway overpass) got shut down by a SWAT team after police helicopters were shot at by fireworks! (Mi loco Los Ángeles)
Local independent bands/artists that your readers should check out include: Fang Banger, The Swords of Fatima, Prissy Whip, Sunny War, Plasmic, Edith Crash, The UFO Whisperer, Single Dean, Novi Split, The Tissues, and one “out of towner” The Slow Poisoner from San Francisco.
And finally what plans for The Stolen Moans as 2022 progresses?
More music! More shows!