August Moon is an American singer- songwriter, producer and multi- instrumentalist, formed in 2012 in Arden Hills, MN. The name August Moon is a stage name which was created from his name, Moon and the month is which he was born, August. August Moon refers to Moon Lee’s synthpop/alternative dance project. It wasn’t until June 2013 that August self released his first album Skylight Lounge.
Like many talented artists, he started to experiment with the sound in his parents’ basement. His artistic mind created something I haven’t heard before; it’s indietronica and synthpop music. I have been discovering all sorts of new musicians every day but I found August Moon to be one of those that really opened my mind to a new strain of music. His remarkably clean and tuneful voice has been causing me serious goosebumps since 2013. I have to confess that his latest EP entitled Winter Heart stole my heart. Two Kids and Yours to Keep are my favourite tracks. These two songs kind of sneaked up on me. The more I listened to them, the more interesting it got to me and August’s vocals work very well. He handles all of the instrumentation duties and drums work well under the floating harmonies. I would love to see him playing live in a nice and intimate venue here in London. I was delighted when August agreed to do a Q&A session with us.
VoTA: It has been over a year since your debut album came out, how are things with you and how did your career begin?
August Moon: Things are great! Putting together a whole album took a lot of time and energy, so I am glad that people have gotten to enjoy it. I started taking piano and cello lessons around when I was 10 years old, but I was never really passionate about the music I was learning. Everything seemed more like a chore. I remember being descent at both instruments, but eventually the monotony, and routine of learning the music just got really boring. I went from first chair in orchestra my freshman year of high school, to somewhere close to the back my senior year, my cello teacher basically told me I wasn’t trying hard enough, and kicked me out of the program. So, a little bit of a rough start. After high school I attended college, and I like many undergraduates I bought myself an acoustic guitar and taught myself how to play. As I continued to teach myself guitar, I started to enjoy it a lot more. I was never really the type of person to wear my heart on my sleeve, and I bottled a lot of things inside. Music was my outlet to express myself. I began writing my own songs, and it got to a point where I wanted to take it to another level, so I bought a few things to make a little home studio. It took me a while to teach myself how to record, but that’s how I got to where I am today.
VoTA: Your album Skylight Lounge came out in 2013. Now you have released a new EP entitled Winter Heart. What was behind the project and where did you draw your inspiration from?
August Moon: Contrary to the cheerful, uplifting vibe of the first album, these new songs are a collection of “darker” pieces that I have written in the past. It’s not like, “I am going to die, kill me now” kind of dark, but I am just like anyone else who goes on the rollercoaster ride of emotions. Most days are good, but some days not so much. So, I wanted to share them with my fans, as a way to relate and cope. Someone once told me, “If the world didn’t suck. we’d all fall off”. Everyone has bad days, and a lot of it is out of your control. Luckily, I have music as my escape to channel the negativity, and help me deal with those tough times. Music is a remedy.
VoTA: You play many different instruments, what is your favourite one?
August Moon: Not sure if I have a favourite one, but I can tell you that I play the acoustic guitar the most!
VoTA: What do you like about your profession?
August Moon: I love music because it allows me to search deep within myself, and express myself in ways I normally wouldn’t be able to. I also love the way that music can bring people together, and I am thankful for every musicians, and fan that I have gotten to meet or talk to so far on my journey.
VoTA: How hard do you push yourself when it comes to music?
August Moon: I take my music seriously, but I find it better to take my time and let my music come together on its own, organically. If I push myself too hard, I know that I will burn myself out, and probably wouldn’t enjoy the whole process as much.
VoTA: What is you biggest fear when composing?
August Moon: Well, someone asked me a similar question before. That individual asked me, “Have you felt that your dreams are never going to come true”? I think it is pretty common to wonder what your future is going to be like. Personally, I think it’s tough because what I am trying to pursue doesn’t really come with a ‘plan’. But I try not to let my doubts consume me, because I know if I start disbelieving in myself, then I have nothing left. It’s hard for anyone starting out, music in particular, to get discouraged because we want immediate gratification. But I keep reminding myself, success is a journey, not a destination. I know I have to work hard and make sacrifices for my dreams. A lot of it has to do with how much you are willing to do, and that’s really the only thing we have control over. Some of it has to do with luck in my opinion, but that’s why we have to take a leap of faith and hope that everything will turn okay.
I have come to realise that it’s really easy for people (friends/family) to criticize you when you don’t really have anything to prove to them. But the number one supporter has to be yourself, because you are the only one that can push yourself to do the work. Not everyone is going to like you for your work, no matter how hard you try. You can’t please everyone, so start with yourself and eventually you will find people who care.
VoTA: How hard is it for an independent artist to produce its own music?
August Moon: It’s difficult, but when the song is finally done, it’s that much more satisfying knowing that it’s 100% me.
VoTA: What is the first song you ever remember hearing?
August Moon: I have an older sister, so naturally anything she thought was cool, I did as well. I remember the soundtrack to Titanic was our first CD that we ever purchased. And that followed with just about every Backstreet Boys CD that was released.
VoTA: Have you got any new project in the pipeline?
August Moon: Things are busy for me at the moment, but I have been working on a few dance/ pop songs that I want to release hopefully by the end of this year. We will see how it goes!
Pictures courtesy of Thomas & Erika and August Moon
Interviewed by Maggie Gogler