Like “Dazed and Confused” But With iPhones

In the film “Dazed and Confused,” the moonlight tower, also referred to as a moontower, is the center where all the stories intertwine. For the band Moontower, whose name was inspired by the film, their music is the ticket to entering the world they’ve created.

Moontower consists of Tom Carpenter, Devan Welsh, and Jacob Culver. The band began while the three were students of the Thornton School of Music at USC. After attending a concert for the Norwegian electronic band Lemaitre, which they describe was, “doing something way ahead of is time,” they decided to start a band. However, each member had their own reason why they got into music. For Carpenter, he says he became a bassist after he was told at summer camp to learn bass because “all bands have guitarists, and they need bassists.”

Welsh on the other hand, picked up the flute to impress the elementary school girl of his dreams, but soon realized he enjoyed music so much he stuck with it and started playing guitar in middle school.

Finally, Culver who played guitar and piano as a kid, was almost discouraged to continue with music after a music teacher made it difficult for him to see it as a “creative outlet.” It wasn’t until another music teacher influenced him into being a part of a student band that he fell back into it again.

Their first album, expected to come out early 2019, is a concept album telling the story of their roommate, William Hollywood and his story of love and heartbreak.

“Our first record is on our friend William who lives with us, and is a vessel to tell this suburban love story that’s a combination of all the relationships that we’ve had when we were younger and how we’ve felt about them.” Culver said when describing the album. “It’s about how we feel about young love in general, and how it is when you don’t know what young love can be other than what you’ve seen your parents look like who’ve been together for 20–30 years.”

“This guy has been living with us for a year in a half… He’s a artistic visionary.” Carpenter began when talking about William Hollywood, “He wanted to take the visual aspect of our narrative and have this story be his as much as it is ours… There wouldn’t be a Moontower without William Hollywood.”

Another important thing in the album is the color orange as well as orange juice. According to Culver, it comes from the band’s backgrounds living in suburbs across the country but still having similar upbringings. “We wanted Moontower to be suburban USA, not specifically any town or place. The orange is a color about orange and oranges…. Orange juice commercials are about balanced breakfasts, my dad drank a glass of orange juice every day for 30 years. For all of us orange juice is equivalent to a comfort drink, like a comfort food it just reminds me of when I was younger. It’s a great way to start the day and a great thing to mix tequila with.”

“We want to imploy this retro-futurism, but it’s not necessarily us trying to pretend we’re in the 70s, but us trying to bring those tropes to 2018.” Carpenter added, “We never want to pretend you’re watching something filmed back then. It’s like if they had iPhones in “Dazed and Confused.’

But it’s not just music that the band hopes to release in 2019, but also a sitcom that’ll be a visual guide to William Hollywood’s journey. The band’s already released the pilot, a few months before their first single “William” which currently has 290,555 listens on Spotify.

The goal of the band is not just to make music, but to create an entire universe for listeners, “We want to create a world people can fall into between the world between the shows between the pictures. It’s exciting to us. Tom’s into world building. He has a theme park mentality, and we like to challenge ourselves and bring ourselves out of our comfort zone.”

While working simultaneously on both the sitcom and album, the band’s greatest strength comes their live shows. Filling the room with energy, there’s an intimacy that pulls everyone in together that makes it concertgoers feel more than just like they’re in a room with strangers. But instead, they’re in an all inclusive space.

Beside just being incredible performers, the band also experiments in bringing new things for their audiences such as AR, augmented reality. Partnering with an AR company from USC, the band hopes that in future they could bring exciting new stuff during the concerts that’ll hopefully evolve into concertgoers being able to wear AR glasses on to visually see their world.

“A big mantra of the project is we want to push the boundaries of what you can do in a live music space. It’s our bread and butter, it’s what we love to do. Very excited to do a lot of that in 2019,” Culver said.

But along that, performing is something important to the band as well as physically seeing their audiences. Their best moment comes when they were told during their performance of “Lay With Me,” two men shared a kiss for the first time.

“This man was coming out to another person he was infatuated with and they shared a kiss. It was a really beautiful moment and I don’t know how you can top that. This song inspired him to be who he is and we’re really happy someone felt inspired at one of our shows.”

Another thing is the band’s advocacy for gun control, especially with concerts. While numerous musicians have been afraid to be vocal when it comes to serious issues, Moontower has been vocal on their stance for more gun control.

” One thing we can agree on is people and kids deserve to be safe when they’re going to school and when they’re going to concerts. No one should die when they’re seeing a show,” the band agreed on. In fact, Moontower encouraged fans to attend the show they were doing with Kansas-based band The Greeting Committee, after they left the polls on Nov. 6.

With the year almost ending, Moontower has a lot in store for fans this upcoming year. However for those unsure about joining the bandwagon, all they have to say is, “Come see a show.” You won’t be disappointed.

Keep up to date with Moontower by checking out when their latest shows are here, by following them on Instagam and Twitter, and by following them on Spotify.