The unstoppable Suzi Moon comes roaring back with a debut solo EP Call the Shots, a powerful clutch of high-impact songs which reaffirm her status as one of punk rock’s most vibrant performers! With a stellar rock & roll pedigree reaching back to when the then 15-year-old Moon joined her sister’s famed punk band, Civet, the singer-songwriter has followed through with songs that show her incredible growth. Recording two albums for Hellcat Records and touring with the likes of Social Distortion, Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly (all before she turned 21) Moon established herself as a ferocious punk truth-teller with both a distinctive personal style and a fiercely untamed stage presence. After Civet went on hiatus, Moon formed Turbulent Hearts, a high-intensity trio that quickly gained popularity in their hometown Los Angeles scene and earned followings in the US and Europe, playing such high stakes settings as the Rebellion Festival and Punk Rock Bowling.
The restless, boundlessly creative Moon next co-founded unique garage/punk/stoner female power trio L.A. Machina. The group almost immediately issued a memorable EP for Alternative Tentacles before abruptly flaming out in late 2020. Undeterred, Moon set about crafting the groundbreaking songs which comprise Call the Shots and was in the recording studio just months later. Set for a May 2021 release on Pirates Press Records, Call the Shots is classic Moon: hard-hitting, dynamic and thunderingly expressive, the perfect artistic antidote for today’s uncertain climate. A daringly mesmerizing performer and bold, intuitive, composer, Suzi Moon consistently delivers an appealing, high-velocity authenticity that is hers alone.
OK, Firstly it seems like a good place to start, what made you decide to go solo?
I always knew I would end up going solo. As a songwriter, it is important for me to take ownership of the music I create. I have a very clear vision for my art and have brought that into every collaborative project I have been a part of. It was really only a matter of time until I had the guts to really step forward and go solo. What have you noticed so far that’s different about playing under your name as opposed to being in a band? -It comes with new challenges. Now I am solely the one to blame if something goes wrong or if it doesn’t resonate within people, I am taking that very personally as the person who is the face of the project. At the same time, it is easier in ways, like I don’t have to get 3 other peoples opinion or approval before I make a decision.
Having seen you perform at Rebellion and reviewed your music previously both with Civet and Turbulent Hearts I must admit I was really impressed with the new EP? The energy you put into a live show is something you must be really missing with the Covid pandemic interrupting live shows and travel? How have you found the downtime? What have you found fulfilling that you’ve otherwise would have filled with traveling and touring?
Thank you! I am very proud of the EP and it is a natural progression for me. I am lucky to have worked with amazing musicians, engineers, and mixers on this new music that really set the bar higher, right where I want it, for this new chapter. I miss playing live terribly. It has been very hard to stay home every weekend. I really love being around other people and feeding off the energy of a live show. That is the reason for everything else – to get onstage. That is the real payback for me. The good thing is that I have been able to keep very busy during the pandemic preparing for my new releases and that has kept me sane and on track.
Well, I have admired the label for many years. They have constantly released really impressive music and the product is such high quality. I do believe timing is everything, though, and when I started chatting with them in Oct. 2020, it just made perfect sense at that moment to begin a working relationship together. They are incredibly supportive and I love being a part of their awesome team.
What about putting the musicians together to work on your solo music? Did you have a plan? How easy was it to pick the songs for the EP?
I find that whenever I make a plan, the Universe has a better one for me, haha! I try to say “Yes” to as much as possible to keep the pathways to new opportunities open. The three songs on the EP are recorded with Rikki Styxx on drums because we had been playing together in L.A. Machina and had been spending so much time jamming together it just worked out that way! She is not formally a member of my band but she is close to me like a sister, and it was very special to build the foundation for Suzi Moon solo with her at my side. My guitar player Drew Champion is just amazing, he can play anything I ask him to, it’s really cool. He is still in the project but now I have a new bass player Patti Bo (from River City Rebels) and Sean Peterson (from The Split Seconds – with Drew) so I was able to round up these amazing players who are on board to tour a lot and they are all pro’s with experience. It was very easy to pick the songs for the EP because they were already written and ready to go and they all complimented each other.
Was there a lot of music written and recorded?
Yes there IS currently a lot written and recorded! I have 13 other songs that are done – 10 are recorded for a full length and I am going into the studio in August this year to record the other. We have a plan for releasing these but I can’t say too much yet… When can we hear an LP? Then obviously see you perform them live? -The full length will be out for summer 2022. I will start playing shows this September 2021 and anyone who sees me play is going to hear a LOT of unreleased material! Going back to the beginning of this latest adventure you’re on.
The catalyst for going solo was more like, I didn’t have a fucking choice. It was just time to do it. I had already put Turbulent Hearts behind me, and then L.A. Machina broke up, and I was in no mood to slow down. It just seemed like it was the right time.
What noticeable things would you consider an advantage now to being part of a band?
Advantages are being in control of every facet of the image/product/brand, disadvantages are being the person solely responsible for all that work, haha! I have been so lucky to be in some amazing bands over the years, and I think collaboration is one of the best facets of a band, but it’s not like I am totally alone doing Suzi Moon. I have a band, they have good ideas, it’s just that I get final say now. Which is really good because I like to be the boss.
Well, I am always singing and making up little silly songs throughout the day, about random shit. Sometimes the melody is so good that I will hum it into my phone recorder and actually take it seriously. I have had songs come to me in my sleep, or when I am running. It usually starts without a guitar, and then I will sit down and figure out how to play what I am hearing in my head. After that I will wait a few days, weeks, months even and if the melody keeps playing in my mind, I know it is really good and worth finishing. So I will write the next part, and try to finish it to 90% before I bring it to the band. For years I have worked like this. It is only recently, since my boyfriend Drew has joined the band as lead guitarist, that I will ask for his opinion on things and we can work on it. He is a great songwriter in his own right, so I fully trust that together we can make something even better together. Of course, in the case of a song like Turbulent Hearts “Panic” or my new song “Nuthin’ To Me” – those are the kinds of songs that just wrote themselves in 20 minutes, ya know?
Every song requires something different!
The last couple of years have been a deep well of inspiration for songwriters with what happened stateside with Trump being dumped and what happened in January and Covid being such a mindfuck globally there’s been a lot going on out there. What has inspired you to write? Have you found the downtime from touring a productive period?
It’s really nice that Trump is out of office because he was such a fucking embarrasment but I would never give a politician space in my songs. It’s just not the kind of songwriter I am. I don’t really care for any of them, I don’t trust the system and it doesn’t feel like those guys truly have “our” best interests in mind. What I DO care about is the human condition, and I do care about the struggle and the experiences we share. This world is fucked. There is tragedy and pain all around us all the time. Please forgive me if I don’t want to relive that while I am doing something that I believe is meant to bring joy to people. I want folks to forget about their problems while they are at my show. For an hour, just have fun. There are poets and artists out there that just absolutely nail it when it comes to political statements. I respect and admire them greatly, but if it’s in everything we do, see & hear… That is pretty fucking depressing. Sometimes you just need to forget about it for a while.
The sales of the EP must have delighted you and exceeded your initial expectations. Is a repress on the cards for when you hit the road and more people want in? -Absolutely I was overjoyed and it is still very surreal! It’s been really fucking special. I can’t give out too much information yet about what’s up next but… For those people that bought one of the 200 Cyan colored records – be stoked cause those are the only ones of that color that will ever be made!
What can you tell us what’s next record-wise? Is there an album in the can? What about other titles can you let us in on what you’ve worked on. -Yes, there is a full length that is coming and another release, too. I can’t give too much away yet, but I promise it’ll be rad!
Is there anyone you’d like to work with as a solo artist? you can go anywhere you like with this what would be your dream? If you could get on a tour or record a split with someone what song would you want them to record? Any videos planned that we can watch? What about live streaming?
Living, I would love to work with Billie Joe Armstrong, and Laura Jane Grace from Against Me! Dead, Tom Petty. I have two music videos out right now for “Special Place In Hell” and “I’m Not A Man” – there will be one for “Nuthin’ To Me” next. I don’t plan on doing any livestream concerts because real shows are coming back and I want that to be the focus.
If I’ve missed anything here’s your chance. What would you like to let people know that I’ve missed out? I have a Youtube show called “Rockin’ Closets” where I interview other musicians, creators, business owners about their wardrobes and what inspires their fashion choices. It has been very rewarding to make the show and learn new things about these people. I just finished Season One and the show will be back again in the Fall with all new guests! All of those episodes are on my Youtube channel or you can watch them on my Instagram. I suggest for anyone who likes my music to check out the rest of the Pirates Press Records catalog. They have an incredible roster of bands that are doing really cool shit. I plan to tour a lot for the next few years. I will definitely be back in England during Summer 2022 so I hope to see you then! Thanks for the interview! Xo Suzi