“The more wonderful the means of communication, the more trivial, tawdry, or depressing its contents seemed to be.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
Perrö sips his last drop of beer and reads Clarke’s quote that opens the interview with Moonwatcher: “The more trivial or depressing the contents seemed to be”. Well not in the Blessed Altar Zine dear Arthur, not here!
Today we have MOONWATCHER a doom trio from Mexico. I contacted via satellite, there are no emails in space. They orbit Earth in an abandoned Mexican space station and travel at a mere 17,150 miles per hour. They eat dehydrated tacos and watch old school sci-fi movies while playing slow riffs that are meant to take you places. And places they take you, believe me.
MOONWATCHER released their first self titled album in 2018. A conceptual piece themed around the late Stanley Kubrick´s sci-fi masterpiece: 2001 A Space Odyssey. A movie I watched as a kid and got bored to death… I must say though, that years later I read Arthur C. Clarke’s novel, loved it, watched the movie again and understood everything. I was evolved, just like the apes that touch the Monolith… So, touch the monolith, listen to the album and read the interview… (And do not forget to read the review made by us here)
-Hello Papa Doom! Welcome to Blessed Altar Zine. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
– Thank you guys for doing this
– How about we start by getting to know about you Papa Doom and your musical journey.
– I started playing music back in 1992, I am originally a bass player but in MoonWatcher I play a baritone guitar.
I joined my first band in 1994, a doomish black metal Mexican band called Argentum, which today still has a cult following, I was in the band from 1994 to 1998, I recorded the ‘Ad Interitum Funebrarum’ album in 1996, I was called ThulsaDoom back then, took the name from the first Conan movie.
I started listening to rock music at an early age, mostly 70’s rock and 80’s heavy and thrash metal, later on my teenage years I discovered death metal and fell in love with the genre.
– What about doom per se?
– The real game-changer for me was Cathedral’s first album, I’ve always enjoyed the slow side of death metal but that particular album opened my eyes and heart to doom metal.
After Argentum I took a long break from playing in bands, I went to college, (I studied marine biology) got married and started to work, the usual stuff, I never stopped playing music but didn’t have a band.
– Tell us about how MOONWATCHER came to be?
– 5 years ago we started MoonWatcher with the desire of making doom music with a bit of psychedelia mixed into it, I’ve always been a fan of psychedelic rock.
I’ve been friends with my bandmates for a long time but this is the first time we play together.
– We metalheads love to know and talk about influences, you mentioned 70/80´s metal and Cathedral
– Iron Butterfly, The Flower Travellin’ Band, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Tristitia, Paradise Lost, Sleep, Cathedral and of my favorite bands, Om.
– 5 years is a lot, how was that time spent by the band, playing live? Rehearsing, writing material? Family life and day jobs?
– Mostly rehearsing and composing, playing live and recording
– You sing in English. how was the decision made being that you guys speak Spanish? I ask this because as Uruguayan, this is a question that´s often raised in local bands. If you are not a cover band, many people will give you a weird look if you sing in English. Like you are “selling” or not being true to yourself. Is that the case in Mexico too?
– Most of the bands we listen to sing in English, here in Mexico is pretty common for metal bands to sing in English, of course, there are some that do it in Spanish.
I don’t think of it as “selling out” but singing in English helps reaching a bigger audience.
– You released your first album last year (2018). Why Kubrick’s 2001 movie as a theme for your first release? (note: I’m a big sci-fi fan!)
– When we first got together we started rehearsing and composing, we didn’t have a band name yet, we started throwing options and we settled on MoonWatcher, he is the ape-man on said film, we decided to make the album an homage to the film, it is our love letter to 2001 a space odyssey.
– Your album is one you must invest time to hear, there is no 3 minutes hit song. This is for listening pleasure and journey into deep space mounted on heavy riffs. How was the reception of your fans, old and new? Did it sell well on Bandcamp? Is there going to be a vinyl edition? (for the addicts!)
– We are aware of the album not being for everyone, as you said, no short songs at all, fortunately, reception has been really good, people come to us to tell us how the album takes them on unsuspected journeys, something we really appreciate, the album has been selling good so far with positive reactions all over the world, we do plan on releasing a vinyl version in the future, our record company, Concreto Records, has shown interest on pressing some copies.
– Will Sci-fi continue to be a theme in the future?
– We have discussed it, yes, we are all big fans of the genre, you can expect more of that in the future, a “close encounters of the doom kind” maybe?
– You told me about a show in the US with a Chilean band named Arteaga (they are awesome, thanks Papa Doom for the reco). Live shows, touring plans. Have you guys played in the US before? is it common for Mexican bands to cross the border, or is it a big step?
– Yes, we focus a lot on playing live, reception has been very good to our live shows, which are some kind of a cinematic experience, we project selected scenes from 2001 a space odyssey while we play, we try to make the gig not only an auditory experience, but a visual one too, the ultimate trip!
We have played all over Mexico and in Texas, it isn’t that common for Mexican bands to play USA, so for us it is a big deal, we are confirmed to play San Antonio and Austin, TX again in November 2019, we are trying to get more gigs over there since we had a great response.
We had opened shows for Telekinetic Yeti, The Well and Forming the Void, quite an experience.
We are looking to take our music out there, who knows, maybe one day we’ll play Uruguay!
Perrö: Man, that would be awesome! And maybe if I get myself to Mexico we can jam some Sabbath, who knows!!!
– What´s next for MOONWATCHER?
– This is an exclusive for Blessed Altar Zine, Right now we are in the process of recording a cover from Deep Purple’s Perfect Strangers, it is getting the MoonWatcher treatment, we have played it live a couple of times and the crowds went crazy about it.
– I know you are a big Sabbath fan, tell me more about other bands you cherish. Fave bands, and fave local bands.
– Aren’t we all Black Sabbath fans?
As mentioned before, I enjoy lots of psychedelic bands from the 60’s and 70’s a highlight for me would be The Flower Travellin’Band, on the heavier side I tend to go for slow riffing.
All time faves : Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd and Iron Butterfly
Mexican bands : 3 Wheeler Band, Saturno Grooves, Vinnum Sabbathi, Bardo and El Escuadrón de la Muerte.
Thank you so much Perrö for the interview and your constant support, Salud mi amigo!
Interview by Perrö
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