Local Frequency: Bay Area Band Q&A w/ Moomaw

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Jenni Anne

The word "psychedelic" has been used far too loosely lately for just about anything that sounds out of the ordinary. San Francisco folk singer and sometimes band Moomaw actually fits that tag, though.

Moomaw is solo artist Nathan Moomaw and a collection of friends and collaborators who happen to be on hand at the time. Armed usually with his ukulele, Moomaw typically loops various sounds live and uses a mélange of instruments. His first full-length album, 26, is a project in which he wrote a song for each month of the 26th year of his life.

Splitting SF for a stint in Barcelona a little over a year ago, Moomaw returned to the city recently to record his second effort Aminalia (pronounced Ah-muh-nahl-yuh) to be released March 9th.

True to his trippy nature, the album is an atmospheric adventure pairing dark, complex music with bizarrely sunny lyrics that feel like grown-up variations on children's tunes. The songs melt into one another so subtly you don't realize the previous track has moved on.

After embarking on a mini-California tour for the rest of February, Moomaw will head back to Europe in March to tour through the summer. He met up with Local Frequency at Phone Booth to chat about running a record label, the diversity of eggs, and sounding like a cat.

If you could describe your sound as a San Francisco neighborhood, which one would it be?
Moomaw: Probably somewhere in the Tenderloin, or SOMA. The TL is where I've always lived while I've been in the city. I definitely enjoy the mix of randomness.

Why did you decide to pick up and go to Spain?
M: Really no particular reason, just to try something different. It was the best decision ever. I got into some really great adventures. I like riding the coattails of the most exciting thing happening, whatever the possibilities may be, and seeing what happens. Now when I go back, I have a collection of really great friends there. Life is just kind of easier there. It's fun.

Tell me more about your record label.
M: It's called Gazebo Records. I've had it for a while, but never did anything with it. I watched a friend run a label and it turned out to be such a hardship, it crashed and burned, but he did some really amazing things for it.

Before 26 I never put myself out on a label. I did a couple of handmade releases and I wasn't sure what I was going to do with my record label so it just sat around. March 9th is going to be the Moomaw release. April is Casey Wright's [record]. May's release is Fried Rabbits, a record that I did with a girl in Spain. June's release is going to be Coloring. It's funny, I went from having nothing on [the label] to having four albums released each month this year.

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