Suzi Moon

by Lori Smerilson Carson

Hailing from the entertainment capitol, Los Angeles, CA to the actual United States capitol, Washington, D.C., Singer/Songwriter Suzi Moon brings a compilation of experience to create fresh, fun and amazing new punk rock music with her latest EP Animal. This extraordinarily talented musician and her band are hitting the road and bringing their not to miss shows across the country.

Catching up with Moon, she revealed some details about the new EP, the tour, her music in general and what fans can look forward to.

SFL Music: You have a new album coming out in the summer, right?

Suzi Moon: Yeah, and actually I’ve got an EP that’s coming out on April 1st. So, that’s like the big thing that’s happening right now. I’ve got a three song EP called Animal that’s coming out April 1st on Pirates Press Records.

SFL Music: I did see that and heard the song. It was awesome! I really like your music. It stuck in my head.

Moon: Oh Cool. That’s really nice to hear. Anytime I play a new song for somebody and they’re like, oh it’s catchy. It stuck in my head. I’m like yes!

SFL Music: That’s what we want, right?

Moon: Totally, totally!
SFL Music: So, what inspired the EP?
Moon: You know, it’s funny ‘cause I grew up in Southern California and I moved to the Washington, D.C. area a little over a year ago because all my new band mates, this Suzi Moon solo project is relatively new. I’ve been playing music since I was about fifteen, but the solo project is pretty new to me. I had recorded the first EP called The Shots back in California, and then I kind of like lined up these great players to join the live band and they all happened to be on the east coast. These guys are my dream band. Really, like we click so well and so, it was like ok, I’m gonna move and do this and like be closer to my band and work with them because I respect them and they’re great artists in their own right. So, I’ve been here for a while and I’ve got a cat now. She’s one of those cats that you know, she adopted us, not the other way around. She kind of found us. She was a neighborhood cat who had been dropped off by her owner like at his mom’s house. She wasn’t vibing with the cat she had there. She wasn’t getting the attention that a cat deserves, and so she chose us and they were like, that’s great! Totally take her. We’re like, are you sure? They’re like, yeah. She wants to be with you guys. That’s awesome! Like Ok. So, one night I couldn’t sleep and I was like, I’m gonna get up and play my guitar for a little bit, and she got on the couch with me and I was looking at her. Aw, you’re just a cute little animal. Aw, animal. I sing songs to my cat like all the time, right. And I just started singing like “I’m an animal. I’m a fucking animal” because it’s punk rock and I’m just goofing around and stuff. I’m thinking about how one second a cat will be sitting there purring, just loving being pet by you and then they’ll choose violence (she said animated) and ahh. Don’t touch me on that part of my tail or whatever. It’s so funny how they know what they want and they don’t apologize for it. So, really this title track for the EP was totally inspired by my cat, but as the lyrics progressed, I realized I was kind of talking about myself too. Like to protect yourself and have kind of like a tough exterior, but we all crave love and affection. So, that song is really the song that kind of kicked off this new EP, and we always joke that my cat is just, she’s that great because now she’s got a song about her and a whole EP that was inspired by her. She’s just so fabulous. Totally ungrateful. She doesn’t give a shit.

SFL Music: Is she in the video?

Moon: Yeah.

SFL Music: Aw. She’s adorable!

Moon: I know and it’s so funny because she’s a little bit like the mascot for the band. Yeah, so that was one of the songs, and then another one just popped into my head and that’s “Gold Record Autograph “. The one that became the first single. It’s a bit brighter. It’s poppier and that’s something that’s not far off from what I’ve been doing pretty much my whole career anyway. Like, I can really lean into the harder faster punk stuff, but I listen to a lot of different types of music and I love Elvis Costello. I love the Eagles. I love Elton John and Prince. If it’s a well written pop song, like I’m hooked you know, and so for me, it’s not about trying to fit into a particular box and trying to do like one style of punk. It’s about just writing the best songs that I can write. So, with “Gold Record Autograph, I was a little more intimidated because it’s brighter and it’s a little bit on the sweeter side of things. Even though the lyrics are pretty dark and talk about somebody basically towing the line between selling their soul to rock and roll or sticking with their crew and their scene that built them up in the first place, and that’s a scary choice for bands to make, and I’ve had lots of friends who have signed to major labels and been kicked to the curb basically or had an album shelved, and it’s a really tough story. Not a lot of people kind of break through and make it to that big time spot. So, when you’ve got an opportunity like that, it’s like well, am I willing to risk it all and go in? The band that I’m playing with now, these guys that live out here on the east coast, they just lend such musicality to my songs. My songs are better because I’m playing with these guys and they’re like “no, we love “Gold Record Autograph”. We totally got to do that song. Let’s get in the studio.” Once you write a new song, you start playing it with your band, everyone gets like pumped. Like, oh new music! We have to go and record, and I’ve been talking to my label Pirates Press Records. They were like well, you had the first EP that was successful. We’re still considering you to be a new artist as Suzi Moon the solo project, so if you want to go ahead and record another EP, let’s get it out while you finish working on the full length because the full length, I had started already, but it wasn’t finished yet, but then we had all this energy for the new songs. So, we got in the studio and we did the three tracks that are in the Animal EP and as of today, I’m still approving mixes for the full length that’s gonna follow up.

SFL Music: Are these songs going to be on the full length or is the full-length all new songs?

Moon: The full length is all new songs. Yeah, that’s another ten songs that are currently unreleased. So, by the time we get the full length out at the end of the summer, I’ll have a good sixteen songs that are out in about a year.

SFL Music: Now the song “I’m Not A Man”, because when you were talking about kind of motivation that came out of “Animal”, it kind of struck me that the lyrics to that song were very self-motivating and that type of thing.

Moon: Yeah, well you know, I was on my period when I wrote “Animal”. There’s this line where it’s like “restless when the moon is full” and I was really thinking about, ‘cause I’m thirty-two and you feel that thing as a woman in I think any career, that your biological clock starts ticking, and man, am I gonna be hot in like five years? At what point do I start a family ‘cause I know I want that, but you know, not everybody has to do that thing, but there’s like this race against time to get everything I want to do you know, done and I’m battling my fucking ovaries every single month. They want one thing and I want another thing. So, when I wrote “restless when the moon is full” I mean, that’s about being on your period and I was like oh God you know, fuckin having to remember to take birth control every single day. Like what a pain in the ass that is. So, there are some lyrics like that, kind of woven into “Animal” that maybe not everyone will pick up, but it’s up for interpretation from the listeners point of view, and same thing with “I’m Not A Man”. With that song, I was really inspired by that No Doubt song “Just A Girl”. I thought they really nailed it. Clearly, it’s got feminist themes to it, but at the same time, it’s not taking itself too seriously. I feel like a lot of times with the right girl stuff, the feminist agenda stuff. It can come off so harshly that it actually pushes people in the opposite direction. I was trying to have fun with the subject. It doesn’t have to be like us against them all the time. I’ve been really lucky to have incredible men in my life who have been so supportive and just as close to me as any of my girlfriends. So, I don’t want to build my career on bashing men. I don’t think that’s really the best way to get to a place of you know, equality and understanding. So, when I’m singing “I’m not a man and I don’t give a damn”, it’s basically just like, I literally just don’t give a damn. I’m so fucking happy to be the woman that I am, but this whole thing is like, it’s been blown up too much. You know, like if you’re walking into a situation and assuming that people are against you just because of the way you were built. I’ve found being a woman has been an asset a lot of times in my career, and so I just try to celebrate that and not go too heavy on the heavy feminist kind of message. Let’s lighten it up a little bit and just let’s all have fun together (she chuckled). That’s cool too.

SFL Music: What would you recommend to young female artists?

Moon: I mean, just don’t stress too much about it. You’re already built the way you are. Own your uniqueness. If you want to play up being feminine, go for it. If you don’t, that’s fine too, but I think you got to like carve your own path and you don’t have to follow anybody else’s like road that they put in front of you, or if there’s a lot of pressure to get on one kind of bandwagon, but you don’t necessarily feel like you’re in line with that, just strike your own fuckin path out, and whether it’s a man or woman or whoever that might be like hating on you or giving you shit, don’t fucking pay attention to it. You don’t have to feed into that because usually when people bring you down, it’s ‘cause they’re jealous or they’re threatened and intimidated by you. So, just surround yourself with good people that love you for who you are and want to encourage you to embrace all of the things that make you special and make you yourself and nobody can really do it the same way. You know, like what I do. Even if there are six hundred thousand other women playing guitar in music, we don’t have the same exact message because we haven’t lived the same things. I don’t think it needs to be a competitive thing. Everyone’s gonna have their own voice and their own way of you know, telling their stories and that’s cool. So, just own your own shit and keep working at it.

SFL Music: That’s awesome advice. What inspired to become a musician, to choose this as a career?

Moon: Oh, it’s funny. I don’t really feel like I had a choice Lori (she laughed). Yeah, my older sister had an all-girl punk band in high school. She’s about five years older than me, so when I was ten and she was fifteen, she’d have her band mates over. They’d be in the living room playing guitar. You know, having friends over. I just thought she was the queen of the universe and I still feel that way. I love my sister so much and I mean, she was such a bad ass. She would wear vintage prom dresses to high school, driving her 1964 pink Cadillac T-Bird and crazy hair. Just massive hair and like goth makeup and rhinestone necklaces. She was so fucking cool. I wanted to be just like her.

SFL Music: I bet she’s supportive of you as well.

Moon: Yeah, well what happened was she recruited me for the band when I turned fifteen. She put a guitar in my hands and said, “you’re in the band now. You have to learn how to play this instrument,” and I was like, ok. Let’s do it. I’m so into this. I had actually been writing songs for a while, in my head. In my journal. I didn’t have the instrument in my hands at that point, but I had kind of envisioned myself as a performer since I was a really little kid. I took acting classes and I was always you know, goofing off and trying to be the center of attention. So, it was totally natural for me to step into an entertainment role and I took it very seriously early on. I was able to, with my mom’s support because she loved that her daughters were doing a band together. She just thought that was the best ever and she was very emotionally supportive and financially supportive of us at a time when we were getting our start. So, I started playing shows with them. I graduated high school early by taking like an early exit exam. I tried to be like the best kid ever so I wouldn’t get this awesome opportunity taken away from me. So, I’d be like the designated driver for my friends at high school parties. I always had like an open relationship with my mom where I could communicate stuff with her and she was like ok, you can either you know, fuck up and lose these privileges that you have or you can behave and listen to your sister ‘cause if you guys start, you need to go on tour, she’s your guardian. So, I took the band really seriously right from the get go and we were lucky to sign to a label, go into the studio. Overall, I spent almost ten years in that band with my sister and we were able to tour Europe multiple times. We went to Japan, Canada. All across the U.S. We had a video that has over a million views on YouTube. Really, really exciting stuff all before the time I turned twenty-two. By that point, I was a little bit confused about what it meant to be like a normal person because growing up and having all these crazy experiences. I didn’t get to you know, graduate high school like a normal kid. Then going to college right after high school, I was out on the road. It’s a type of schooling for sure. Like real life shit, but I really hadn’t had kind of like this normal life at all. So, the band split up which was good for everybody because my sister was ready to start a family. I was ready to take a break from music and just kind of cultivate like my own life skills outside of being a band and just work in a restaurant, go to college for a bit, live in Hollywood with some roommates, and that was like a really good time for me.

SFL Music: What would you say being from L.A. contributed to your career?

Moon: Ah you know, it’s absolutely a blessing. Like a hundred percent. I think being that close to the entertainment industry from very early on because we did do acting and I was in auditions and doing photo shoots from the time I was like a little kid. And even though I never nailed any big roles or anything like that, the entertainment profession just seemed like such a realistic possibility to me because so many people around me were doing these things. It just never seemed like making it was out of reach. I saw people all the time making it and at that time, what like Lizzie McGuire was on the Disney Channel and one of the girls I went to middle school with was on the Lizzie McGuire show. So, it was like yeah, see anybody can make it. Probably something like that in a way subconsciously made me feel like you know, there’s no reason why I can’t achieve my dreams. You just have to put in the work for it. At the same time, you do become a little bit spoiled being in a town where like everything’s available to you. I got to see every concert of like every band that I ever wanted to see, and in a way that could make you almost a little bit callous to these amazing like you know, experiences. I mean, I feel so lucky to have had so much fun for the first thirty years of my life living in L.A. and doing what I’ve done in music. I’ve done so much cool stuff, it’s unbelievable. I feel so lucky, but I was scared when I left L.A. and was gonna start fresh on the east coast because you know, I didn’t really know a lot of people out here. Surely nobody knew who I was as an artist really. I had a couple people that I kind of had some connections to, but really like starting fresh as far as being a performer and playing you know, my first show in Philly as Suzi Moon or my first show in New York as Suzi Moon, and wanting to tap into these awesome scenes and make friends with new bands, new creators, photographers. In the last year and a half, my circle has expanded so much and I’ve got all these great people in my life that you know, it’s really just an extension of what I was able to build around me in L.A. being surrounded by artists ‘cause I love that and I think everybody should support each other and help each other if there’s a way I can connect this guy with that guy, and then they can work together. It’s really a beautiful thing and I’ve seen now that it doesn’t really matter where I go because you will always find people who you vibe with. Especially if there’s something like music or art that can connect you.

SFL Music: I did see some of your tour schedule. Are there anymore tour dates coming up?

Moon: We’re gonna be on the road for like two months practically. So, in about two weeks actually, we’re going to be heading out. We’re flying to Portland and doing a string of dates with our friends Teenage Bottlerocket They’re an awesome punk rock band who’s on Fat Wreck Chords. They’re friends of ours and it’s going to be a really good time. Then we come home for ten days before we head out for a full U.S. tour called the American Wasteland Tour that we’ve been planning since August of last year. And at that time, it was like ok, are we gonna be able to do this tour? Is Covid gonna mess it all up? We should plan this far in advance because if for some reason we are able to do it, we want to be one of those first bands out there doing a full U.S. tour before dates start getting booked up, and it gets pushed farther and farther back. So, I’m really glad that we took the initiative to start planning this tour as far back as we did because now that it’s coming up, everything seems like full speed ahead.

SFL Music: What can fans look forward to with the show?

Moon: Ooh, well this tour, the American Wasteland Tour is gonna be really special because we’re going out with our friends Ravagers who are an awesome punk rock band from Baltimore, MD. So, it’s kind of a Maryland/DC sort of like tour together. And I love this band. I’m a huge fan of them. Our bands complement each other really, really well, so I think if somebody is a fan of me, they’re gonna be a fan of Ravagers and vice versa. So, we’re doing basically a co-headlining tour which means one night, Ravagers are the headlining band and then the next night, I’m the headlining band. Keep it fair ‘cause we’ve got very similar fan bases. That’s why we wanted to team up. It’s like let’s join forces and get as many people out as possible to the shows. Really make this a party. So, depending on the night you catch me, I’m either gonna be playing like a thirty-five-minute set or like an hour and some set. All these new songs are gonna be played that are on the upcoming full-length album and then all of the songs from the Animal EP and man, I’ve been collecting some pretty cool stage outfits over the last six months to get ready for this because you know, we were really lucky to do some smaller tours in the fall of 2021, but this my tour. Something I’ve been working towards for a really, really long time. So, I’m pulling out all the stops onstage. I’ve been planning this and envisioning it and the band is really tight and we are hungry to play. We are so ready to be onstage, so anybody that comes to the show is guaranteed to get like one hell of a performance out of us.

SFL Music: That’s something for people to look forward to. Was there anything else you want fans to know?

Moon: Definitely, I want to meet people at the shows, so don’t be afraid to come and talk to me. I will always be hanging out at the merch. We have a bunch of brand-new merchandise that I designed some of these t-shirts, so I’m pretty excited about that. They’re cool. We’re trying to put together like a nice package so it’s easy for them to recognize like the Suzi Moon thing. I’ve got my hand in everything. The album artwork, I’m the creative director for that stuff. The merchandise, like every single thing that’s gonna be onstage or at the show or through the band like that comes from my heart. I work really hard to present this project in the way that like I dream of it being. So, the payoff for me is to meet people at the shows and see them have a good time. Especially after the crazy two years we’ve had. Still the world is just a fucking wacky place. All I want is for people to come to the show and kind of forget about the shit outside for a little bit and let’s lift each other up. Let’s have fun. Let’s forget it for a minute and just feel some magical rock and roll energy.

SFL Music: That’s very cool. Were you professionally trained on the artwork or are you just naturally talented on that as well?

Moon: Yeah, no way. I have had to learn so many different things out of necessity whether it’s music videos. When I left for that and I was in my early twenties, I went to film school for a while and I learned how to direct and edit videos which is something I still love to do, so you’ll see probably one or two videos from like every release I do is gonna be something that was directed and edited by me as well as like the photography stuff, although I didn’t take the cover photos for Call The Shots or Animal. Those are my concepts, and whether, down to like my nail color, and the color of the vinyl and the placement of this and that. I always mock things up. I’m very clear about what I want things to look like and in the last year, I’ve taught myself Photoshop and basically more on the graphic design side because as a DIY artist, and the record labels been incredibly helpful with so much stuff, but still, if you have to outsource somebody to make your designs for you, you’re looking at three hundred to five hundred to a thousand dollars. Whether it’s a video or photo shoot or whatever and I can’t afford that stuff. I need to spend that on other stuff for the band. So, I’m a big, just like advocate for people learning as much of these skills as they can on their own. There’s YouTube videos for everything, and it might take time and I’ve found that my first couple designs will be like, God that’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life, but after you’ve made that ugly thing and got it out of your system, it starts to get better and it’s just like learning an instrument or any other thing. You just have to keep working at it and you will get better and then you’re in complete control of your brand as they say, and it’s really rewarding to see your art out there on a t shirt or for example, the new full-length album which is called Dumb & In Luv. It’s gonna come out late in the summertime because I’m here in D.C. and I can’t afford to fly back to L.A. and shoot with my favorite photographer. My brother is a great photographer and he hasn’t done studio work so much. He’s more of like a nature and landscape photographer, but he’s my brother and he’s toured with me and he’s one of my closest people in my life. So, I was like Joe, I think we can pull off this photo shoot together because I’m also a photographer and he’s a photographer. I knew exactly what I wanted to get, so we rented a photo studio in northern Virginia. Set up the lights. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos on how to set up the lights. We spent about an hour and half and the photos that we got are some of my favorite photos taken of me like of my entire career, and we spent less than two hundred dollars on this entire thing.

SFL Music: That’s a great lesson.

Moon: Trial and error.

SFL Music: Was there anything else you want to add?

Moon: Well, I hope that some people will come out and visit us.

Share It!