The difference between disco and funk is about as broad as the difference between platform heels and Jesus sandals. Disco is a more strident sound, with its tight rhythms, and it can be used to spice up the funky, or to lighten up rock's requisite snarl. Where am I going with this? To the land of the Moon Zombies, a hard-rocking, finger-popping, show-stopping Rochester band with just a hint of wisenheimer that harnesses as much irony as it does humor. And we're not just talking lyrics here; the music's sharp dynamics, and plug-ins — like disco — make this a band to listen for, dance to, and laugh with.
Formed in February of last year, the band includes DJ Late Payment (bass), Majic Wand (guitar/vocals), Danny O'Wallop (drums), AdROC (keys), and The Letter J (guitar). They're all stellar musicians that, on stage, collectively look like a popcorn popper gone haywire, what with the jumping about and multimedia projections. The EP "Deliciousness" will soon be joined by a full-length album that the band is currently recording in its basement rehearsal space.
Majic Wand stopped by to talk about playfulness, head-bobbing, and being cool. An edited transcript of the conversation follows.
CITY: How about some background?
Majic Wand: Moon Zombies is a band that came...not from the failure, but from the waning of a few bands. Our bass player, DJ Late Payment, put the band together. He'd been writing for this project for some time, just for fun.
When he got you guys together, what did he tell you he wanted?
He didn't put it in words, actually. He put it in song form. He'd been writing on [recording software] Fruity Loops. The band I was in before, I was the primary writer. I would record just me and an acoustic and send it out to the band. His songs were more complete
Short answer: Moon Zombies is a rock band with disco undertones and humor. What's the long answer?
The basics of the music are any style, every style.
Everybody says that.
We don't try to pigeonhole a song or a sound. In bands I've been in in the past, we tried to write for that band instead of just writing and letting whatever comes out come out. This band works a little more organically. People bring in stuff they've written for other bands or songs they've had in their back pockets.
But it's not a catch all.
No. If a song doesn't work, we drop it.
How do you know when it's working or not?
If we don't have that involuntary head-bob. If we're not moving, it's not right.
Obviously you work hard at it, and it's technically tight. Yet your music is lighthearted and playful.
That's exactly what it is. We take it seriously, but don't take ourselves too seriously. The reason we have a tightness to our sound, and sound the way we do, is because we're having fun with it.
With your multimedia visuals and the dynamic complexity of your arrangements, are you tempted to dig in and just play?
No. We are the complete opposite of that.
As you embark on recording the follow up to "Deliciousness," what are you going to do different?
We will probably record live. Last time we didn't and it was missing just a little piece of energy.
What is one misperception you'd like to clear up?
That we're an indie band. There's that vibe that indie bands put out: "We're cooler than you." That's the misperception, that we're cool. We're not cool.
Local band Moon Zombies infuses disco rhythms into its funk and rock sound. PHOTO PROVIDED