By Scott Washburn:
Buffalo’s local music scene has a long and very rich history spanning many genres from jazz to metal. There is a new band to add to the list of great Buffalo talents and they are Dotsun Moon. With a sound that’s somewhat of a throwback to 90’s shoe-gaze, trip hop but without sounding the least bit dated, fans of Portishead, Morcheeba and Massive Attack will more than likely enjoy Dotsun Moon’s musical sensibilities. They’ve been playing at various clubs around the city and making fans wherever they go. I sat with Rich Flierl of Dotsun Moon recently to get his perspectives and find out more about the band.
SW: Who are DOTSUN MOON?
Rich: Mary O. on vocals, Brian Templeton plays bass, Rami and I, Rich, play synth, guitar and program.
SW: How long have you been a band?
Rich: In this incarnation a year. Brian came aboard two years ago and Mary just before that. I originally started Dotsun Moon a few years back with a local musician now in Chicago, Jeff Fose. Mary sang Glory and I felt with her singing there was something worth pursuing. Brian joined soon thereafter and the combination of his talent and enthusiasm convinced me this was something worth investing serious time in and making a recording with a professional engineer.
SW: What is “program” exactly?
Rich: Simply means using a computer and some kind of music software to perform parts of the music. It can be something as simple as a 3-second recording of a drum beat that repeats over and over to actually putting information in the computer that tells it when to play certain sounds at certain times. It can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Key to me is that our songs could be played acoustically and still sound good.
SW: The name, DOTSUN MOON, does it have a special significance or origin?
Rich: The name has significance to me. It creates imagery in my head in a number of different ways. From celestial bodies, to an old car, to the bindi. Hopefully it sets the mind wandering for others, too. It also keeps me focused when it comes to making music.
SW: When writing or making music, are you working from a particular idea that you have in your head? Or does music just come out when you focus and write?
Rich: I can only speak for myself. I really try to start with a vocal melody or a music phrase. Something to center the song around. Sometimes I feel like I am so not with what is going on in music right now, as blatant hooks aren’t really prevalent. Take RJD2’s “Dead Ringer” and add a vocalist – I aim for that level.
SW: Who were some of influential bands or artists that inspire your band?
Rich: Songs more than bands inspire. “Safe From Harm” by Massive Attack, “Just Like Honey” by the Jesus and Mary Chain, “Heavy Makeup” by Tobacco or “A Town Without Pity” by Gene Pitney. If you listen, I am sure you will find a common thread in those songs. And then Mary brings her own influence of soul into the mix. I know Bill Laswell and Massive Attack are a big influence on Brian. You can hear it in his bass lines. Rami recently joined. He is just as inspired by music found in sounds and samples as he is by chords. I know he is a huge Flaming Lips fan.
SW: What local talents may have particularly inspired you to write and perform?
Rich: Bev Beverly. Fourem. Viva Noir reminds us to put the kick drum in. The Bird Day is amazing. Vinnie Derosa. Nick Gordon. Red Rummage Sale. At Sea. The guys from Wooden Waves when they were Sleeping Kings of Iona really made me want to make music. When I was a little kid I heard Sin 73 by The Splat Cats and still feel that is one of the greatest albums ever made. And no one knows it. The Splat Cats are my Velvet Underground. Josh Meyers, the engineer recording our CD has really opened our eyes to how sound mixes better and how to expand our sonic palette.
SW: What would you say would be the ultimate live gig for DOTSUN MOON? Both local and otherwise?
Rich: We recently played Mohawk with a NYC band called The Lost Patrol. A singer named AreHouse was also on the bill. That show was so well mixed by Neal who does sound at Town Ballroom. That combined with the comfort level of a place like Merge where we’ve played would be the ultimate.
SW: Any plans for a tour?
Rich: Not at the moment. We plan to play out of town, but I wouldn’t call it a tour.
SW: Having played gigs around the city and Rochester as well, what would you say has been DOTSUN MOON’s best and worst experiences?
Rich: Live, it all depends on the sound person. Whether it is ourselves or the venue’s person. A well-mixed show is a high. A poorly mixed show is just crushing.
SW: When Rich Flierl goes out in Buffalo to hear some live music, where does he check into first?
Rich: I’ve mentioned Mohawk, Merge and Town Ballroom for shows. Honestly, before I even go out I check my email, Facebook, Gusto, Artvoice, and Buffalo Rising. Because along with established venues, a lot of great music can be heard at house parties or at a warehouse that is being used for the night. Then there are places like Sugar City and Nobody’s that always have great bands.
SW: Tell us a little about what you’d like to see happen for DOTSUN MOON, plans for the future?
Rich: For the Summer, we hope to play a couple of festivals. And in October we will be playing a long mellow evening at Shakti Yoga on Grant with a great combination of video and music planned. Really want to fill a niche in the music collections of those always looking for new music. Complete our CD. Personally, I’d love to keep making music for specific uses, whether it be local stage productions, blogs, independent films or whatever. We love the multi-media aspect.
Infringement Festival @ Theater B
Western New York Book Arts Center Sat, Jul 31st at 7:30pm