1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the solo project?
Thanks for taking the time to interview me! It’s actually my first interview so I probably have a lot to say. Moon and Azure Shadow was formed in 2012 - at the time my two biggest obsessions were Japanese soundtrack composers like Susumu Hirasawa and also Atmospheric Metal like Bathory, Summoning, Burzum, Masters Hammer, Ildjarn, Darkthrone, Isengard, etc. I thought if I could combine these passions I could make some truly dark and ethereal immersive music.
2.Recently you have released a new album, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
The first album was a complete work of desperation. I was around 23 and felt I had absolutely nothing to show for my life. It came to a point I couldn’t even enjoy other peoples films or music anymore as I was so depressed I had no creative accomplishments of my own. In 2012 there was talk of the end of the world coming and I really felt as if I should just end my pathetic existence if I couldn’t at least accomplish something by that date - December 21st, 2012. I had never tried to do any black metal vocals or record guitar or anythings like that before. But that feeling of desperation got me through the obstacles and the self titled album was completed.
For the new album “Age of Darkness and Frost’ I knew that I could finish an album so I decided I needed to go all out and try and create some kind of epic personal masterpiece. Not in comparison to other peoples work but just to push myself and try to create something I could be proud of. It turned out to be a complete nightmare. I was working on a 2007 laptop that was completely messed up and overheated and rebooted every 10 minutes or so. I worked on the album for years with blood streaming from my eyes. The laptop died and I lost a ton of the work I did and had to save up for a new one. I had given up on it so many times, its a complete miracle there is any final product at all
3.This is also your first album in 7 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time span?
It’s called failing at life. After the first album I moved to Los Angeles and had to get used to adult challenges like having to constantly move to new apartments and find jobs. I was just defeated by the instability of life. When things started looking up and I got a car and a more steady job and living situation things would take a turn for the worse
Some random felon decided to target me and try and steal my car and rob me. Basically he slashed my tires and when I started trying to drive to the gym he started ramming his vehicle into my car over and over again. I tried to drive away and flee the scene but he smashed his vehicle into me and I was caught between his car and a pole. He got out and tried breaking my window with a wrench. Luckily I was able to shift into reverse and push his vehicle back a bit and get away. The police got him but my car was completely totaled
Also I was in a relationship with a really cool girl for about 4 years but pretty much nothing got accomplished musically. After a while I had to realize at the end of the day I don’t have time to commute to work, be in a relationship, and create music. I decided I wanted to have a higher purpose in life and went monk mode and completely cut off any social life, relationship and quit a job to get the album completed. Over time I’ve learned that in order to achieve dreams some sacrifices have to be made
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with the new album and also how would you describe your progress as a songwriter over the years?
Both are concept albums with a story. The first album was set in a world of ruins and shadows. It was more about isolation and depression. The second album has a more epic dark ages type theme, this is because after the first album I discovered the music of Basque solo project “Elffor” and was completely blown away by it. Back in Massachusetts I would drive home from work while it was snowing listening to “Heriotz Sustraiak” and was captivated, I felt I had to do my own take on a dark ages fantasy themed album. I don’t like to say too much about lyrics or story because it’s best if the listener imagines what they want instead of me saying exactly what everything is about
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Moon And Azure Shadow'?
The name Moon and Azure Shadow was taken from a Japanese Soundtrack by the composer Koh Ohtani who made the music for Shadow of the Colossus and Haibane Renmei among others.
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
The artwork was created by M dot Strange, director of animated films such as “We are the Strange, Heart String Marionette, I am Nightmare”. M dot was my creative hero after I graduated high school and was lost. With his first film “We are the Strange” he realized and completed a massive dream. The flame of this dream was so bright that it could be seen from afar by a lot of young creators just starting out. And on his youtube channel he told everyone to pursue their passions, look down and start making small steps. Even if you suck just keep going and do something cool. Don’t be just another slave in the rat race wasting your life doing what the system tells you to. Even though I am a complete failure most of the time, his message has guided me ever since
7.With this musical project you record everything by yourself, have you worked with musicians in other musical projects in the past or present?
If you have a vision for an album its like waking up from a beautiful dream and trying to remember and hold onto that dream. Its easy to let the vision slip away. I would be more open to collaborate these days but back then I felt like I needed to express something personal on my own
8.on a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of atmospheric black metal?
It’s been mixed as it should be. I knew I was creating a rather inaccessible album. When I hear most albums that have a cool atmospheric instrumental intro and then its just brutal metal for the rest of the time. It kind of bores me. I wanted to try and make a truly immersive experience where it was not just metal track, atmospheric intro track, but more interwoven together. But I realize this is excruciatingly boring to some and just sounds like one intro after the next. But at the end of the day, I made the album I wanted to make
9.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician during the future?
I am 30 now and feel more woke than ever. I feel like I made most of the obvious dumb mistakes in my 20’s but made it out on top and will be focused and dedicated now. The future is bright
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
From Japanese soundtracks - Toru Takemitsu, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Yoshihiro Kanno - Angels Egg soundtrack, Susumu Hirasawa - Sim City album/Berserk, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Ico, Haibane Renmei, Akira, Vampire Hunter D, Testuo the Iron Man, Kenji Kawai, Koh Ohtani, Joe Hisaishi, Yasunori Mitsuda, Akira Yamaoka, Michiru Yamane, Masashi Hamauzu, Yoko Kanno, Nobuo Uematsu, etc.
From Atmospheric Metal - Bathory, Summoning, Darkthrone, Elffor, Paysage D’hiver, Ulver, Burzum, Celtic Frost, Master’s Hammer, Morrigan - Headcult album etc.
These days I’ve been obsessed with 60’s music, The Zombies, The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Left Banke, Sagittarius, Donovan, Lots of garage rock. I just found out about this new Los Angeles band called “The Premonitions” I’m excited to try and catch them live
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
Books, trying to check out more Yukio Mishima stuff. Temple of the Golden Pavilion was super amazing
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks for letting me talk about the music. I’ve always tried to let the music stand on its own and not say much so this is a first. Your work is much appreciated!