In conversation with Black Moth Super Rainbow

Interview by Shannon Lawlor

Black Moth Super Rainbow are an experimental-electronic band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Musicians and artists; frontman, singer, and songwriter TOBACCO,The Seven Fields of Aphelion, Iffernaut, STV SLV and Pony Driver for over a decade, have hypnotized and enlightened with their sometimes-gorgeous, sometimes-frightening lullabies, cradling the psychedelic, electronic and experimental scenes into dreamland with their delicate, cloudy cascade of radiance.

Their mystifying 2007 LP Dandelion Gum was an experimental-masterpiece which arguably metamorphosed Black Moth Super Rainbow into the prismatic-imago form they have taken on today. With their sixth studio album just released, Panic Blooms released on May 4th via Rad Cult, a gruelling five-years-in-the-making process, it’s crystal clear how they’ve have still managed to maintain their trademark mysticism and blossom even further beyond the clouds.

We caught up with TOBACCO of Black Moth Super Rainbow on new perspectives and bone-chills:

For anyone foreign to Black Moth Super Rainbow’s candy-coated earworms, how would you personally describe the music you make?

Oh man. I have the worst time describing what I do! I usually start with saying something like, “most people don’t like it” or, “it’s not for everyone”, then something about it being electronic etc.

Could you describe the process of recording the new album Panic Blooms? I sense it was conceived in some kind of red-liquorice-based cemetery, surrounded by various séance-fuelled cults, and so forth? But that might just be me..

There was actually no real process. It came together over the course of about five years – on and off (mostly off), until it started coming into focus around spring 2017. I just record when it comes to me and try to grab it before it’s gone!

One of the singles from Panic Blooms, “Mr No One” is a kaleidoscopic-vocoder-dream-induced journey, set adrift atop cotton-candy clouds above marshmallow mountains. Could you possibly elaborate on the song’s meaning? Lyrically speaking..

I never elaborate too much on meanings, because I like to keep that for the listener, but I think it’s no secret that the whole album is kind of like a wave of depression. So, ‘Mr No One’ is like the accepting-it-all-without-quite-accepting-it-all ending. You have to get down into it before you can just come out of it with some kind of new perspective – and that song is the “new perspective”.  

The imagery your music provokes is nothing short of dream-like, mesmerising and sometimes even bone-chilling. The same goes for your lyrics. Where does one find such deep inspiration and expressive passion?

That’s a nice thing to say! but I really don’t know. Maybe not knowing anything about music theory, or proper recording forces me to compensate with extra bone-chills..?  

As TOBACCO, and BMSR’s frontman, how do you maintain such an incognito and private identity in such an expressive industry? Do you feel it affects your band’s career in any way? (I suppose this would be secrets revealed, but it was worth a shot!)

It’s easy – I just don’t put myself out there. I don’t have the compulsion like most over-sharing musicians. That probably does affect my career, and it took me up until this new album to really understand that some dumb motherfuckers need you to spell everything out for them, in order for them to get what you’re doing! That includes the press, and that affected my career in the past – to a small degree. Though luckily, I’ve had just enough people on board now who don’t need it fed to them through a tube, and they totally get it.

Tell us about the long winded periods between albums. Do you take the time to digest what you have just released into the world as a result of all your hard work (blood, sweat and candy). Or do you take long breaks to induce unpredictable progression, or influence for the next round?

It’s one of the reasons I go back and forth between Black Moth Super Rainbow and TOBACCO. I take what I’ve learned from one, and go to the other. And Black Moth Super Rainbow takes a lot out of me especially. It takes longer and longer to even want to dive into that part of myself. I’m also learning that these long breaks are good, because you’re a different person, even after 5 years, and I can hear that in my stuff.  

Besides maybe the vocoder, is there anything else that you feel is absolutely vital to producing Black Moth Super Rainbow’s hazy, ghostly, emotive sound?

I think I could find a way to do it with just about anything! And that’s what I wanna do next!

Order Panic Blooms by Black Moth Super Rainbow

For more information follow Black Moth Super Rainbow on Facebook

See Black Moth Super Rainbow live:

31/5 WASHINGTON, DC Black Cat
1/6 PHILADELPHIA, PA Union Transfer
2/6 NEW YORK, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg
3/6 BOSTON, MA Brighton Music Hall
14/6 CINCINNATI, OH Urban Artifact
15/6 DETROIT, MI El Club
16/6 CHICAGO, IL Metro
17/6 COLUMBUS, OH Skully’s Music Diner
22/6 – LONDON, UK, Royal Festival Hall – Meltdown Festival*
24/6 – LONDON, UK Royal Albert Hall*
25/6 – Paris, FR Olympia*
27/6 – Amsterdam, NL AFAS Live*
10/8 PITTSBURGH, PA Mr. Smalls
11/8 LOUISVILLE, KY Headliners
12/8 ASHEVILLE, NC Orange Peel
14/8 AUSTIN, TX Mohawk
15/8 HOUSTON, TX White Oak Music Hall
17/8 ATLANTA, GA Masquerade (Hell)
18/8 NASHVILLE, TN Mercy Lounge
* – supporting Nine Inch Nails

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