Indie Rockers Mister Moon and Singer-Songwriter Emily Keener Talk About Their Upcoming Show at Mahall's

click to enlarge Indie Rockers Mister Moon and Singer-Songwriter Emily Keener Talk About Their Upcoming Show at Mahall's
Samantha Skapin
A self-described "eclectic alternative rock outfit," the local band Mister Moon [pictured] released a terrific new EP, Point One, last year. The disc opens with the droning "Waste," an atmospheric tune that features hushed vocals. The Alt-J-like "Peer" benefits from perky synths and rattling percussion. Consisting of two drummers, two keyboardists and two guitars, the band plays sonically lush melodies.

When she was 14, local singer Emily Kenner put out a full-length and in 2015 she released a fully produced EP. When the opportunity arose to audition for The Voice that same year, she decided to give it a go even though she once publically proclaimed she would never audition for a reality TV show. Keener wound up as one of the final 12 candidates on the show.

The two will share an upcoming bill at Mahall's 20 Lanes, and the members of Mister Moon (Tommy Christian, Cory Boomer, Cory Webb and Seth Bain) and Keener both talk about the upcoming show in this joint Q&A.

The concert at Mahall's takes place at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 5.

click to enlarge Indie Rockers Mister Moon and Singer-Songwriter Emily Keener Talk About Their Upcoming Show at Mahall's
Courtesy of Emily Keener
How did you all first meet?

We’re all from the same Huron County area.
Boomer: Cory Webb and I have both played with Emily on different occasions.
Keener: I was like 13 or 14, and it was when [the now defunct club] Dirtsandwich opened.
Boomer: It’s a venue in our hometown where lots of musicians met and mingled.

So has Mister Moon played with Emily?
This show at Mahall's will be the first one. The main headliner, Joshua Powell, is from Indianapolis. Emily knows him, and he needed an opener. She recommended us. She knows us and threw our name in the hat. We’re happy to be doing it. We never played on the West side proper.
Keener: I met Joshua on tour in Knoxville, Tenn. We were playing a WDVX Blue Plate special. It’s a co-bill of songwriters that they have going on. They do that daily at the Welcome Center in Knoxville. They have a little stage there. We kept in touch and since he was coming to town, I thought of these guys.

What do you consider your influences?
: Two of my biggest inspirations are Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell. My dad played a lot of Simon and Garfunkel growing up. That was the prominent thing going on in my life. It wasn’t until later on that I connected to [Simon’s] solo stuff. I now really appreciate who is he as a writer. I discovered Joni Mitchell at about the same time.
Christian: We all come from drastically different places for sure. I will drop Gorillaz and Radiohead and Queen and Pink Floyd. Those are bands that have a catalog that features a huge array of different sounds. Genres are just as influential to us as different bands. We try to pull from genres that aren’t rock too. I like a lot of electronic music.
Bain: The main common ground is that we’re rhythmic people. We have two drummers. If I could classify myself as a musician, it would just be as a rhythmic player. I don’t think any of us are solo guys. We thrive on working together. Cory Webb and I come from more of a pop orientation because of bands we played in. I grew up on the Beatles, and that transferred into modern pop like JR JR or Tame Impala.

What have been some of the 2017 highlights?
Keener: I released my last album in 2016. I was touring a little bit and experiencing different parts of the country and meeting inspiring musicians and songwriters who are getting me in gear for 2018 when I plan to release my next album. For the most part, writing is my number one priority. Lyricism is my focus. I recorded a bunch of demos and sang on other people’s tracks.
This is our first full year together. We put out an EP and a single. I think one of our main goals was to expand outward from our hometown. We played a lot in North Central Ohio in Norwalk and Sandusky and close to home. That’s our proving grounds. We’ve done a good job of that and saturated Ohio really well.
Bain: One of the big things for us is that we met people along the way who will help us in the future. Definitely down in Columbus and Cleveland, we want to establish who we are. The goal from here is to release something in the mid-Spring. We want to go to the East Coast and keep on doing it. We want to play shows in different places and more places.
Webb: I would say as seriously as we took it, it was a test run to see what we can do and what works good. We want to incorporate other things into Mister Moon. We have a clear picture of that.
Christian: We’re just getting better. It’s a rare thing for me to say that. I see us getting better. That’s why I’m still excited a year and a half later or however long it’s been. We’re constantly writing new material.

What do you think of the local music scene?
I started out playing open mics. I met some musicians in Norwalk but hadn’t played there that often. Cleveland was the first place where I realized what a music scene could be. My first open mic was at the Winchester, and that was a cool experience. There were good songwriters there and encouraging people. There is support for younger artists trying to spread their wings and get their stuff out there.
Bain: I’m from the East suburbs, and I was playing in bands that were more in Emily’s scene. I was playing with people like Brenty Kirby and Nate Jones and Rachel Brown. The music scene in Cleveland is great, and you have to find the right niche right now. In five years, it will pop off even more. It’s tough and rough, and you have to be prepared for that stuff. When it pays off, it pays off a lot.
Boomer: Mister Moon is still finding its place in the scene. We’re still fresh to the scene. There are some great bands. For more rock-oriented bands, there’s a bunch of bands. We like Punch Drunk Tagalongs and Village Bicycle. There are a lot of good bands.

Mister Moon, Emily Keener, the Chestertons, Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery, 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 5, Mahall’s 20 Lanes, 13200 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-521-3280. Tickets: $8 ADV, $10 DOS,