1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?
Jenn: Moss of Moonlight began as a story. Cavan and I wanted to tell this tale about a bunch of Pacific Northwesterners going rogue and making the bioregional Republic of Cascadia—a concept that became our first album, SEED (released last year). Listeners of black and folk metal (and music fans in general) met it with eager ears. Most recently, we've been working on a ritualistic EP called Winterwheel. It's set to be released in just a couple days—June 21, actually!
2. How would you describe your musical sound?
Cavan: Despite my resentment for genre labeling, I suppose Moss of Moonlight can be described as a merging of black metal and neo-folk. Black metal has become a receptacle for bands without a specific genre, so we would probably get thrown in, too. Genres aside, Moss of Moonlight has a sometimes boisterous, sometimes untamed sound, yet it's welcoming, too. Essentially, we're striving to be the mouth and percussive heart of the earth. Listening to Moss of Moonlight is like standing naked in the rain, knee-deep in the mud and moss of the Hoh Rainforest.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Jenn: Story, earth, Cascadia and Paganism, always. But while SEED focused more on our Cascadian core (the bioregion's bloody, epic tale of rebellion), our forthcoming album Winterwheel was a step off our usual path. We recreate and expand upon the rituals, songs, and rites of times past, with a focus on our Anglo Saxon ancestors—their gods, tales, and existential understanding. The album itself is meant to be a cyclic ritual in all ways—rhythmic motifs, narrative cycles, the huge recurring soundscapes; even the song titles are reminiscent of the nature of sacrifice and reception.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the band’s name?
Jenn: There's a couple different explanations. First, of course, moss grows endlessly and everywhere in the Pacific Northwest, and both of us feel an affinity for its soggy, shaggy green. To take the name's meaning a bit deeper, mosses are also known as epiphytes, plants that live a non-parasitic existence attached to other plants, all the while feeding upon air and rain. So, a moss that feeds on moonlight is an epiphyte of ephemera, an epiphyte that feeds upon the every-dying, everlasting moon—an epiphyte that feeds on the raw power of life.
With all this in mind, Moss of Moonlight is symbolic of our attachment to the earth—deep, gentle (and, on occasion, violent), and beyond explanation. Something only music can express, I suppose—ha!
5. Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you choose to remain a duo?
Cavan: Being a duo has certainly had its benefits for Moss of Moonlight. Jenn and I are able to creatively play off of one another and really hone the underlying concepts behind the music without too much outside interference. In a world that incessantly promotes so much inattentive corporate-driven thought, it can be difficult to think independently from the bloated sheep herd that is society. Being the duo that we are, it allows us to sort of become hermits together (when writing music) and develop music in a calmer setting. With that said, having more band members has its advantages too, and we hope expand our rank in the next couple of years.
6. Has the band done any live shows or is this strictly a studio project?
Cavan: Our reasons for expansion are for the purpose of playing shows in the future. Our music has huge potential for powerful shows, and we would very much like to experience that kind of atmosphere and share it with our fans.
7. Currently the band is signed to Cascadian Alliance, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
Cavan: Cascadian Alliance is our small independent label. It houses all of the music projects we’re involved in--Cerridwen, Gundabad, Moss of Moonlight. The overall purpose behind it is to assist in the conception and contribution to the ideological identity of our beautiful home region, Cascadia.
8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and folk metal?
Jenn: Very, very receptive. Not only are people loving the music, but they're connecting to it on a gut-level, which is exactly what we're hoping for, as we're trying to craft songs that do more than make your ears happy. Thus far, we've been lucky to hear—constantly—from people so deeply in thrall to this weird thing we call our music. So in short—fans of black and folk metal seem to like the songs quite well.
9. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
Cavan: It is our intention to forge a seasonal counterpart to Winterwheel and bring this Heathen offering around full swing. I’ve already begun the writing process for a second EP to accompany the first and we’re hoping to get in the studio within the upcoming months. Following that, we’ll probably go back to exploring our Cascadian focal point.
Jenn: To play off of what Cavan said above, and basically just be a tease, we actually know the title of the full length that will follow the second EP. But we're not saying what. ; )
10.What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Cavan: There are a lot of bands that go above and beyond in epic quality, like Myrkgrav and Agalloch, but I also venture off into folkier bands too, like The moon and the night spirit, Omnia, and Stellamara. My influences change with the seasons and can certainly be found in metal and neo-folk alike. Lately, the new Amorphis and Wardruna albums have been ensnaring me with so much might!
Jenn: Yes, yes, yes, (etc) to all that Cavan said. As for what I'm listening to these days…I love the raw, emotional honesty of Pain of Salvation's new albums, and I've been listening to Swallow the Sun pretty intensely. I also just discovered Dalriada, so that's quickly becoming an obsession.
11.How would you describe your views on Paganism?
Cavan: Well, it is through Paganism that we as humans are able to rekindle our relation with the earth and our past roots. There is a serious disconnect between modern society and where we come from, and where we get our food, our energy. Paganism attempts to understand the source and process of providing ourselves with that energy and in turn, life. It is true that we have lost many of the old ways and truths to time, however it’s important to recognize that we Pagans have a duty to fill this recent aeon of forgotten knowledge, and build upon what remnants are left. Moss of Moonlight does exactly that. It taps into other realms, otherworlds, and expands upon those remains.
12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Cavan: There are many interests outside of music to which we tend to incorporate into Moss of Moonlight in some way or other. I like hiking the mountains and photographing nature, and usually some of the resulting images get used for promotional pics and album art. In this upcoming album, Winterwheel, I was able to apply my interests and studies in linguistics through the use of the Anglo-Saxon language.
Jenn: Cavan's too modest to say so, but he's actually (right this very moment) studying to get his Masters in linguistics. So these 'studies' he speaks of are actually quite serious. : )
I, too, love being essentially any place I can't hear or see cities, or cars. I'm also a devoted cyclist; except for extreme long distances that have to be covered quickly, I travel by bike, even in the deep of winter. (My bike, by the way, is named Asfaloth. The Tolkien fans reading this will understand. : ) Besides that, I'm a published writer—mostly poetry at the moment, but sometimes I write books about enraged earth goddesses and existentially confused aliens. I also get paid to make people sandwiches.
13.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Jenn: We'll be releasing a music video for the EP in a couple of months, and—as Cavan mentioned earlier—will be entering the studio to work on the follow up to Winterwheel. Find us on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MossofMoonlight), where we'll be sharing all the necessary details.
Also, I suppose a thank you is in order—so thank you! Truly, thanks for taking the time to ask us these questions.