Q&A with Arthur Moon: Migraines, Australian army doctors, and Duchamp



Arthur Moon is the moniker of composer/singer Lora-Faye Åshuvud. The band also includes bassist Marty Fowler, vocalist and keyboard player Rachel Brotman, guitarist Nick Lerman, drummer Dave Palazola, and vocalist Aviva Jaye. We spoke to Lora-Faye about what inspires her in songwriting, how she came to choose her band’s name, and more. Arthur Moon will perform live at LPR as part of our On The Rise series on June 30th. Check out our interview with Lora-Faye and join us at the end of the month!
On The Rise at LPR is dedicated to showcasing up and coming bands from the NYC area music scene. What are some local influences for you at the moment? Any bands that you are particularly interested in?
I’m super inspired by what composer and vibraphonist Nikara Warren is up to right now. This month she’s playing a tribute to Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street at National Sawdust in an effort to spark conversation about supporting people of color in business, education, and the arts. And our friend Sheron (Andrew Sheron, who produced the three last tunes on our EP) is about to put out this album called The Late Great Bloomer, which was recorded and mixed completely binaurally. I think it’s the first record ever to be made this way, from start to finish. It’s really wild and beautiful. You actually have to listen with headphones on, because the audio image exists in three-dimensional space. It’s like 3D music.
Arthur Moon was an Australian army doctor who enlisted several artists to document the horrors of POW camps in the Far East during WWII. Can you tell us a bit about choosing this as your band name?
This project is actually not named after that fellow, although my armchair Googling has lead me to believe that Dr. Moon was a pretty interesting guy.
You’ve said before that you prefer not to dictate exactly what the six other members of your band do; could you describe your songwriting process a bit?
The solo part of the process is also somehow collaborative. Lately I’ve been making cut-up poems from magazine articles and using them as an inspiration for lyrical content. And the process of composing the music itself is similarly collage-like, but it’s often as if I’m actually collaging with my own work – pieces of disparate ideas pasted together. On the best days it feels kind of like playing a rousing game of Exquisite Corpse – except only with myself.

How do your college studies in contemporary art influence your music, if at all?
I actually did my college research on art and bathrooms. A scatology of art. Duchamp’s “Fountain,” and Piero Manzoni’s “Merda d’Artista.” Very relevant, clearly.

How does your experience with migraine-induced aphasia influence your work?
I spend a lot of time trying to recreate the feeling of being disoriented in the music – language/aphasia, yes, and also time, cadence, political and social bearings, etc. I think embracing that kind of queered perspective can not only lead to interesting music, but also – in its best moments – it can make us a little bit better at being human beings.
How has navigating the music scene been without the help of a major label? Do you find New York’s music scene particularly kind to your project?
I don’t know that New York has ever really been kind to anyone’s project. Except maybe the person whose project it was to create a dystopian capitalist hell-scape? Donald Trump? No, that would be giving him way too much credit.
But actually we were really lucky to hook up with local hero Katie Jones, who set up the very first Arthur Moon show at The Revolution, her emerging artist series over at National Sawdust in Williamsburg. As a curator, she (like you guys at LPR) is trying to foster and support new ideas in music and performance, instead of just booking by number of Twitter followers. I’m hoping this is a growing trend in New York and beyond.
Arthur Moon plays LPR on June 30th, with Salt Cathedral, Belle Mare, and The Britpop Choir, as part of our On The Rise series. You can learn more about the event here.