Moon Walker – The TV Made Me Do It | the echo chamber
LA-based artist duo Moon Walker is without a doubt the most underrated band of 2021, an incredible indie rock powerhouse the likes of which I’ve never heard. They tear down the walls between genres, crafting psychedelic riffs with robust basslines, the ska-punk freneticism and inspired political themes in a tightly crafted indie-alternative soundscape that is both contemporarily influenced as well as embracing the raw vivacity of vintage rock spirit. Of course their creative directions could immediately be likened to new-wave Pink Floyd, but there’s a lot more going on under the hood.
Harry Springer: This song was a lot of following instincts so I can’t really explain most of the choices made. I had been listening to Nine Inch Nails when I did it so I think the aggression and heaviness may have come from there. That’s probably where the punk sounds come from, though I’ve, admittedly, never been the hugest punk fan. I got pretty experimental with the bridge production, particularly the guitar and vocals, so that’s probably where the psychedelia comes from. I adore psychedelic music. 60’s and 70’s music definitely accounts for 98% of what I listen to, but I don’t know exactly where that idea came from. I guess just that I had recently started experimenting with using the stereo format to make the production of the song more interactive, if that makes sense. I like when the production enhances the message of the song and really helps to make the song feel like it’s moving/unfolding with the lyrics.
It comprises drummer Sean McCarthy and singer-guitarist Harry Springer, who were performing together as of last year under the title of Midnight Club, a similarly phenomenal indie collective with the widest range of sounds, having tracks that remind me of AM, Panic! as well as an homage to Queen. Do check them out of course, but Moon Walker is the lockdown-inspired endeavour which is keeping these artists on their toes having to make more music, so I’m not complaining. Harry is also the producer of these intricately layered multi-instrumental setups from his bedroom, so the song’s impressive production is his handiwork.
In our other band The Midnight Club, I still wrote most of the music, but my process was different. I would do what a lot of creatives do: I would just wait for an idea to plop into my head from out of nowhere, then I would chase that idea down as far as it took me. Sometimes it ended with a song. There’s nothing wrong with that process, and it’s where a lot of the magic comes from in music. But I think I have way too much in my life riding on making music. If I go too long without writing, I start to get really emotionally backed up and depressed. I just didn’t have the luxury of waiting for things to pop into my head out of nowhere because it was really taking a toll on me when I couldn’t write. And obviously, the longer you go without writing, the harder it is to write. With Moon Walker, I basically wanted an outlet where I could just get stuff off my chest without worrying about whether the song was good. It was pretty necessary for me and now singing is a very therapeutic thing for me. And I’ve learned that creativity is not some type of cosmic, spiritual thing. It’s like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the more you can get out of it. I definitely use my creativity as more than just a means of expression, it’s like a tool for me to manage stress and regulate my emotions. Especially since Moon Walker started.
Moon Walker has always been bold and political with its releases, with their debut and just tasty single, Tear Down the Walls ‘why don’t we open more prisons and close down the public schools/ make the kids sit and listen while we all keep playing the fool’ on Election Day (sounding a lot like Cage the Elephant meets Black Sabbath, an incredible fusion). Their newest release takes it a step up, a spirited assault on the media sensationalism and echo chambers that ravage our sociopolitical discourse; set to the catchiest indie-rock melody rather than the explosive sound they did before. This one takes on the more recent media-inspired act of domestic terrorism, with its hard-hitting bars ‘Showed up early at the capitol, bright and early with a gun pulled /we were following orders by the president and his owners / wore the mask of a movement’ ; unapologetic as we should be towards the undercurrents and echo chambers that seek to manipulate us.
It really is funny the way it happened. I had wrote the entire song up to the bridge before I decided to wrap it up for the day. I had truly no idea what the “it” was going to be. I knew that the bridge and final chorus would need to address the specifics of what the main character had done but I was really cautious about not making it too on the nose or in poor taste or something. The next day the capitol insurrection happened and the song had its “it” . I wrote and recorded the rest as soon as I saw what was happening, literally as it was unfolding.
The song is so well-crafted, tasty bass-licks alternate with zealous strumming-and-percussion as the song builds towards its catchy choral hook, ‘All your moments are bought and sold / He always was an angel & The TV made him do it’. It features bizarre distortion for emphasis and a rock-and-roll electric guitar solo as well. I also want to throw out a mention to the absolutely gorgeous music video, a cyberpunk dystopia themed newsroom with a hundred screens, fuzzing and swirling to psychedelic retro colours and effects, its a lovely watch.
TV Made Me Do It is a very catchy indie-rock number, packaging social truths that become increasingly harder to swallow, in a landscape of growing influence of hegemonic voices on the interests of the common man. Moon Walker has no hesitation in wearing its stances on its sleeve, however, being right in your face with the most pressing of this indoctrination crisis.
I was really targeting it at the people who use music, movies, video games, etc. as a scapegoat for domestic terrorism carried out by white people in America. The song wasn’t inherently anti-television or anti-media. But that’s not to say there isn’t a problem with our connection to media. So, I do think that media can be too easily controlled by people with bad intentions and a lot of money, but I think the exact same is true of social media. So it’s not like there’s a better alternative for getting news. I think people just need to do their own sufficient research and constantly challenge their beliefs and really diversify where they get their information from. In terms of expression, everyone should feel free to express whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as it doesn’t actively hurt anyone else. That, of course, doesn’t mean people should be protected from backlash. There’s a difference between the government knocking down your door and dragging you to prison for speaking out and the collective consciousness agreeing that what you said is dumb or offensive and shaming you for it.
I can’t recommend this group enough, must must must check out and stay tuned for what Moon Walker has in store – an upcoming EP and another one in the works too!
Part-time writer but full-time music enthusiast, I write some of the features on here. I think appreciating a multitude of genres and styles makes me good at my job, so clicky here to see what I've written!