Fast-rising stars and radio staples in their native Germany, MOON MATES have released the second music video from their new EP Random Dad Barbecue Music, which came out on 22nd October 2021. Ghost Lights is an introspective yet ethereal commentary on overcoming fear and finding closure – a song that came about almost by accident.
“I was playing around with the song and did something on the computer which changed it, made it more atmospheric,” says Beni. “That mix of groove and rhythm and atmospheric synths became the template.”
The music video for Ghost Lights features the band’s signature retro imagery, this time presenting a dreamy interpretation of space. Lead singer Gloria Muschaweck floats through the universe while delivering bewitching vocals, unbothered by the cosmic crisis occurring around her. It’s an out-of-this-world visual representation of the fearlessness described in the lyrics. Beni Hoffmeister (co-songwriter and guitarist), who produces and directs all of MOON MATES’ videos, drew inspiration from classic space documentaries such as the ‘Cosmos’ series by Carl Sagan.
MOON MATES are on track for success with the release of their debut EP, the fantastically-titled Random Dad Barbecue Music. Five addictive tracks range from harmony-drenched, Fleetwood Mac-esque folk-rock to lush, atmospheric midtempo tunes, defined by the bright vocals of frontwoman Gloria.
Formed informally in 2019 when guitarist and co-songwriter Beni quit his psych-rock band after meeting former drama student Gloria, MOON MATES became an official band only early last year. A handful of songs had been recorded for the EP, but just days into their second session, as their first ever gigs were being booked, the pandemic struck.
“We began our career by being cancelled,” laughs Beni. “At first we thought it would give us more time to perfect the songs, but when the lockdown didn’t lift, we realised we had started a band at the worst possible time.”
What should have been a disaster turned out to be an opportunity. In April, with drummer/producer Lucas Adlhoch, MOON MATES livestreamed their first ever gig on Instagram, expecting just a handful of views. Instead they found a legion of fans and the following month were invited to take part in United We Stream, an industry initiative to help save German venues.
More high-profile streaming performances followed, Spotify included MOON MATES in its Fresh Finds playlist and one of Germany’s biggest radio stations playlisted two of their songs, the breezy beauty Easy Fix and the sun-soaked singalong Don’t Wait, both since released as singles with quirky videos made and animated entirely by Beni in lockdown.
“Our career so far has been a bit upside down,” says Gloria. “What kept us going last year was knowing that we would eventually perform these songs on real stages. What we didn’t expect when we got there was that everyone would already know all of the songs.”
Both the name MOON MATES and Random Dad Barbecue Music came from Gloria and Beni playing with fridge magnet words – “We have so many titles we could already name our first three albums,” says Gloria. That playful, random approach extends to their songs.
“Being in a rock band had a lot of limitations,” says Beni. “With this project, we wanted to be free to write whatever we liked. Gloria is a lyric machine. She’ll sit on the sofa and constantly come up with lyrics and melodies. Suddenly, we’re together at the piano or I’m on the computer and we find we’ve written a song.”
Scratch below the surface and MOON MATES’ lyrics are observations on shared human emotions and the self-obsessed world in which we now live. Don’t Wait’s sunny sound masks Gloria’s anxiety about how she is perceived.
“It’s a very playful song, fun to play live, with cheeky lyrics,” says Gloria. “But at heart it’s me questioning how you are supposed to conduct yourself in a world which expects so much from you. How much do you show others and how much do you keep to yourself? And is it even progress if you don’t show others your real feelings?”
Easy Fix is a cautionary tale of high expectations and the contradictions of wanting it all.
“The melody came to me when I was visiting family in New Zealand and by the time I returned to Germany the song had almost written itself,” says Gloria. “I was frustrated with the expectations people have of their lives, of their partners, of how falling in love is supposed to feel.
“You want one thing but also the opposite – a serial heartbreaker who is loyal, safety and surprises, commitment and no strings. The only outcome is dissatisfaction, but it doesn’t make sense. You can’t articulate the problem. I guess the moral of the song is to choose wisely.”
The dreamy Swim With Me is about keeping going when the world gets dark – “My Nemo song,” jokes Gloria – while the stunning, stripped back Strangers Again deals with a relationship that should have come to a close.
Since summer this year, MOON MATES have finally been able to play to real people, their main aim when they formed in those heady, pre-pandemic days.
“When we first stood on stage, it felt like we were finally a real band,” says Gloria. “Until then, I worried that I’d wake up one morning and find that MOON MATES had just been a dream.”