Artist of the Month: BluMoon

BluMoon is a four piece alternative neo-soul band based in San Marcos, TX. (Members: Andrew Harkey, Taylor Louis, Isaac Pulido, and Kendra Sells).

Photo by Levi Thompson

I met with BluMoon (sans Isaac) in Kendra Sells’ eccentrically decorated apartment on a quiet San Marcos on a Wednesday night. We talked about secret art, saxophones and future directions.

Jason: Have y'all ever done a group interview together?

Taylor: Kinda did on the radio once.

Kendra: We did one right before we released [Decisions, Decisions]

T: Oh yeah, that was with…Alex?

K: I don’t know whatever happened to that interview…

J: Wait you never saw the interview?

Andrew: Yeah no. It was on the radio though…

T: Well we played on the radio, is that what you’re talking about?

A: We didn’t play, remember we showed up with our instruments and then…

T: Oh that!

K: Oh!

T: You’re talking about the San Antonio…

A: Which one are you talking about?

T: I was talking about when we were playing….

K: (interjects) We’ve done a couple of interviews.

(group laughs)

J: Is this everyone? I thought you all had a fourth member.

T: He said he’ll come through…

K: If he finishes his homework. But yeah, we do have a fourth member.

J: How did you all meet each other?

T: I met Kendra with Austin, a dude she used to play with. That was back in February?

K: I think last year!

A: I just knew [Kendra] through friends.

K: Oh yeah!

A: Then we played together in April, or May?

K: We were kind of bassin’ around, every time we played we had a new bassist.

T: I think Andrew got on one of those [early] tracks though!

A: I think I just met y’all through Austin or something. I played a jazz gig with Austin.

J: So you were all just making music separately and you decided “Oh here are some pieces that come together, lets make it band?”

A: Yeah!

K: Kind of, I used to play with this guy Bo. He produced and played guitar and we were just a duo. And then we were trying to expand…

T: Totally forgot about Bo!

K: We tried to expand to get a full band with the produced sound and that’s where I met Austin, and he said “I know this dude Taylor” and then Bo just ghosted.

T: I played a couple of times with [Bo], he was cool. He was the one who really started BluMoon with Kendra.

J: That’s a really cool origin story, you had this one member who put you all together and then just disappeared.

K: Yeah!

A: (laughs)

J: So you’re all in San Marcos now, but are you all from San Marcos?

A: I’m from the Dallas area.

K: I’m from Austin.

T: Irving.

J: Is there anything special about San Marcos that is conducive is art?

T: Nope.

(group laughs)

K: I would say that it’s cool how small it is because you know all of the artists, you know all of the musicians. Everyone is, by default, mingling with each other. It’s an interesting little thing about the town. But other than that…

J: So it has its downsides.

A: I mean people are pretty receptive but, there are a lot of artists.

T: I feel like, because it’s so small, there aren't any masters of the craft. You go to Dallas, Houston, New York, there are just a lot more masters. There’s not really much of that in a small place like San Marcos.

A: There are in Austin, to some degree. Here there’s just a lot of bands.

J: A lot of people learning together. Something that’s interesting about San Marcos is the fact that it is primarily a college town. Maybe there’s not enough time to stir the pot.

T: That’s a point I never really thought about. I’ve been here for 6 years and I’ve never really understood why nothing has ever caught on. At least there’s the KTSW.

(group groans)

J: (laughs) What’s KTSW?

K: College radio.

(group laughs)

J: Wait! I need to hear more!

A: No.

(group laughs)

K: They are kind of like the trendsetters for music in San Marcos. They are always hosting cool events that everyone that who loves music goes to because its KTSW. I guess the trend that is set isn’t necessarily….

J: Ohh... Hmm, that’s interesting. Can I ask, is there a goal that you all have with your music?

A: Keep playing together until we can’t anymore.

T: Play as often as is possible. Get in front of people, that’s my goal.

K: My goal is to work less and play more. To turn this into my primary job essentially. Being able to sustain myself by doing this.

J: That’s difficult, when you are focused on the art for its own sake, I feel that there is something very pure and noble about it. But at the same time, we live in the real world where artists put a lot of time and effort into their work. You literally need people to like your art.

T: Dude that’s it!! That’s it 100%

K: But I feel like there’s that balance where you can have that pure intent while making your money and doing what you need to do.

J: Right!

K: I don’t think it has to be one or the other.

J: For each of you, I want to ask: what are the circumstances that brought you to your respective media? Whether its keys, voice, bass…

T: I started at a young age, I played drums. Eventually I started writing songs at some point playing the keys.

K: I don’t know, I went to church all the time so I was in church singing, and I was in the church choir. and the choir at school, but I didn’t like my choir teacher so I quit and joined band. So I guess in middle school I just picked up guitar and piano and just kind of stuck with it I guess.

A: My Dad was the band director and my Mom used to be. So I did band in middle school. I played saxophone in middle school, and switched to bass in high school.

K: Could you still play the saxophone?

A: I don’t know, I still have it, but you gotta practice that shit. (laughs)

J: So did you all feel encouraged in your path to become musicians?

A: Yeah, Parents.

T: Parents for sure.

K: I don’t ever feel discouraged. It’s cool having family and friends who are very supportive. The thing is, playing around here, there aren’t very many black women doing music. Or black people on stage. So you are looking at all of these audiences at these venues and you don’t see people that look like you - you don’t really see people like you thriving. I don’t ever feel too discouraged about it though.

A: And I love San Marcos, but I think there are bigger and better things that could be. But I’m chilling right now. Going to school. One more year in San Marcos.

K: That’s what I tell myself too, one more year. I mean, this is where I started playing shows, I used to do the Open Mic over at Triple Crown, RIP. People are pretty nice here. People are pretty open minded for the most part. It’s cool, but I feel like there is more. This is a place to start.

A: I want to go to Boston. Or New York.

T: I’m not leaving Texas.

K: You’re not leaving Texas?!

T: It’s too good of a place. It’s thriving for live music.

K: I want to go to Germany.

J: What’s in Germany?

K: It’s my life dream to play everywhere. To absorb the culture everywhere. I feel like once you’re on that side of the world it’s so easy to travel. [In the United States] it’s like you can only really go to Mexico or Canada.

A: Canada would be dope!

K: They do have a pretty good R&B scene.

A: Amsterdam!

J: Didn’t you guys take a road trip out west?

K: We did! We are trying to go on another one. Hitting more California dates.

A: Totally, I do not want to go east again.

J: I feel like music is already taking you places!

A: For sure.

T: Can’t take that for granted.

(Atlanta trailer plays from television set)

J: Do you all have any themes that your work centers around?

K: I journal a lot and a lot of the lyrics come from things that I have written down. Normally, I journal as a way to release emotions or figure stuff out so I can’ t ever really stray away from writing music about my feelings. It’s usually just what’s going on in my head.

J: Does that feel therapeutic for you, to perform that? Or are you nervous?

K: It feels very empowering. I’ll write about the darkest times of my life and then I’m on stage singing it and it feels so liberating. Like I’m in control of myself.

J: That sounds scary to me. There are people you don’t even know!

K: I don’t know why I love it! Just pouring my heart out. But I do get super awkward, they know. When I’m on stage but I’m not singing.

A: I feel like people can’t tell! I look pretty weird up there too.

(group laughs)

J: Do you guys have any personal art that you don’t plan to share?

A: That we don’t plan to share, ever?

J: Yeah!

K: Look! Look at this. I have to show you. That’s the funniest question to ask.

(Kendra walks us over to her storage closet)

K: I have like a little gallery in this closet.

J: No way!

K: A secret little gallery. I just paint pictures and put them in here. They’re kind weird. But you know. That’s Mikey and Estonia. They came over one time.

Enough! (laughs)

J: And you said “yes” Andrew?

A: (nods)

K: What do you make?

A: You said that it’s art that we don’t show anyone ever, right?

J: Yeah…

A: So…

(group laughs)

 

BluMoon is a alternative neo-soul band from San Marcos. For more information, including show dates, follow their Instagram account @blumoontx . Jason Ikpatt is a notorious plant over-water-er. You can follow him on Instagram @jas.ikp . For more content, follow Brown State of Mind @brownstateofmind

 

 

 

 

Jason Ikpatt