Now The Soft Moon, Luis Vasquez had considered giving up on music when Captured Tracks’ Mike Sniper found his demos while surfing Myspace.
Vasquez’s knack for synthesizing historical strains of outsider pop – from new wave to post- punk to krautrock – has made him, ironically, an artist of the moment. He’ll be proclaiming “We are We” to his fellow Berliners at Schwuz on Tuesday, May 19.
You’ve mentioned having a recurring post-apocalyptic dream.
I don’t know why, but I kept dreaming the world was coming to an end in hundreds of different ways. I never really understood why, but in a weird way, I sometimes find a sense of beauty in the end of the world. I suppose it comes from a fear of death. The funny thing is, I haven’t had these dreams in over a year. It might be closure in a way. I used to get a lot of anxiety, but that doesn’t happen anymore.
But the goths still love you.
It wasn’t till journalists started comparing me to these other bands that I’d never heard of that I was aware of it. I mean, as a teenager I really disliked the whole goth scene.
You were a skater, right?
Yeah, exactly. The image was too strong when I was a skater. To be compared to the goth movement now is weird.
What kind of scene were you in during your youth?
It was skateboard videos, which kinda opened my mind in terms of different genres of music. Punk music was the first genre of music that I discovered on my own. Before that, I had external influences, so when I discovered punk on my own, it felt sort of right. Also, I was an angry, frustrated child. I got into things like thrash music – angry music, really. I connected with the anger in punk. I connected more with the sound than the sentiment.
Was your family supportive of your music?
They would threaten to break my guitar. They didn’t think it was sustainable. Or they took issue with the lifestyle that comes with it; they had this idea of musicians being heroin addicts or whatever. My mom was completely against it but now, of course, she supports it. My childhood with her was pretty traumatic – she knows that, but she never talks about it. She’s gotten over it. Well, she hasn’t gotten over it: she just blanked it out, so I’m the one who keeps talking about it and she doesn’t want to accept it.
Did you take influence from the chemical world?
Not for the writing process. But I think there’s a side of me that thinks I need to do it outside of music to learn about the other dimension, with creation in mind. I need that experience, otherwise I can’t really validate what I’m expressing. When I go back to write I hope to take something from it. I’ve tried LSD a few times and actually the experience wasn’t too great for me.
Did you have any epiphanies?
Yeah. One weird experience was – I’ve never met my father, and I saw him once when I dropped acid. Although I’ve never seen him in real life. It was really weird. It really hit me hard, firstly for obvious reasons, and secondly because I thought, I can take this little piece of paper and put it on my tongue and have access to this. I mean, I think to myself, “It’s just a chemical, it’s not real.” But at the same time, it felt completely real. I still think about that trip, but I’m at the point where I’m kinda scared to go back. Maybe I’ve gained enough, you know?
THE SOFT MOON W/BLUSH RESPONSE Tue, May 19, 21:00 | Schwuz, Rollbergstr. 26, Neukölln, U-Bhf Rathaus Neukölln
Originally published in issue #138, May 2015.