“Kill Pride, Make Love,” An Interview With The Moondoggies

The Moondoggies released their latest album, A Love Sleeps Deep, on Hardly Art Records. This album is a highlight of the band’s singer and songwriter, Kevin Murphy and his mastery on lyric writing. This adventure that the Moondoggiess took their listeners on is a path of sadness and frustration that ultimately gives hope.

Murphy’s lyrics give visceral images that shock and hurt. The rest of the band whether it’s  Carl Dahlen’s drumming or Caleb Quick’s keys, serve as the guiding sound through the story that is created in the album. The interview was done through email and the band discussed the album and themes and experiences that went into the making of the album.

A Love Sleeps Deep, cover art.

The Moondoggies are Kevin Murphy, Carl Dahlen, Caleb Quick, Robert Terreberry, and Jon Pontrello.

Question: The album came five years apart from the previous Moondoggies album. Was A Love Sleeps Deep a product of those five years? How long was the album in the works?

Answer: We’re always writing, and scratching songs to cannibalize later. It’s a constant work in progress. We felt like we could take a little time to make something we hadn’t done before, and steer the ship into new directions. Sometimes that means throwing away a bunch of hard work in order to get where you want to.

Q: The Hardly Art website talks about how the album covers a lot of different dynamics in different types of relationships. Why was this, such a prevalent theme in this album? Could you talk a bit about Kevin Murphy’s reason behind writing “Cinders?”

A: I’m not sure why, but I feel driven to create like a lot of people are. You have to follow your inner voice and leanings. We wrote the song as a group, and when it came to finish the lyrics I felt very strongly about expressing my dissapointment in humans. Specifically casual racism. My partner left her job because of it and I’m incredibly uncomfortable with the level of normalization we are currently experiencing in this country. It’s one thing to be a shameful aspect of our history, but to be emboldened and empowered by our leaders? Artists have a role in pushing back and speaking up, and my perspective in that song was that 99% of us are being used against each other by the 1%. We need to take care of each other and lift up all voices. There’s plenty of things to write/sing about, and if you feel compelled to speak then do so. That’s the beauty of art and creating. It’s conversational. Life’s complicated, keep talking, creating, and listening. I don’t think everybody has the same opportunities, I think there are powers in play that have been rolling for a long time, but I’m cautiously optimistic about our ability to persevere and engineer a better future,

Q: Does the band have any specific expectations or goals for this album? Is there a specific message or point you want to get across as it has its political charge? Or is the album a way of coping with the craziness in today’s political climate?

A: Both. I would love for it to push someone into a conversation, or at least allow them to entertain ideas outside of their comfort zone. I don’t think it’s too extreme. In fact I think the ideas are pretty relatable. Love is lacking, empathy is key to a functional society, We effect each other everyday and we could use it in our social contracts with each other. We can’t act like there is no cause and effect. A lot of it has to do with how we’ve boughten into this entitled self serving ideology. It really came out of the 70’s and the championing of the self, however I feel like we’re all tethered together and no matter what happens we all go down with the ship. I want to express that. I also understand that some people will get none of that and just enjoy the music which is great, or they won’t at all. I can only control what I can control. I have to feed the beast, the drive inside me that wants to draw and sing and understand.. before I’m worm food.

Q: Why focus the album on love? Even with the title “A Love Sleeps Deep,” why not center the album on another emotion right now? How would you describe the album’s attitude and feel?

A: I’m engaged and focused on all my emotions.There’s plenty of anger in there, I’m human and my emotions run the gamut like everyone so sometimes being creative is trying to process your emotions and put your feelings into form. The title however is that we need more love. We kind of scoff at it like it’s some hippy dippy idea, but It’s incredibly important, and not in some idealist way. In like a scientific way, for our survival. We all need help, and guidance, and humility at some point or another. It’s convenient to sell this idea of the self, or individual like if you are super human you win everything and are happy forever while stepping over people, which bankrupts you emotionally. It’s silly what we’ve done to trick ourselves into believing and I think a lot of it has to do with money and turning people against each other. I think we can correct the ship…the ship being our future, our purpose, our pursuit of happiness that we are all equally entitled to. I think seeing our flaws is the only way to be the best. Kill pride, make love. It’s not our ship to ruin anyways.

By Antonio Villasenor-Baca

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