Tearful Moon are darkwave duo Sky Lesco (lyrics/vocals) and Manuel Lozano (music/some vocals) of Houston, TX. Their sophomore album Evocation was released digitally in September of last year on InClub records. 2018 is looking just as busy for them as they tour several parts of the world while releasing the vinyl version of the record on March 30th. Onto the interview!
You guys are about to go on a pretty big tour through the west coast and Europe, including Return to the Batcave Festival in Poland! How excited are you? Are you hitting up a few places you’ve never been?
We are very excited! I’ve been following the Return to the Batcave festival for awhile, wishing we could be a part of it..and here we are, so it’s a dream come true.
As far as the west coast, I’ve only been to San Francisco, and Manuel lived in East LA for about a year, but other than that, we’ve never been to any of the places that we are going. I’ve been dying to go to Washington and Oregon for a long time, so it’s very surreal that we are finally going to be visiting these places. Manuel has never been to Europe, I’ve been there a few times but never been to Poland or Spain.
I’m a traveler at heart, and it seems whenever I do travel, I feel the happiest. So these things are definitely something to look forward to.
I understand you and your fiance have been creating music together since 2015. Was this at the start of your relationship or did this culminate much later? Does being in a relationship make it easier to write music together?
We started dating a year before we started making music together. In the beginning, I just wanted to be Manuel’s muse, and I didn’t imagine I would actually be part of the music. I think us being together and living together definitely makes it easier and more convenient in all sorts of ways.
How long did it take you to write and record Evocation? What was your experience like compared to your previous album In The Dark Morning?
It took us about a whole year to work on Evocation. It started out as a plan to release an EP, but then it turned into 12 songs. In some ways, it seemed to be more stressful than the first LP. Maybe because we wanted it to be way better than the first one, but I guess that’s normal for every artist to want that. On the other hand, In the Dark Morning almost killed Manuel since he did the mixing, because mixing is hard work, especially when you are a perfectionist. So we had our friend, Chase Morledge, do the mixing for Evocation, and that allowed us to relax a bit. I also think with Evocation, we had more confidence and more of a clear vision..I certainly felt more confident with my vocals since I’d been working on improving them. In the Dark Morning, it was more experimental, we weren’t sure what we were doing, we were new to this music thing, and honestly I will listen to some of the songs now and cringe at my own voice since I was not a singer to begin with.
You guys have several collaborations from other artists on this album including This Cold Night and Suzi Sabotage! What was it like collaborating with other artists besides your fiance? Did you all get together in-person?
It’s fun and interesting working with other artists. They are all so talented and professional, and I appreciate them so much. The difference is that it requires more patience compared to working with Manuel. I’m quite a fast worker, but I need to remember every artist works differently.
None of the songs were done in person. Chase Morledge (This Cold Night) is a good friend of ours from Austin… we have gotten together in person quite a bit, he even lived with us briefly here in Houston, and some of the recording for the album was done in his presence, but we actually did the collaboration song via emails and messages while he was in Austin. Same with the other artists since they are all in different countries. Angel Kauff ( Stockhaussen) is also a good friend of ours who we’ve spent time with in person, but he lives in Mexico. Suzi I haven’t met yet, but she and I do talk a lot and I really like her. I hope to meet her one day, maybe when we go to Europe, it be great to do that song live!
How did you come up with the name Tearful Moon?
It’s a long story, but it all relates to my mystical relationship with the moon, and my melancholy nature.
I presented the name to Manuel, and it seemed to be the only one he liked out of my ideas.
Who are your musical influences?
We have so many different influences between us. For Manuel it’s all underground post punk and darkwave ranging from the 80’s to modern day, and a lot of bands that even I haven’t heard of. We both love Dead Can Dance a lot, but I can say Brendan Perry is a very heavy influence on me. I personally have an eclectic list of influences; Nick Cave, Clan of Xymox, Sade, Billie Holiday, Leonard Cohen, Legendary Pink Dots. I also love all Middle Eastern music with a fiery passion, mostly Iranian. Not sure why, I think I have some prominent past lives on that side of the world.
What keeps you going? Do you and your fiance inspire each other?
What keeps me going is knowing that we all have a purpose on this earth no matter how hard life can be, and that even after death, we still live and evolve. I think we do inspire each other, and we do not feel complete without each other. He’s the best thing to happen to me and vice versa. We are in this thing together, and have built a foundation of both our love and our art.
What do you guys do when you aren’t making music? Any pets or miscellaneous hobbies?
We are actually quite the introverts, although I’m more of an extrovert than he is. We don’t go out much to party, and we are quite the homebodies, but when we do go out, we do enjoy dancing. In fact, that’s how we met… on the dance floor. We mostly just enjoy relaxing together at home. And yes, we do have pets; a black Shih tzu named Neona and a black cat named Davido. Our precious babies.
I have eccentric collections of things such as dolls, and love to spend time with the decor for our house. We also like to travel out to the country although we don’t do it as much as I would like. I hope for us to live in the woods somewhere, some day.
From my understanding you guys don’t have a very big darkwave scene in Houston. What are some of your favorite nearby cities to play for and what are those scenes like?
That is very true unfortunately. I think Austin is slightly better. I do appreciate the vibe there, and there’s always a decent crowd there at our shows, but in my opinion, the scene there for darkwave is still relatively small. Dallas has a great scene of post punk bands, and the last time we played there it was one of our best shows ever. San Antonio has some DJs that play all the good stuff old and new, and they have some fun dance nights, but I can’t say much of playing there since we only played there once. We do have some good friends that live there though. In a nutshell, all nearby cities have a better darkwave scene than Houston.
What would you say you tend to write about in your lyrics?
I usually write about personal experiences, mostly dark and painful ones. The first album, a lot of the lyrics were from poems that had been written in past relationships or during periods of my life when I felt very depressed. For Evocation, most songs were inspired by the loss of a pregnancy I had in the spring of 2016. I do tend to write about my own sensuality, inner demons and the fascination with death, with the spiritual realm. And then nothing is more inspiring than the joy and conflict of love and romance. I’m now working on new songs that will be about the loss of my father (he died just 4 months ago) and the desire to communicate with him.
What’s next in store for Tearful Moon after the EU tour? More collaborations? More writing? More tours?
Well, I hope all of that! I hope more traveling for sure. We do have a plan to collaborate on a song with some friends soon, and I hope to do more collaborations with other artists that I absolutely admire. I suppose after the EU tour, we will be working on finishing a release of an EP that will probably turn into an LP haha.
You really don’t want to miss these guys live, especially if you’re in the Pacific Northwest which often gets ignored in favor of CA. The Portland show they’re playing is part of Out From The Shadows IV Festival, which does individual day and weekend pass tickets available!