Moon Racer

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DJ Ocean Spray 0:00
Hello, this is DJ Ocean Spray, you're listening to WKNC 88.1. HD one rally. And this is another episode of the stripped down. On today's episode, I have the artists behind Moon racer, a local band to the triangle. And here for a few questions. So to start off with, what is your name? And where are you from?

Autumn 0:24
My name is Autumn, and I live in Durham, and originally from around Fayetteville, North Carolina.

DJ Ocean Spray 0:32
And so when did your moon racer project begin?

Autumn 0:36
Um, I've been playing under the name for a few years now. I think really? Wow. Maybe back in? Maybe I may have played my very first show under that name, maybe back in 2016, I think which Wow, what is time?Mysteries.

DJ Ocean Spray 1:02
Um, and so how long have you played instruments?

Autumn 1:07
Um, I started taking piano lessons when I was in sixth grade. And for a couple years, a few years, not too long. And in high school, really wanted to play guitar and tried but came back to keyboard as the instrument that I know how to play, I guess. Yeah. And so when did you start kind of making your own music like, besides the project memories, so I started I guess, making up stuff like back in in high school and playing in different bands in college. Yeah, so it's always been kind of like a fun thing in process. Fun process to you. And so did you.

DJ Ocean Spray 2:06
Were you really interested in music a lot as a child? Are you surrounded by it? Like kind of, I guess what kind of sparked your like interest in music?

Autumn 2:17
Um, I guess I've always been into music. I think I got really interested in independent music and going beyond what was on the radio, probably when I was in maybe ninth grade or so. I had been really into pop radio in middle school. But at the time, when I was in like ninth grade, there was nothing I liked on the radio. So I started going elsewhere and trying to I was checking out cassette tapes and CDs from the public library around Fayetteville. It was pre internet times. Yeah, that's awesome. And then really getting into since I was playing piano, really getting into like Tori Amos, and that was kind of a gateway for me, I guess to explore other things.

DJ Ocean Spray 3:22
And so what is the story behind the name Moon racer?

Autumn 3:27
Oh, great question. Um, so there's, are you familiar with like the holiday animation? Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer is like stop motion. Yes, Rankin and Rankin bass. And the there's the Island of Misfit Toys in that movie, where all the Misfit Toys live their lives. And the king of the Island of Misfit Toys is King Moon racer, and it's a flying lion. And that's where Moon racer comes from.

DJ Ocean Spray 4:04
Did you like do you? Like, did you have a connection to that movie when you were a child or anything? Or like, I guess like, why did you choose that reference?

Autumn 4:13
Um, I just I do really like that movie. And I really liked the music in that movie. And yeah, I did watch it as a child for sure. And it also resonates with me so much as an adult. I think it's, yeah, love it.

DJ Ocean Spray 4:33
So and So what prompted you to start making your own music? Um,

Autumn 4:40
well, I think I started again, I started playing and releasing music as Moon racer, as kind of a more quiet project. I had been playing in kind of a loud Rock Band for a while. Who I love a lot the love language. And that was Oh my god. Yeah.

DJ Ocean Spray 5:10
I didn't know that. I really love their music.

Autumn 5:12
Oh, great. Awesome. That's fantastic. Yeah, I was playing in the love language for a long time. And at the time I started Moon racer was kind of like a another opportunity to explore I guess my own songs and like quite a quieter sort of vibe. Yeah. So kind of like the dichotomy of like, it was so fun to be in a loud rock band with my friends. And then also like a different, like type of balance of then also playing some quieter introspective music by myself or with a smaller group of people, too. So.

DJ Ocean Spray 5:58
Yeah, um, I guess I kind of answered this a little bit, but have you I guess, been a part of any music projects outside of Moon racer or the love language?

Autumn 6:10
Um, wow. Not recently. Um, I have, I guess, like, pre pandemic times. I feel like I was more involved in. Yeah, wow. I'm totally blanking. I've been involved in like some employing in other bands and with friends and in different capacities, but not recently.

DJ Ocean Spray 6:47
Yeah. Um, so if you don't mind me asking, I really like to find out what musicians like day job is if they know Yeah, music full time.

Autumn 6:56
Yeah, I love I'm also fascinated by this too. So it's fun. I am an elementary school teacher. And I came straight here from work today. And I am wearing headphones. That are child, headphones from my classroom.

DJ Ocean Spray 7:15
Do you teach like, What grade do you teach?

Autumn 7:17
I teach K through five English as a second language. So I get to work with a little bit of everybody. Yeah.

DJ Ocean Spray 7:24
So moving into kind of you like creating music and like the process of that. You kind of you haven't released anything since 2019. Do you want to replan to release something else soon?

Autumn 7:40
Um, yes, I would love to I have a lot of songs. Since then. It has been really challenging. Finding the time like to work on things especially. I feel like I went like through some life changes during the pandemic of I had been living in a house for a long time, and then had to move and then have kind of been in a little bit liminal state ever since then, and just finding the physical space to record since I typically record my own music, finding like a physical space, and then also like the mental space with now feeling like I'm working so much. But it's definitely a goal, to release to share. Music again, and always hopeful that it's going to be sooner than later. But yeah, that's

DJ Ocean Spray 8:48
so awesome. And so you record your music at home. How does that? Like, I guess now, you know, you're living in a different space, but like, how would that work? Like, did you have a specific space in your house? Or like, did you do like every step of it, or did you have any friends? It kind of helped with some things?

Autumn 9:11
I think with the moon racer stuff that has been released. Yeah, I did it myself, either in my bedroom or in a spare spot we had in the house and recorded it on a four track cassette recorder with a little bit of overdubbing in the computer, I think, to add maybe a little, a few more layers on some of the songs. But yeah, it was yeah, just myself doing it and mixing it afterwards. And Nik Peterson is who mastered it and I think did a great job. But that was really, I think that was it. Yeah, it was a very, like, solo, introspective process.

DJ Ocean Spray 10:16
How long did the process of like, recording that whole album take?

Autumn 10:23
It was actually pretty quick. I think I did the first three songs or so mostly just live takes with a room mic. And then the remaining songs on the album. Were a little slower. But I remember giving myself a deadline. I did it on like Christmas break. I was also teaching them and I was like, Okay, I did, I think the first three songs over the summer, or maybe over a long weekend, and then that following winter break, I was like, Okay, I'm going to do for more. I've got 10 days. And I just did it. And I felt like at the time, I just, I felt so focused at the time and like really? Like, driven like, Okay, I'm gonna do it, boom, boom, boom. And I did. And I'm like, How did I do? I don't know, it's did that now.

DJ Ocean Spray 11:34
And so, with your songwriting process, do you kind of take like, a split? Like, do you sit down and say, I want to write the songs like I've had these ideas, but I want to write them? Or is it kind of like more of a gradual? Like, it just kind of comes as it does,

Autumn 11:54
I think is gradual. And it comes as it does. And it's usually like, if I am feeling usually sad about something, I will just play around and work something out through that. And then if I am playing around, I'm like, oh, that sounds like interesting, then I'll be recording it like in a voice memo on my phone, and then not listen to it again, to like six months later and be like, What is this and I go back and listen, I'm like, oh, that sounds interesting. And then learn how to do it again, by listening to it. So that's typically like how it's happened.

DJ Ocean Spray 12:42
I guess you kind of answered this a little bit. So is the stuff you when you're writing? Is it based on like old ideas? And like inspiration or kind of like current feelings?

Autumn 12:52
It's usually Yeah, yeah. Typically, it's been like what I'm feeling in that moment, I think, sometimes. Yeah. Yeah, I think yeah, I think that's, I think that's where I kind of want to lie and be like, No, these are all made up. But that would, that would not be true.

DJ Ocean Spray 13:18
So most of your inspiration comes from just like, your own experiences and what you're feeling okay. Um, and do you prefer the, like, creating the music side or performing?

Autumn 13:32
Oh, that's a good question. I like I like both, I think um, yeah, I like both. Both are both have pluses and minuses. Yeah, they can both feel good and they both can feel nerve wracking. So

DJ Ocean Spray 13:58
both and so do you generally create the end spirit or the instrumental parts of a song first or the lyrics? Usually, they

Autumn 14:15
are basically about the same, the about the same at the same time. But maybe sometimes I will have like the instrumental part and be trying to think about lyrics that go with a particular melody or lyrics that don't suck.

DJ Ocean Spray 14:43
We're going to take a quick break to listen to new crush off of Moon racers 2018 album, is it really a secret? And after that, I will continue my chat with Autumn

Autumn 14:55
No one before even matters now. Heard where you were, wrote the address down, dragged my friends with me across downtown, waited outside ‘til we got freaked out. Inside, you were dancing. I know where you work (it’s so close to me). Read about you in an old Indy. When we’re out I am secretly pretending I don’t see you see me, but inside...Inside, where they’re swaying, sigh, waiting. Come on! Won’t you say it? What’s wrong if I’m staying where you are?

DJ Ocean Spray 17:57
Right and so when it comes to the music that you listen to, are there any particular genres or artists that you find? You listen to frequently?

Autumn 18:10
Ah, um, I kind of like, I've, I like a lot of different things. So yeah I think I like a little bit of everything. Yeah, I try to mix it up.

DJ Ocean Spray 18:35
Um, and do you ever find that you get musical inspiration from other musicians?

Autumn 18:41
Oh, definitely, for sure. recently played the show with Dr. Nora the other week. And that was hugely exciting because they are definitely one of my favorites and a big inspiration for many years. So I was so excited that they were coming and playing a show in North Carolina since it doesn't happen. Hardly ever. But yeah, dear Nora had been a huge, a huge influence and inspiration.

DJ Ocean Spray 19:15
And so how would you compare, I guess, the music you listen to when you were like, a teenager or like younger versus now like, Do you think there's a lot that has, like stayed the same? Or like different changes and stuff? And the music that I like to listen to?

Autumn 19:35
Um, wow, great question. I feel like there's definitely some influential and formative bands that from like my high school days that like I do still listen to and are still really, that I stand behind. Yeah, I was listening in high school to a lot of like 1970s Punk was really influential to me. And my perspective. And yeah, perspective on music and art and culture. And today Yeah, I think my, I think I'm more open minded about musical genres, then I was probably as a teenager I was really like anti pop music in my teens. And now I'm just like, No, it's fine. I like it. Sure.

DJ Ocean Spray 20:52
Um, are there any like specific songs that you find that you kind of like, always come back to when you're listening to music? Like, I don't know, if you like don't know what to listen to. You always know that like, that one will do it. Yeah.

Autumn 21:09
Wow, I was just talking about dear Nora, so I'm gonna throw it out again. That album mountain rock by Dr. Nora, for sure. Also, advanced bass, which is the music put out by Owen Ashworth, who used to have a project called casiotone. For that painfully alone. Those albums by both of those names are really important to me. The replacements? Wow. Yeah. There's this Spanish pop star from, I think like the 1970s called Jeanette, who I am always listening to. I like her a lot. And all of like, kind of that easy listening music from Spanish radio, from like the 70s and 80s. I like a lot. Yeah. So all kinds of stuff.

DJ Ocean Spray 22:21
And so when I saw you performing at Neptunes a few weeks ago, you did a few country covers. Oh, yeah. And I really enjoyed that. I feel like I've Yeah, it was like in a very, like, not traditional form of country music. And I really, I really liked it, it was so cool. Awesome. Thanks so much. And I was just wondering, like, what's your process? Like? Like, how do you take, you know, like, the, like, traditional, you know, version of the song, and turn it into, like, the style that you play it in?

Autumn 22:59
Well, I feel like I'm pretty limited in what I can do. So the limitation of like, just me being like one person with a keyboard. And the keyboards I play are, like, like Casio keyboards, like, I have, like a finite amount of settings I have. Like, I've, like it's not even, like an aesthetic choice. I feel like I mean, it becomes one but like, I'm very not computer savvy or technology savvy, or like I know a lot of performance issues, APR, 10, and laptops. And like, I just don't know how to do those things. I'm like, I've got this keyboard, it has 40 sounds on it. And let's go. And now this is what this country is, like.

DJ Ocean Spray 24:06
Um, and so, do you play covers often?

Autumn 24:11
I do. I do really like playing covers. I think, like you said, it's fun to reinterpret them with your own sound. And also, it takes a lot of the self consciousness away, like when you write a song, you might like it, but you're like, I don't know if other people are like this, or is this even good? Like you get like in your head. And with a cover you're like, No, I know this is good because this is a song I like. So yeah, it gives you kind of like a sense of confidence that maybe sometimes you don't have about your own music because you're just a fan of the song and it makes it easier to say or to share or to reinterpret it. So yeah, I do really like covers a lot.

DJ Ocean Spray 25:05
Yeah, definitely. And so are they usually like country songs? Or do you like, kind of just like mix it up with like, like, all different types of genres? Yeah, I've

Autumn 25:16
played kind of, I feel like I feel like I've done a lot of different genres. I remember I used to, like, play like a Ramones song. Like in the olden days, I've played like, there's a magnetic field song on the cassette that I've played. Yeah, and right now, those two country songs just feel good to play. So yeah, like playing those right now

DJ Ocean Spray 25:51
And do you have a favorite venue that you've played at?

Autumn 25:55
I like all of our triangle venues so much. So yeah, so we met at the Neptune show the other week, but also kings and Raleigh. I've been lucky to play there. And that pinhook in Durham? And yeah, we are really lucky to have so many awesome places here, that triangle, and I feel like this sense of community here is a really special thing. Yes.

DJ Ocean Spray 26:27
And so do you often go to other musicians concerts?

Autumn 26:33
Yes. i Yes. i tried to for sure.

DJ Ocean Spray 26:37
Are there any particularly like good ones that you've been to recently?

Autumn 26:42
I feel like I have not been to many shows recently. But I know there are some coming up. Speaking of the link love language, Stu has a new band called fancy gap. And they're playing their first triangle shows coming up in May, I believe. So if there's any lovely witch fans out there, I would recommend checking those out if you want to. And let's see what else I need to look at my concert calendar. That's the one that comes up. Right off the top of my head. Yeah. Yeah.

DJ Ocean Spray 27:26
Um, and so I also really liked to ask musicians about their album art. Uh huh. So, um, what is your like? Where did your album art come from? And like, what is your, I guess the thought process behind it? Oh, nice.

Autumn 27:43
Um, so both the cassette tape and also the single that came out in 2019 are images that I drew myself. The the single, which is that country cover of the patty loveless song, you can feel bad if it makes you feel better. Is someone getting up post breakup hair cut? And image for is it really a secret is a little desert scene with a cactus and a scorpion. And I love Arizona and the desert. And I lived there for a few months after college. And I guess thinking about desert solitude is how the Project Moon racer felt like an exploration of loneliness. And yeah, so that's that.

DJ Ocean Spray 28:48
And so within, like, the moon racer project, do you ever plan on collaborating with other artists? Or do you kind of plan to keep it as just, you know, something that you create by yourself?

Autumn 29:05
Um, great question. I definitely do love playing with other people am so, yeah, um, I've been lucky to have a few different iterations of Moon racer, where some friends have played drums. Tom Simpson, who's an amazing drummer who plays in Speed Stick and also the love language. Played a bunch of shows with me and will hack me and Duncan Webster, who plays on hammer no more the fingers. Um, all awesome, fantastic friends who have kindly joined me at different shows over the years, so yeah, I'm always thinking about trying to record with other people. I think logistically, sometimes it's more challenging to record or to have band practice with more than one person. So, so we'll see. Yeah, I'm definitely would love to have more people involved. So we'll see.

DJ Ocean Spray 30:26
And do you have any shows coming up?

Autumn 30:30
I don't have any shows on the books right now. I had been playing more often, and I haven't lately, but hopefully getting back into a space where that is more part of my normal existence again. I think it's crazy to think like, we're now like, four years after the pandemic, but it's just like, I feel like it changed so much. I feel like it changed kind of the the music scene like in the music community that we're in, and it's changed touring so much. And just like rent, it's changed so much. And it's definitely been like a process to try to like, figure back a figure out how music is still a big part of me. But yeah, I have not been playing as many shows as I used to Long story short, DLD. But hoping to always like hoping to get back to that sense of being normal again.

DJ Ocean Spray 31:54
And where can the listeners find you on like Instagram Bandcamp, Spotify? Cool.

Autumn 32:00
Um, yes. So all my music is on Bandcamp and Spotify and all of those streaming things too. And my Instagram is not Moon racer, but it's SEPT like September. OCT like October in NOV, like November because my name is Autumn and that's my instagram handle.

DJ Ocean Spray 32:30
Big shout out again to autumn for coming into the station today and letting me ask her a few questions about loon racer. I will be sending the listeners off with one more song and it is autumns cover of you can feel bad by Patty loveless this has been another episode of the stripped down and I'm DJ Ocean Spray and you're listening to WKNC 88.1 FM HD one Raleigh thank you so much for listening

Autumn 33:01
The car is runnin' and your bags are packed
I guess that says it all
Your head is hangin' and you look real sad
Maybe you shoud've called
You say you think you need a brand new start
You're really sorry that you broke my heart
Well I'm not really fallin' apart but baby
You can feel bad if it makes you feel better
Picture me cryin' reading all your love letters
Walkin' around in your old sweaters baby
You can feel bad if it makes you feel better
Maybe I'll go out tonight yeah I'll paint the town
And maybe I'll run into you while I'm runnin' 'round
There's a good chance I'll be alone
An even better one that you won't
And when it's time for me to go home baby
You can feel bad if it makes you feel better
Picture me cryin' reading all your love letters
Walkin' around in your old sweaters baby
You can feel bad if it makes you feel better
If it makes you feel something
Yeah take another look at these tears I'm crying
They're not fallin' on your shoulders they're fallin' on mine
Yeah I've seen this comin' for a long long time
Now I'll be just fine
You can feel bad if it makes you feel better
Picture me cryin' reading all your love letters
Walkin' around in your old sweaters baby
You can feel bad if it makes you feel better
You can feel bad if it makes you feel better
Picture me cryin' reading all your love letters
Walkin' around in your old sweaters baby
You can feel bad if it makes you feel better
If it makes you feel something
If it makes you feel better

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