Talk Thursday to Me – Mx. Moon

Today we talk to Layn Pieratt about their new musical project Mx. Moon, their marching band days and mixing gender politics with the natural world.

Postcard Editor: Thanks for taking time to chat with me about your singles you’ve released. I know you’re busy teaching high school marching band. How has that been?

Layn Pieratt: Well, it’s been interesting! I’ve always loved marching band. I have a complicated relationship with it because I spent so much of myself dedicated to trumpet playing and competitive band in college and out of college. I needed a break from it, so this is sort of a return to it…and in a pandemic! The students always make it worth everything. Everything hard about it I do for them to have as good of an experience as they can. So great at times, hard at times!

PE: When you say you played trumpet competitively in college and out of it, were you in Drum Corps or were you entering into local Battle of the \Bands with your sick trumpet skills?

LE: I wish it was a sick battle of the bands! No, it was Drum Corps. Which, I loved/hated. It’s so intense and consuming, which totally transfixed me about it. I spent my summers in college doing that. I actually played trumpet my first year, mellophone my second, and was one of the drum majors my final year. Musically, socially, physically, and emotionally it’s such an intense experience. Which, at 19, 20, and 21 was very appealing to me.

PE: What is something you learned from that intense experience that you carry with you into other musical projects, or in life?

LP: Well, primarily discipline. Which can be a great thing, but also a hindrance. It took me a long time to just experience music in a messy human way again. Everything in Drum Corps is very militaristic, and you gain a lot of technical skills and knowledge. But I became very conditioned to dwell on flaws and imperfections. So that’s what I’ve tried to focus on more recently… just feeling things even if it isn’t perfect. The two singles I have released have a lot of imperfections that I am aware of… but I try to let them go and realize that’s what also makes it human. So, I’m trying to find a balance between continuing to improve while also allowing some flaws to just be there. I’ve learned that if I waited for something to sound exactly how I wanted it to, I just would never release anything!

PE: Well the songs sound great so I think if you didn’t get them exactly where you wanted them you definitely got them somewhere very special. Both of the songs have a dreamy quality – no pun intended since the first single is “Violet Dreams” – I’m curious as to who some of the biggest influences for this project are?

LP: Thank you, I’m so glad you think so. Well, I love Tame Impala. I love how he blends acoustic sounds with dreamy synths and vocals. My biggest vocal influence is probably Bon Iver. I like how he transforms his voice to sound ethereal and haunting.

“Violet Dreams” started one day in my prep teaching. I was tired and just wanted to play something on the piano that felt good musically and on my hand. So I just picked that lower register of the keyboard and played that first little thing you hear in the song. Feels like sort of a sigh out. “Violet Dreams” is also just about being nonbinary. I had a lot of fatigue during the election about being genderqueer and seeing the country folks from my hometown just being so oblivious to the queer community and the harm being done to them. Sorry if that’s too political… but this is definitely about just being me whether people believe in queer people or not.

PE: You can get as political as you want in here, especially if it’s what the music is about. Have you written anything that is explicitly political, or has it been more along the lines of “Violet Dreams,” about the emotional aspect of the state of things?

LP: I haven’t written anything too explicitly political… probably the most explicitly clear thing I wrote was this song, “This Love is Not a Sin” for a Coming Out Day Service I played at, for an affirming congregation. That was very on the nose!

PE: Sometimes you gotta give the people what they want! Are the singles part of a larger work? Are you sitting on a full album that will drop eventually or are you releasing songs as they come together as singular entities.

LP: Good question, I have many songs I’ve written that I’m sitting on. Probably about a dozen. I struggle knowing what to do, because I’m still getting to know the current music industry. It seems to be very single focused now! Like promote a single, a month later promote another… My heart wants to release an album, because I love that format. I love having space and time to sort of go on a journey with someone. But, part of me wonders if I should try to see if I can grow more of a fanbase before that! Hard to know what to do!

My sister says I should do more Tik Tok things.

PE: I think the singles model is definitely where it’s at right now, as far as how the dominant systems of distribution are set up. Probably a good idea to go singles first and then drop an album later for the real Moonheads. And yes, as someone who does not have nor want to have TikTok, I still agree with your sister that you should TikTok. Apparently it’s a “whole thing.”

LP: Haha, yes, for the moonheads!

PE: Where does Mx. Moon come from?

LP: Yeah, so Mx. is sort of an alternative to Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. … it’s gender neutral, pronounced like “Mix”.

PE:…and also a tribute to your favorite band MxPx….

LP: Haha of course! And I just like the moon. I like how the word feels, it’s open and pleasant. I love how the moon is silent, still, cool, and calm. Plus, I like associating natural things with gender non-conforming people. So often people talk about transgender people as if they’re “unnatural”…. So I like placing genderqueer themes and people in natural spaces to be like hey, this is the most natural part of us.

PE: Oh that’s awesome, stealthily beautiful. Mx. Moon does sound better than Non-Binary Waterfall although I’d probably buy that album too.

LP: Haha, yes and yes!

PE: You’re also a visual artist, mostly working in film. Does coming from that world inform your music? Or vice versa?

LP: Oh, totally. It’s hard for me to separate the two. I think that’s why I liked marching band so much. Visual art and music just all blend together in my head. I think visual art can be paced in a musical way…. and I think music can be written to create visual worlds in the listener’s heads. The more I learn about film the more I discover about music and vice versa.

PE: So what’s next for the Mx Moon project? Is another single dropping soon?

LP: Oh man, good question. I have another song I think I’ll release as a single next. It’s almost done. I wrote it during quarantine in April. But, I think I’m about to write a lot more too. Without being tmi, the last month of my life has brought some intense changes and feelings. I’ve been writing a lot of lyrics down in my phone notes. I’m about to set up a new studio space and once that is ready I think there will be a flood of things happening… not exactly sure what, but it’ll be fun I think.

PE: Well we’re definitely looking forward to it. Thanks for taking the time to chat!

LP: Thank you so much for wanting to talk to me! It’s been awesome to talk about it all with you. Also, I just realized I said “I think” about 500 times there.

PE: I’ll edit it down to 499

LP: Haha good!

Stay up to date on all of Mx. Moon’s releases by following them on Spotify and Facebook .


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