Photo by Nuna @vetiverana
Musician Catherine Moan is new to the Philly scene, but making a splash around town. Most notably as a frequent performer on bills at venues like Ortlieb's in Northern Liberties and as a signee of Born Losers Records. Our good friend Danielle Johnson ran into her recently at Jackson Inn, a Wilmington, DE venue, where they traded some words that began this interview. Johnson followed up with Angel, the person behind the moniker Catherine Moan, for an in-depth chat about their process and unconventional relationship with performance.
CM: My name is Angel, my pronouns are She/They and I was raised in Mount Laurel, New Jersey!
CVZ: You told me at Jackson Inn you only recently started writing and recording yourself. What age was your first music release and what inspired it?
CM: Yes! So my first music release was this song called "Love Bites." I had been dabbling with making beats and little loops for the past year and in the middle of 2019 winter I felt that first electric shock of emotion/inspiration whatever you would call it to transfer a feeling into a song. The sound was very inspired by slower paced pop songs with a synth/overdriven electronic sound. I found a crunchy electronic timbre really conveyed a certain type of emotion. Writing that first song really got a ball rolling and it became an obsession to write music, and I will not stop.
CVZ: What pushed you to get onstage?
CM: I was pushed by the desire to influence people to dance and experience loud intoxicating tunes, sharing links to songs on social media can only get you so far. Up until my first performance I was a very reserved and shy person. It took me years just to build up the courage to sing into a mic alone in my bedroom. So the transition to on-stage was terrifying, to put it mildly. It felt imperative to me to see if my music connected with people in person, and a core reason I even make music is because I like the way it affects your body and mind. The phrase "breaking the ice" really comes to mind when recollecting the experience of my first onstage experience. I was trembling with fear because literally it was something I never did before. Things were shakey during the first song, but eventually I loosened up and got so hypnotized by the fun of dancing in time to my own songs and getting people to dance blasting through loud monitors.
CVZ: Is your name a nod to The L Word?
CM: WOW. That connection didn't even click in my brain. I wish I could retroactively say yes, that is what it means. The name comes from a conceptual yearning, inspired by a juxtaposition of catholic ideas of virginity & celibacy against an inherent queer sexual desire that can unravel faith. Also, it sounds kinda cool.
Photo by Nuna @vetiverana
CVZ: What's your song writing process like?
CM: My song writing process is kind of like putting together puzzle pieces. Usually I start off with an 8 bar jingle and mumble gibberish and freestyle until a good verse/chorus comes to me. I run around my room messing with all my instruments, sit in the shower humming melodies and lyric ideas, and sometimes just write lots of stupid goofy rhymes in a notebook. And only if I'm dancing to my beat and have it stuck in my head all day will I know it's time to sit down and put in the work to put it all together into a cohesive song! There are quite a few songs that never got finished because they just didn't give me that intense feeling of excitement.
CVZ: What can we look forward to from you?
CM: Right now I just have my new song called "Soda Pop"! For the next year or two I really want to wind down and refocus myself musically. It's always been about fun, play, and experimentation to me, and I don't want to lose sight of that. It might be a long time before I put out another release, but you can bet I'll be hopping all around singing and dancing on stages. I can't get enough of that.
CVZ: What Philly bands or artists should we check out?
CM: Some of my fav local bands right now are: Mesh, Korine, Total Rubbish, Horse Divorce, and Cheeky.
Follow Catherine Moan on socials
IG: @catherinemoan_ Twitter: @catherinexmoan