If any band is a poster child for turning the power of positive thoughts and intention into reality, it’s the explosive horn-and-percussion trio Moon Hooch. In just a few short years, the group, Mike Wilbur, fellow horn player Wenzl McGowen, and drummer James Muschler, has gone from playing on New York City subway platforms to touring around with some powerhouse groups like Beats Antique, They Might Be Giants, and Lotus, as well as selling out their own headline shows in major venues around the country. The band uses everything they’ve learned from their whirlwind journey to push their sound to new heights. That melds together the raw, transcendent energy of their live performances and the sleek sophistication of their studio work into a singular, intoxicating brew that blends elements of virtuosic jazz, groovy funk, and pulse-pounding electronic dance music. At their performances, the band now plays through what they call a “Reverse DJ” setup, in which the live sound from their horns runs through Ableton software on their laptops to process recorded effects onto the output. In addition, to flesh out their sound on the road, the band began utilizing Moog synthesizers, an EWI (an electronic wind instrument that responds to breath in addition to touch), and other more traditional instruments like clarinets. Mike has even added vocals to his repertoire on some tracks (something the subway never allowed him to do).
I had the chance to speak with Mike Wilbur about the groups upcoming stop in Madison on September 29th at the Majestic Theatre. We get into what both newcomers to the scene and people who have tasted the Moon Hooch earlier on can expect from the now version of the group. Which direction has that live sound taken in 2018? We get into how the new three track EP “Light It Up” got off the ground. BY the end of the conversation, I was wishing Mike was in studio with me helping prepare a setlist of music….as you will hear, he would play and arrange a show in a very familiar fashion as to what people expect on greenarrowradio.