Interview with The Waning Moon… By Tzina Dovve (DJ Lady Davinia)…
The Waning Moon… A new goth rock band/act comes to life on the contemporary underground scene in 2022 ready to take the goth world by storm around the globe with its sharp guitar riffs, uplifting tunes and catchy choruses… Main men Zac Campbell based in Florida in the USA (The Kentucky Vampires) and Ariel Maniki (Ariel Maniki And The Black Halos) based in Costa Rica talk about their long distance collaboration, new album, the goth scene of today and future plans… An in-depth interview on what these gothsters are all about… The Waning Moon… By Tzina Dovve (DJ Lady Davinia)…
Zac – After I had moved out of Kentucky, away from my band mates in The Kentucky Vampires, I had been trying to start up a band to have on the side, but kept struggling to find a vocalist and other musicians to put together a band. After a while of searching and failing to find other musicians locally to work with, I started thinking about working with someone long distance, even potentially outside of the US. I have always admired Ariel as a musician, following bands he was in like Draconian Incubus and of course Ariel Maniki And The Black Halos, so I decided to ask him if he was interested in doing some vocals on some tracks I had created which I believe, if memory serves me correctly, were what became ‘The Burning Woods’, ‘Talisman’ and ‘Annabel’. I think after that the combination just fit perfectly and we soon created out first EP. Currently we have added my wife Maggie to playing live keyboards and Ian Joseph playing live bass, both of which will start contributing to the writing of future material.
Zac – I was looking for another project to keep busy working on music as The Kentucky Vampires had slowed down quite a bit and I also wanted to pursue a more trad goth sound which was different in style and sound to what my other band was doing.
Ariel – I can say in the time I’ve known and have been working with Zac that he is such a prolific songwriter. He’s coming up with just tons and tons of riffs, ideas and material for new songs in all possible moods and styles you could ever imagine all the time. I can see how he reached out basically out of need trying to find a partner to bring those ideas to something more tangible. On the other hand, I wasn’t looking for anything specific as I thought I had enough on my plate at the time, but listening to the demos he shared really clicked something in my head that made me think well why not give it a try? You’re not wrong in thinking that time and availability ends up becoming a challenge while handling different bands and projects, but I think we both were transparent and understanding about these challenges ahead, we respect each other’s time and projects a lot and we work being very mindful of that. Communication and openness plays a big part for us. Sometimes there are offers and things we would like to do that we need to turn down and move to the next thing.
Zac – I think the collaboration is not difficult, as I’m mostly writing all the time and sending ideas to Ariel. We file share online and hash things out until the song forms into its final shape. I think both of us are on the same page with the vision about where the band is going sonically, and it seems like everything comes together naturally, as it should from that. Both of us share a lot of the same inspirations of course so I think that helps a lot for us to both know where things should go and not go and what changes should be made etc.
Ariel – I agree it runs very smoothly. Fortunately, we both have the minimum necessary tools and skillsets to put together demos and ideas quickly and then there’s a lot of back and forth just to fine tune. But yes, as Zac was saying, we’re pretty much on the same page in regards to what direction and sound we feel the band should go with.
Zac – We really went back and forth a lot on the name for quite some time before settling on The Waning Moon. Of course there are some symbolic meanings of death in this. It’s also rooted in pagan elements as well. What in my mind makes it click and become the whole package so to speak is we have been releasing all material, both physical and digital, videos etc and scheduling some of our shows during the Waning Crescent phase of the lunar calendar. The name also made picking the logo a very easy task.
Zac – So far it’s been pretty much myself writing the music and sending that to Ariel to do lyrics and vocals. There are some songs in which we did collaborate on like the ‘Sill’ where Ariel is doing some of the instrumentation. Typically I write and record the instruments on the songs and then once Ariel works them out with the lyrics I may need to go back and make some changes for him to structure the song in a way that helps support the vocals by either extending certain sections or shortening them or speeding things up a bit etc. For me, if I had to choose some of my inspirations that really influence me in my writing for The Waning Moon, I would say the big ones are Rosetta Stone, Nosferatu, Suspiria, Love Like Blood, The Mission, Age Of Heaven, Still Patient? etc.. Pretty much its really just my love of the second wave of 90s goth bands that are a big influence for me.
Ariel – We do coincide a lot on our influences there. As I said Zac’s compositions make it very easy for me and they are my main source of inspiration when it comes to writing lyrics and lyrical melodies. When I get the demos, I think most of the heavy lifting that is already done and then the rest just flows, but I will say I do make a conscious effort to make songs as catchy as I can and there’s two reasons for this. The first reason is who doesn’t like a good dancefloor goth tune that you can dance and sing along to? I think the best song choruses are the ones that work as an auto brain wash when you sing to it. Repeat, repeat and there you go. Now its embedded in you. The second reason is that I need to write lyrics that are easy to remember for myself, otherwise I am pretty sure I’ll be in trouble on stage.
Zac – I think the album has been really well received. It spent some time on the Deutsche Alternative Charts and seems to be getting plenty of rotation on DJ’s playlists that I have seen. I am absolutely happy with how the album has been performing. This is the album that I have really always wanted to make and I really couldn’t be happier.
Zac – I absolutely believe that the visual side is every bit as important as the music itself for a band. I really have enjoyed working with Ariel planning out and creating these videos. I find filming them to be a lot of fun and absolutely have some incredible memories doing them, ones that I’ll never forget.
Ariel – I agree, especially in gothic rock I think what you see has a lot of weight and especially nowadays in a world in which everything is connected. Your imagery and visuals help connect with others as well, letting them see you and seeing what your music is about. It’s also a tool to add depth to your art, or sometimes a way to tell another story besides what the song is already about. I mean, the possibilities are infinite and I really enjoy playing with all these concepts.
Zac – We have been so fortunate and honoured to share the stage already with so many incredible bands. For me there just is nothing like being on stage pouring out my heart through my guitar with family. It’s an indescribable feeling that once you feel it there’s just nothing like it in anything else you do. Every time I come off the stage, I can’t wait to climb back onto another one. We are planning a small tour in Europe next fall but there is not much confirmed to announce yet.
Ariel – I will confess I do enjoy studio work more than the live experience of performing haha. We definitively feel super grateful with the audiences and promoters and all the opportunities we have had so far in such a short period of time. It’s been mind-blowing, but I will also say here’s what we find more challenging, as there are many gigs we would like to do, many places we would love to play, but we then need to figure out agendas as we all have our day jobs and we all live far apart from each other. Band rehearsals are virtually impossible and as I said before there have been so many offers we have had to turn down and maybe we are starting to look like we are a bit of a pain in the butt haha. We would really love to play more gigs but it’s just very difficult. We can only do a small handful of shows per year, therefore we need to be super selective and put a lot of effort to make that happen. Hopefully we’ll be able to announce our plans for 2024 soon.
Zac – I think that that was necessary during the pandemic and I myself was trying to watch as many of them as I could, especially being in the States and getting the opportunity to see bands I loved in other parts of the world doing performances was for sure a treat. I think though, especially for bands like the Waning Moon, where everyone lives in different places that sort of thing isn’t really practical. Now that the pandemic is over and everyone is back out there touring and playing shows I can’t see bands going back to doing that. For bands that are in one place and can meet and perform on video that is an interesting option, but it just cannot compare to going to a show and feeling the emotion in person as a fan or as a band.
Ariel – I understand that whole thing came out of necessity, but I find online events very difficult to enjoy. If my memory serves me well, I don’t think I got myself involved on anything like that. Yeah ,maybe not the smartest thing to do to stay out of this trend, but I just didn’t feel it. I agree with Zac that nothing can beat going to a real gig and if the alternative is a static set up with a not-so-great sound I think I’d rather listen to a band’s album than watch an online gig and this is coming from a guy who lives in a country in which seeing goth bands is not a regular thing at all. I hope bands don’t stay hooked to that and move on to use their resources in better ways, like making cool videos or something else.
Zac – Absolutely! I believe there is a goth revival and you even see older bands coming out of hiatus or retirement and making music again! What a time it is to be alive and a gothrock fan! For me there really are way too many bands to mention out there doing amazing things! It really is impossible to point out any bands in particular as I really love so many bands that are active these days. So many amazing bands keeping the gothrock torch burning!
Ariel – I’m a big fan of Double Eyelid from Canada. Aeon Sable is also a big band for me and I love October Burns Black. Oh gosh I do follow so many bands. I wouldn’t say I am actively looking out for bands because I might not have the time for it, but I’m always open to new stuff when it comes my way and there’s a lot of great new music out there for sure. I am really enjoying being part of such an alive and rich scene with older and newer music.
Zac – That’s difficult to put into a sentence. To me it’s always been about the beauty in death, the macabre and dark romance.
Ariel – To me goth means to look into all aspects of existence that otherwise would be scary, sad, dreadful or even disgusting through the lens of elegance and poetic depth. That’s it for me!
Zac – I would just like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart! None of this would be possible without you all and we appreciate you taking the time to check out our music and listen to us! We hope to be playing somewhere near each and every one of you in the future and we are actively working on new material.
Ariel – We have only one album out but there’s much more where that came from. There’s going to be more of The Waning moon in the long run so stay tuned. Thank you all for your support and we hope to see you all on the road soon.
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