[Scofield] from Sea Witch
and asked her, ‘You know any girls who play guitar?'” the Bay Area musician who also performs with Humid
The woman Scofield had in mind was Carissa Quiambao, lead guitarist of the dreamy-folk-pop band the Lavenders. The pair started to work on songs together straight away. It would be “four or five months” before the Moon Daze lineup was complete, with the additions of Xander England on drums, and Alex Cohen on bass.
“Everyone’s just very gung-ho,” Cohen says. “We’ve all been in bands where there’s a lot of drama, and you don’t really end up moving forward because people can’t agree on what kind of music you’re going to play and what kind of shows you’re gonna book. But for us that hasn’t been a problem,” he explains. The four met as strangers, however, they felt they were finding their goove quickly.
In October of 2017, six months after that initial phone call, Moon Daze were ready to play their first show: a Thursday night at Elbo Room. “We promoted the shit out of that show, but, it’s also our first live show we’d ever done,” Maschmeyer recalls when thinking back to their debut performance as Moon Daze.
“Me and Carissa, we’re doing our makeup, and we came out of the dressing room…”
“We kind of look at each other, and we’re like, ‘Holy fucking shit!…’” Quiambao shares.
When the pair looked out, they were startled by the number of people there. “[We thought] we really hope we don’t fuck this entire thing up because, damn, there’s so many people here.”
Their debut single, “Leather Jacket,” is a song overflowing with laid-back Californian sassiness. Moon Daze, though, are still finding their sound, which Maschmeyer describes as “honing in on the sixties and…a surfy garage [sound that] is timeless.” They also deliberately fuse elements of dream-pop so they can “rock out” on guitar.
For a new band still figuring out how to create together, Moon Daze know they need to be about more than just the songs. “Too many musicians go unpaid, and we spend hours and hours working on [music],” Maschmeyer says. Maschmeyer loves the Bay Area and speaks candidly on its ever-changing music scene: “It makes you, like, a little bit more special to be from the Bay Area,” she says. “People talk a lot of shit, and it makes me really mad because I’ve lived here for 13 years and…everybody’s like, ‘Oh, it sucks now, the culture is dying,’ this and that, and I get so upset.
“That’s not true in my opinion. I see new bands come out all the time that are super good…and it’s like, if you really think that that’s the case, then you need to like get your ass to some shows and actually see what’s going on because there’s actually still always cool people moving here and new things happening,” Maschmeyer passionately affirms. “I think it’s just important to roll with the punches and try to be adaptable to the changes instead of running away, because that’s just making the problem worse. If all the artists leave because ‘it sucks here now,’ then the whole thing is going to be dead. So you have to stand your ground.”
Moon Daze are making their stand through embracing the Bay Area culture of hustling to make it. They record locally, and Maschmeyer has taken the lead in organizing their shows. They seem set on making Moon Daze a success while continuing to call the Bay Area home.
Moon Daze’s third show was at Amnesia, and the band started to see evidence their hard work was paying off. “One of my favorite memories at Amnesia,” shares Quiambao, “[was] watching Florie. I wanna say you” — she looks at Florie — “Were wearing a fur coat — I don’t know if you were, but I’m just gonna pretend you were— you were counting money that we earned and handing it to the bands. I just remember looking at Florie and being like, ‘Fuck yeah. This is fucking dope. Look at this fucking female musician, making money and handing it to these dudes we’re playing with.’ It’s so cool to see female musicians, like doing shit, making money, like trying to get it because it’s a very new phenomenon. At least in my perspective.”
“I see new bands come out all the time that are super good…and it’s like if you really think that that’s the case, then you need to like get your ass to some shows and actually see what’s going on.”
Moon Daze are what happens when passionate musicians decide to try and make it work in the place they call home — even as others are leaving. “The Bay Area used to be a place people would see as a destination; if I want to be a professional musician, I can make it happen in San Francisco, I can make it happen in Oakland,” contemplates Cohen. He goes on to say how the cost of living may have changed that, however, Moon Daze are trying to buck the trend of artists and musicians leaving.
“We want to get people excited about going to concerts,” says England. “I think that that magic still exists in Bay Area, even if people try to say otherwise.”
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