The Moth & The Flame — An Interview

The Moth & The Flame is definitely a band worth paying attention to. Their
first album blends space- and art-rock with dreamy melodies and thoughtful lyrics,
and the band has been featured in SLUG magazine, Salt Lake City Weekly, KRCL,
RadioWest, and on blogs from around the world. Their 11/11/11 album release
show sold out, causing the band to schedule a second show two days later. After
listening to the album and seeing them perform live, it is obvious that the attention
is well deserved.

I met up with the two core members, Brandon Robbins, and Mark Garbett,
along with their producer/programmer/megaphone-operator, Nate Pyfer, at Muse
Music Café to discuss their music and what they’re planning next.

Tracee: How did you guys start making music? How did you meet and form the
band?

Mark: We started in a different band called “Somber Party” a while ago, and Brandon
started writing his own stuff. We started working on songs and at our first show.
Nate Pyfer was there, and he was like, “let me produce your album.” That’s how it all
began.

Tracee: Does Brandon still write all the songs or is it more of a combined effort now?

Brandon: It’s different; it changes. With the first album, out of necessity, I wrote the
songs and I wrote the structures. Mark added a lot, so it’s kind of a co-write. As far
as the writing, we decided to split it 50/50. The new tracks that we’re working on
now are much more collaborative.

Tracee: Are you coming out with another album then?

Brandon: Eventually. We’re going to push this one obviously, just cause it’s finished,
and we’re pumped about it. We’re going to take it as far as we can and in the
meantime, we’ll work on the next album [and] just kind of demo things out.

Tracee: Are you planning on signing with a label or doing any touring?

Brandon: Not so much planning on signing with someone, but if the right deal comes
up, that’s definitely something we’d be interested in. We’re doing a West Coast tour
in March, and August is when we’re going to try and do our national release. So we’ll
have a lot more [tour] dates then.

Tracee: You’ve gotten a lot of attention and created a large fan base in a pretty short
amount of time. Did that surprise you or did it happen naturally?

Mark: I was surprised.

Brandon: I think it was definitely not natural. We were blown out of our minds
surprised. We put a lot of hard work into it, so I guess with that fact it’s not too
surprising, but at the same time, I feel like we always work our hardest and we don’t
always get the results we want. But things went really well.

Tracee: You’re not releasing your album at all digitally. Why is that?

Mark: I think for this particular album, because of how important the art was in
writing the album, and presenting the album and how we think about it, we wanted
it to be like that. We didn’t want to do digital downloads. In the future we may, but
we still would have to keep that art aspect really strong and essential even in a
digital format.

Brandon: All of us are really old enough that our favorite thing growing up was
buying the physical copy and seeing the artwork. Something about getting the
physical art and having it there makes the experience that much better.

Mark: And the two images say a lot. The way you open the album, you see the first
image, and then you go to the dancing guys.It actually ties into a lot of the themes of
the album, and it’s like the first track of the album.

Brandon: Usually behind a statement, there’s some sort of like entitlement and
pretentiousness where we’re like, “We’re right!” It’s not about that at all.

Nate: Honestly, we love the artwork . . . and that’s the statement I guess.

Tracee: From what I’ve heard of the album and what I think of it, the album seems to
be a lot about disillusionment and disappointment and growing up.

Brandon: It dabbles in a lot actually, and I usually don’t talk about my lyrics much.
All of these lyrics were just written in this growing up phase of my life, and there
were just a ton of different things I had to face, so there’s a mix of disappointment,
depression, just all over the board—so there’s kind of this huge dichotomy of
happiness and bitterness almost.

Nate: That’s what I love about listening to it, is that you get a lot of hints of that
sullenness. You know what I mean? But I always feel hopeful at the end of it. There’s
always such a positive thing that I hear at least. That’s something that I fell in love
with—that it’s not just a complaining record, but that it’s an attempt to really
connect. That’s kind of the silver lining of all of that.

Brandon: If I could sum up all the lyrics in one word, it would be redemption. I think
that’s the single most accurate word to describe the album.