Perhaps it’s the gentle lilt of his voice, or his unique, interstellar moniker, but there’s something dreamy about Jeremiah Moon and his music.
As a teaser for his forthcoming 2022 debut EP Sputnik, the Seattle cellist and singer-songwriter spins a whimsical indie folk-pop dreamscape with the release of his debut single “Kinds of Light,” and its accompanying video.
For Moon, who grew up in Colorado Springs and went to school at Boston University for classical performance, releasing original music like this was always the dream—it just took him some time to realize it.
Growing up the son of a professional orchestral violinist, Moon and his three sisters all took up string instruments early—Moon started cello at age 7—and continued with the study of classical music into their adolescence. As Moon said, it was “just what we did.”
“Mom and Dad said, ‘Alright, you’re going to go practice now,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, I guess I’m going to go practice now.’ Once I was in high school, I started realizing, this is hard… but I’m grateful for it now,” Moon remembers.
He eventually decided to pursue a degree in classical performance at Boston University, and says that his time in Boston helped expose him to a variety of different musicians at the top of their craft. “It was also very intimidating,” he says. At the same time, Moon realized a career in the classical world wasn’t quite right for him—his love for music felt different. “I learned pretty quick that I wasn’t going to go get a Masters in performance and then start doing orchestral auditions. I did not feel the same things they felt about practicing and workshopping and studying and learning all the repertoire.”
After graduating, Moon took some time away from the classical music community, unsure what music path he’d like to pursue, if any. In 2013, he moved to Seattle and worked in retail for a few years—but felt a lack of direction, though he continued to write songs in private, a habit he’d developed in high school. “Later in high school I had a wild hair and I started to write some songs,” Moon recalls. “People were like, ‘Hey, this is actually really good – you should keep doing this,’ and I sort of put that in my pocket and didn’t really take it too seriously.”
Then, a new friend he met asked him a question that changed everything. “She asked me why I wasn’t taking myself more seriously as an artist,” he says. “I was forced to take a step back and sort of seriously consider questions like, what do you really want? What do you feel like you have to offer?” Not long after that reckoning, Moon re-examined his life and decided to take the pop music he’d been making for himself beyond his bedroom. Thus, Sputnik was born.
Since the fall of 2017, in collaboration with producer Adam Black, Moon has been writing and refining his debut EP. In the process of doing so, he sent a demo off to a few of his friends when Chris Mansfield from Fences heard it and liked it. He helped Moon get in contact with the Enci Records, with whom he’s now signed.
Moon decided to call the project Sputnik because the word translates as “fellow traveler” and much of the content of his debut contends with inter-relational questions brought up by the end of a previous romantic relationship. With the title, he also gets to bring in his interest in string theory and the forces of interconnectedness in the universe.
“I think I was trying… to process maybe what an ideal relationship would be like and in terms of relationships, what they’re for, and what we give to the people around us,” he says. ” I don’t really understand string theory much at all but I was told there was this concept of like every particle in the universe having some sort of relationship with every other particle – this intrinsic relationship that’s kind of unshakeable. I’m sure any scientist would cringe at me describing it that way, but the idea behind that to me is really beautiful and interesting and something I couldn’t shake.”
Moon’s debut single “Kinds of Light” stems from a few more specific inspirations, too. Namely, his love of Bon Iver and his skepticism in the romantic concept of the artistic recluse retreating into nature for inspiration. In fact, the phrase “Kinds of Light” is a reference to a hermit artist character in the footnotes of David Foster Wallace’s encyclopedic Infinite Jest. “I had this skepticism—how honest is this idea?” says Moon. “So I wanted to explore it through [my own] character.”
Moon is also a talented illustrator. He brings music and illustration together briefly with an animation he contributed to the video for “Kinds of Light.”
In the next few months as he gears up to officially release the EP, he plans to release more singles, along with videos he hopes to play an active artistic role in. He also plans to play some local shows and begin planning a tour.
“I love making music more than I ever have,” says Moon. “I have so many ideas I want to chase, different sounds I want to try on, and my goal is just to keep doing this as long as I possibly can.”