Introducing: Mami Moon

Mami Moon’s music feels like a com­fort­able fan­ta­sy: feel-good psy­che­delia with an edge of rye humour. And her desire to make these mor­eish melodies has helped her cope with her own com­pli­cat­ed reality.

Arielle Lavian is Mami Moon, a self-taught song­writer, singer and pro­duc­er from Los Ange­les, Cal­i­for­nia. In her music – a mix­ture of gui­tar picks, synths and ethe­re­al vocals – she weaves dif­fi­cult emo­tions beside uplift­ing melodies in a dis­arm­ing manner.

“When I was about 10 years old, my cousin passed away,” Mami Moon told Fringe Fre­quen­cy. “That hap­pened right around the time when ‘The Funer­al’ by Band of Hors­es had come out. Lis­ten­ing to that was real­ly ther­a­peu­tic for me. I asked my mum for piano lessons, so that I could learn to play it. Her response was: ‘I’ve signed you up for dance, gym­nas­tics, and you quit every­thing’. I was like: ‘Ok. Bet I’ll teach myself!’ And I did.”

“I try to make sure the music feels good, and if I am dis­cussing a heav­ier top­ic it’s just as heal­ing as it is heavy” – Mami Moon

From there, she com­bined her love of poet­ry writ­ing with basic chord pro­gres­sions, and Mami Moon was born.

Being hon­est in her music is impor­tant to Mami Moon. And it’s a big part of what makes a song like ‘Sulk’ so revi­tal­is­ing. This song is the high­light of her debut EP, The Cost of Liv­ing: an ice-cool col­li­son of dream-pop sen­sa­tions and sooth­ing vocals by Mami Moon and her friend Sum­mer Breeze. Also on the EP, she spars with self-doubt amid sparky pop on ‘Enough’ and the more melan­choly ‘He Thinks I’m Mad’.

“Some songs are more uplift­ing and oth­ers are melan­choly,” said Mami Moon. “Either way, I try to make sure the music feels good, and if I am dis­cussing a heav­ier top­ic it’s just as heal­ing as it is heavy.”

Speak­ing about what dri­ves her to cre­ate, she said: “I realised my anx­i­ety was some­thing that could dri­ve me as much as it debil­i­tates me. My anx­i­ety wakes me up ear­ly in the morn­ing. It can keep me up at night. Both oppor­tu­ni­ties to work on music. My anx­i­ety tells me I’m not con­tent where I am and to keep push­ing forward.

“I have high-func­tion­ing GAD [gen­er­alised anx­i­ety dis­or­der] and I know that music can always relieve my symp­toms. So, that’s a huge rea­son I spend so much time on it. Aside from the fact that I love it.”

Her biggest cre­ative influ­ences so far are Nilüfer Yanya, Amy Wine­house, Haley Williams, and A Tribe Called Quest, as well as her friends and herself.

Steady prac­tice and cool­head­ed­ness has been serv­ing her well, because Mami Moon’s music is already devel­op­ing an iden­ti­ty of its own. She pirou­ettes play­ful­ly away from a suiter’s advances in ‘Kiss­ing on Me’. ‘Power/Time’ is a pul­sat­ing wake-up call of slow per­cus­sion and low vocal tones. And her lat­est sin­gle, ‘Try­ing!’, is ener­getic alt-rock made for sun­ny week­ends and all those that just need a long break from it all.

Mami Moon’s engag­ing intro­spec­tion cou­pled with her splen­did alt-rock and psych feels mighty cool. Her music would fit right in with the inti­mate, wavy songs that sound­track Books­mart. If you enjoy the likes of Mac DeMar­co, King Princess or Arlo Parks, you’ll appre­ci­ate her takes on the self.

Mami Moon is cur­rent­ly seek­ing man­age­ment and she is work­ing on more music.

“I want to be able to con­nect with peo­ple, col­lab­o­rate with peo­ple, and go on tour. I think about tour­ing a lot, and am def­i­nite­ly man­i­fest­ing it.”

Select­ed discography

  • The Cost of Liv­ing (EP, 2020, Self-released)
  • Try­ing! (Sin­gle, 2020, Self-released)

File next to: Nilufer Yanya, Vagabond, King Princess, Arlo Parks


Social media: Face­book, Insta­gram, Twit­terSpo­ti­fy, Apple Music, Sound­Cloud

Image: all images cour­tesy of Mami Moon; Samone Zena (body image 1)