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.”
- The Cost of Living (EP, 2020, Self-released)
- Trying! (Single, 2020, Self-released)
File next to: Nilufer Yanya, Vagabond, King Princess, Arlo Parks
Image: all images courtesy of Mami Moon; Samone Zena (body image 1)