Meet The Moon City Masters: Brooklyn twins reviving 70s groove-rock
For those that are searching for a band with influences steeped in the golden era but confidently driving it into the 21st century, look no further
“We love the TV music shows from [the 70s] like Midnight Special, Old Grey Whistle and Top Of The Pops,” admits Talor Steinberg, guitar player and vocalist for The Moon City Masters. Their homage to Southern boogie, hard rock and bands such as Humble Pie and Grand Funk Railroad is plain to see, but it’s their ability to add a brand-new sheen that’s equally refreshing and captivating.
While it’s obvious that this could be something blaring out of your dad’s car stereo, their songwriting is streamlined and delivered with pin-point accuracy, perfectly placing a vocal harmony or guitar melody that does nothing but put a grin on your face and convince you to dig out those flares you knew would come back into fashion.
Choosing to focus solely on releasing a string of singles independently, they’re not solely hung up on old-school methods or vintage instruments, choosing to use modern Harmony models and working alongside the Grammy-nominated Justin Craig.
What first inspired you to pick up a guitar?
“When I was 11, my dad took me and my brothers to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers. At one point in the show, John Frusciante sang and played a song on his own called Maybe by The Chantels; it was just such a powerful and cool thing to see. The next morning, I asked my parents for a guitar.”
Tell us about your main guitar and pedal setup.
“I go back and forth between my Harmony Rebel and Heritage H-150 but at the moment – I’ve really been feeling my Rebel. As far as pedals go, I keep it pretty simple. I’m mostly using my Analog Man King of Tone, a Flint by Strymon, and a Teisco Delay pedal. I have other pedals Like a wah, chorus and a compressor but I only really use those for cover gigs or sideman stuff.”
What do you sound like and what’s interesting about your approach to playing guitar?
“That’s a tough question! I’m primarily influenced by 70s blues-based rock and soul music, but I had an 80s shredder and jazz fusion phase when I was a kid, so I think it all shows in my playing. I think I have my own sound as a guitarist but I’m not reinventing the wheel [laughs]. What’s interesting about my playing is the way I play with my brother, Jordan. He started bass right when I started guitar and we learned everything together, the way we play is meant to complement each other.”
What is it that draws you to Harmony and Heritage guitars?
“I’ve always been interested in Heritage guitars because they’re a continuation of that golden era of guitar building. Before getting the H-150 I was on a real vintage kick and I had some cool guitars, but the problem with a lot of those player grade vintage guitars is they aren’t the most durable gigging guitars. The H-150 gives all the vintage hard rock sounds I want but it’s more durable, stays in tune better, and plays amazing!
“The Harmony might be my favourite guitar for recording because, along with the amazing playability, it’s just so versatile. I can get big riffing rock sounds out of it, but it has such an amazing clean sound too. My producer Justin Craig was so blown away with it when we recorded, he got himself one too!”
What does Justin’s production style bring to the table?
“So many things, he’s like a third band member when we’re in the studio. Aside from playing the drums, keys, and sometimes additional guitar. He really helps us trim the fat off our song ideas and elevates them to an even better place. He tries to bring out the best version of us.”
When’s your next record out and, in your opinion, what song stands out most?
“We’re focusing on putting singles out every two months instead of doing albums or EPs for now. We’re really proud of Takin’ It Back and we have a new song coming out in March that I think is our best song so far. That being said, I think every artist thinks their latest work is their best!”
Where does your 70s revivalist aesthetic draw its influence from?
“Honestly, the brains behind our aesthetic is my fiancée, Maris Jones. She’s incredible. Like my brother and I, she has a deep love of the visuals from that era. Bands Like Grand Funk Railroad, Rainbow and Humble Pie but we also all love the TV music shows from that time.”
What’s your most memorable gig and when can we see you play next?
“We’ve played some cool music festivals and venues but my favourite gigs I’ve done are at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. The crowds are always amazing, and I love playing packed little rooms. Sadly, I have no idea when we’re playing a show again. I’m already working on booking but until this pandemic is under control…”
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
“Doing what I do now! But with bigger audiences and playing all over the world.”
Takin’ It Back is out now on all streaming platforms.