AUSTIN BASED INDIE ROCK
POWERHOUSE MOVING CASTLES
KEEPS THE PASSION FLOWING AND ROUGH
EDGES INTACT ON THEIR PROVOCATIVE
DEBUT EP ‘TWIN DAGGERS’
They may call themselves Moving Castles—and no doubt they’ll be out touring the U.S. soon—but for now, the high energy art-pop influenced band is firmly planted on the thriving indie scene in Austin, Texas.
Funny thing about the city where South By Southwest takes over every year, though. Frontman, guitarist and main songwriter John Eric laments in the infectious, biting tune “Warhol” that everyone there keeps up appearances by acting disinterested in everything; it’s a whole culture that’s partying but not having fun doing it. It’s not up to one powerhouse band to change a this ingrained mindset, but if anyone can inspire intense passion live and in the studio, it’s Eric and his cohorts Daniel Zane (guitar/vocals), Marshall Garrett Berry (guitar/vocals) and drummer Nick Cogdill. Moving Castles draws a provocative line from their song “Hush My Bones” to make the title of their debut 5-track EP as cutting edge as they are: Twin Daggers.
Drawing on the spirit of the pop-punk music he listened to growing up and taking its energy to a more intelligent level, Eric calls Moving Castles’ vibe slightly snarky, sometimes aggressive pop with very personal lyrics. “This EP shows what we can do on our own with absolutely no budget,” he says. “It shows that I can write and record great songs without the help of an outside producer. I intentionally left some rough edges on this recording. We wanted it to sound like a band playing together in a room with a lot of energy.
“Personally,” he adds, “I want this EP to reflect the honesty of the songwriting, that we aren’t pandering to any demographic or trying to force success in any way. All of these songs are based on real people and events. We’re an honest band that plays the old fashioned way, with very few gimmicks. Before coming together to form Moving Castles, Nick, Marshall and I were in a pop group with a strong lead singer, but looking back, it was like we were pandering to a younger audience just to be successful. We’ve learned along the way the value of personal integrity in making music.”
After the fallout of spending a year touring and playing guitar with the aforementioned group, Eric got the guys together with a slightly different lineup in late 2009 to start playing some of his songs for the fun of it. Eric and Zane were roommates at one point when the singer says he was starting to come into his own as a songwriter. They would write crass, inappropriate and funny songs in the hopes of being the next Ween. This past year, each member relocated to Austin where Trevor Tull and Matty Panera, who play with the band in their live shows, live. Eric asked Tull to help him record and mix the EP. Moving Castles began playing opening slots on shows in East Texas, then began playing at a local rock bar in Tyler, Texas, where they had the surreal experience of opening for Alien Ant Farm, who Eric listened to when he was in high school; according to Eric, the gig was more surreal in theory than in practice! Recent dates in Austin include opening for Quiet Company and an event at Antone’s put on by The Toadies and local rock station 101x.
In addition to “Warhol,” which uses the pop art icon to lament the lethargic culture of their new surroundings, Twin Daggers includes the fiery “Sick Girls,” which chronicles a nasty prank played on Cogdill by a female friend in another city conspiring with her pals; and “Hush My Bones,” about Eric’s desire to be different in a 20something world where promiscuity is encouraged; essentially introverted around women, he seeks out one who can simply stop him from being so nervous.
“In the previous bands I worked with,” Eric says, “I contributed to the songwriting, but I was never the lead singer, so my role in Moving Castles really speaks about the confidence I now have in myself to be out there in front of people, projecting to the crowd and let them hear every emotion. Playing lead guitar is all about nailing specific parts, but being the frontman puts me in a unique situation, especially for an introverted person. It’s so much fun playing with these guys and we love having the opportunity to share our true selves so earnestly.”