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On the Record with Moon Baby

“I felt a little bit more free to just be crazy.”

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The latest release from local performer and musician Moon Baby (the alter-ego of Sam Perry) feels like an emotional exorcism. In October, Perry’s roommate was tragically killed in a bike accident. Not long after, “I went on vacation with like 15 of my queer friends … and during that was kind of able to vomit out everything I was going through.” The resulting record, Hollywood Killed Tara Reid, blends warmly hypnotic electro-pop beats with riveting vocals and, at times, darkly funny lyrics.

So, making this record has been kind of a cathartic experience?
Yes, the album is like 20 minutes and the range of emotion and expressiveness toward each emotion makes it feel very much like that vacation trip — of just getting it all out at one time.

The record has surprisingly funny moments. How does humor factor in for you?
I think, for me, I started out in performance art as a drag queen. … There’s so much play on identity on the drag world that is humorous, so comedy will kind of always be part of what I do. And looking at the music that I’ve done in the past with this producer, Wise Blood, I’ve never allowed myself to do comedy-type writing, and in this, I felt a little bit more free to just be crazy, I guess. I never want to write parody music, although I love it. It’s just not my style. So this was a way to get that in some sense.

In terms of “being crazy” here, are there specific ways that you see that manifested?
I mean, the song “Undo Retweet” is a total diss track to every drag queen who has ever come for me, and every ex. …. And it’s just funny. Like, I don’t like to put that kind of negative energy out there, but … I’m pointing one finger toward one person, but three back at myself in a way. It feels kind of like it’s OK.
… “Oops I’m Ded Again” … is kind of a joke that comes back on itself. It kind of chronicles the drunken, rolling stupor I was in on that vacation, and the ridiculous performance, essentially, that I gave my friends. … Specifically, when they heard “Oops I’m Ded again,” they were just, like, some of them teary-eyed, but all of them laughing.

You’ve been working with Wise Blood for awhile. What does he bring to the table for you?

We have a really aggressive relationship in terms of how we create. Chris [Laufman] is really genius in his own right and his own understanding of music, but he’s really perceptive toward what I do and how I write, so he’s able to built beats for me ahead of time that he knows I’ll connect with. [For] “California King,” he sent me that beat while I was at work. I downloaded it through my email, listened to the track on my drive home, and we recorded it that night. We really understand each other. His girlfriend calls us the Van Gogh and Gauguin of Pittsburgh music. Because it’s wild and ridiculous, and we fight, but what we fight about is really important to both of us. 

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