Moon Sounds: Grave City Interviews the Dallas Shoegaze/Postpunk Label

 Dallas label Moon Sounds will celebrate its 5th year in 2017. With about 30 artists on its roster, Grave City decided to interview the shoegaze and postpunk imprint.

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In person, Jacques Urioste is quiet and unassuming — even reserved. But the label owner’s humble in-person demeanor belies the impressive years-long accomplishment of his Dallas imprint, Moon Sounds Records. Later this year the Texas shoegaze and dream-pop label will celebrate its 5th anniversary, and Jacques is well on his way to marking that achievement with a showcase next week (March 13) at Club Dada and a new EP by electronic dreamwave act Lunar Twin on March 17.

With about 30 artists on his roster — including acts from as far away as Sweden, Denmark, and Australia — and four previous label showcases behind him, I asked Jacques if anyone in Dallas had interviewed him before. “No one has officially. Or formally for that matter,” he responded. “Someone tried to once, but I had a feeling they did just to get free stuff. They never posted about it.” Well, Grave City to the rescue!

Below, I caught up with Jacques about Moon Sounds’ past, present, and where his noteworthy venture is headed in the future.

moonsoundsrecordslogoJacques Urioste/Moon Sounds Records was interviewed by Oliver/Grave City in March, 2017.


When did Moon Sounds start? How long have you been around?

Moon Sounds Records started in December of 2012, on a whim. I needed a healthy outlet to cope with the stresses of all that I had going on at the time and one day, on my way home from a particularly bad day; I looked up and saw the moon. It was in its waning crescent position so it appeared as though smiling. I’ve always had a fondness for the moon. So when I got back to my place, I was sitting on the floor with a pen and napkin, doodled out the logo, thought of the name, and told myself that I would follow through with a passion project. Most of my friends were in bands or working on other cool things so the label was definitely something different. I had no idea where to start and then a band posted on FaceBook, “Who’s going to release our seven inch record?” I chimed in and almost four and a half years later , still here.

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Deep Ellum in the 1920s

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Deep Ellum in the 1920s. The photo looks north from what is approximately today’s Hall St., at the intersection of Main or Elm. In the background is the Texas Baptist Sanitarium, located at today’s Baylor Hospital. (Thanks to Steve Bozich and the Traces of Texas Facebook page for this photo.)

 

It was about 15 years ago at the Dallas Public Library’s downtown location that I came across, on their 8th floor, an original copy of the New Deal-era Texas: A Guide to the Lone Star State. FDR’s Works Progress Administration compiled this guidebook through the work of the Federal Writers Program (with help from the Texas Writers Project and the Texas State Highway Commission), and the book is nowadays available to freely read online. The first edition was published in 1940.

There is a wealth of information on Dallas. The guidebook’s entry on Deep Ellum is also noteworthy. The language reflects white attitudes at the time:

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Dallas, the Anti-Trump City

By about 2 to 1, Dallasites voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. That is, 459,000 Dallasites voted for Hillary and 262,000 voted for Trump, according to official polls. All major cities in Texas voted against Trump, too. So how did Trump win all of Texas last November?

The same reason he won the electoral college: Sparsely-populated rural areas that are over-represented in congress. Not only did 459,000 Dallasites vote for Hillary, 24,000 Dallasites voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson.  6,000 voted for the Green Party’s Jill Stein. As in San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and El Paso, the “please, no Trump” ticket carried the vote easily. All of Texas’ major cities chose anyone but Trump in the big election of 2016. Trump was the least-liked in all Texas’ cities.

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As well, Hillary won the national popular vote overwhelmingly by almost 3 million votes — a record number, by anyone’s standards. But Trump won the electoral college. The electoral college favors rural, sparsely populated areas. And rural counties carried the day in Texas, too.

Most of Texas, in fact, is comprised of rural counties — broad stretches of farmland with few people inhabiting them. It’s incredibly important real estate: the people that work this land are the backbone of American agriculture.

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Dallas post-industrial band Awen appears on PBS Antiques Road Show

Long-running Dallas neofolk/post-industrial act Awen, who are on Dais Records, and who’re labelmates with Drab Majesty and Them Are Us Too,  appeared on PBS’ Antiques Road Show January 9, 2017. It presents a rare time a Dallas band has had national exposure. Grave City felt it had to be documented!

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The band had a Freethinker volume from the 1880s that was valued between $200 – $300. Freethinker was a radical 19th century periodical that presaged the 1910s-1930s free speech movement.

Awen have been around in the North Texas area for about 17 years now. They have tried to bring the occult spirit of Current 93 and Death in June to the Republic of Texas for many years.

You can read an interview of mine with Awen and Gabhar (later called Dying and Rising) here.

(Thank you Andrew Neal for the screen shots.)

When Dallas Skaters Ruled The World – Grave City looks back

Thrasher Magazine has given Grave City access to its archives. Thrasher called Dallas’ triple threat of 80s skaters “the Dallasonians” – John Gibson, Jeff Phillips, and Craig Johnson. Grave City has already covered Dallas’ own Zorlac Skateboards in a previous post. Stay tuned….

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Part 1 coming soon…

In the meantime, check this out.