Conscious Creators 005: Meet Moontricks, the duo fusing bluegrass and bass
The world of electronic dance music is vast and diverse. From the commercial realm to the underground, electronic music is always moving at hyperspeed. But how can fans sift through all the noise to seek out the more substantive, meaningful, consciously-attuned musicians? Introducing: Conscious Creators,a focused writing series dedicated to highlighting artists who devote themselves to CE’s mission. These are the industry tastemakers committed to bypassing the surface-level gimmicks in favor of something more substantial. Their art encourages alignment with the self, affirmational living, shadow and light work, self-healing and self-love, living authentically, practicing intention. These are the creatives dedicated to leading their audience into a conscious awakening.
Featured photo: EV Photography
Electronic music is unique for a myriad of reasons: it encourages higher thought and introspective journeys, it has one of the kindest fan bases in the world, and it can be woven into virtually any genre for an entirely new sound with a bit of creativity. Western Canadian duo Moontricks, comprised of Nathan Gurley and Sean Rodman, make particularly interesting work of this versatility by combining underground bass music with deep-rooted bluegrass and folk sounds. Their rural upbringing and mountain background have heavily affected their musical stylings, evolving into sets that can be played for a jam and folk gathering one weekend and an electronic showdown the next. They’ve been on the performance circuit since the release of their debut EP, Ignition, in 2012, and are regulars at spiritual bass festivals like Shambhala, Lightning in a Bottle, and Sonic Bloom.
While expected electronic elements comprise a chunk of their music, it’s not all they bring to the table. Both members are talented musicians in their own right, incorporating traditional bluegrass instruments into the fold with Gurley DJing as well as harmonica and keyboard, and Rodman on vocals, banjo, and guitar. Both share production responsibilities, balancing songwriting and instrumentation in harmony. As purveyors of self-described “boot stomping bass,” their shows are home to a range of personalities, accessible to audiences that much of standard EDM can’t reach. Their bass side evokes downtempo artists like Russ Liquid or Vibe Street, and they have killer collaborations with The Funk Hunters, Dirtwire, SoDown, and more.
One aspect of their music that drew us in is their clear reverence for the natural world. Tracks like “Mountains” and “Wood for the Trees” are contemplative, speaking directly to the deep connection we all feel with the earth and the turmoil that comes with it in a changing climate. The lyrics across many of their songs come to describe it as a bringer of peace, solace, and grounding that can’t be found anywhere else. Growing up in a small town has played a big part in the duo’s music, from bringing the two together to create as well as giving them backyard access throughout their lives to their biggest inspiration.
“Our songs are full of references to nature and the state of mind and sense of freedom it brings…[It] teaches us about the connectivity of life and everything in the universe. To be grateful for our existence but know we are only a small piece of a big picture.”Moontricks
While the pandemic has sidelined them for a while, as with the majority of the industry, it hasn’t slowed them down a bit, and they recently hinted to us that they’ve been hard at work in the studio creating new music. We can only guess the direction these tracks will go, as Gurley and Rodman are sure to surprise fans with something ultimately new while they forge further into unknown genre territory. In the meantime, we invite you to dig our your cowboy boots and head outside to the woods to check out Moontricks.
Moontricks – Backwoods Bass EP
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Flow artist, pet parent, plant hoarder. I like to take long walks to seek out cats sitting on windowsills.