Interview: Dougy Mandagi Makes a Fresh Start with BLOODMOON’s Breathtaking Debut EP, ‘Giving Up Air’

BLOODMOON © James Adams
BLOODMOON © James Adams
The Temper Trap’s Dougy Mandagi opens up about his new project BLOODMOON, a breathtakingly expressive and immersive artistry full of intimacy, ethereality, and endless possibility.
Stream: ‘Giving Up Air’ – BLOODMOON




There’s a moment in BLOODMOON’s stunningly ethereal debut single when the artist’s past meets his present, his heart and soul collide, and everything falls into place: “Giving up air, laying it bare,” BLOODMOON – aka Dougy Mandagi (of ARIA Award winning band The Temper Trap) – sings. There’s urgency and immediacy, yearning and drive in his voice as he follows through on his words, laying himself bare for all to see, hear, and feel: “Hoping my dreams will reappear, when everything I know is hanging on a prayer…” It’s an arresting moment of intimacy, and one that sets the tone for the artist’s entire debut EP. A breathtakingly expressive and immersive introduction, BLOODMOON’s haunting Giving Up Air EP marries vivid electronic production with tender vocals and raw lyrics to create a moving musical experience into which we can escape, indulge, transcend any given moment.

Giving Up Air - BLOODMOON
Giving Up Air – BLOODMOON
Disarm my heart
Disarm, lay it down
All of the visions of you are fading
Where have they gone and
This house feels like it’s sinking
Ooohhh, feels like it sinking
Ooohhh, it’s hard to breathe in
Giving up air
Laying it bare
Hoping my dreams will reappear
When everything I know is hanging on a prayer
– “Disarm,” BLOODMOON

This is the beginning of something very special. For Dougy Mandagi, BLOODMOON is his artistic rebirth and reintroduction many years in the making. “Until now, I’m most known for being the voice behind ‘Sweet Disposition.’ Some people might be stoked with that title, but I honestly have always had a chip on my shoulder about it,” the Indonesian singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist tells Atwood Magazine.

BLOODMOON © James Adams
BLOODMOON © James Adams



Mandagi formed The Temper Trap with friends Jonathon Aherne and Toby Dundas in Melbourne, Australia in 2005. The band later relocated to London and released three albums between 2009 and 2016, two of which – 2012’s The Temper Trap and 2016’s Thick As Thieves – reached #1 on the Australian music charts. Their debut album, 2009’s Conditions, was a global smash (spurring hits like “Sweet Disposition,” Love Lost,” “Fader,” and more), and it remains a defining record of the late 2000s and early 2010s.

“I want to be known as an artist, not just some guy with a good falsetto,” Mandagi asserts. “My goal was just to express myself in a new creative way and in a different musical context. BLOODMOON sounds more like an open frontier to me… It means a new beginning, a blank canvas to explore creative ideas that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to in The Temper Trap.”

BLOODMOON is a definitive fresh start for Dougy Mandagi: A sonic and lyrical departure from his past works that finds him enveloped in cool, cathartic drum loops and dark, soul-stirring production. Inspired by the electronic and dance music scene in Berlin, where he lived for the past six years, Mandagi collaborated closely with Jagwar Ma’s Jono Ma to blend the sounds of German clubs like Berghain, with an undeniable, welcome warmth. What resulted are songs like “Nothing’s Lost,” which wraps around listeners’ ears in waves of atmospherics as the Mandagi gently assures us (and himself), “Nothing’s lost in love…” Opting for minimalist storytelling, mesmeric repetitions, and hypnotic, catchy melodies, BLOODMOON’s music is utterly enchanting.




BLOODMOON © James Adams
BLOODMOON © James Adams



“I’m not always trying to convey some sort of message through my lyrics,” Mandagi says. “Sometimes all I want is to help conjure up some kind of feeling or emotion in the listener.”

BLOODMOON certainly succeeds at tapping our visceral depths within; from the brooding and hopeful “Soon Baby, Soon” to the turbulent, churning “Deeper,” the spine-chilling “As Time Goes By,” and the anthemic, emotional unveiling “Disarm,” Giving Up Air proves a powerful first look at a new and exciting artistry.

From Mandagi’s perspective, the future is full of potential and possibility. “It’s still very early days, so there’s a lot of creative spaces to explore,” he says.

The more I fight the more I sink
The more my struggles push me to the brink
My spirit dim and these eyes hang low
But the song of sirens beckon me to go
Deeper and deeper and deeper…
Reflections on the waters face
The shapes of someone I can’t seem to trace
And the rain is cold as the clouds hang low
But the songs of sirens beckon me to go
Deeper and deeper and deeper…
I’ll follow your voice, I’m blind in the light
I’ll follow the voices at night
I’ll follow your voice, I’m blind in the light
I’ll follow your voice
– “Deeper,” BLOODMOON
BLOODMOON © James Adams
BLOODMOON © James Adams

That’s not to diminish the importance of this EP or the foundation it sets, in more ways than one.

“My big takeaway from all this was a huge lesson in self-belief, and that no one will believe in you unless you believe in yourself,” Mandagi shares. “It doesn’t have to be a big belief, but there has to be something… I’ve had to literally build my confidence up myself throughout this process. I basically had to fake it to make it. I also learned that I really thrive from positive feedback from others, but that waiting for that feedback is a slow and certain death. Never wait or expect motivation from others; being an artist is ultimately a solo sport.”

Mandagi recently relocated from Kreuzberg, Germany to his homeland of Indonesia, settling in the cultural hub (and tropical paradise) of Bali, where he filmed BLOODMOON’s latest music video for the song, “As Time Goes By.”

“I’ve always wanted to shoot in Indonesia and tap into the pool of talent here,” he says. “There are so many stories to tell here. This is one of them, and hopefully the first of many.”

Achingly ethereal and hauntingly beautiful, Giving Up Air is a project of exploration and limitation; of intimacy and space; of reckoning and catharsis. Dive deeper into Dougy Mandagi’s BLOODMOON in our interview below, and listen to his breathtaking debut EP wherever you get your music!

Giving Up Air is out now via Liberation Records in partnership with Future Classic and UK label Eat Your Own Ears Recordings.

Glimpses of our lives flashing like movie stills
Every frame a storied rise and fall
All our memories laid out, all the spills and thrills
Did we do it justice,
Have we done it all?
As time goes by (Do we give enough)
As time goes by (Time is always out on us)
In the end, even this dream will turn to dust
As time goes by
Do you miss the feeling of waking up?
In another world so far from home
Berlin summer rain
Lingers when i close my eyes
Those days are behind us
But the memories so strong
– “As Time Goes By,” BLOODMOON

— —

:: stream/purchase Giving Up Air here ::



A CONVERSATION WITH BLOODMOON

Giving Up Air - BLOODMOON

Atwood Magazine: Thank you so much for taking the time, Dougy! This solo project is a long time in the making. You debuted back in February of this year; when did you know you were you ready to reintroduce yourself as BLOODMOON?

BLOODMOON: Probably when I played my first live shows early last month at BigSound. I think being out there in front of an audience and actually playing the songs felt more like an official introduction than just releasing music.



How do you distinguish BLOODMOON’s music from The Temper Trap’s music? Are the lines blurred or deeply finite?

BLOODMOON: Bloodmoon sounds more like an open frontier to me. It’s still very early days so there’s a lot of creative spaces to explore, whereas Tempers feels much more defined in its identity.

One more question along that line, when you’re songwriting, do you know what project you’re writing for in advance and do you have a mentality behind it, or does it tend to reveal itself over time?

BLOODMOON: So far my writing process has been very intentional, never overlapping the two projects together. That said, maybe one day I’ll write something that in the end doesn’t make the final cut in one project but could be reworked for the other. I’m open to anything.



What is the significance of BLOODMOON? What does that name mean for you?

BLOODMOON: The name came from a lyric off an early demo of mine. Back then the solo project was called motherboard. That name didn’t seem to resonate with as many people so I decided to try Bloodmoon on for size. It sounds more intriguing and people seemed to prefer it. As for what it means to me, it means a new beginning, a blank canvas to explore creative ideas that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to in The Temper Trap.

Why did you introduce this project with “Disarm”?

BLOODMOON: Choosing what song to lead with is never an easy task. Do I lead with what I like or do I try and guess the market? I’m not mad at leading with “Disarm,” but I suppose in the end it was more of a calculated move to start with a song that felt more immediate. That said, it’s all a guessing game. What people will connect with, or will not connect with, will forever remain a mystery in my opinion.



This brings us to Giving Up Air, your debut EP! Can you share a little about the story behind this record?

BLOODMOON: As far as EPs go, this release has been a very, very long time in the making. I’ve had two major stop-and-start moments that really slowed the process down, the first one being a last-minute decision, taken by me, to change the overall direction of the music – including the name. That really confused everyone and understandably pissed some people off. The second event that threw a spanner in the works not just for me but the whole entire planet was obviously COVID. It was just hard to find justification to put anything out in the middle of lockdown if you’re a new artist.

I’m glad I stuck it out though, and on a more positive note, overall this record feels like a timestamp in my creative journey. It feels like a person feeling his way through emotions and processing life and expressing it in a new and fresh way.

What was your vision going into this record? Did that change over the course of recording this?

BLOODMOON: My vision was “art over everything.” That was my mantra and Northern Star, and I think I stayed true to that vision throughout the whole process. As for the songs themselves, some tracks have gone through quite an evolution from the raw demos to the final product, and I find that so exciting. It’s almost as if somewhere in the process the song grabs the wheel and says, “I’ll take it from here, thanks.” I usually come in the studio with a plan, but sometimes you just need to get out of the way and let the feeling of the song dictate where it ultimately arrives.

BLOODMOON © James Adams
BLOODMOON © James Adams



Why the title “Giving Up Air”?

BLOODMOON: It’s the lyric that jumps out to me the most from the song “Disarm.” Since that track was to be the lead single, I thought it was a good idea to use that lyric hook for a title.

How do you feel Giving Up Air introduces you and captures your artistry?

BLOODMOON: Hopefully it shows that I’m a versatile musician and artist. Until now, I’m most known for being the voice behind “Sweet Disposition.” Some people might be stoked with that title but I honestly have always had a chip on my shoulder about it. I want to be known as an artist, not just some guy with a good falsetto.

Giving up air
Laying it bare
Hoping my dreams will re appear
When everything I know is hanging on a prayer

Back against the beat, desolation creeps.” Can you share a bit about opener “Soon Baby, Soon”?

BLOODMOON: I wrote it in the middle of a Berlin winter lockdown. The whole world was in a real state, never mind me and my little music project. I was really unsure of where it would end up and if the team I had around me were starting to seriously lose interest. It felt like there was 0 momentum behind Bloodmoon at that point. I needed to find some deep inner motivation to keep me going and so I made this track as a reminder to myself that sooner or later things were bound to get better.

Back against the beat
Desolation creeps
Back against the beat
Desolation creeps
Desolation, desolation
Soon baby, soon your chance is coming
Soon you’ll land on your feet
And all of the love you give is not wasted
Down a one-way street
I’ve been holding on for so long
Tell me can I get a witness
But I know my day will surely come
No more living in the darkness
They may tell me I ain’t strong
Keep my face down on the ground
But I know my day will surely come
Surely come, soon
Desolation, desolation



When I listen close to the lyrics of this record, I hear a very personal and intimate experience. What was your process of songwriting for this EP like, and what was your goal in terms of what you wanted to convey in the songs?

BLOODMOON: There were a lot of milestones and significant events that happened in the world and in my personal life during the making of this EP. I guess I just had a lot to write about. My goal was just to express myself in a new creative way and in a different musical context. I’m not always trying to convey some sort of message through my lyrics; sometimes all I want is to help conjure up some kind of feeling or emotion in the listener. I also prefer when the listener makes up their own interpretation of the songs. I don’t like talking about meanings behind my lyrics – I don’t want to ruin it for other people.

Do you have any definitive favorites or personal highlights, sonically or lyrically off this record?

BLOODMOON: “Soon Baby Soon” is my favorite. everything about that track really resonates with me. Especially the brooding mood juxtaposed with hopeful lyrics in the chorus. Coming in second place would be “All in Place.” I loved collabing with Bearcubs on it and getting to finally incorporate some traditional Indonesian (my heritage) music into a song. The part is subtle but really added to the groove. I’ve wanted to do it for a long time but never had the right song. Creatively, these two tracks are my highlights.



What do you hope listeners take away from Giving Up Air? What have you taken away from creating it and now putting it out?

BLOODMOON: I just hope they enjoy it and make some good memories to it. I love listening to a song and being instantly transported back to a special time in my life, so I wish the same for other people listening to my music.

As for me personally, my big takeaway from all this was a huge lesson in self-belief and that no one will believe in you unless you believe in yourself. It doesn’t have to be a big belief, but there has to be something. People are attracted to confidence, and I’ve had to literally build my confidence up myself throughout this process by telling myself in front of the mirror, “You’re good, your ideas are great, you know better than them, you’ve done it before, you can do it again.”

I basically had to fake it to make it. I also learned that I really thrive from positive feedback from others, but that waiting for that feedback is a slow and certain death. Never wait or expect motivation from others; being an artist is ultimately a solo sport.

In the interest of paying it forward, who are you listening to these days that you would recommend to our readers?

BLOODMOON: Moderate’s latest serving has been on repeat, Also an artist called Impérieux, and lastly, armlock.

— —

:: stream/purchase Giving Up Air here ::
Stream: ‘Giving Up Air’ – BLOODMOON



— — — —

Giving Up Air - BLOODMOON

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📸 © James Adams

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