Interview: Get the Led Out with Chicago’s Moon Mouth and Their Debut Single “Ghost”

Moon Mouth © Greg Fechik & Erick Arias
Moon Mouth © Greg Fechik & Erick Arias
A force of sweeping sound and urgent energy driven by a fire deep inside, Moon Mouth’s debut single “Ghost” is a lightning rod of passion and emotion with an alt-country swing and dreamy storyline.
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Stream: “Ghost” – Moon Mouth




I’m still singing in code…

Out of the darkness, there rises a resounding light: A fierce force of sweeping sound and urgent energy driven by a fire deep inside. Moon Mouth’s debut single is a lightning rod of passion and emotion aching to be released: Groovy and cinematic, “Ghost” is a heavy-hitting outpouring of dramatic and rip-roaring feeling with an alt-country swing and dreamy storyline.

Ghost - Moon Mouth
Ghost – Moon Mouth
Thought I heard you knocking at the door
There’s no way you’re knocking anymore
Swore I saw your alabaster face
Something warm still haunts this place
Did I ever have your ghost?
I think I imagined the heat, heat
Did I ever have your ghost in my sheets
Or did your ghost have me?

Quietly released on October 31, 2020, Moon Mouth’s debut single is a raw, invigorating upheaval of inner and outer tension; it’s exactly the kind of song one might want to hear as they rollick in the throes of some kind of personal or existential triumph. A lot of garage rock and a little bit bluegrass and country influence make this song a special introduction for an artistry we can’t wait to hear more from in the months and years ahead.

The Chicago-based duo of Mariel Fechik (Fay Ray, Tara Terra) and Emily Blue (best known for her solo work, and lead singer for Tara Terra), Moon Mouth’s two halves are no strangers to Atwood Magazine (just as Atwood Magazine is no stranger to them). Atwood premiered Emily Blue’s debut single “No Pain” four very long years ago, and in addition to labeling her as an “artist to watch,” has consistently covered her solo career in its various forms and iterations. Meanwhile, in addition to writing for Atwood Magazine since mid-2017, Mariel Fechik is the lead singer of her own jazz and funk-influenced eight-piece band, Fay Ray. Both Blue and Fechik are also members of Chicago indie rock outfit Tara Terra – yet another Atwood artist to watch, whose sophomore album Where’s Your Light? and 2019 EP Couch Surfer, Lover are both required listening for any fan of the indie rock genre (I stand by my assessment of their irresistibly raw song “Ithaca” as one of 2019’s best singles).

Rows of silver, rows of gold
Once I had your hand to hold
Now I sit so hardened in his chair
Now I hear you knockin’ everywhere
Did I ever have your ghost?
I think I imagined the heat, heat
Did I ever have your ghost in my sheets
Or did your ghost have me?
Moon Mouth © Mariel Fechik
Moon Mouth © Mariel Fechik



“We wrote this song in the fall of 2015 in Emily’s attic bedroom in the middle of a party,” Moon Mouth tell Atwood Magazine. “Bringing together our shared love of bluegrass, we started to write this song based on a country-sounding guitar riff Mariel had stuck in her head. We both love stories, especially fairytales, so we decided to write a song around the idea of an isolated old woman who’s haunted by the ghost of her long-dead husband. She goes in and out of lucidity as she hallucinates her husband’s presence at her door, in her bed, and in the cornfields around her house. As both of us are poets, we love bending language to create an interesting story. By the time we recorded the song almost five years later, it had gone from a quiet, acoustic song to an alt-country banger with our fellow Tara Terra bandmates.”

Moon Mouth is, for so many reasons, a long time coming – and now that it’s finally arrived, the result is more dazzling than one could ever have imagined. Melding their impeccable vocals together in harmony, Fechik and Blue’s first offering is part Overcoats and part Tom Petty: It’s uncompromising and unapologetic in how hard it rocks and how well its highs and lows are executed. Together with their Tara Terra band mates Evan Opitz (guitar, synth), Nick Soria (bass), and Joey Buttlar (drums), Moon Mouth are starting something special – as anyone who listens to this song in full can rightfully attest.

From a lyrical standpoint, “Ghost” offers an enchanting story of a lingering emotions and undying loved ones; of past memories relived and unresolved tension. “I love the idea of hauntings being something that can be terrifying and welcomed,” Fechik says. “Someone longing for a lost loved one might imagine that person being back with them, or they might might be afraid of someone who is gone returning to them.”

Moon Mouth © Greg Fechik
Moon Mouth © Greg Fechik

This may be the first time Fechik and Blue have truly struck out together, but we hope it’s far from the last. Moon Mouth’s bluesy, uninhibited rock hits in all the right ways. Their voices and feverish accompanying guitars catapult us sky high as they themselves soar through dreamy clouds of feel-good, undeterred self-expression.

Atwood Magazine had the pleasure of chatting with Mariel Fechik and Emily Blue on the precipice of Moon Mouth’s introduction to the world. Get to know this brand new band via our exclusive interview, and stay tuned for more  from Moon Mouth in the months to come.

I think I imagined the heat…
Thought I heard you
Thought I heard you knockin’ at the door
Thought I heard you
Thought I heard you
I think I imagined the heat, heat, heat

— —

:: stream/purchase “Ghost” here ::
Stream: “Ghost” – Moon Mouth



MEET MOON MOUTH

Ghost - Moon Mouth

Atwood Magazine: How did Moon Mouth form, and how do you define your sound? Is this a one-time project or do you plan to make more together as Moon Mouth?

Mariel Fechik: In the fall of 2015, we were just becoming friends but had a mutual respect for each other’s music and had always wanted to write together. We started writing together in Emily’s bedroom and on her front porch, and went from there. We both always have other projects and a lot going on, but we have a lot of songs written as Moon Mouth that mean a lot to us, so hopefully more is coming!

Why did you debut with “Ghost,” and how do you feel this song captures who Moon Mouth is and what you're all about?

Mariel Fechik:  I think our main goal with Moon Mouth is to tell stories. We love magical stories, and a lot of our songs touch upon fairytale imagery or things that are strange or uncanny. For example, another song of ours features a speaker who is flying away on the back of their unnamed love, who has sprouted wings and taken off down the river. This song was the first time we experimented with that style, and it just felt right for this to be the full debut. This song, in a lot of ways, feels like the basis of our friendship.

Emily Blue: We are also both heavily into poetry– Mariel has her own published book and I majored in poetry in college, so this is definitely our love for creative writing coming to the surface.

Moon Mouth © Greg Fechik
Moon Mouth’s Mariel Fechik (L) and Emily Blue (R) © Greg Fechik

I love the sheer energy behind this song. Can you talk about what you were tapping into, to bring these feelings to life, in this song?

Mariel Fechik: We both love bluegrass and alt-country so much. It’s music that we grew up with, and so it really feels like a part of both our musical identities despite us not making this kind of music in our main projects. For this song, we were trying to channel artists like Neko Case and Gillian Welch. I think the energy in the recording simply comes from how excited we were to finally record it. We were coming off a weekend of recording Tara Terra songs at Audiotree Studio and the arrangement was almost entirely spontaneous.

Emily Blue: I also think that much of the alt-country we listen to is sleepier, or more melancholy in its vibe. This was a nice opportunity to dance and create a vast array of dynamic levels.

Do you have any favorite aspects of this song that you're most proud of?

Mariel Fechik: Emily is my favorite person to sing with — we often joke that we can’t tell who’s singing when we’re singing in unison because we sound so similar. It’s so satisfying to sing with someone who you write with especially. There’s a wonderful intimacy to it. I think that’s what I love most here: the way our voices blend and the melodies and harmonies we came up with.

Moon Mouth © Greg Fechik & Erick Arias
Moon Mouth © Greg Fechik & Erick Arias

Did I ever have your ghost? I think I imagined the heat,” you sing. Can you talk about what this chorus means to you?

Mariel Fechik: Basically, this song follows a lonely old woman who’s being haunted by her husband’s ghost. We were basically trying to paint an image of someone who is losing their grip on reality, wondering if all her memories of this person in life are even real. I love the idea of hauntings being something that can be terrifying and welcomed. Someone longing for a lost loved one might imagine that person being back with them, or they might might be afraid of someone who is gone returning to them.

— —

:: stream/purchase “Ghost” here ::
Stream: “Ghost” – Moon Mouth



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Ghost - Moon Mouth

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📸 © Greg Fechik & Erick Arias
art © Mariel Fechik


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