Portland would be nothing without the artists. The city has played host to a plethora of artistic talent throughout the years, and it has only gotten better over the years. We have our own beautiful murals, film festivals, and our very own taste of music unique to the Pacific Northwest.
That’s why we’re very excited to promote Colin Wagner, one of the artists Portland is gifted to have residing within our city! Colin used to work for PPP, and now he’s launched a career in music. This coming week, Check out his most recent single, titled “I Don’t Miss You” available for immediate download (MP3, FLAC, and more).
To learn more about the story behind Moonlit Wheat, I asked Colin a few questions about his upcoming EP debut
PPP: Can you give a little background behind the name “Moonlit Wheat?”
CW: Moonlit Wheat came from me wanting to find a name that was simple, organic, and romantic. It represents the idea of seeing even something simple or plain in a romantic light. I feel like I look at life through this kind of lens and it seems to be a good metaphor for my approach to music.
PPP: What inspired you to start playing?
CW: I had been a bass player from 6th grade up until my first year of college and I found my passion for music wasn’t present in my bass playing any more. I heard a couple songs by The Mountain Goats on Pandora and I realized I wanted to do that. I wanted to write songs that had this warm ethereal glow that grasped for some kind of universal truth in unexpected ways.
I’ve been playing guitar since 2008. I’d say in that time I’ve become a competent guitarist and found ways to channel what I’m feeling through chords and accompanying myself. I’m excited about diving deeper and really approaching the guitar as a guitarist though. I have this book called Zen Guitar and I’ve decided it’s going to be my bible for the foreseeable future.
I’ve really only been playing out and trying to make a name for myself for the past year and a half. It’s been a really awesome whirlwind and I’m excited to see where it takes me next.
PPP: Any big influences on your playing style?
CW: The Mountain Goats were definitely a big influence on my putting raw expression first and foremost. Hearing John Darnielle evoke so much with just a guitar and a tape recorder made me feel confident I could develop something memorable and real by myself.
Stylistically, I find myself influenced by Bright Eyes, Brand New, Death Cab, and Right Away Great Captain! With all of those bands I really gravitate toward the raw, stripped down stuff. Last tracks on the albums, sad or bittersweet songs, that kind of thing. Really I just want to feel something that strips away the surface layers and feels somehow transcendent, even for a moment.
PPP: Any major influence for this EP, Reckless Love?
CW: Reckless Love is, at it’s core, an album about breaking down and trying to find yourself in the wreckage. There are songs about my being part of an affair, feeling this crushing sense of guilt and struggling to figure out why I would do this and how I would process everything associated with it. Just real, brutally honest processing. I wanted to get it all out, because I couldn’t deal with the weight anymore.
PPP: You spent some time working with PPP. Could you elaborate a little on your experience here?
CW: PPP was a great learning experience for me. I learned a lot about how to interact with a really wide variety of people in all kinds of different settings. From assertively and communicably riding through traffic to talking up a business and trying to sell myself.
It also taught me a lot about what goes into a business and how important attention to detail is. The more I treat my music like a business, the more appreciation I have for what it takes to own one and be swimming in to-do lists. Also, prioritization and knowing when to call it and move on. I tend toward being a perfectionist and working with Jenn really made me more aware that there are times and situations that call for just getting things done quick and dirty and it’s important to know when to apply different approaches to work.
PPP: Any particular experience that stands out?
CW: I’d say the time I delivered 80 burritos from Cha Cha Cha Taqueria to Puppet Labs. It’s my go to reference when I’m trying to illustrate how much the PPP bikes can hold. That or doing rainy distribution runs where we have a bunch of riders buzzing back and forth to a paper-filled trailer like bees to a hive.
The debut party for Reckless Love is this upcoming Sunday (the 25th) at Valentines. You will be able to listen first hand to a live performance of Moonlit Wheat, along with Happy Otherwise and Sam Densmore. The event is free and available to anyone twenty-one or older. CD copies and 10″ vinyl versions of the EP will be available. Moonlit Wheat will also be making an appearance at Anna Banana’s on Saturday (the 31st) with Wayfarer State and Eugene Smith.
If you’re down in California, make sure you stop by the Davis Music Fest in Davis, CA on June 21st. Moonlit Wheat is also in the midst of booking an early July tour through California and Oregon with this rad band from San Francisco called Owl Paws. Says Colin: “There will definitely be a Portland show or two in the mix for that.”
When you want some more information about the debut event, take a look at their Facebook Event Page to see the newest updates. Also be sure you check out the official site for Moonlit Wheat. We look forward to seeing you at Valentines!