In a musical world where artists tend to find their niche and stick with it—or drive it into the ground—Reno band Sacred Moon is the proverbial sore thumb. What sounds on paper like confusion, or maybe even too much dabbling, is actually refreshing and intriguing, especially the first time you see or hear them.
Here's an example: one song called “Duh” is like all the loud rock styles of the '90s, from groove metal to the Seattle scene to the more radio-friendly heavy rock of that era, smashed together in one song. Another one, “There You Are,” has no distortion on the guitars and excellent vocal harmonies, floating along like a hybrid of modern alternative music and the more psychedelic wing of ‘70s rock.
The 180-degree turns continue throughout the band's catalog of songs. One of them starts with a carnival music vibe but transitions to a reggae part at the end. There's also one with elements of classic funk music. This lack of allegiance to a style is something that Sacred Moon has turned into a badge of honor.
“We don't want to get pigeonholed,” said singer Guy McCamant.
One of the band's guitarists, Todd Morrison, added, “We just try to keep ourselves interested in what we do.”
“We're really playing for ourselves,” McCamant continued. “If we all like it, then it's a song. We go through a lot of music where we just say, ‘No,' and throw it away and go on to the next thing. We have this process where we find something we all like, and then it becomes part of our stuff.”
“The reggae song that we do is a big crowd pleaser,” said bassist Bob Nation. “When we go into the reggae part, people turn around who had their backs to us and go, ‘What?'”
Sacred Moon started four years ago as a trio with McCamant on vocals and bass, Morrison on guitar and Tim Jennings on drums. McCamant had played in another band with Nation called Deadly Grin a few years before that. Nation liked what he heard with the trio two years ago and offered to play bass, freeing up McCamant to front the band. From there, the band auditioned several other guitarists before finding Gray Harris on Craiglist.
Sacred Moon hones its experimental vibe in the songwriting process. Harris and Morrison may bring in a riff, but then everyone contributes ideas to how it will end up. “It's very collaborative,” Nation said, with Morrison adding that “it doesn't take us long to write songs, but it takes a lot of time to organize it.”
Sacred Moon's music is mostly a live affair right now. The band did a quick recording early on to get gigs, but its true debut album will be out sometime this summer, as recording starts in February with local producer/engineer Tom Gordon.
Even without tracks you can listen to or buy, Sacred Moon's had several opportunities, both in and out of Reno. Locally, they've opened for national acts such as Lynch Mob and Jackyl. The band's song “Sacred Moon” is also featured on a national compilation album called We Got Next 2: The Revolution is Here. The song has earned 23,000 plays on Spotify so far, an interesting development as most of the artists on the comp are either pop-rock or hip-hop.
Perhaps it's a case of standing out in the crowd that's helped Sacred Moon find their sound.
“I've never heard anyone say, ‘You sound like everybody else,'” Morrison said.