Brooklyn’s multi-talented indie musician Hagan Knauth – who operates under the moniker Mood Tattooed – has been hard at work on his new album Hush Tarantula for quite some time now, perfecting its sound for his blossoming audience. It plays like an exquisite storyline, teetering on the edge of psychedelia and pop rock, while it tantalizes your eardrums with a cacophony of multi-dimensional sound. Favorites include “Velvet”, which begins with sensational guitar chords that calm the senses, “Red Katipo”, which starts with piercing instrumentals that feel like raindrops on a cool autumn morning, and “The Shooting Star in Jaws” for its title and instrumentally folk sound.
Get a taste for the album below, and then check out our little “getting to know you” interview with Knauth himself.
If you could introduce yourself to our readers in any way how would you do so?
I think the best introduction to me is to hear my music. I can say that my name is Hagan, and I am a grateful for anyone that pauses here to listen.
What’s the first song you ever heard, and who introduced it to you?
The first song I can recall from early childhood is Burl Ives’ rendition of “Blue Rock Candy Mountain”. It was on a compilation CD that my dad would play in our car. I think as a child I was enthralled with the idea of a place that was made of candy.
Was there a moment when you realized music was something you wanted to pursue?
No single moment comes to mind. When I was 16 and 17 years old I would travel to see acts like The Cave Singers, Animal Collective, Atlas Sound, and Four Tet. I knew very little about synthesizers, samplers, effects pedals, and experimental music, so the sounds were like magic to me.
Origin story. Why the name? Details!
The moniker is taken from a composition by Les Baxter, a world music composer who gained popularity in the 1950’s. I heard the composition sometime during my freshman year of college and the title just stuck. I go in and out of liking the name, but other people seem to like and remember it.
Your bio boasts that you draw a lot of inspiration from the outdoors and your surroundings. What served as the ultimate inspiration for Hush Tarantula?
Ultimately, I think Hush Tarantula is about inner landscapes, landscapes of the mind. I am happiest when walking outdoors, in open spaces, and it is during those times that deeper thoughts reveal themselves to me. Walking is an important part of my creativity.
Do you have any personal anecdotes from recording the album you’d like to share?
The lyrics were recorded stream of consciously, nothing was written down. The result was a lot of “ooh’s”, “ahh’s”, and incoherent word salads. In some cases I would listen back in order to decipher and then re-record the words with clearer enunciations. To this day I do not understand the literal meaning of some songs. I enjoy their candidness and the idea that there might be some subconscious truths inside.
The record is like a movie to me – to be experienced as a whole. I encourage listeners to approach it in this way… at least during their first listen.
This album is very much launching you as a do-it-all type of personality. With album artwork and writing and production credits going to you, how does it feel to finally be releasing it unto the world?
I did write and record everything, however the album cover is a cloth I found while walking the woods that surround SUNY Purchase. The cloth was duct taped to the head rest of an old and rusty barber’s chair that must have been there for years. Inside of the cloth lived a very sinister spider who was not happy to lose her home. The cloth was totally caked in dirt and I had to hand wash it in hot water for a while. The experience is a complete mystery to me.
To answer your question, releasing the record felt like a big, satisfying exhale. People have been very supportive and its fascinating to hear what they think the record is about… because I am still learning that for myself. The tarantula is finally free.
How do you want people to feel while listening to Hush Tarantula?
If someone feels a little less alone in the world while they were listening, I would be happy. If someone feels the kind of awe and mystery that I felt when I found an album cover duct taped to a barbers chair in the woods, that would be great too.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I plan to tour the west coast of the United States in 2017 and would love to do house shows. If anybody reading this digs the record and is involved in the music community on the west coast, hit me up through Facebook or Twitter.
I’m also very interested in Montana, Utah, and New Mexico.
Hush Tarantula is available now on Blankstairs.