Written by Robin Ervolina
It’s a simply, happy conversation with one of the happiest people making the happiest music I’ve had the pleasure of playing nonstop. Check out my conversation with North Florida’s CLoud9 Vibes’ drummer, Moon Man.
Shockwave Magazine: Hey Michael, this is Robin with Shockwave Magazine.
Moon Man: Hello.
How are you?
I’m doing great! How are you doing?
Yes! We’re actually really, really, really excited to play at this show.
You haven’t done Earthday Birthday prior, correct?
No, this is our first time on Earthday Birthday. We’ve done other festivals like Connection Festival in Jacksonville and Rock on the River. We’ve done stuff like that, but we have never done a big festival outside of our hometown, so this is just a really big deal for us.
Where is your hometown?
Some of us are from Jacksonville and some are from St Augustine, so we say we’re from North Florida.
Tell us how CLoud9 Vibes got started.
In my garage about two and a half years ago, me and Boogie, who is the rapper and main lyricist … we were just kind of sitting in the garage making music one day. I found out I was gonna have a child, my fiancé was pregnant, and I realized most of the music me and my friends have made together was all party music with no depth. There was nothing I was proud of to show my son. That kind of just brought a whole new light on the situation for me. I started writing what would be Welcome To The Beach which is our first freshman EP we released this year. The basic concept of Welcome To The Beach was it was not only a positive uplifting album for people to listen to, but it was also kind of like a storyline for how I wanted my son to grow up in case anything ever happened to me. It was a way for him to be in touch with his father in case anything ever happened, and it was also me kind of leaving behind a legacy of what and how I wanted him to be as a man, and how he grew up. I just wanted him to concentrate on being positive and unifying people around you and just constantly trying to find the good no matter what situation you’re in, because there’s always some sort of form of good if you can find it. I wanted him to be that type of person. I didn’t want him to be a negative person that would divide people.
This concept just kind of snowballed into this huge thing to where we realized that there is nothing positive about popular music today. You can go to any radio station and turn it on and it’s all about sex, drugs, trapping or whatever they’re calling it — nothing but negative. We decided that my idea of writing this legacy for my son to listen to, could also be involved with popular music if we wrote it the right way. Me and Boogie decided we wanted to change the world. Obviously that’s an easy task (laughs). We wanted to change the world with pop music. We wanted to bring positivity and a love for one another; we wanted to make that popular. We wanted to take the pop structure of music and make our music just as marketable, but with an actual message that can create peace and love and unity within a nation, even the world one day hopefully. We just wanted to redirect the world from going to such a negative side, and bring them back to the positive side, to let them know there’s stuff out there to be happy about. There’s reasons to smile. There’s reasons to unite and to give people you don’t know a chance, to get to know them. Don’t judge people based on their sexual preference, or their skin tone, or where they live, geography — I mean, me being from New Jersey, born and raised, when I first moved to Florida I had to deal with a lot of prejuice. I was called “Yankee” pretty much every day. I was very Italian back then. I talked with my hands. I was very New Jersey. I had to drop a lot of that accent once I moved here because I was being discriminated against.
I have gone through a lot of troubles and I have overcome them strictly just by being positive and not letting negative people tear me down. We wanted to bring all that to the pop culture and hopefully mainstream radio with a positive message of unification and love and positivity.
It’s such an important message right now.
We’re seeing these crazy divisions, not just politically, but because of the culture that we are in and the things that are going on with our nation’s leaders. It’s almost a permissiveness to regress back to a time when those things were okay.
It’s ridiculous. The worst part about the current state of America to me is that nobody is willing to listen. They hear you; they hear the words coming out of your mouth but they don’t listen. Everybody is so worried about how they’re going to respond, that they don’t take the time to listen to what’s actually being said to them. I think that is a major problem of communication. Everyone seems to have to pick a side. You can’t be neutral anymore. You’re either Republican or you’re Democrat, or you’re one side or the other side, and no one is willing to listen to each other. Everyone is so stubborn and in their own mindset that they can’t take the time to put themselves in somebody else’s shoes and say “You know what, maybe their life is different than mine. Maybe there’s reasons they feel different or think differently than me, and it’s not better, it’s not worse, it’s just different.” I really feel like Cloud 9 Vibes can be the catalyst that could actually spark a positive mind and movement within this country and hopefully the world to where people start giving everybody the chance.
Welcome To The Beach is a concept album, and the concept of the album is that we want to bring peace and love and unity to you. Where we all as a group felt the most peaceful was at the beach, and the best vibes are at the beach, the good times are at the beach. Just having fun in the sun with your friends is something that everybody can relate to. Even the kids that are landlocked, and North Dakota and South Dakota, we’re bringing the beach to them, we’re bringing the good vibes to them. As soon as they press play on Welcome To The Beach, there should be nothing but smiles on their faces. That’s what we wanted.
Achieved “Beautiful Day” is probably the happiest tune I have ever heard. It’s just joyful, and I’m going to encourage my readers to just press play and let it go in the background because this positive vibe and this message you bring definitely comes forward in your music. So on Earthday Birthday, for those of us who haven’t seen you perform yet, what can we expect from a CLoud9 Vibes show?
We are actually going to be doing our first ever live acoustic performance. We would like to do a full band, don’t get me wrong, but we were asked to do an acoustic performance and there’s no way we’re going to turn down a prestigious event like Earthday Birthday. The guys at WJRR 101.1 are some of the most hardworking people. It’s one of the most professional things I’ve ever been involved in, even down to the email they sent us about what we need to do and what we don’t need to do. Everybody is completely respectful. It’s just a great environment to be around. They wanted us to do an acoustic set, so we’re stepping out of our box. We are usually a very, very, very high energy band, jumping around the whole time, smiles on our faces, just literally having a good time and trying to spread peace and love. And we’re going to try to bring that same high energy to the stage, but we’re going to do it, for the first time ever, acoustically. I’m actually pretty excited because I’m a drummer so I was wasn’t looking forward to acoustic. It kind of minimizes what I can do and have fun with.
I can see that.
Yeah, because I go from playing a drum set to playing bongos and congos. It’s just different. But the way it’s all panning out at rehearsal, it’s like — wow, we might need to do an acoustic album. It’s just coming out perfect.
Is this broadening horizons for you?
About a year ago, right before we released Welcome To The Beach, we did four songs on Facebook Live, acoustically. People were just kinda like “wow, you guys sound amazing. That’s crazy, I didn’t know you could do that.” We got a lot of people to attend our shows doing the acoustic thing, but that was with our old material. Now, fast forward a year and half later, we haven’t done anything acoustic since then, and we have about ten new songs that we’ve written, and we weren’t sure how it was going to work. We have one song that like almost — it’s like almost alt rock. It’s got a breakdown feel to it, but it’s still really happy. The song is called “Rear View” and it’s going to be, I believe, our debut single off our next album. It’s all about leaving the past behind, don’t look back, keep looking forward no matter what mistakes you made. Say good-bye and leave it in the rear view and just keep moving forward. The song is actually pretty rock-y and I was not sure how it was going to sound acoustic, and it sounds amazing. It might almost even be better recorded as acoustic. Everything about this show has broadened our horizons as musicians as well as we are going to try to do something in front of thousands of people that we’ve never done before, so it should be very interesting.
This music has come about as a legacy and message for your son, a great contrast to Bradley Nowell [former singer of Sublime]. Unfortunately that wasn’t his story.
With the positive vibe that you guys have, and everything the you’re bringing forward into this, we can expect a sense of community at your show. Shockwave will be there to cover Earthday Birthday, and I look forward to meeting you and seeing CLoud9 Vibes in action.
We really appreciate being a part of this.
You’re too kind. This has been great. I thank you so much for your time, and I’ll see you in a week.
Alright, you have yourself a wonderful day!
And speaking of wonderful days … feast and celebrate with Cloud9 Vibes’ “Good Morning.”