New York duo Chasing Moonlight have been garnering some decent buzz online as of late, with their music connecting the young duo to thousands of fans in the US. With a debut album in the pipeline for May as well as a growing online media presence, members Brett Steinberg and Zeke Hunter tell us a bit more about the band’s origins and their new music.
For those unfamiliar with Chasing Moonlight are you able to give us a bit of background about yourselves and how the band came to be?
Brett: Zeke and I met about eight years ago during a composers’ showcase in our old high school. Right about that time, I landed a show at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, but needed to pull a band together. This chain of events was the catalyst to us becoming ‘musical soulmates,’ we like to put it. We were in a serious band a few years after that and then parted ways for a few years while keeping in touch.
Last summer, we were hanging out in NYC when Zeke brought up the prospect of collaborating again. A few years ago we had some weekend studio stints and really liked what we came up with. We decided to go for it and the studio sessions were extremely inspiring – even more so than a few years ago. Since then, we’ve kept pushing forward because when we come together to make something, it’s such an interesting clash of influences, which makes it a creative adventure everytime.
One of the first things I saw about you was your open letter to Trump just after his inauguration. Can you tell me what prompted you to publish that? How do you feel, a couple of months into his term, about how things are going?
Brett: We had some momentum from our song “We Are Strong” and wanted to use the platform we had to respectfully put out a message of tolerance and unity. The point was more to spread the idea that our song represents – acceptance of all people from all backgrounds regardless of religion, ethnicity, etc. I think there is still a lot of division within the the U.S. rather than unity. Both sides, Trump-supporters and anti-Trumps, still tend not to be open to the other sides’ ideas. I don’t think we, or Trump, have done enough to bridge these gaps yet, but I remain hopeful. I do believe Trump has much room to grow to become more presidential (e.g., less personally tweeting false/unsubstantiated claims).
“We Are Strong”, was a direct response to that inauguration, correct? You also involved your fans in the track – how did that go?
Brett: Yes, we were reacting to the political climate and like many people, the only thing that felt relevant to write about at that time was what we kept seeing in the news, on social media, at work/school, etc. We wanted to make a bold and harsh critique of the state of the nation and world in the verses and an optimistic message of unity and collective strength in the chorus. But this song needed a multitude of perspectives – that’s why having WordSpit the illest rap during the bridge and fan vocals during the last chorus was so crucial.
This song is everyone’s, it’s personal to each person, so having fans send in their takes on the last chorus accentuates that point. It was one of the most humbling experiences in my career so far – we received way more submissions than I thought we’d get and people were singing their heart out – they truly made it their own.
You’ve also elected to donate a large percentage of the proceeds from that song to UNICEF, correct? Can you tell me more about that choice?
Zeke: Syria and its people have been ravaged by civil war and international interference. UNICEF is one of the few organizations making a serious impact on the ground with their humanitarian efforts. With “We Are Strong”, we made a strong political statement against xenophobia and isolationism. By supporting UNICEF we hope to translate our words into a tangible impact for the disenfranchised and marginalised.
I’m really enjoying your brand new single, “Home”, which dropped last week. It seems to be about a journey to find yourself – is that accurate?
Zeke:“Home” is about our individual journeys, trying to find that constant in lives that have been marked by moves, changing families and shifting dreams. It’s an attempt to answer the question: what’s left when you leave everything behind in pursuit of your dreams?
Can we look forward to an album soon?
Zeke: Yes! We plan to release a full album titled Symmetry this May! Stay tuned for more details by following us on Instagram @chasingmoonlightmusic.