Moovalya is three guys from a small punk scene in Arizona who do what any good punk boys do in a small town, they skateboard, formed bands, started record labels, and embody the DIY “make your life what you want it to be” spirit that punk was founded on.
Sometimes there are people and bands who you connect with on some instinctual level – our attitudes and opinions line up, because even though you grew up in different scenes across the country from one another, you have the same frame of reference. With a love for a small town punk scene and super catchy music, I connected with Moovalya instantly when I reviewed their album. After speaking with them and discovering a love for Fat Wreck Chords and Dostoevsky, we connected even more.
First off, thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview. Let’s start off with introductions, who are you guys and what is your role in the band?
Anytime. Moovalya is: Ben – guitar/vocals, Sean – bass/vocals, and Mitch – Drums.
As a writer, I am always curious about a band’s writing process. Is there a primary songwriter or lyricist? Is it a collaborative effort?
Ben :: It is definitely a collaborative effort. If we each didn’t put in our two cents, it would not be a real band.
Sean :: I agree. I wouldn’t play in a band that required being somebody’s robot.
Mitch :: Ben will usually come to the band with some ideas on guitar and we will expand off of those, but we all have a big amount of creative input on each song. Whoever is singing writes the lyrics in all of our songs.
Ben :: We all have to agree on the song or it doesn’t happen. I write my lyrics but Sean and Mitch have to approve them as well and vice versa.
What’s the best lyric you’ve ever written? What’s the worst?
Ben :: Don’t Be A Fool has lyrics that I think are some of the best I’ve written as a whole. If I had to pick a verse from a song though, “Take my money, Take my home, Take the ones I love the most, Standing naked and alone, I still fucking stand.” I feel the line portrays the strength in one person to never back down, to stay true to what they believe who they are, no matter what happens, the solitude of being alone, even in death.
Sean :: I don’t feel we’ve written any lyrics that we regret…yet.
Was Moovalya conceived to have a distinct flow and order or was it simply as a collection of songs? Was there a reason that you approached the album that way?
Sean :: The album was a collection of songs we had written through the year that took a life of it’s own as we chose each song placement.
Mitch :: There are definitely themes that stick out in each song. There were a lot of lyrics this time around about overcoming hardships, which was something we all had to do during the entire writing process of this album.
Ben :: We just wanted the flow of the record to be in your face, the entire way through.
What are your favorite tracks on the album?
Mitch :: My favorite track is definitely To the Throne. I feel like this most heavily shows what we’re about and really shows off all of our personal influences.
Ben :: Don’t Be A Fool There was a certain woman that inspired this song. The song is very graphic and harsh, but it has a positive message behind it. Don’t let your demons destroy you. Some people have horrible things happen to them and instead of dealing with it they let it consume them.
Sean :: I like Fuct Up and We because they both speak to me as a musician and whether we are playing them live, or even just practicing them, they feel like our anthems to never stop playing.
How did you get involved in punk rock in the first place? And what made you become a musician?
Sean :: One day in Junior High, some good friends of mine told me I should play bass in their band. The rest is history. I found punk rock at a young age through skateboarding. I grew up with Duane Peter’s (U.S. Bombs, Die Hunns, The Great Unwashed) sons Schuyler (previous Moovalya drummer) and Chelsea. Duane used to give us copious amounts of music that we would feed on like little rats, absorb, and then emulate.
Ben :: I was an A.D.D. kid who got hold of a Pennywise CD.
Mitch :: When I was about 8 years old, I heard a System of a Down song on the radio, and that was when I decided to pick up the drums. I have listened to punk for a long time, but I became really heavily involved with it once I joined this band. It really showed me how amazing of a community it brought together, and that was something I really needed when I discovered it.
Do you think that being from a small town has influenced you in the band or how you write or how you approach punk?
Ben :: It has a huge influence, nothing can compare. Growing up in Parker, AZ is something I can’t explain to you. You just had to of been there. It’s my home no matter where I live for the time being.
Sean :: The shows we used to throw in Parker consisted of a tight knit family. Once we started trading shows with bands from other small neighboring communities like Lake Havasu, and Blythe, a hybrid scene started to form. It’s crazy watching how everybody comes together. It’s something that everyone who is involved is proud to be part of.
As I was doing my research on you guys I kept running into Dagger Sight Records, can you tell me more about it?
Sean :: Dagger Sight is a D.I.Y. independent label I started many years ago. Some bands think they can just write a record, get signed, and get paid. I quickly realized this was definitely not the case. We started making our own t-shirts, CD’s, patches, buttons, booking our own shows, and using whatever we could to record. I started out pushing records of band’s I played in, then my Friend’s bands, then compilations with local bands, then international bands. Dagger Sight will always be a work in progress. If you’re in a punk band, send me a submission with some mp3s – firstname.lastname@example.org
As a fan, what is the best show you have been to?
Sean :: Inland Invasion 2002 – Devore, CA – Google the line up…
Ben :: Believe it or not, The Promise Ring, and Jimmy Eat World for 7 bucks at Boston’s in Phoenix.
Mitch :: Toss up between Thrice at the Marquee in Phoenix or NOFX at Warped Tour a few years ago. Both shows just had such an incredible energy that is hard to come by these days. And NOFX fucking rocks every time I see them.
Dream line up for a show that you are playing?
Ben :: Lagwagon, NOFX, Blood for Blood, Strung Out, Wilhelm Scream, Rancid… it would have to be a festival.
Mitch :: Even though this could never happen, Minor Threat. Playing on the same stage as them would be incredible.
Sean :: Clash with Stiff Little Fingers, Iggy and the Stooges, & Special Guests – if we’re dreaming…
First album/tape/cd you ever owned?
Mitch :: Toxicity by System of a Down.
Sean :: Guns -N- Roses, Appetite for Destruction.
Ben :: Bone Thugs n’ Harmony
What are your guilty pleasure bands?
Ben :: The Promise Ring, The Get Up Kids, any hair metal, and N.W.A
Sean :: The Guilty Pleasures kick ass, just not that much ass.
Mitch :: I love me some Lady Gaga. . . No, but I don’t really have any guilty pleasure bands. I like what I like, not because other people think it’s cool.
There are kids discovering punk rock every day, what bands should they be listening to?
Mitch :: They need to hear Minor Threat. That’s a fact. That band is such a positive influence on me and it’s one of the essential punk bands if you’re trying to get into good music.
Ben :: Any 90’s Epitaph or Fat Wreck Chords band.
Sean :: Morning Glory, Cobra Skulls, and Holding Onto Sound.
Do you have any irrational fears?
Ben :: Nuclear War.
Mitch :: Spiders. I see one and I turn into a 14 year old girl.
Sean :: I fear nothing!
Secret (nonmusical) talent?
Mitch :: I’m a pretty good cook.
Sean :: I’m an awesome pisser.
Ben :: I was born in the south, so I can wrestle alligators.
Mitch :: House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. It is such a ridiculously well written book that changed how I viewed a lot of things growing up.
Ben :: Anything about history.
Sean :: Notes From Underground.
Worst job you ever had?
Mitch :: I had a live audio gig at a church I grew up going to that was pretty cool, except for the fact that I had to work weekends so most of my first 3 years of high school weekends were spent there
Ben :: I worked at the one and only Target in Prescott, AZ. Feel free to piss on the floor if you work there.
Sean :: In other words, all of them.
Describe the band in 5 words.
Here’sto swimming’ with bowlegged women.