Moonchild is a combination of three independent, strong-willed spirits—Amber Navran [vocals, tenor saxophone, flute, keyboards, synth bass, drum programming], Andris Mattson [trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboards, synth bass, guitar, drum programming], and Max Bryk [alto saxophone, clarinet, keyboards, synth bass, drum programming]. The resulting union yields an ever-evolving fusion of alternative R&B and neo-soul. For as singular as each personality may be, they all participate equally in writing, producing, tracking, and mixing their records, collaborating as true equal partners. Not only do they create as a unit, but they also evolve, grow, and transform as one.
“Our chemistry as writers was pretty instantaneous from the start,” explains Andris. “The first tune we came up with, we all sat on a piano bench together and wrote as a unit. Nowadays, each of us has our own studio setup and are constantly making beats and writing songs on our own. We’ll often send each other emails of beats we made and then get together to expand them into full songs. We have so much trust in each other during the writing process.”
As Moonchild, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts—never more so than on their fourth full-length, Little Ghost [Tru Thoughts/Entertainment One].
After that first shared piano bench session at the University of Southern California, the group unveiled their debut Be Free in 2012. Please Rewind followed three years later, and 2017’s Voyager saw them ascend to new critical peaks. NPR Music touted the record among, “Five R&B Albums You Slept On In 2017,” and JAZZ FM named them “Soul Act of the Year” for 2018. “Cure” toppled 8 million Spotify streams, and “The List” exceeded 7 million plays on Youtube.
Along the way, the trio performed headline shows everywhere from the United States and Europe to Asia, and supported other tours for the likes of The Internet, Kamasi Washington, and more. As they began writing and recording Little Ghost in 2018, the individual progression of each musician informed and elevated the creative process. While laying down tracks at a Lake Arrowhead retreat, Andris dove further into the guitar, incorporating it at the core of the new music.
“The three of us are always experimenting with new programs and gear and trying to improve our craft individually,” he goes on. “I’ve been so into guitar, so that’s a big shift from previous Moonchild albums. The acoustic and ukulele really expanded our sound. The keyboard-driven sounds and horns are still there, but they’re intertwined with guitar.”
“The evolution connects to the title,” adds Amber. “At the end of a star’s life, the gas expands into space and leaves a really beautiful nebula, and there is one up there called Little Ghost. We thought it was a cool concept of expansion, mirroring what we were doing as a group.”
The group have attracted support from international tastemakers including the likes of Gilles Peterson (BBC 6Music), WHUR-DC, KCRW, BBC1 XTRA, NTS and LA 102.3, and earned praise from a host of iconic artists including Robert Glasper, Laura Mvula, James Poyer, Jazzy Jeff, Jose James, Tyler The Creator, Saint Heron – and the legendary Stevie Wonder, all who have showed love for the band. In 2014 the Motown-label-hero swept Moonchild off their feet with an incredible offer. DJ Kevin Nash, from Stevie Wonders radio station L.A. 102.3 KJLH, called up the band offering them the chance to open for Wonder in just 24 hours. Wonder later told the group that he had heard their music just the day before and loved it so much that he ordered the radio station to invite them down as performers for his House Full of Toys Benefit Concert – the ultimate honour.
Effortlessly cracking the LA scene, Moonchild’s sound epitomises the LA mix of intricate, progressive musicality with the classic laid-back and blissful sound that has been famously associated with the West Coast legacy across the decades. Andris affirms – “There’s so much good music coming out of LA right now, a real creative energy surrounding the city”.
“The Magnificent Moonchild… Good Work”
“Music’s brightest stars”
“Moonchild has been delighting listeners and earning well-deserved praise from their peers since they stepped on the scene”
“Yet another stellar piece”
“Voyager feels lush and robust, the sound of a band fully comfortable in its lane.”
“Space-age neo-soul loveliness...Delicious!” – 4 STARS