Artists on Trial: Thee Water MoccaSins

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)

Thee Water MoccaSins are one of the most well-known, yet most elusive bands in Kansas City. While frontman Billy Smith is now making his mark in New York, the other members of the group (Steven Tulipana, Wade Williamson and John Berusch) remain busy with a host of other projects. This week, we get a rare chance to sit down and talk with the group and find out a little more.

The Deli: Gun to your head: One sentence to describe your music. What is it?

Thee Water MoccaSins: We call it Psychedelic Electronic Fractal Pop. It is music that was made with a sense of urgency with an overall goal of keeping all things casual. Not only musically but internally as a band member. Easy Breezy.

The Deli: Let's talk about your latest release or upcoming shows. What can we expect?

TWM: We have a show coming up on Thursday, August 23 at The Riot Room with Be/Non and Olivetti Letter.

The Deli: What does "supporting local music" mean to you?

TWM: The members of our band have spent most of our lives creating, participating and nurturing the local music scene by being booking agents, club owners, studio producers, haunted house builders, back patters and bartenders. All vital cogs in the local music machine. We take great pride in how the local music community represents itself.

The Deli: Who are your favorite "local" musicians right now?

TWM: We like bands that like are more exploratory in the live setting. Expo '70, Be/Non, Ad Astra Arkestra, Gemini Revolution, Surroundher, Conquerors, Soft Reeds.

The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?

TWM: Digging bands like Tame Impala, Django Django, Tinarwen, Caetano Veloso.

The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

TWM: Queen with Einstürzende Neubauten, Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine & The Residents.

The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?

TWM: Each one has a personal satisfaction. In the studio you get that instant song playback that gives you chills when the mix is perfect. I love to push the boundaries of what the studio can offer. It always helps when the producer/engineer is willing and able to help us experiment with sounds and non-traditional ideas when tracking songs. Chris Cosgrove really helped guide this record. And so far we have all been lucky with working with great producers and engineers. Thee Water MoccaSins could easily maintain and flourish within the settings of only a studio. Live: We love to play these songs live. We get to open the songs up a bit more like how we originally wrote them. Feeding off each other and being able to reach a psychic level of playing is about the highest mental plateau that humans can reach. And we push to open a communal bliss between us and the audience when we play live by adding an intense light show and percussive audience participation during some numbers. It is our attempt to say that All Are Welcome here.

The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting there and why?

TWM: Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Mark Mothersbaugh. Wise Man, Protector, Lover, Human Dissent.

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found? You can download or listen to our full record. It sounds a bit silly when you just stream it due to some songs being strung together. Just buy it.

The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for The Deli audience?

TWM: We would like to thank everyone for their continual support. Support your locals. Never bite the hand that feeds you. Please be good to each other. Start Now.

Thee Water MoccaSins will be bringing their psychedelic electronic fractal pop to blow away The Riot Room this Thursday, August 23 with special guests Be/Non and Olivetti Letter. Since they rarely play live shows, this is your chance to see them. Prepare to be impressed.

--Zach Hodson

Zach is a lifetime Kansas City resident who plays multiple instruments and sings in Dolls on Fire and Drew Black and Dirty Electric, as well as contributing to many other Kansas City music, art, and comedy projects.  He is very fond of edamame, treats his cat Wiley better than he treats himself, and doesn't want to see pictures of your newborn child (seriously, it looks like a potato).

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