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Poor Moon Rising

Fleet Foxes side-project Poor Moon will shine at the Casbah on Sunday



    “I don’t sleep at all the night before a tour,” Poor Moon’s Christian Wargo said. “I’m just thinking about what’s going to happen and can’t get it off my brain.”

    Wargo, also a member of harmonic quintet Fleet Foxes, said he was traveling with indie-folk rockers Poor Moon from their hometown of Seattle to Spokane for their latest leg of shows.

    The one-time Fleet Foxes side-project is going strong, thanks to the release of this year’s Illusion EP and a self-titled full-length.

    “I think everyone is shocked that we’re on tour right now,” Wargo said. “This leg kind of snuck up on us. A couple more gas stations, and we’ll have our digestive systems in order. But it just feels good to play.”

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    Named after one of Wargo’s favorite Canned Heat songs, the recently formed band also features another Fleet Foxes alum, Casey Wescott. With the Foxes on break, Poor Moon released the EP and LP within months of each other.

    “Oddly enough, it was all recorded at the same time,” Wargo said. “It’s interesting to have a group of songs and then make it into both an album and EP. It’s something I probably don’t want to repeat. They were all such individual universes in my mind, it was difficult to put them in any kind of order.”

    Part of the difficulty came from the fact that Wargo’s songs were all written at different times, and for different reasons. 

    “They were written over such a long period of time,” Wargo said. “Some were written before I was in Fleet Foxes, and I didn’t know exactly what my role was going to be in that band at the start. I thought I might actually write some songs for the band, so some of the songs were intended to be possibilities for them. But by the time we started recording, it was apparent that Robin [Pecknold] was Fleet Foxes. And there’s such a specific vibe coming from him, it seemed like my songs were just a little too different. So rather than just trash them, I decided to do something with them.”

    While Pecknold is the undisputed bandleader of Fleet Foxes, Wargo assumes that role in Poor Moon. Having that juxtaposition has given Wargo a unique perspective that helps him in both projects.

    “I like doing both things,” Wargo said. “I enjoy both taking the lead role and lending support. It’s just a different vibe. There’s always collaboration. But the writing process for me is definitely an alone time. And right now, I’m getting a real sense of the strength of the live band and taking that into consideration. The musical language with your band is something that takes time, but playing together makes it happen. So I think the next album will try to push the boundaries even farther."

    Poor Moon have certainly had plenty of time to perform together. By the time they hit the stage at the Casbah Sunday night, the quartet will have multiple legs for both the EP and LP under it. And the blossoming synergy between band members is only bolstering Wargo’s already incessant productivity.

    “I don’t really watch television,” Wargo said. “I’m not that into partying or going to bars. My favorite pastime is sitting down and making songs. I just get a kick out of it.” 

    That enthusiasm has already manifested itself in a new crop of songs for the next Poor Moon project. 

    “I just go with whatever I’m feeling about something at the time,” Wargo said. “And I’ve already finished some new demos. I’m really excited about what comes next.”

    Blogger Scott McDonald covers music in San Diego for a few different publications and is the editor of Eight24.com