Our first Meet The Band of 2019 spotlights the North Carolina black metal group Mo’ynoq, who just released their full-length debut album Dreaming In A Dead Language. Guitarist/vocalist Don Boyd, guitarist/vocalist Logan Holloway, bassist/vocalist Devin Janus and drummer Justin Valletta introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Mo’ynoq, including the significance of the band name.
Mo’ynoq formed mid 2016 after our previous projects Heron (Logan Holloway), and Faith in Ashes (Justin Valletta/Donald Boyd) disbanded. The name Mo’ynoq comes from a town in Uzbekistan. Once a lively port city, years of pollution have caused it to corrode into a desert populated mostly by rusted boats. We found something poetic in its desolation.
Describe the songwriting and recording process for Dreaming In A Dead Language.
Typically one of us will come to the band room with an idea and we work collectively to embellish and polish the material until we have full songs. After composing Dreaming In A Dead Language, we recorded with Kris Hilbert at Legitimate Business Studios in Greensboro, NC.
How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
Justin Valleta: I would characterize the album’s sound as full and raw. The drums were recorded live without a click and then we layered in guitars afterwards. We played around with things like placing the mics far away from the cabinets to create this really organic and full sound.
Stylistically, this album is dense. We all have wide and differing tastes, especially when it comes to heavy music, and I think that it’s reflected in the writing.
What lyrical subjects do you tackle?
We all write and contribute so the subject matter for our lyrics have a broad spectrum. Some are deep and introspective, while others attempt to describe things beyond ourselves.
What led you to go the independent route for the album release?
Don Boyd: Mainly because we did not want to wait. We have talked to some labels, but nothing has come along that is quite the right fit. At the end of the day we only want to create more music, so sitting around for a label to help us release was antithetic to that vision. We would value the support that a label can provide, it just needs to be the best option for us to expand our reach and develop our art.
What has been your most memorable Mo’ynoq live show?
Logan Holloway: One of our first shows. We had just started a leg of tour with Lord Almighty and the second night was this Halloween show at the Cabin of Eternal Despair. It was a little log cabin in the middle of the woods and it was packed full of people. They were spilling out into the kitchen, porches, and loft. Underneath the loft where people hanging onto the support beams in an attempt to resist the surge of the crowd. The energy was exhilarating and the intimate room turned into a swaying sea of bodies, beer, and hair. Every band simply crushed and I believe we emptied more than a couple kegs that evening.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Devin Janus: For the most part we are still working that out. Currently we have our record release show in Raleigh this month (1/19), a handful of shows yet to be announced, and our annual Black Metal festival Medium Well in Hell in August. Aside from that, we are looking to do some regional stuff in the spring and book a larger tour late summer – possibly southwest US.
How did you get started in music?
Don: I had wanted and asked my parents for a guitar for years and I was always told no. Maybe it was too expensive or maybe they thought I would never stick with it. So I saved up my money and drove to Guitar Center through a literal blizzard in Chicago to purchase my first guitar. As soon as I got home I started learning “Blinded by Fear” by At the Gates and never looked back.
What drew you to metal?
Logan: Speed, aggression, and dark imagery.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Justin: As weird as it sounds, my earliest influence was a beatboxer. I attended a summer camp when I was like 5 or 6 years old and made friends with this autistic kid that was just this incredible beatboxer. I was fascinated by his talent so I started mimicking him and that’s what brought my parents to ultimately get me a drum set. Then my dad took me to a few “dad rock” shows and it was all downhill from there.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
Justin: I don’t know if people would necessarily call it metal but for my first concert my dad took me to see KISS on their reunion tour when I was 8 years old at the Greensboro Coliseum here in North Carolina. The crowd, the energy, the show, everything about that night pretty much influenced the rest of my life.
Seen any good movies/DVDs lately?
Logan: Tons! As for new releases, Panos Comsmatos’ Mandy was awesome. An epic, acid-soaked journey of a man’s revenge over the death of his wife at the hands of a LSD cult. Beautifully shot, with nods to some of the great ’80s directors, and an incredible performance by Nicolas cage. When it comes to DVDs, I recently revisited the incredibly gritty, original, Maniac. Tom Savini is always a treat to watch, and there is no skimping on the gore here. There are odes to Italian horror everywhere as well as an amazing soundtrack with crazy synth and a surprisingly emotional theme. A must for anyone who has seen High Tension (where Alandre Aja draws quite a bit of inspiration).
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Logan: Bölzer – Hero, Veiled – Black Celestial Orbs, Suffering Hour – In Passing Ascension.
Justin: Mizmor – Yodh, Idle Hands – Don’t Waste Your Time, Woe – A Spell For The Death of Man.
Devin: Turbid North – Orogeny, Ash Borer – Cold of Ages, Advent Sorrow – As All Light Leaves Her.
Don: Aborted – Terrorvision, Void Omnia – Dying Light, Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis.
(interview published January 12, 2019)