LA-based composer Luis Vasquez launched the moniker The Soft Moon in 2010 with his acclaimed eponymous debut, which found the multi-instrumentalist performing the entire record by himself and parsing through memories of his past in a unique and visceral way. A dozen years and five records later, Vasquez has honed his craft fully without being afraid to siphon instrumental tricks from the songs that have long been staples in his impressive catalog.
His first full-length project of new music since his 2021 solo record A Body of Errors and his first Soft Moon record since 2018’s Criminal, Vasquez has returned with an even bigger scale of darkwave industrial rock. After detaching himself from his career due to COVID, Exister became something of a musical reset for Vasquez, as he turns in stream-of-consciousness lyrical deliveries and raw, interpersonal arrangements. On the album, he makes amends with familiar trauma and enduring pain. In a lot of ways, the vulnerability and hurt on Exister glints like a coming-of-age tale as we hear Vasquez reckon with his past and blossom beyond it within the confines of just 37 minutes.
With Exister out now via Sacred Bones, Vasquez took the time to break down the emotions that field each track, putting listeners even more in the moment with him as he navigates a cathartic, electronic landscape flourishing with his most poignant work yet.
1. “Sad Song”
This was a rare and special moment during the creation of Exister. It was as if the world had stopped and “Sad Song” was born. I was able to finally let go and not overthink for once in my life. A complete stream of consciousness that came out of me in one sitting.
I went into writing this one with a purpose. I knew I wanted to go big on the industrial side of things, and I wanted to express attitude. It also says that enough’s enough and it’s time to fix whatever needs to be fixed in my life once and for all.
3. “Become the Lies”
Sonically I wanted to bring back touches of my earlier work, the classic side of The Soft Moon that fans who’ve stayed with me since the beginning know well. Of course things are much more polished here, but it’s the result of getting better at what I do. “Become the Lies” is a longing for—and the lack of—attention which every child deserves.
4. “Face Is Gone”
My most playful track on Exister. I purely just wanted to have fun, get experimental, peek my head into new sonic territory, and showcase my percussive side. The song itself is about using substances to escape a painful world.
This piece is a confessional. It's about how my self-awareness kills me, knowing I’m a mess, bound to destroy all relationships, and having no control over it. I express this through the lens of body horror, metamorphosis, and transformation.
6. “The Pit”
This track is a result of my time in Berlin, which made a massive impression on me. Berlin changes peoples’ lives. Exister is meant to express the many emotions I feel living as a human being, so clearly there was a spot on the album for an industrial-techno track to express my angrier side to widen the spectrum.
“Nada” is the first time I’ve expressed my submissive side. It’s about giving in and letting the conscience take me for a ride without any resistance—hence the laid back nature of the groove. Probably the most dangerous side of myself and the side that gets me into the most trouble.
8. “Stupid Child”
A “stupid child” is just simply how I was made to feel as a 12 year old when I got my first guitar, playing in my bedroom and learning my favorite punk songs, full of hopes and dreams. This song represents pretty much what I would’ve been recording onto cassette tapes.
This track features fish narc, who I’ve since become great friends with. What really locked in the collaboration was when we had our first phone call because we flowed so well. He had this great idea for the song to act as the devil on my shoulders tempting me into bad decisions. I love the playfulness he added to the song because it’s something I don’t normally do.
I’m really into what Alli Logout is bringing into the world with Special Interest. I sent a couple tracks to choose from but was certain it would ultimately be “Unforgiven.” Both Alli and I go full blast on this track giving everything. By far the most relentless and punishing moment on Exister.
This being the final track on the album is meant to give a sense of reflection, peace, calmness, and accomplishment. Every album is a torturous process for me, and to make it out alive is everything. It’s another opportunity to continue to live. Since the beginning of The Soft Moon until now, I can finally say that I’ve concluded a personal chapter and I now know who I am.