“There I was, laying on the floor with a full French press worth of coffee and water up my butt when it came to me like a beam of lightning.”
Now you’re probably wondering, ‘how the hell did Cookie know what I was doing on my 43rd day of quarantine?’ But this actually depicts the very moment Jeffertitti Moon realized the kind of album he wanted to make. A group of songs unconcerned with the limits of predetermined bearing or length. An album that would reflect the fluidity Jeffertitti seeks in his life… and so came ‘Non Genre’. Before I introduce the first single, it feels necessary to tell you about my first encounter with the free-wheelin’ fashionista, Mr. Moon, himself…
It was my first trip to Venice freakin’ Beach. To a small town Florida native, Venice freakin’ Beach didn’t actually exist unless a camera was rolling. In my mind, the second someone called ‘ACTION’, bodybuilders, ballers, surfers, beach babes, vampires and Jim Morrison himself would appear for the So-Cal circus only to ooze back beneath the cracks of the boardwalk planks upon ‘CUT’.
We were opening up for a band called Jeffertitti’s Nile at the Insight store and that was the first time I met him. Jeff was sitting on the bumper of an open van, outfitted like some psych-rock portal with a throng of eclectic guys and gals around him like garnishes of a counter culture charcuterie board. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more nervous to go say “good show” to another band and deep down I was hoping they actually were vampires lifted from the Summer of Love and that Jeffertitti would would turn me.
Flash forward some 8 years later and I’m great friends with this enigmatic creature; dancing to his DJ sets at Gucci parties in Manhattan, sharing stages in Echo Park and making music together in his sacred home studio place (which also seems cultivated out of some Oliver Stone fever dream.)
And it was within this space that he explored every corner of his creativity. Where he found escape for most of quarantine and where the 27 song album ‘Non Genre’ took shape…
Well aware of the ever-changing dynamics of consumption, Jeff knows he may lose some in putting out a product of such scope, but the weight of the experience it could give one person willing to take the ride is worth it to him.
“Things like sitting down with a book or actually listening to an album in its entirety just might heal the world.”
Jeffertitti’s first single “Embrace the Change” was written before 2020. The prescient nature of the lyrics puts this single in the realm of songs that suggest music exists outside our design of time.
“It was only after finishing the tune, that it really hit me how profound the lyrical content is… I’ve actually cried many times listening to the playback.”
Mr. Moon is a feeler and the video for “Embrace the Change” is display of that indigo child vulnerability. A violet portrait in motion with a surprise I’ll leave for your viewing pleasure.
I was excited to catch up with Jeff and dig a little deeper into the headspace he was in while creating this new work and learn a little more about his evolving role as a style ambassador for one of the biggest fashion brands on the planet…
Embrace the Change” is the upcoming single from your 27 track album ‘Non Genre’. I’m curious to know if this song was written before or during the mercurial beast that is 2020?
When the whole world was forced to “stay at home” under lockdown, I found myself torn between the two options of hiding out in a terrified love cave at my ex-girlfriend’s house, or to be surrounded by instruments in my home recording studio. After curling into a ball of paranoid panic for a week, watching movies 24/7 & slipping into some kind of claustrophobic state of shock, I went back home and pretty much locked myself in the studio. At that point, the only thing keeping me sane was maniacally recording. I was pulling crazy hours, working until 8 in the morning, barely realizing I should try to get some rest. Then I would fall asleep listening to what I had done that day, only to wake up and do the same thing all over again.
This song was one of the last ones I added to the record. I actually wrote the bulk of it years ago. After finding the voice memo, I then finished the arrangement and recorded a live take of the whole song upstairs in my bedroom with one microphone. You can actually hear the birds of spring, chirping in the background. I took that recording into my studio and added a few vocal harmonies and sent everything to a reverb tank and called it a day. It is hands down the most minimal song on the record.
It was only after finishing the tune, that it really hit me how profound the lyrical content is, to maybe everyone, in these unprecedented times. I’ve actually cried many times listening to the playback.
Was there a particular moment that sparked the song? A specific change you were going through or more of a general sense of unpredictability?
To be honest I’m not sure what emotion helped me initially channel the song, but now, to me it really harps on the idea that you shouldn’t worry about things you can’t control. Life is ever-changing, almost by definition, and it feels so liberating to celebrate that. It’s about letting go of past pains or losses, and truly appreciating the beautiful gift that is the experience of being alive.
The video is beautiful, simple and quite brave on your part. What gave you the idea for that and more so what made you feel emboldened enough to rid yourself of that lovely blonde feathery hair of yours?
I’ve been wanting to shave my head for some time now, mostly just as some kind of spiritual practice or release. My girlfriend Phoenix and I were already working on a totally different video for this track, but at some point I just got this clear vision of a super minimal one-shot. A Pop-Art-esque moving picture, where I was lip-synching the song while getting my head shaved. The hairstylist had to cancel that day, which actually worked out for the best, I think. I’m really happy with how it turned out and it made it easier to get up the nerve to buzz my hair. It was actually quite stressful to prepare for the one and only chance to get the shot right. Somehow it all came together and I finished the hair cut just in the nick of time.
You’ve been a big part of the Gucci campaign for the last couple years. As someone that I’ve always seen as a style wizard with very deliberate taste, how has it felt to maneuver within such a large brand? Can you elaborate on the experience of working with them?
Becoming close to all the brilliant beings in the Gucci family is a complete honor. There have been stone cold sober moments where I felt like I was on mushrooms on set with them. All the clothes are breathtaking with the elaborate sets and lighting. Every detail is immaculate. Usually, my style consists of thrift store finds that resonate with my spirit and gifts from friends, but having the opportunity to tap into their mystical curated world of elegant fabrics has only deepened my appreciation for fashion as a means of expression and creation.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit and even make music with you in your home studio. A cozy cave that transports you out of time and space (specifically Echo Park). How has it been recording this album in your own space?
The energy of a space is really important to me. I’ve built many home studios in the past and each time they’ve gotten a bit better (hopefully). I definitely feel grateful to have this place, especially during the quarantine. It feels like a little Moroccan hut, but what it lacks in square feet, it makes up for with lots of magical tools and special vibrations.
I love working in big studios with other people, but sometimes, solitude and the freedom to try anything that naturally comes out can be such a nice work flow for me. I also had a few guests on this album, as you know, but most of it was made out of my own madness, without wasting any time it takes to communicate ideas before trying them. I was found unbound to explore them all.
I’m very eager to know where this album will go musically. The music of your other bands have been a little heavier… A psychedelic journey with Jeffertitti’s Nile and a raucous romp with The Entire Universe. How does this single “Embrace the Change” reflect the rest of the album and is the name ‘Non Genre’ a hint at what to expect?
The other day, I jokingly referred to myself as a less successful Bowie. Maybe it’s my downfall but I’ve always been interested in exploring so many styles of music and aesthetics. The title and concept for this album actually came to me while I was doing a coffee enema. There I was, laying on the floor with a full French press worth of coffee and water up my butt when it came to me like a beam of lightning. The idea of Non Genre was so freeing to the type of album I wanted to make. I also understand that one of the translations of the word “genre” in French is for gender, so the idea of not conforming or rather walking the line between all genres and genders felt so true to my nature.
27 tracks… If you had to wrap this in a CD and sell it at Best Buy you’d probably be marketing this as a double album. Are there any examples of double albums from your favorite artists that made you ambitious to release something like that of your own one day?
Music consumption today seems so fleeting and calculated. The idea of tying together so many sounds on one record, for me, was more inspired by the idea of challenging our short attention spans and the onslaught of media blips that come in and out of our psyches every day. It may backfire on me, but even if one person has enough patience to let this album take them on a journey, I will be more than satisfied for having created it.
If you could describe the perfect scenario for someone to listen to ‘Non Genre’, what would it be?
I can’t say specifically for each person, but I do know that when I finally finished the record and put all the songs in order together, I went on a long walk through the city at night and listened to it with my headphones on. I knew it was finished because of all the different feelings that came up, not because of the mix or anything technical like that.
The thing about long records is that, to truly experience them, you have to be in it for the ride. I can’t expect anyone to do that nowadays but I also have faith that there will be a rise in some sort of counterpoint to this digital age of information, and the multitasking we all find ourselves doing. Things like sitting down with a book or actually listening to an album in its entirety just might heal the world.
CONNECT WITH JEFFERTITTI
photos / Phoenix LoSavio
story / Chris Hess