Wild Moccasins Get Into the Groove on 88 92
One week ago today, Wild Moccasins played an in-store that packed Cactus Music to the gills, performing a brief set from their brand-new sophomore full-length LP 88 92. Afterward, what looked like a cross section of Houston's hipper secondary schools queued up to get the five Moccasins' autographs. It was a somewhat odd place for the band to find themselves in -- not because of the size of the crowd, but because most other days you can find two of them behind a Cactus counter.
Photo by Paul Moore/Courtesy of New West Records Wild Moccasins, L-R: Andrew Lee, John Baldwin, Nick Cody, Zahira Gutierrez and Cody Swann
It won't be signing autographs, though. They work there.
"I think signing stuff is still a surreal thing," muses singer/guitarist Cody Swann directly after the in-store, sitting around a picnic table with his bandmates in Cactus' load-in area. "In the grand scheme of everything we're still a very small band, so it's not the kind of thing we're used to, in the way that people coming back to our shows in cities that aren't Houston is [still] surreal."
"Two of us work here, so we're dumbass cashiers half the time and now people want our autograph," chuckles drummer John Baldwin, the other band member on the Cactus payroll besides Swann. "It's funny."
The other thing that gave the Moccasins pause last Friday was the ages of their fans. None of the band members are exactly ready for Medicaid yet, but they all can buy beer and rent a car -- two age-restricted activities that would have posed serious difficulties for the Cactus crowd.
"It's been five years and I remember the first time we played an in-store like this, and the kids were so young," offers guitarist Andrew Lee, who doesn't say much the rest of the interview because he's fighting off a serious cold he picked up on some recent California dates. "Now the kids are still young after all these years -- I would have thought that they'd be older, but they're fucking young."
"Most of my twenties have been spent here," muses bassist Nick Cody, meaning the band rather than the store. "It's hard to believe."
The Moccasins are all polite, easygoing, amiable people, but they're more seasoned than their youthful appearances appear, the product of several U.S. tours and one trip to Europe since their previous album, 2011's Skin Collison Past. Since forming in 2007 and debuting on record with 2009's six-song Microscopic Metronomes EP, they've steadily become one of Houston's most popular indie bands, with a charismatic sound fashioned from post-punk, New Wave, '60s pop and contemporary college radio.
The band's music accurately reflects their upbeat personalities, which is why it's a little surprising to hear them explain how 88 92 -- which adds a heavy electronic element recalling both Brian Eno's solo projets and the albums he produced for Talking Heads, such as Fear of Music and Remain In Light -- is, like those records, rooted in tension and anxiety.
Story continues on the next page.