SKYBREAK – MOONGLOW INTERVIEW!

Moonglow EP is a love letter to some of my favorite indie games, with loads of references to Hollow Knight, Undertale, Omori, Terraria and OneShot in the music, lore and visuals. This EP showcases the journey of the Child of Light, a lonely forest dweller venturing through different regions of a subterranean world in a search for a supposedly all-fulfilling gemstone called the Crystal Heart. While I tried to make each track reflect the region it represents, I also consciously tried to keep a consistent aesthetic in the sound selection – opting for glassy sounds to represent the crystal formations in the various caverns the Child of Light explores in the story. I really hope you enjoy it!

SKYBREAK

What story is aimed to project in the Moonglow EP, and how does it correlate with your life?
Hey LTBGY – great to be back on the site!! Brace yourself – this is going to be an extremely long answer! (there are also some spoilers)

Overall, the Moonglow EP is very inspired by my favorite RPG and Indie games, with a ton of visual and musical references to Hollow Knight, Celeste, OneShot, Terraria, Undertale and Omori!

Moonglow EP tells the story of the Child of Light, a rabbit child that has wandered the same forest for their whole life. However, one day, they stumble upon a mysterious cave that claims to hold a magical gemstone called the “Crystal Heart.” According to the hieroglyphs in front of this cave, this Crystal Heart supposedly has the ability to bless its bearer with infinite wisdom and contentment. The child becomes somewhat obsessed with finding this Crystal Heart, maybe to discover this supposedly magical gemstone, or maybe just to break out of the bonds of their very static life in the forest…

The five songs in this EP represent the drastically different subterranean areas that the Child must venture through in searching for this Crystal Heart, including the exterior cave entrance itself (Moonglow) the bleak cold ice caves (Cryolite) and a pink/purple lava cave (Crystal Heart). These regions are all represented in the six amazing cover arts done by Amaryllis, one of my favorite digital painters on the internet. To me, the whole experience of the EP would not be the same without her visual work.

I also released an ARG about a week before announcing the EP, which leads the player to a little tease of the EP. Sharks did all the coding of the actual game itself, and I did the actual internet puzzle part of the ARG, as well as the writing and SFX. However, the puzzles in the ARG go into some of the lore of how/why the Crystal Heart exists in the first place.

To sum it up, thousands of years ago, an ancient civilization had been exiled from the surface deep underground. Their hope was waning thin, but they stumbled across these magical Moonglow flowers that miraculously blossomed underground. Every flower has a single crystalline petal that emits a bit of light and energy, and as any desperate civilization would, they waaaaay overreach their boundaries and build their entire civilization around reaping these flowers. However, as soon as they had rebuilt everything, the magic they extracted from the flowers began to fade out. Afraid of being lost to time, they pour everything they have left into a heart-shaped crystal to preserve their existence, and hide it in the deepest part of the cave system they inhabited so long ago.

At the end of the story, the Child embraces the Crystal Heart they had been chasing the whole time – only to feel nothing at all…(more on that later!)

To connect the story to my life, this EP kind of represents the unhealthy way I got attached to my music project in 2021. I set myself ridiculous standards – aiming for high stats, glory, fame, the PERFECT mixdown and all these arbitrary things, in hope that they would fill a void inside me – and in terms of “leveling up in the industry” they totally worked! I got all these major label releases, show offers, praise from artists that have inspired me since the very beginning – which were all so flattering and I’m really grateful for what a crazy year it’s been. But with each new achievement, something was missing. It was almost a system of diminishing returns – as my stats shot up, I didn’t feel “happier” or more content. If anything, I became more nervous that I struggled to keep up this image of “Colour Bass Jesus!!!

So I would set out to write these game breaking Colour bass classics, and since I had set my expectations so high from the get go, nothing would really come out of them except really safe, boring colour bass.

What I realized is that if I strive for perfection, fame, glory and fortune, I’ll always be stuck running up an endless staircase. However, what really makes me feel content and happy are the little creative epiphanies I have, and the feeling of honest expression. For so long, I was hell-bent on innovating and proving myself to everyone, that I looked right past what got me into music in the first place.

So I came to this conclusion – materialistic things like stats, followers, likes, etc. are rewarding – but the fire my art can inspire in others and the intrinsic joy of creating itself is what keeps me here. Ironically, after coming to this conclusion, writing music became far easier for me. To connect this to the story – the Child of Light ventures through all these caverns to find this all fulfilling, divine Crystal Heart. When they actually hold this heart, they don’t feel any kind of instant effects or anything. Maybe the hieroglyphs were lying – or maybe the flame of the heart died out after years of neglect… but after the initial shock of realizing their long journey was all for nothing, the dust begins to clear. The child comes to the realization that the existence of this heart was a catalyst for them to explore and discover this ancient world, and to break free from their unchanging life in the forest. OKAY PHEW THAT WAS REALLY HEAVY LET’S GET TO SOME NICER QUESTIONS ;-;

What made you pick this lineup of tracks?
I made them all specifically for this EP! Lumina and Moonglow are both really conceptual EPs, Lumina for its forest themes and its motivic development throughout the four songs, and Moonglow for its crystal cavern aesthetic and overarching story.

Which track was the most fun to put together?
Soul Shards
was a lot of fun to put together – I started it in a 1 on 1 lesson with one of my students while demonstrating a new technique… and somehow it turned into one of my favorite songs I’d ever written.

The jazzy solo in the breakdown was written in Las Vegas Airport just after EDC Las Vegas I was so exhausted after a weekend of consistently going ham until 5-6 AM, and my flight home got delayed until 2 am. An interesting phenomenon occurred – I was so sleep-deprived that I physically couldn’t overthink or doubt myself – so I just kind of sat there placing a bunch of random notes in the piano roll of the WIP. I woke up the next morning, ubered back to my dorm (I was in University at the time) and listened back to the solo – and it was INSANE! In fact, the final pretty much sounds exactly the same as the airport draft, except DNAKM did some nice vocal stacks over the top to keep the song cohesive! Her vocals came out sooooo good.

Cryolite was also pretty fun, because I sang on it!! I was really stressed about it because I’m no Whitney Houston to say the least, but I knew I wanted to sing on it because of my emotional attachment to the lyrics. However, writing the song became REALLY fun after my friend N33T showed me a bunch of cool vocal doubling techniques. It turns out anyone can really sing with enough double takes/harmonies/formant layers!

Do you see the Skybreak project continuing down the path of melodic influence or do you want to explore other avenues?
I think a Skybreak tearout song is a must eventually!

But recently I’ve been making a lot of music inspired by 2012-2014 era Monstercat, because it’s a lot of fun to make and it’s what I grew up on! I’ve always wanted to do a chiptune complextro project, so that’s probably on the horizon!!! I’ve also got a few hip hop inspired unreleased songs that are in the works.

Personally I think my music will always be at least somewhat melodic; I feel like the melodies are what gives my music personality – but I don’t want to put restrictions on myself!!!

We’ve seen you really expanding your influence as an individual and through some intense labels, are there any you have future endeavors with, or dream of collaborating with?
Awww thank you!! On the label side of things, I don’t really want to spoil what’s to come.

I have a few dream collabs in the works at the moment, however! Specifically with Au5, Chime, Teminite & Moore Kismet. All of them sound so good, but also so different from each other!!! I’m really looking forward to playing them at upcoming shows like Lost Lands! Thank you so much for having me and letting me ramble about the new EP, it’s always a pleasure!


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