The Soft Moon's Guide To TouringBy Luis Vasquez
Luis Vasquez. Portrait by Julie Bonato.
[Eds. Note: Just in case you've been under a rock for the past few years, the Soft Moon is a San Francisco-based post-punk band that makes all the jokers hopping on the grave wave bandwagon look like they're trying way too hard. Originally the project of one Luis Vasquez, the Soft Moon has since expanded into a full band for touring. Vasquez still records on his own though, which is how he made 2012's excellent Zeros LP. You should stop what you're doing and pick that up via Captured Tracks. The band's on tour right now (scroll down for more tour dates), and stops tonight in New York at the Mercury Lounge - more info on that show, which also features Majical Cloudz, right here.
We were wondering if Luis had any tricks or tips for how to tour, so we asked him to tell us what his touring routine looks like. He sent us this email, in which he comes clean about his chronic nosebleeds, his psychosomatic kombucha addiction, and the time he grew out his big toenail to fashion into a guitar pick. -B.S.]
My Tour Essentials, Good Luck Charms, and Daily Addictions...
I'm a chronic nosebleeder so I always have to make sure to bring vaseline with me on tour. It's the climate changes in each city or country that causes a hemorrhage of my nose. This actually isn't anything new to me though. All through high school and many years after i would wake up every single morning with a bloody nose. I once filled up a pint-sized glass with the blood that came out of my nose. That's about how much blood i would lose with every nosebleed. A fear of mine is to have one on stage but everyone tells me it would enhance the experience for the audience.
I've found myself not being able to function unless i walk down the street to the liquor store and start my day off with one of those expensive kombucha drinks. I'm sure it's become psychological that it's actually making me feel better at this point. It's more about the ritual i guess. I started out with the gingerberry flavor then adventured through other flavors for example grape, strawberry, multi-green, and cranberry. My favorite is trilogy.
I listen to Porky Pigs "Blue Christmas" at least once everyday. I don't know. It puts me in a good mood.
About eight years ago i grew out my big toe nail (aka hallux) as long as i could in order to make a guitar pick out of it. Took me about six months of growing. Once it seemed big enough i clipped it and shaped it using some sandpaper. The only time i ever used it was on an acoustic guitar my grandmother gave me. It wasn't as functional as i thought it would be. Now it's a good luck charm.
Bringing my Puppet Master DVD on tour has become a tradition. I bought it about two days into our 2 week tour at gas station somewhere in Michigan. We would always had the movie on repeat for every drive until that tour was finished. It's about a puppet maker who discover an ancient Egyptian formula that creates life so he uses it on his puppets. After giving life to his puppets he then kills himself. The puppets wander off and start doing horrific things to Nazis and swingers.
Ken Laszlo's "Tonight" is a guilty pleasure of mine. At least 200,000 of those YouTube views are mine. Love his live performance.
I can't write music without my Jesus portrait facing me. It's one of those portraits where the eyes always look into yours regardless of where you're standing. It actually scares me and i still haven't figured out why i need it to write. I'm not religious at all so i feel like I'm disrespecting it in someway. I grew up Catholic which gave me the biggest guilty conscious you could possible imagine. Guilt might be the engine behind the music i write.
The Soft Moon is on tour right now. Check them out:
01-08 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge *
01-09 Cambridge, MA - T.T. The Bears *
01-10 Rochester, NY - Bug Jar *
01-12 Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle *
01-13 Columbus, OH - Double Happiness *
01-14 Lexington, KY - Al's Bar *
01-15 Atlanta, GA - 529 *
01-16 Athens, GA - Caledonia Lounge *
01-17 Durham, NC - The Pinhook *
01-18 Philadelphia, PA - North Star Bar *
01-19 Hamden, CT - The Outer Space *
01-20 Washington, DC - Black Cat *
03-05 Las Vegas, NV - The Beauty Bar
03-07 Phoenix, AZ - The Crescent Ballroom
03-10 Denton, TX - 35 Denton (Denton Fest)
03-12 Houston, TX - Fitzgerald´s
03-13 Austin, TX - SXSW
03-14 Austin, TX - SXSW
03-15 Austin, TX - SXSW
03-16 Austin, TX - SXSW
03-18 Kansas City, KS - Riot Room
03-20 Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
03-21 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
03-29 Aarhus, Denmark - Atlas
03-30 Copenhagen, Denmark - Loppen
04-02 Helsinki, Finland - Kuudes Linja
04-06 Prague, Czech Republic - Meet Factory
04-07 Budapest, Hungary - A38
04-09 Ljubljana, Slovenia - K4
04-10 Rome, Italy - Circolo degli Artisti
04-11 Milan, Italy - Elita Milano Design Week Festival
04-12 Bologna, Italy - Covo
04-13 Padova, Italy - Loop / Bastione Alicorno
04-14 Dijon, France - Consortium
04-15 Paris, France - Trabendo
04-16 London, England - Islington Academy
04-17 Amsterdam, Holland - Melkweg
04-19 Lille, France - Le Grand Mix
04-20 Amiens, France - La Lune des Pirates
04-28 Austin, TX - Austin Psych Fest
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