Pastel Ghost is the musical project of rising producer and vocalist Vivian Moon. The Oakland based dark wave princess has become known for her pulsating electro-pop synths and dream washed vocals. The multitalented artist is fresh off the release of her new album ABYSS, a 10-track exploration into themes such as solidarity and isolation. The emotional underpinnings of Pastel Ghost’s sound are meshed with scintillating 90’s inspired electronic dance beats. The powerful synth progressions in ABYSS perfectly complement the spooky witch house themes evident throughout the course of the album. Dance heavy live shows mixed with a soft grunge inspired aesthetic, Pastel Ghost is a clear representation of everything cool within the electro-synth pop genre. In the midst of a northwest tour, I caught up with Pastel Ghost before her show at the Kame House in Bellingham Washington.
First and foremost can you talk a bit about your musical background and how you got started with this project? Also how did you come up with your name?
I’ve played in other bands in the past with my friends but I started with electronic music and Pastel Ghost a couple years ago. The name was inspired by stuff I saw on Tumblr. I was really getting into pastel goth.
You’re in the midst of a northwest tour promoting the release of your new album ABYSS. Can you talk a little about your goals, expectations, and hopes for this tour?
We have a light show and I really want people to check out the live show and see that it’s about more than just what they hear on the album. I want the visual element and full experience that the live show provides to pump more people up to see us.
Being fresh of the release of your new album have you had a chance to step back and evaluate the direction in which you want this project to go in future years?
I’m just seeing how people react to the music and what songs they are into and what they really respond to. It’s cool because it seems like people are responding to different songs rather than one type of song in particular. When I released CLOUDS I didn’t know so many people would like it because it’s kind of my most different sounding song. When I get that type of feedback it really does effect what I want to do in the future.
The aspect of your sound that really stands out to me the most is your hypnotic, pulsating synths and “dreamrave” vibes as you call it. The influence of Alice Glass and Crystal Castles is very clear when listening to almost any of your tracks. I am still mourning the break up of CC, but you are definitely helping to fill the void. How big of an influence was Crystal Castles on your musical development and what is your reaction to their split?
They were a really big influence. I saw them live about 6 or 7 years ago and it was a pretty life changing show. It really inspired me in terms of what I wanted do with my live shows and that electronic dance element. Their breakup was sad but I also think it was right to end while on top rather than just fading away or people just not caring anymore.
While all of the tracks on your new album follow your signature dreamrave vibe, each track can definitely be distinguished from one another. CLOUDS has that otherworldly, low-fi, slightly melancholic tone. EMBRACE is more of an experimental beat. SKELETON is darker and more ferocious. Talk about the distinction between the tracks in this album as well as some of your older tracks such as DARK BEACH.
I think some of the older tracks have much more of that darker tone. I wrote SKELETON and ABYSS pretty close together aiming for more of a dream trap, witch house direction. EMBRACE, LILACS, and CLOUDS are the newest songs which go more in a 90s rave inspired direction while some of my other songs are more 80’s inspired.
Your overall aesthetic, both from a visual and musical standpoint has elements of soft grunge and goth culture, but you’ve defined it as “dreamrave”. Can you define what dreamrave means from your perspective?
I am definitely influenced by dream pop type stuff. I didn’t really know how to describe my music and I really wanted to find a cool genre that would really embody it. The dreamy element mixed with the dance element is really how I came up with dreamrave.
Do you have any collaborations lined up and who would you most like to collaborate with right now?
There’s this guy Sidewalks and Skeletons from the UK, he’s really big in the witch house community. I think he wanted to collaborate and possibly have me do vocals on one of his tracks but we’re still just talking about it right now.
What do you listen to on a regular basis? What could one find the most of on your ipod?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of random 90s dance music like jungle, acid house, and stuff like that. Before that I listened to a lot of post punk and 80s synth pop.
What is next for you after this tour?
I want to play as many shows as possible. It can be hard to always tour but I definitely want to make shows my main focus over the next year.
Words and interview by Michael Goldberg.