Locals: Mister Moon at Rumba Cafe

Joel Oliphint

Things aren't always what they appear to be in Mister Moon. Take “Peer,” for example, the second track on the atmospheric rock band's four-song debut EP, Point One.

“If you read the lyrics, you assume it's some cute song about a girl, but in my head it's actually about fighting conflicting feelings about committing suicide,” singer/guitarist Tommy Christian said recently by phone. “I treat [the girl] almost like an angel figure. Some dude is singing as he's drowning after he jumps off a cliff.”

Christian calls Norwalk, Ohio home, as do Mister Moon's drummers, Cory Boomer and Cory Webb; bassist Seth Bain lives in Columbus and also plays in local act Nick D' & the Believers with Webb. The band formed last year and will celebrate its new EP with a release show at Rumba Cafe on Saturday, July 15, with Playing to Vapors and Betsy Ross.

Christian's first instrument was the violin. He played in orchestras into college, but his mother's side of the family introduced him to more instinctual, less technical aspects of music. “One of my cousins wanted me to learn all these bluegrass songs, and it was cool. It allowed me to learn how to play by ear and improvise,” he said. “Also, in middle school I started writing. A buddy of mine, we would write poems and short stories in this notebook. I would give it to him after class, then he'd write something and give it back to me. … That's how it started. Once I picked up an acoustic guitar in high school, I didn't stop.”

Mister Moon describes itself as a “culternative” band. “The ‘cult' part hints at what will become more obvious as we move along,” Christian said. “There's something about it that we want to be almost cult-like. … We're very conceptual. We want to create that feeling where, when you go to a Mister Moon show, you're not just going to a show. You're stepping into our world.”

“The name ‘Mister Moon' is supposed to be the balance of feminine and masculine — the idea of balance and neutrality,” he continued. “There's not good and evil; they're one and the same. That's the place I'm coming from. It's bigger than just writing cute songs. There's a gospel, if you will. It plays its way into the music. If you listen to the EP, none of the songs are overly happy or overly sad. It's the idea of balance. I think that's what we need right now. In a world of extremism, I think bringing some balance to the picture could do us all a lot of good.”

Rumba Cafe

10 p.m. Saturday, July 15

2507 Summit St., North Campus


ALSO PLAYING: Playing to Vapors, Betsy Ross