An Interview With Los Angeles Songwriter and Producer Betty Moon
After hearing the brief story on the nearly three decade career of Toronto born, L.A.-based songwriter and producer Betty Moon, I couldn’t help but want to learn more about her roots and what got her to where she is today. Not many artists make it past a handful of years in the music business, and the fascinating stories of musicians that do always captivate our interest. Perhaps some of you have heard her music in Canada, or on the radio, Youtube, or in movies here in the U.S. Regardless, we are excited to learn a bit more about Betty Moon and where she came from.
Betty Moon is a CASBY nominated artist who also happens to be a great producer, mixer, and video director all while running her company Evolver Music in the Los Angeles area. She just released her newest album Hellucination, and we sat down with her to dig a little deeper into how she got to album #9 on her continuing journey.
Where are you from originally and how did you get into music?
I was born and raised in Toronto, and was surrounded by music longer than I can remember. My family had a music studio on our home property, so it was inevitable that I would get involved somehow. The studio was called The Coachhouse and was a really cool hangout for musicians and family friends. I soaked in a lot of the diversity and musical inspiration, and was hooked on being a musician and writing songs.
Was your family into music as well, or are you the first to be a creative?
My father was born in Alexandria, Egypt and was a restaurateur in Toronto for many years as I grew up in the west end neighborhood of High Park. He ran a spot called The Flamingo Restaurant and Banquet Hall and he taught me the value of being an entrepreneur which spilled over into my life of being a musician and producer. My brother (Armando Borg) performed in a popular band in Toronto called I Mother Earth, and the studio was a fun jam space and really home to many artists outside of our family as well.
Were you always a solo artist or did you ever play in bands?
In the late 80’s, my very first band as I was still in school was called Bambi and we had a really cool edge to our brand and sound. We were known as one of the hardest working bands in the area and that really helped us sell records, play large shows and eventually secure a record deal after the band disbanded. Before I went solo as Betty Moon, I was still in my teens and already getting airplay on MuchMusic, Toronto Rocks, MTV, The New Music and a bunch of other video and radio networks. It was really exciting to be part of the Toronto music scene then, and not the typical situation for most musicians of my age.
Any cool stories from the early days of the band or Betty Moon?
During the days of Bambi we headlined a huge and very successful event called Extravaganza with DJs The Diamond Club in Toronto. We were known as one of the very first goth bands and had a crazy live show with TV monitors stacked in crosses with insane dark imagery, bullfight footage and female bodybuilders edited to the beat of our music. I was really into stuff like Joy Divison and Depeche Mode, Siouxsie and the Banshees. We were extremely popular and our live show was the hottest, best, most insane time of my youth and really nailed down my destiny to be in music for life.
Why did you go solo, and what led to that decision?
My bandmates Angel (Paco) and Bernard Lopez and their parents left for Spain at the height of our success and I was left to either continue as Bambi on my own or start something completely new. Having the control as a solo artist let me collaborate freely with incredible producers, mixers, session players, artists and other badass people who have been part of my story. I was fortunate to have a great major label deal with A&M/Universal Music and had the chance to grow my career in Toronto during a time where I was the first of my type and had some great singles like “One Kiss” and “I Get High”. There was constant touring in Canada and even shows with groups like Pink Floyd. Crazy right?
How long have you been in Los Angeles, and why the move?
I have actually been back and forth between LA and Toronto for decades. I first spent a summer in Hollywood when I was 14 years old. I didn’t move to LA full time until years ago, but had business in both countries which led to many adventures consistently over the years from my twenties up until now. From crazy boyfriends who acted as managers to running studios like Wellesley Sound, I never had a dull moment and LA was just a great place for rock n’ roll since I played the Palace on Sunset and Vine in 1989.. There was a time where I had to return from LA to run the studio and during then got to work with some of the biggest artists on the planet at the studio, which helped keep me relevant in the industry. Ultimately, I needed to make the move to Los Angeles for a change of pace, marriage, business and to get closer to the beach and ocean which is one of my most inspiring places to visit until this day.
How have you managed to make so many albums throughout your career?
I think it’s a matter of setting goals in songwriting and having your own realistic deadlines. Since I didn’t have to report to a label or other bandmates, I managed to keep the label and songwriting expectations on my level. That may not work for some, but for me I could easily pump out 1-2 albums a year if I wanted to. I have an archive of unreleased music from almost every year, but I only chose to release the music that is meant to be put out there.
Have you worked with any notable musicians or toured with any great artists?
Jeez, so many I can’t even remember all of them in one sitting, I’ve been very fortunate and thankful. Some on the production side are Gavin Brown, Chris Lorde Alge, John Christ and badass session players like Kenny Arnoff. I’ve shared the stage with some incredible people like Marilyn Manson, Steve Aoki, Pink Floyd, The Offspring and Black Label Society. Some of my favorite though are the ones I work with to this day including Justin Smolian, Jason Ganberg and Owen Barry. They’ve been like family to me and have been a huge part of the journey.
What has 2019 been like for you? You have a new album, tell us about it.
It’s been a whirlwind this year for sure, With placements on Teen Mom and my song “Liar”coming out in a movie starring Mira Sorvino, its pretty exciting and rewarding. I’ve had 5 successful singles from a recent album earlier this year and went guns blazing to release ‘Hellucination’ in late May. I’m currently pushing a single called “Crazy” from my current EP release of the same name (Hellucination) and gearing up to make a couple more music videos. It’s really about staying busy, making awesome content and putting it out there without second guessing it. I hope your readers can check out “Crazy” and “Save My Soul”. Thank you for the interview.