Molly Williams, a.k.a. MOONZz, is a singer from Los Angeles with a velvety voice and a knack for crafting catchy dark electronic-pop songs. Her debut single, “Satisfy,” came out in 2015, and was quickly snatched up by Victoria's Secret who used the song in two of their commercials.
[jump] Earlier this month, MOONZz played at Northern Nights Music Festival, her first ever performance at a music festival, bedecked in a white lace gown and rhinestone decals on her face. Today, the millennial dropped a new single, “Wonder,” a synth-laced pop ditty punctuated with soaring vocals and explosive, frenetic drops.
We spoke with the up-and-coming artist about performing at Northern Nights, buying her first CD, and who she's looking forward to seeing at Outside Lands next week.
SF Weekly: How was playing at Northern Nights?
MOONZz: Northern Nights was the best way to start my festival rounds. It was the perfect size where I could meet so many of you and I was so impressed by the sound guys, especially at the Grove stage on Sunday at midnight. It really felt like I connected with both audiences in different ways, and I can’t wait to announce my future tour dates!
SFW: Describe the first time you went on stage to perform at Northern Nights on the River stage. Have you ever felt stage fright?
M: Not gonna lie, before I went on, I had to take a number of deep breaths, as I knew our sound was really different than the rest of the acts on stage that weekend. It was like my mouth was constantly parched and I just had to keep drinking water. But once I got on stage, it really disappeared. I felt all the months and months and months of rehearsal and writing hibernation come to life. It was the best feeling in the world. But even better, people were singing along as far back as I could see. There really aren’t words to describe how that feels. So let me make one up: “Flitterbunch.”
SFW: What age were you when you received/purchased your first album, cassette or CD? What was it? Do you still have it?
M: My older sister gave me Radiohead’s Kid A and Elliott Smith’s Figure 8 in 2000, and I brought it to camp that summer. Thinking about it now, it’s such a trip that I was listening to those artists at 9-years-old and it has influenced me as a songwriter to this day. I remember buying my first CD so clearly. I was at Tower Records and I was 11. I somehow managed to buy a parental advisory album — LOL — Eminem's The Eminem Show. I remember putting it on in my mom's car, so excited to listen to “Cleaning Out My Closet,” and she immediately turned it off and told me to take it out. So I listened to it in my room for nights on end.
SFW: Describe your first experience in the recording studio when you laid down your first track.
M: I’ve been lucky to work with the most supportive teachers and mentors, but when I was 12, my piano teacher, Tina, took me to my first recording-studio experience. She sat me down beforehand and told me that with determination and practice I would have a bright future. I sat down at the most beautiful grand piano I had ever seen and performed three tracks that I then had packaged with my face on it — and gave them away as party favors at my Bat Mitzvah.
SFW: If you had to pick one song to remix from the ‘60s what would it be and why?
M: That's so hard! From the Stones to the Beach Boys to Marvin Gaye, the ’60s were pure magic, experimentally and lyrically. It would be rad to remix/cover “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream or The Yardbirds’ “For Your Love.” I love the longing felt immediately in both, and they both give me lots of freedom to build it up with my harmonies.
SFW: Name a few songs that you have had on repeat this year.
M: “Some Minds” by Flume featuring Andrew Wyatt; Kevin Garrett’s “Refuse;”
Sylvan Esso’s “Dress;” Nombe’s “Kemosabe;” and Kurt Vile’s “Pretty Pimpin’.”
SFW: Will you be coming up to attend Outside Lands? Have you been before?
M: Yes! I'll be coming to Outside Lands this year and am beyond excited to see Radiohead and LCD Soundsystem. I was there last year and actually got to see Tame Impala twice in three days, once in L.A. at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and again at Outside Lands. Listening to their music constantly pushes me to get better.
SFW: What is your favorite thing to do in San Francisco?
M: My favorite thing to do in San Francisco is people watch in Dolores Park. It feels like you’re watching Humans of New York. To be honest, I haven’t had a chance to explore, but I’m looking so forward to finding some amazing spots on my upcoming MOONZz tour.