Liam Kingsley, a musician and Ph.D. student at IU studying African history in Windhoek, Namibia, released his latest album after six years. Kingsley, known musically as Moon News, released indie rock album “Name the House” on March 31, 2022.
The album’s foundation is guitar melodies, but most of the songs are full band. Kingsley said he recorded himself playing different guitars, harmonies, piano and other instruments. He said a few of his friends collaborated with him as well.
As Moon News, he has also released “Retroactionary,” an album in 2014, a split EP in 2014 with Boy Goliath, a solo EP called “Fumbling” in 2015 and “Vestigialist,” an album released in 2016.
Kingsley said his music used to be much more intense when he was suffering from depression in undergraduate school. As he was getting healthier, he said, he had to learn how to write more subtly.
“You’re looking back at the crater of who you used to be and wondering if it's going to widen and you'll fall back in,” Kingsley said. “So to me, this album has very much been about taking these unsteady steps into adulthood on shaky legs.”
Kingsley said music is communal and a product of the community you’re in. He said his favorite aspect of songwriting is sharing his work with others. He said he believes nothing is better than performing and watching people react to his work.
Kingsley said he started to love singing in elementary school. He formed a band in eighth grade and played through all of high school. By the end of his high school career, his band had started writing original songs instead of only playing covers.
He began playing banjo as a freshman in college and majored in musical composition. He said he was in bands all throughout college and started a record label, Dad Culture Records, with some of his friends to put on shows in Potsdam, New York, where there was nowhere to perform. Through his job with the record label, Kingsley learned how to record and mix music.
Kingsley said he began writing music seriously when he got to college. He’s been creating his own work since then while also being in different bands.
Kingsley grew up in New Hamburg, New York, and earned bachelor’s degrees in history and music from SUNY Potsdam. After graduating in 2017, he came to IU to study history. Although Kingsley chose history as his career, he said he thinks of himself as a musician first.
His Bloomington performances began at Blockhouse Bar open mic nights. Through those events, he met the owners of The BlunderBuss Cabinet, a house venue, and was invited to perform there which led to other performance opportunities.
Hunter Nico McKenzie, founder of Handmade Audio and Bloomington musician, played in a past band with Kingsley and ran The Blunderbuss Cabinet. They met at one of Blockhouse Bar’s open mic nights, and McKenzie mastered “Name the House.”
“If he's singing a song that has one chord, he will play that one chord with so much concentration, and refinement and finesse that you think this is the only way this song ever could have been,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie said Kingsley bridges the gap between chaos and structure in his rock ‘n’ roll music. He compared the songs to poems, and he said the album makes him stop and process his emotions and ask himself where he is in his life and what he’s doing.