Interviews, New Music

CFM’s Charles Moothart Talks Blistering, Adventurous New LP

Hear the new CFM single ‘Rise and Fall’ and read an interview with leader Charles Moothart

charles moothart

Photo by Denée Segall

CFM is the project of Charles Frances Moothart, the multi-instrumentalist known for his searing guitar work and his collaborations with Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin. Moothart first picked up the guitar at the age of 12; at 16 he joined Cronin in The Moonhearts. Since then, Moothart has become a fixture of the West Coast rock scene as a member Fuzz, GØGGS, and Segall’s band.

Moothart’s second solo album as CFM is Dichotomy Desaturated, due April 7th on In The Red. The album finds Moothart tearing fearlessly into styles ranging from incendiary garage rock to proto-punk and melancholy psych. Dichotomy Desaturated follows last year’s Still Life of Citrus and Slime.

Listen to CFM’s new single ‘Rise and Fall’ here and read an email interview with Charles Frances Moothart below:

Culture Creature: You spoke in your bio about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Is there a specific moment on Dichotomy Desaturated where you felt that you went into uncharted territory and found results that excited you?

Charles Moothart: The whole record is out of my comfort zone. The cleaner, more forward vocals were a big hurdle for me. The songs themselves were more ambitious than the last record, which was a constant push and pull mentally for me. The mellower moments on the record – like the songs ‘Dichotomy,’ ‘Desaturated,’ and the last song ‘Message from the Mirror’ – are the more vulnerable moments that I am happy I saw through.

How did Fuzz help inspire you to create your own solo project?

Every band and record I have been a part of has been influential to the next. Fuzz helped me get more comfortable singing. I sang on one song on the first record then two on the second record. So that was helpful, but, overall, the steps I have taken in music, creatively and personally, have all influenced each other equally and every project has influenced me to keep trying new things and see where things land.

What were the main challenges of the transition from collaborator or supporting player to the role of bandleader or frontman?

Being the frontman of a band was daunting at first because I didn’t know how my voice would handle touring. It has been interesting starting a new band and having to rewire certain parts of my brain when it comes to touring and relationships to touring and music. It’s been really fun and challenging which is really all I want out of music or anything creative, really. I think that once you’re not challenging yourself or you feel like you know exactly what is going to happen or what every next step will be that a huge part of the creative process would be lost. But who knows. Overall the main challenge is trusting myself. But I am lucky to be able to play music with people I really respect and whose judgment and intention I trust. So that is a huge help.

What dichotomies were you dealing with or writing about on Dichotomy Desaturated?

There were a lot of personal dichotomies, like having expectations of yourself but also wanting to break away from them. How to embrace the past while also breaking away from it. How to craft something you are proud of but also not to get caught up in that and lose the true feeling of creativity which should be organic and natural.

Then there were the more outward dichotomies. Just looking around at the world and at people. The dichotomies we put on ourselves and one another every day. The expectations and double standards that we all deal with. Even further into that, the dichotomies of speech, communication, and limitations humanity has created over time. A big one socially and politically would be global warming and the arguments against it. Even if the science was wrong, how can we expect to just keep taking and taking, emitting and emitting, littering and bombing and ignoring and landfilling and digging and contaminating and populating and not feel the repercussions? Religion can’t argue against that. Nothing can, yet people try. To me that is an extreme dichotomy, and they are endless.

Politically, we live in a complete dichotomy. Immigration, race relations, religious and social perceptions, human rights issues including gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation equality, for profit prison systems. Overall, whether it is personal, creative, or social, I see dichotomy written all over the walls. And within seeking answers to these issues, even righteously minded people can find themselves backed up against the wall. The right path should be easily acknowledged, which requires stripping down the dichotomy we are surrounded by. Maybe people’s perception of “God” is the ultimate representation of the Dichotomy. I don’t know. The record certainly is not a highly political record, it is much more personal, but these are the kinds of things that go into that idea.

How did your move to Los Angeles impact you as a musician and songwriter?

It’s hard to say how it specifically affected me. I think that the combination of where I am at in my life and the move to Los Angeles are both connected and have added to a sense of overall change and growth. I’m trying to find what I want and need as well as what I want my impact on my surroundings to be. What I want to support and how. What my voice is. Los Angeles is a very interesting and intense place. It is huge and overwhelming, but also can feel very small and personal if you stay in your neighborhood or part of town or whatever. So it is kind of like a choose your own adventure situation. There is a lot of amazing history here, and a lot to explore if you want to. So in that way it forces you to look at things differently and be more mindful of how you spend your time and what you surround yourself with, which is something I’m trying to figure out right now.

Listen to the best
podcast in music.

Subscribe to the Culture Creature podcast:
Apple Podcasts | Android | Stitcher | RSS