Take Me Back to the Valley: an Interview with Ziggy Moon Karraa
Ziggy Moon Karraa is a multifaceted, phenomenal musician who I was extremely excited to get an interview with. He plays guitar, sings, plays sax, and arranges big bands– multifaceted is an understatement. We met all the way back in middle school and even played in our high school marching band together but, him being a year younger than me, we mostly fell out of touch when we traveled across the country to our respective schools to follow our passions. Ziggy, wanting to continue learning about music, is now attending the Boston Conservatory of Berklee as a Contemporary Writing and Production major–basically studying big band composition. Ziggy’s most recent release is his single that was released earlier in April, ‘Lovely Day (Can I Call You?)’, a tight, groovy, bright sounding track where Ziggy really shows off his pipes.
Between catching up and talking about our mutuals, one of the main things Ziggy and I discussed was how gigs in Boston are generally pretty hard to get “because you kind of have to be in the inner circle of people who have houses where you can play [...] But I'm trying to chip away.” I’ve personally talked to a few musicians living in Boston about this issue and they’ve all attested that it’s true; the house show doldrums are a real issue as they’ve tried to break into the scene. I’ve also heard that it’s almost impossible to get bookings at venues without a significant social media following. And, apparently, house shows are generally the best way to garner that social media following. But ultimately, as Ziggy expressed, getting to play a house show is all about networking and connections.
Another fun part of our conversation (that probably went for way too long) was hearing about all the people who went from the valley to Boston. Ziggy named about eight people off the top of his head that he’s been playing or working with that we both knew in LA. Take Ziggy’s word for it, “It's like half the valleys out in Boston!”
In mid-March Ziggy also arranged, wrote, played in, and shot a Tiny Desk-type video to enter an NPR Tiny Desk Contest. If you’re not aware of the Tiny Desk medium, check out the Bushy One String Tiny Desk. It’s phenomenal.
Anyway, Ziggy’s entry has this awesome sextet of alto sax (@alexrrashad), tenor sax (@ben.renzoni), trombone (@andyg831), bass (@_shneids_), drums (@dinardodrums), and himself on guitar. The sextet played ‘Take Me Everywhere’ a gorgeous, summery song on Spotify, but with the full horn section, the ‘Tiny Desk’ version takes it to the next level. Listening to their submission makes me feel like I’m biking through VNSO Park in high school on a warm summer day. Overall their piece is undoubtedly comforting, catchy, simply complex, mesmerizing, and precisely nostalgic. In particular, the nostalgia is so interesting to me because Ziggy and I went to school together, grew up in the same neighborhood, and have largely been exposed to a lot of the same things. I wonder, is the nostalgia just a personal experience because Ziggy is so fucking good at capturing the essence of a very particular, abstract feeling related to our upbringing? Or do other people get that nostalgic, dreamlike feeling too?
For the next two months (May and June) Ziggy is going to bless us with a new single each month, so keep an eye out for his upcoming singles. Ziggy also has a gig coming up on April 27 at Tavern in the Square in Boston with Mahogany Purple and Timothy Stone, so if you’re in the area be sure to pull up!