I stopped at The Hood Bar and Pizza one day a while back to chat with Jack Kohler, the Hood’s booking agent (and War Drum’s front man). He told me I absolutely had to see the band playing that night, Jeffertitti’s Nile.
I went to the show, and sure enough, Jeffertitti’s Nile turned in an unforgettable live performance. The band is returning to the valley, this time at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, on Friday, Nov. 14.
The Los Angeles-based band is fronted by Jeffertitti, aka Jeffertitti Moon, aka Moon Flower. You may recognize him as the touring bassist for Father John Misty. The independent music press has raved about Jeffertitti’s Nile, and the band has been praised by devout underground music fans.
During a recent phone interview, Moon Flower estimated that Jeffertitti’s Nile formed about five years ago.
“It’s changed a lot over the years,” Moon Flower said. “We’ve had a lot of members, so it’s been this ever-evolving thing.”
Jeffertitti’s Nile’s music takes one into a realm of psychedelic insanity, with some hard-rock and world-music sounds added to the mix.
“I started the band with Danielle, our old drummer. We openly decided to start channeling things from other countries; we were listening to a lot of Ethiopian music at the time,” Moon Flower said. “We were thinking about Sun Ra. We were playing music before this which was sort of Americana and pretty traditional folky-sounding, but I remember this moment when we had this talk where we decided we wanted to do something so different. It was all about a show—an experience, with costumes, lights and things like that.”
Inspiration came from an interest in the occult.
“We were going through magick school, and we were drawing out this diagram,” he explained. “We were learning about all this ancient knowledge and the occult, and we somehow wanted to include that in our musical project instead of just being this band or that band, and we were thinking about channeling something different and different inspirations.”
Moon Flower explained that the occult isn’t the evil force that some people assume it is; the word actually has a surprising meaning.
“Some of this stuff just makes so much sense. I guess the occult just really means ‘hidden,’” he said. “A lot of it isn’t really hidden; it’s part of everything, and it makes sense. If you look at the way the planets move with each other, it’s kind of like the same way a flower grows out of the ground, and they have the same patterns and the geometry that’s involved. I feel you can’t not be a part of that. I was just reading an Osho book where he says there are different reasons people do things, and it reminded me personally that you do what you do because you love it.”
He said the occult, to him, has to do with truth.
“I think it’s trying to show the truth to people, whereas mainstream media or governmental backers, or people concerned with artificial things like money, they’re just trying to gain more power, and there’s this deep-seated line of truth that’s existed before. I think it’s about remembering and discovering what’s real to you and the beautiful parts of reality.”
As for Jeffertitti’s Nile’s music, Moon Flower credits each of the band members for bringing their own unique qualities to the table to help keep the band’s sound organic.
“It can’t not be organic, because all the different people that come in to play are going to have their own way of doing things,” Moon Flower said. “Their actual self is going to come through. The band has become my own band, and it’s always been named after me, which was almost a joke in the beginning, but it’s always going to have that feel to it, because it’s being channeled through the cosmos through me as a conduit, along with the other people involved. It’s naturally going to sound like that no matter what we’re listening to, what I’m feeling at the time, or the people playing with me. There will always be that element that will keep it as it is.”
Moon Flower said he enjoys the freedom that he and his band mates have.
“We’re just bringing in whatever comes and not having any restrictions. I think that’s the cool thing about it for me, anyway—it feels pretty free to where we’re not trying to sound like a certain genre, and we’re not trying to sound like a certain time period. I feel like, in a way, we’re trying to make something new. It’s anything goes, as long as it feels right.”
Moon Flower has encountered the business side of the music industry while playing with Father John Misty.
“It’s cool to see all sides of it,” he said. “I don’t want to say that (Father John Misty) is ‘corporate,’ but that’s the only word right now that’s coming to me to explain it. It’s business-oriented; it’s a well-oiled machine, and it got started by a lot of money and was sort of blasted into the mainstream. Playing at huge festivals and seeing how that stuff works behind the scenes is kind of a drag, but it’s also beautiful to me. When you talk about industry, there are the people who are doing lights, tuning the instruments, building stages, or it’s in a theater or a club, and people are working there. There are parts of every aspect in life where I’m annoyed by it, or blown away in a good way.”
Moon Flower said that at every Jeffertitti’s Nile’s show, the crowd and the band work together in unison to create a unique experience.
“Some people are going to be out in the crowd totally losing it, and to me, that’s just as important as the people on the stage,” he said. “It goes back and forth, and you get what you give, so it kind of works both ways. People celebrate with the performers, and it’s going to get even better.”
Jeffertitti’s Nile will perform with DJ Smoke Signals at 10 p.m., Friday, Nov. 14, at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-325-9900, or visit www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.