MØZZIE: Unveiling the Dark and Immersive Soundscape of ‘CRAWL
Interviews Music

MØZZIE: Unveiling the Dark and Immersive Soundscape of ‘CRAWL

MØZZIE is an emerging artist hailing from Seattle who has recently unleashed his latest single, “CRAWL”. The single is a sonic journey that plunges into the depths of darkness and a self-described “statement of purpose” for MØZZIE’s debut as an artist. His music as an artist has become recognizable for its unique blend of influences and genre-defying sound. As he continues to explore various themes and genres in his forthcoming projects, MØZZIE’s fearless commitment to delivering authentic and immersive experiences through his art remains a central focus. His work invites listeners to embark on a deeply personal and unique journey, resonating with those who seek both visual and emotional escapism. Idols 2 Rivals was excited for the opportunity to talk with MØZZIE, to discuss his impressive sound, artistic influences, and how a rainy month of relentless downpour in Los Angeles served as an unexpected muse for “CRAWL”

I2R: Your latest single, “CRAWL,” has been described as a “sonic descent into the abyss.” What emotions or experiences did you want to convey with this song?

MØZZIE: That’s a really cool way to describe the song. I wanted to use ‘CRAWL’ as a “statement of purpose” for my debut as an artist and to convey a really dark, horror film vibe. I wanted people to listen to this song and instantly think “This song feels and sounds like it should be in a horror film”.

I2R: Seattle, known for its rainy atmosphere, is your hometown. How has the city influenced your music and the dark, brooding tones in your work?

MØZZIE: You know, To be honest, more than I realized until I started writing music. When I was diving into the sounds and themes for this project I gradually noticed how a lot of the songs I was writing had this somewhat depressing and dark vibe to them. it’s kind of funny but at one point, my sister even pointed this out so it made me hyper-aware of it. I’ve started exploring sounds and themes here and there that aren’t SO moody because of that. Everything needs a little bit of balance you know? I’ve kind of grown up all over the place though, so you sort of just bring all of those places and experiences with you when you create art.

I2R: You began your musical journey during an isolated winter in 2023. How did that specific time shape the direction and tone of your music?

MØZZIE: So, there was this entire month or so in LA where it was just pouring nonstop. The rain and the whole atmosphere, it just had this really oppressive feel to it. you couldn’t escape it, and that kind of crept its way into my songwriting. It was around the time when we had those crazy floods in LA that made the news, and the only sounds I had to accompany me during this time, when I didn’t have headphones on, was the constant sounds of stormy weather and rain. I’ve even incorporated some of the sounds of the pouring rain in a couple of my upcoming singles I plan to release sometime early next year. I literally went outside and just hit record while getting drenched. It was great and immersive.

I2R: Your sound is a blend of various influences, including bands like Marilyn Manson, Nirvana, and The Birthday Massacre. How do you approach combining these diverse influences while still creating something distinctly “MØZZIE”?

MØZZIE: I grew up with a lot of these influences, especially MCR as well. To be honest though I don’t consciously pull from these inspirations at all and during the songwriting process I actually listen to music completely different that would surprise most people, like Olivia Rodrigo or Beach Fossils for example, as a way to clear my own sound palate but the influences are definitely there. I think vocally I’m, unintentionally, constantly compared to Manson. We’re both baritones with a super similar sounding voice, but I definitely have my own style and sound that I’m currently exploring and evolving over time.

I2R: You’ve coined your unique sound as “AltRock Goth Grunge.” Can you delve deeper into what that means to you and how it defines your music?

MØZZIE: A friend of mine was checking out some of my demos and was like “dude, if Kurt Cobain and Marilyn Manson formed a band back in the day and wrote a dark altrock song it would sound something like ‘CRAWL'” so that’s when I coined the term. I actually struggle to define my own music, not that I’m avant-garde or experimental or anything, and even close friends have trouble putting a label on my work. I think it’s because I tend to self-isolate during the songwriting process and don’t really aim to write music in terms of a genre. So, you end up with this mix of goth, altrock, grunge, and sometimes even dark pop/pop/trap/whatever influences creeping their way into my songwriting. I’m not really interested in fitting into a genre sonically or visually to be honest.

I2R: When introducing “CRAWL” to someone unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe its sonic landscape?

MØZZIE: Best way i could describe this song is to imagine a moody, industrial altrock song playing during the end credits of a horror film from the 2000s and you’d get a pretty good idea.

I2R: Your music has been compared to a horror film soundscape. What draws you to the world of horror, and how do you incorporate those elements into your sound?

MØZZIE: This is an awesome question. I’ve been obsessed with the horror genre since I was a kid, watching movies like Halloween, Nightmare On Elm Street, The Evil Dead Series, and, especially, classic Japanese horrors like Ju-On: The Grudge and Ringu (the original). I’ve also always been drawn to the Final Girl trope in horror films. So, how I bring these inspirations into my music is by basically binge-watch all kinds of horror films. Sometimes I’ll select certain types horror films if i’m trying to capture and convey something specific. With ‘CRAWL’, my main inspiration came from the movie Jennifer’s Body. I wanted to write a song that felt like it could have been a part of the original soundtrack.

I2R: The music video for “CRAWL” pays tribute to classic horror films. How did you decide on which films to reference, and what significance do they hold for you?

MØZZIE: This is a great question. ‘CRAWL’ is not only my debut single as an artist but also my directorial debut, so I was obsessive with even the smallest of details. The films I chose to reference were pretty much locked in my mind from the moment I started writing the song because they directly inspired it. I threw in a few shots here and there of scenes that are obvious nods to films like Jennifer’s Body, Ju-On: The Grudge, Ringu, The Exorcist, and more, which horror fans will pretty much immediately recognize. These films are extremely important to me, to the point where I poured over old director interviews for films like Ringu to understand how specific shots were done. For example, remember that one scene from Ringu where Sadako crawls out of the well and creepily walks towards the television screen? Well, that entire scene was actually shot with Sadako walking backwards and then they reversed the shot to get that strange, unnatural movement she has. So, we shot a scene of my best friend Genava using this same film technique during the bridge part of the song and Genava pulled it off perfectly. She’s insanely talented. Go watch the music video and you’ll see what I mean.

I2R: Themes of depression, isolation, and mental health are prevalent in your music video. How do you hope viewers interpret and resonate with these themes?

MØZZIE: Music has always been extremely therapeutic for me. It serves as a way to express what i’m feeling and going through. So, I hope that listeners can have a similar therapeutic experience and work out what they’re going through too.

I2R: The Entity in your video, which you portrayed, embodies depression and declining mental health. What inspired this portrayal, and what message were you aiming to convey?

MØZZIE: It’s actually a dual-role I portray, both with the mask on and without the mask. Essentially, the character itself is a lingering manifestation of depression and isolation that haunts Kalina (Genava) and expresses how these kinds of feelings can have many different faces and façades that linger around people constantly. I wanted to be a constant and oppressive presence throughout the shooting. Not everything is what it seems.

I2R: Your commitment to creating an authentic horror atmosphere led to renting a 1970s apartment set and enlisting a dedicated crew. Can you share any behind-the-scenes challenges or memorable moments from the shoot?

MØZZIE: First of all that set was awesome, I scoured the internet for something special and when I saw it I instantly knew we had to shoot the video there. I shot this music video with a few of my best friends so the entire process was just an awesome time to be honest – however almost nothing went right in an almost comical way looking back at it now. For example, Genava’s original gown we intended to use never arrived on time in the mail, so we were literally scouring the mall on Fig & 7th in DTLA frantically searching for a gown like 2 hours before filming was scheduled to begin. We almost didn’t shoot it with a gown and that would have been tragic, but we lucked out. I found the gown Genava wears in the most random location where they put all of the out-of-season clothes that are on sale, and we were extremely lucky that we found the only gown like that in her exact size. Another memorable BTS moment for the entire cast and crew was watching Gratia transform Genava into Kalina; she’s a ridiculously talented makeup/special effects artist.

I2R: How do you balance the juxtaposition of horror film elements with the narrative of loss and mental health struggles in your music video?

MØZZIE: I think these two elements go well together to be honest, for example the film Hereditary is essentially a story about extreme grief and loss told in the context of a horror film and I wanted to shoot something that brought mental health and horror together as well.

I2R: Creating a music video that evokes classic horror films is a significant undertaking. What was your primary motivation behind such a grand vision?

MØZZIE: Thank you, it wasn’t easy and involved a lot of planning and careful shooting (Huge shoutout to Miguel our DP with this btw) to get the scenes and setting just right. My primary inspiration was just to shoot something that felt more like a horror film than just another music video. I wanted to create something interesting, creepy, and visually appealing that fit the mood of the song that horror fans like myself would love.

I2R: After the release of “CRAWL,” what’s next for you? Are there other themes or genres you’re eager to explore in future projects?

MØZZIE: I don’t want to give too much away but I have quite a lot planned coming up early next year, ‘CRAWL’ is really just the start. I’ve been exploring a lot of different themes and genres outside of the moodier, darker horror theme including one song i’m particularly excited about which is another homage to cinema and touches on failed romance tropes we’ve all watched time and time again play out on the big screen and make us feel like our own lives are Just Like The Movies sometimes. I’m really excited about this one and can’t wait to share more releases that i’m working on so keep an eye out. I’m also considering taking a stab (pun intended) at horror film directing and composing next year, we’ll see.

I2R: With your fearless exploration of the darker aspects of the human psyche, what do you hope listeners take away from your music and overall artistic vision?

MØZZIE: If at least one person out there listens to the music and is visually or emotionally transported somewhere else then I’ve done my job, there’s not much more an artist could want than creating personal and unique experiences for people through their art.