Three Music Thingz with Needy Beast

Three Music Thingz with Needy Beast

Great googly moogly, it's another edition of Three Music Thingz, the blogseries where I ask musicians for three thingz that are essential to their music-making.

Today's feature is Needy Beast, aka Adam Moerder. Adam previously played in the Brooklyn band Mr. Dream, and has contributed to the tunes of acts like Shamir, Channel Tres and PawPaw Rod. Needy Beast is his personal synth pop project, which has featured a collaborative "clown car of talented friends" on projects like 2022's Needy EP. Last month marked the release of Don Forever, an austere yet heartfelt collection of songs dedicated to Adam's dearly departed cat Don.

It's an intriguing contrast, hearing elegiac themes in music you can also potentially boogie to—Don Forever evokes the sensibilities of the undeniable grief bop "Someone Great" by LCD Soundsystem, as well as a vision of my personal dream funeral, which would involve a large disco ball and my favorite selection of Dancing & Crying™ songs. The title track in particular, with its loping bass line, cheeky synth trills and general Tom Tom Club-y vibe, provides an unusually bouncy backdrop for the feeling of missing a once-constant presence: "Now I look up / See your gaze / Feel your gaze / Miss your gaze."

(In non-Don news, I also really dig the Needy Beast remix of "Being In Love" by Wet Leg...)

I needed to know about the thingz that contribute to Needy Beast's tunes and I was not disappointed. Read on for a fantastical and zoological collection of inspirations: medieval lions, the iconic Don himself, plus a crucial Chubby Checker check-in...

Don Forever, by Needy Beast
4 track album

  1. Wedding Music
    When I was a kid, my dad, a schoolteacher by day, worked a side gig DJing for weddings, parties, school dances, that sort of thing. I never had formal music training growing up, but I’d poke through all these boxes of records he kept in the house and blast them through his big professional grade sound system in the basement. I was obsessed with the B-52’s, Jimmy Buffett, and corny wedding records like Nat King Cole’s “L.O.V.E.,” “Electric Boogie,” or Chubby Checker’s “The Twist.”

    Also, tagging along on some jobs with my dad, I’d witness first-hand how music was like this biomechanical force. I remember seeing buttoned-up stiffs suddenly go apeshit on the dancefloor to songs like “Love Shack.” It really ingrained in me this idea that music gets in there and affects us on a molecular level. I try to keep that in mind while writing and recording. You can get lost in music theory or software plugins or recording techniques, but at the end of the day each track should elicit a specific reaction out of someone, so make sure all decisions serve that purpose. Give the lizard brain what it wants!
  2. Medieval bestiaries
    When I first started making music as Needy Beast, I used this corny tagline as a mission statement: “electro-pop with a medieval mindset.” Coming off the pandemic, it felt like mankind was sliding back into some tech-based version of occultism, alchemy, etc–and of course interest in astrology remains as strong as ever. So, as a gag gift, my girlfriend got me a coffee table book on medieval bestiaries, and it’s served as the project’s lookbook ever since. Apparently in old times people used these like we use Wikipedia now, except the writers were totally freestyling, filling in any gaps with their imaginations. The Needy Beast logo of a lion crying out comes from one of these illustrations. They used to believe lion cubs were born dead and had to be nursed for three days by the mama lion before the father finally showed up to breathe life into them (umm, patriarchy much?).

    It’s fun to chuckle at these works, but they’re also strangely touching. I admire their search for deeper meaning in things, and the reverence they had for animals and nature. “Me & My Minerals” is based on Rudolf II, a Holy Roman Emperor who was bored by politics or ruling, but instead would obsess over his cabinet of curiosities. While his kingdom descended into violence and chaos, he just sat inside pondering his weird little doodads. Now, would I want to be one of his subjects getting my home burned down while my emperor did nothing? No. But I think anyone can relate to the urge to shut out the real world, close the blinds, and ponder your dang orb.
  3. Don, my dearly departed cat
    How could I not include this lug? The EP is dedicated to Don, who sadly passed away last September. I adopted him and his brother Thor in 2013, when they were small enough to fit in your hand. He grew to be this 17-pound, happy-go-lucky oaf who loved cuddles and hanging out. A few years ago I started doing all my writing and recording at a makeshift home studio, and Don would almost always be right there with me, booping me for attention or taking one of his epic day-long naps. He was like my furry little Rick Rubin. Whenever I’d get frustrated or beat myself up over a track that wasn’t going well, I’d just look over at Don snoozing away. I liked to think he was telepathically telling me to chill out and let the good vibes flow–though sometimes he’d snore so loud I’d have to hold off on recording vocals. I miss him so, so bad, but am glad his big fat jolly spirit can live on in these tunes. Don Forever <3
Don ❤️

Thank you Adam! Enjoy Needy Beast's link aggregation here. And thanks for reading I Enjoy Music. If you like the blog, tell a friend about it.