On a Stripped-Down Solo Single, Etai Embraces Anti-Folk

Photo by Tom Waterworth

As a member of Baltimore dream pop band Moon By Moon, Etai Fuchs usually works in large scale sounds–spacy, shoegazy swells of guitar and keyboard harmony. But after his first solo performance, he was inspired to scale back, carrying a collection of acoustic tracks and a single microphone down to his basement to record something new.

The result is Bloodletting, his debut record as Etai. Coming January 10, 2020 on Blue Salt Records, it combines single takes with limited overdubs and editing to replicate the spirit of that first live solo outing. As of today, you can hear two tracks from the project: “Lies (feat. Gabbo)” and a cover of Frankie Cosmos’ “Tunnel.”

The rest of the album consists of tracks Fuchs felt were too personal for full band arrangements, though several feature lush vocal harmonies by Gabbo, the solo project of his Moon By Moon bandmate Gabby Franks.

“Some of these songs were written years ago, and I had yet to record or perform them, in part due to the intense feelings associated with them and how difficult it could be to work on them,” he says. “Others were written in early 2019 and sort of functioned as a form of self-therapy in confronting the way I was feeling about relationships and issues in my life at the time.”

That makes “Lies” the outlier, though it’s as stripped down as anything else on the album. Originally released on Moon By Moon’s self-titled EP, it’s more focused on politics than the personal trauma that informs the rest of Bloodletting.

“The song was previously released as a much heavier sort of punk song,” says Fuchs. “I ended up feeling that took the focus away from the lyrics, so I wanted to make a more anti-folk version.”

“Tunnel,” on the other hand, fits hand in glove with the rest of the album’s themes as well as its bare-bones setup and plaintive melodies.

“When Frankie was first putting out those Haunted Items singles, I loved the stripped down approach,” says Fuchs. “I’m not sure if I’m interpreting the lyrics as they were intended, but to me, it felt extremely relatable to a moment of reflection in the course of a relationship. I did the cover in that first live performance, and ever since, I knew I wanted it to be the last track on the record.”

You can stream the double single here and preorder the album from Blue Salt Records:

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