While discussing Russia, Winston Churchill once famously said, “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” If Churchill were alive today (and if he happened to be an aficionado of bizarre experimental rap music), he might say something similar about Th’ Mole.
His name is Jonah Mociun. He resides in an “undisclosed location” somewhere in California, runs the “no budget” label Motion Recordings and is arguably the only MC, vocalist, producer and composer of “whirled fusion” — basically strange and exciting musical experimentation.
It’s music he makes as Th’ Mole and about seven other aliases, including DJ 0.000001, Experimental Man, Captain Daydream (a “children’s entertainer”) and Pierre Johnson, to whom Mociun’s self-released debut album, If You Don’t Like This You Have Bad Taste, was credited.
“I create alter egos in order to focus myself,” he says when asked about the characters he has created. “I have different, more lighthearted approaches with those [personas].
When I make music as Th’ Mole, it isn’t a character that I’m portraying. It’s me attempting to be myself, exploring my own hopes and dreams and such.
“It can be a difficult process trying to make music that defines ‘me’.”
The reasons behind Mociun’s choice of Th’ Mole as his primary nom de plume are, needless to say, absurdly complex. He has constructed a comprehensive mythology involving a “mole consciousness”: an entity that accesses our reality through actual moles, through moles on one’s skin, and through the dreams and nightmares of “agents.” Mociun says the mole consciousness contains two secrets: “one that can destroy our world, and one that can free anyone from the constraints of reality.”
Th’ Mole himself admits that he is still attempting to unravel that mystery.
Through that process, he tries to help others find who they are through his music.
“I try to make super-energetic music that both challenges people to think and makes people feel good,” Mociun says. “I try to make music that hasn’t been heard before — to create something new and exciting. Lyrically, I want to connect with the listener and show them something new to make them be a happier and healthier person. So I try to be straightforward, humorous and positive.”
Th’ Mole’s latest LP, Greatest Hits (Ha Ha Ha) Vol.1, spawned the ingratiating single “How 2 B Cool” — which has been quite the little success story on college radio and the Internet, retaining the No. 1 spot on XLR8R’s “Top Rated MP3s” list for more than two months. It’s a funny, lively tune, the lyrics of which are tips on how to be a cool person and “how not to be a dick.”
Other tracks — such as the sublimely literal “I Luv Unicornz” — are consistent in their silliness, while maintaining a strong backbone of upbeat production that tends to build into a frenetic crescendo of awesome.
A wildly prolific and nomadic artist, Th’ Mole has also been steadily attracting fans with his unique performances.
“I try to keep it danceable,” he says, “while also keeping the onstage visuals interesting, in case people don’t want to dance. I try to move around and otherwise engage the audience in order to keep as high an energy level and as many smiles as possible. I’ve been involving some extra theatrics, which I’ll keep secret for now.” Of course, there are rumors of confetti cannons, unicorns and zombies.
He is, indeed, a riddle wrapped in a mystery, reminiscent of a recently departed Spokane hometown hero. Th’ Mole is like James Pants.
No: like James Pants on mescaline.
Th’ Mole plays with Gun of the Sun, Jaeda, Stone Tobey and Fat Arm at the Sunset Junction on Friday, May 14, at 9 pm. Tickets: $7. Call 455- 9131.