Man & the Moon is an on-campus band with a unique sound infused with pop-rock, punk, and alternative music. The band is fronted by senior Trey Brockman, with electric guitarist Tyler Armstrong, drummer TJ Steinwart, and bassist Dan Chiofolo. Their engineers are Caitlin Scott (lights) and Karli Widmer (sound). Man & the Moon is strongly influenced by Switchfoot, Relient K, Colony House, and the 1975.
Man & the Moon began in the spring of 2016 under the name The Great Indoors, the brainchild of Trey and TJ. “TJ and I have been friends for a long time, but we didn’t really talk about doing music together until last fall,” Brockman said. “He heard my songs and got really excited about them, so we were like, ‘Hey, we should do a band.’” Caleb Carlson and Jairin Schad became the third and fourth members, and the band became part of GC’s lab band program. The Great Indoors gained popularity on campus by playing multiple shows in the Blackroom and finishing out the semester with an energetic set at Midnight Breakfast. In March of this year, TGI released their first single, “Cold Weather,” on Noisetrade. The single was an immediate smash hit on campus. Soon after, in April, TGI came out with their self-titled EP, a six-track record that features a unique mix of ambient pad sounds and driving electric guitars.
This semester, the band rearranged their vision; with the change of name came the change of band members. Tyler Armstrong and Dan Chiofolo have replaced Carlson and Schad, who chose to pursue different passions. “Caleb is one of my best friends in the whole world, and he just got engaged, so he decided he’d rather focus on his relationship with his future wife than be in the band, which is great,” Brockman explained. “Jairin is in a new band called SideQuest, one that focuses on his own songwriting. We’re gonna have him play keys for Man & the Moon a little later, but right now we’re letting him focus on his band while we settle in with the new band members.”
Man & the Moon played the Lion and the Lamb festival at the beginning of the semester, just a couple weeks after Armstrong and Chiofolo joined, but the new members clicked with the band immediately. Brockman, Steinwart, and Armstrong had already played music together as a part of a Springfield-based band called Nick Bifano and the Innocents. Brockman toured with them over the summer, and Armstrong’s incorporation into Man & the Moon fell into place; once Armstrong heard Trey’s songs, he was hooked. Armstrong’s involvement in the band has brought a fresh sound and a new degree of musicianship. “My vision for Man & the Moon is to support the music and help further the progress of it in a positive direction,” Armstrong said. “I was a fan of the music even before I was in the band. There is a lot of power behind the love for music, so I think that’s my biggest strength in this band.”
Brilliant songwriting was a key element in bringing the band together. Each of the band members relates to and enjoys the music they work so hard to produce. “It was really the songs that brought us all together, because we were all passionate about them,” Brockman said. “It’s been really cool to see how everyone was incorporated and got involved with the songs.” Steinwart explained, “I was initially interested in the band because of the styles that Trey gravitates toward (electronic, rock, pop). I enjoy working on the music, particularly the material we’re currently writing, because it allows me to be creative with different sounds and textures. It’s a rewarding experience for me to channel my creativity into catchy songs that anyone can enjoy.”
Offstage, the band members remain close friends, which encourages their onstage chemistry and general camaraderie. As with any passion, music is more meaningful when it’s shared with others. “It’s awesome to play music I love with such great friends,” Armstrong said. “I would have to say the most enjoyable thing about being in Man & the Moon is the ability to play songs I have a lot of passion for with brothers who share the same passions.”
Man & the Moon has a bright future ahead of them, both on and off campus. “We are working on a record and booking shows around the Midwest,” said Brockman. “We had some people contact us about production and management of the band, so we’ll just see what happens with it this year.” “As is the goal with most bands, our ultimate goal is to ‘make it’ within the music industry,” Steinwart explained. “I think our real purpose is to do the best we can to get there while still remaining true to ourselves.” Watch out for Man & the Moon; they may just become Greenville’s next claim to fame.
by Mandy Pennington