VIDEO PREMIERE | Rick Moon, "Cracker Jack"
Following artist Rick Moon from his Puerto Rico beginnings to the expanses of the Miami circuit — we announce their upcoming EP Electric Lunch arriving February 15 as we present the grand debut of the Nick County-directed, Jorge González Graupera-shot & edited video "Cracker Jack". Captured in the Magic City's Spring Garden neighborhood that stars local scene stars Jessy Nite, Nick Lobo, Magnus Sodamin and the members of the notorious Jacuzzi Boys; Moon stars in the role of his own Cracker Jack alter ego in a trajectory that mirrors Rick's own addiction struggles in a cinema short of the absurd. The earnest and energetic sound of Rick Moon and a rhythm section supplied by Luis Del Valle of Buscabulla becomes the soundtrack for a surprise party, a bust, an oddball trial and strange rituals complete with a house party performance that elevates our anti-hero to states of higher consciousness and well being.
Nick County's visual adventure "Cracker Jack" follows the eponymous character as they stroll up unexpectedly to a house rager in progress played out like an eclectic (not to mention eccentric) surprise birthday party. With attendees clutching Solo cups, wielding noise makers, party favors, games of sport and other debaucherous antics; Rick Moon's Cracker Jack protagonist mingles with the ensemble before being busted by the fuzz after grabbing a beverage from the fridge. Thrown into a bathtub holding cell before standing trial by bowl-smoking judge; the sentencing hammer comes down which leads Jack to a cult-like therapy session that is interrupted by the previously witnessed party goers as he is carried back to the soirée where he joins up with bandmates and friends to keep the mood lively and bright. The video stands as a testament to the power of support by friends and loved ones in the face of all struggles as we see Cracker Jack being lifted back up on his feet with a little help from his friends. With a sonic sound that imbibes from that fountain of joie de vivre — the video accompaniment compliments the aural inertia with a tale of redemption that serves as an inspiration for anyone and everyone anywhere battling through their own respective baggage issues. The message is that hope, beauty and care prevails always (if you want it to).
Rick Moon provided a barrage of insights about the single, video, upcoming EP, process, identity and more:
Regarding "Cracker Jack":
If I had to describe Cracker Jack in few words I’d say he is the ‘shadow self’; a personification of the dark, shameful and undesirable side in each of us.
The song, like most of the album, expresses a strong desire to get rid of that worst part of yourself. It felt easier to portray this by creating a separate identity...an unpleasant yet emotionally relatable character.
This song tells the story of how Cracker Jack is being demanded to leave by an unnamed person or group. He’s been up to no good and everybody has had enough of him. It serves as a canvas where I could frame Cracker Jack’s situation effectively for the listener, so it’s the only song where he’s not speaking in first person. The rest of the album can be interpreted as his first person reaction to the mess he’s caused and how he truly feels about it all.
I’ve been open about my rocky history with addiction and having been to a few treatment centers throughout my life. This song was written in one of these centers during a time in which my Cracker Jack was the person I became when I was using and, essentially, the person I didn’t want to be anymore.
The dynamics of Electric Lunch's sound:
I think it’s worth mentioning that the sound of this album is a conscious and intentional departure from my previous two. Normally taking queues from the traditional school of song writing, I wasn’t particularly excited at the prospect of making yet another folk or pop/rock collection of songs. I wanted to feel somewhat isolated so I could freely experiment with different sounds and styles that felt out of my comfort zone. I produced all the songs myself and played all the instruments with the exception of drums. My style of songwriting tends to be more confessional and intimate but this time I decided to present themes in a more creative and picturesque way.
Thoughts on the "Cracker Jack" video:
We wanted the video to take viewers on a strange ride of confusing situations and distorted perceptions of reality because it’s an accurate representation of where my mind was during these darker times. It focuses on tough themes I’ve experienced, like paranoia and self-loathing, but in a funny and creative way. There’s a strong message about self-reflection and letting go of the guilt one feels about mistakes made in the past. I particularly enjoy the scene where Cracker Jack gets locked up and turns to see me sitting next to him. The director, Nick County, did a great job at depicting that introspective rock bottom moment. I played Cracker Jack in most of the video so, while this scene is open to further interpretation, I see it as that moment where you are confronted with the realization that you need to take a hard look at yourself in order to move forward.
Meditations on identity:
Growing up in Puerto Rico, I constantly felt like I was some sort of alien and I could be somewhat introverted at times. At a young age I developed a keen interest in the Brit pop movement of the 90s-00s as well as the British Revolution of the 60s started by bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Naturally, I tried to sound like these artists. This wasn’t a particularly popular artistic style in my country and I felt out of place throughout most of my adolescence because of this. As some sort of defense mechanism or rebellious act I decided to reject a lot of the culture that surrounded me and wholeheartedly felt that I didn’t relate to my surroundings and the place I was from.
Knowing what I know now, I can’t help feeling guilty about my attitude towards my culture during my youth. After having lived away from Puerto Rico for so many years, and having matured a bit, I’ve realized how much home it is for me. Nowadays when I visit I always feel a strong connection and an undeniable pride that was always there, I just needed to let myself experience it.
I decided to include the Puerto Rican flag in the video to make it clear that I am 100% not American and as a way to pay tribute to a key element in the formation of who I am both as a person and artist. It was there that I learned to play music and write songs, where I played my first shows and was part of my first bands and received feedback and support from other artists and music fans. This is where it all started, even if you can’t necessarily hear it because I don’t make Latin music.
I’ve noticed people have very incomplete/erroneous ideas of what Puerto Ricans look or act like and I like to be a part of that surprise for them. We are a very interesting and diverse bunch of people. I hope to make my compatriots proud with this and to bring more attention to our awesome music scene. I don’t think people outside the island really understand the level of creativity, talent and taste that resides there. It really excites me that more and more Puerto Rican artists are gaining international recognition and I’d be honored to be a part of it.
Insights on moving to Miami:
Living in Miami has been quite a ride. I did not move here because I was attracted to the city or interested at all in developing myself as an artist here. I moved to Miami 10 years ago because I was sent to a treatment center by my family. After that I had an interesting journey of sobriety after that and ended up staying because of it. Twelve step support groups, fellowship, sponsors and all that stuff. Eventually, it started feeling too rigid and dogmatic for me and I ended up leaving it. I relived a lot of my past experiences and mistakes when I made the decision to walk away from that lifestyle and this song expands on that.
Reflections on artistic contribution:
As an artist, you tend to think a lot about what your contribution is. I’ll tell you this, I don’t want to make music for addicts or much less be any sort of poster boy for any type of recovery or success story, but I do believe the best art is honest. I hope people can hear my songs and connect with their own pain, fear and discomfort so they can hopefully look at themselves more closely. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more.
Rick Moon's Electric Lunch EP will be available February 15 and will make an appearance at Miami's iii Points Festival.