Local band ‘moontown’ brings indie pop to Pittsburgh


Image courtesy of moontown

moontown, a local indie band, performs at a show.

By Maria Scanga, Senior Staff Writer

Meeting and making friends in class is a common experience for students, but meeting those friends and then forming a local band is unusual. For 2022 Pitt alum Lucas DiBlasi, an Afropop class he took during his senior year was the catalyst for the creation of local Pittsburgh band moontown

“Mike, Dom and I met at a Pitt class, the Afropop ensemble taught by Ben Barson,” DiBlasi said. “We played well together, and when Mike heard the songs I was making on my own, he pulled in James and James pulled in Aidan, and after our first practice we added Dom on the bass.” 

The five-member indie group features Mike Stolarz as lead guitarist, Lucas DiBlasi as singer and guitarist, Dominic Frankeny on bass, James Rankin on drums and Aidan Carroll on keyboard, saxophone and vocals. Stolarz and DiBlasi graduated from Pitt in 2022, Frankeny in 2021, and Rankin and Carroll are currently juniors. Students recently voted moontown as the best local band in The Pitt News’ annual “Best Of” survey

The band’s Instagram page is the central location for all upcoming news and performances for moontown. Their music is on most music streaming platforms, including Spotify. Stolarz said the local suburb Moon Township inspired the band’s name.

“Moon Township was originally pitched as the band name and I was like, ‘Really guys, are we really gonna name the band after a Pittsburgh suburb?’” Stolarz said. “But then we squashed it together and it worked somehow.” 

DiBlasi said he appreciates the band’s ability to blend their different influences together to create their own sound. According to DiBlasi, he has indie pop experience, Stolarz has experimental music experience, Frankeny has jazz influences, Rankin was in choir and Carroll is a woodwind player. 

“It’s absolutely wild to me how we’ve been able to blend together our different influences,” DiBlasi said. “There’s a lot of experimenting, but at the end of the day, if it sounds good, it is good.” 

As a relatively new band, moontown is busy fine-tuning their creative process for their music. According to Frankeny, it is an ever-evolving process. 

“No idea is out of the question, and we really like to take a little bit from all of our vastly different influences and make it part of the soundscape,” Frankeny said. “Part of my role is to do all of the recording and most of the mixing, and we have a system right now that creates a cohesive creative headspace for us that hopefully comes through in the songs.”

The sound is reflective of their various musical influences and backgrounds. To date, they have released four singles, their most recent titled “I Know.” According to Stolarz, the band cares most about sounding like themselves and not matching up with other sounds. 

“I feel like one of the defining aspects of our sound is the kind of juxtaposition created by the groove being held down by James and Dom in the rhythm section with dense, layered soundscapes and spaceship guitar noises and effects,” Stolarz said. “We’re not afraid of adding influences from unexpected sources.”

DiBlasi said he feels similarly about their focus on making music they love rather than making it for other people, and even believes that’s the key to creating the connection between the band and their audience.

“I think we’ve done a good job of trying to make music that we love and we’re really proud of, rather than trying to make music to satisfy some theoretical audience,” DiBlasi said. “It makes it more fun to share it with people, because when they like what we made for ourselves, it kind of feels like there’s more of a connection there.”

Stolarz said their place in the Pittsburgh music scene is representative of the diverse music in every corner of the city. 

“I think the music scene in Pittsburgh is really special because of just how many sides there are to it,” Stolarz said. “No matter what your taste is, there’s probably a scene or venue or group of bands or artists you’ll be into, which can’t always be found in other cities.” 

Editor’s Note: Lucas DiBlasi is a former senior staff writer at The Pitt News.