Daniel Moore - also known as Space Gang has had a rough few years.
After having his laptop smashed by a former friend, Moore suffered a severe hand injury and spent months in-and-out of the hospital hooked up to a heart catheter because of a resulting blood infection. Music was the last thing on his mind in that state and once healed, he still had no way to get back to creating. His previously-steady release schedule grinded to a halt. Up until two months ago, he hadn't put out any new music since late 2016 - and even that track was just a demo. Goon Spirit - his last full-length release - came out all the way back in February 2015.
In conversation, Moore is open about how the support he recieved online helped him break through the discouragement and isolation he felt during that period. "So much bad shit happened to me, and it was crazy to see the beat community give me so much support and people dumping money into my Paypal just so I could make more music," he says. "And as soon as I got that new laptop, I had to get right back to it."
With his trials now mostly put to rest, he's back with his first post-hiatus project: Return of the Goon. He dropped it towards the end of 2017, and it's dark. Built off heavily-sidechained Rhodes progressions, stuttering drum patterns, and jazzy piano riffs, the album's nineteen tracks are immersive without ever becoming repetitive. As each song mutates and evolves, the only constant throughout the tape is the vinyl hiss that Moore leaves flickering in the background of each song. It's a reminder that his music is reanimating past generations' forgotten art, and the crackling adds a underlying nostalgia to his instrumentals.
NINETOFIVE caught up with SPACE GANG recently to talk about his new projects and get the inside intel on his hiatus. It's a crazier story than you'd expect. Way crazier, in fact.
Walk me through everything that happened in the past few years. Why were you forced to step back from music?
It's been tough.
First, this head-ass completely smashed my laptop. He was an old friend who was learning how to make music using DAWs after he OD'd and got kicked out of his previous band. I helped him for months, making sure he was okay and not using anymore. I was getting him tens of thousands of plays, and barely paying attention to my own music. Then one night, he got all fucked up and asked if I wanted to light a bando on fire as a distraction and then rob a house on some Grand Theft Auto shit. I think he felt judged when I said no; his feelings seemed really hurt, and something just broke inside him that prompted him to lift my laptop and smash it into pieces. And then he went and lit a bando on fire anyways, and robbed a house for maybe $12 worth of yard sale gear. That was the last time I saw him - I cut contact entirely. I haven't spoken to him since, but I hope he's doing better now.
So at this point I have no laptop, but it gets even worse. Shortly after all that, I was working with dogs and one day this dog - this little mutt named "Mitch" - bit my hand really hard and ripped a bunch of the tendons apart. The bite gave me a blood infection, and I had to get my hand cut open and flushed out. I was in and out of the hospital for two months, plus another month at home hooked up to a heart catheter. Fumbling around with a tube in my arm, pumping bags of antibiotics in me every three hours; there was no way I could make music in that condition. Plus, you know - I still had no laptop. So I had no choice but to go on a hiatus.
So how did you manage to bounce back from that?
I ended up asking for help from the community last year, and lots of people donated money for me to get a new computer. I was able to afford one within the first 24 hours, and I specifically want to shout out Kev for shooting $100 to me - that was straight love. My one friend was also able to salvage my hard drive and recover all my old files. Some I still use to this day, like the drum kits I've made over the years. I uploaded it all to my new computer and it was 18GB of one-shot drums, samples, loops, and incomplete Reason files, so it was a lot of treasures to sift through. But it gave me my work back, and the momentum I got from getting that laptop and recovering my old files drove me to finish Return of the Goon.
Did your production techniques and workflow change during your time away from music?
They changed immensely. At first, I felt like I didn't remember how to make music at all; this shit is not a bike. After a while, I started remembering all my short cuts and now I'm back to my regular pace. I'm still using Reason 5 and my computer keyboard, so I'm still working with the bare minimum. My girlfriend got me Rokit's for Christmas though, so my sound system is wildly different. I didn't use them when I was mixing Return of the Goon, but I'm excited to use them when I'm making my next project.
What other projects can we expect from you in 2018?
Next up is a collab EP called Odd Nods that I'm working on with Gould. It's going to feature Jaeden Camstra, Joe Nora, Biosphere, Twosleepy, RudeManners, Oofoe and a bunch of others. Gould and I released the first single for it on Soundcloud a few weeks ago. And shout out to RudeManners for the awesome artwork for the project.
I also have another collab EP in the beginning stages with Shrimpnose, as well as a new full length tape. It's all coming soon!
Personal shout-outs go to my girlfriend, and to all my friends supporting me. There's too many of you to name, but you know who you are and I appreciate you all.