April 19, 2024

Luis Mojica ‘City Friends’ Presents Clever Anti-Gentrification Hymn

photo by Kelly Merchant

Confessional singer-songwriter Luis Mojica has released his new single ‘City Friends’. Earlier, he announced his new album ‘How A Stranger Is Made’, to be released in early October, while teasing the first single ‘The Ranger’. This album features production from Mercury Prize winning producers David Baron (Bat For Lashes, Peter Murphy, Lenny Kravitz, The Lumineers) and Simone Felice (The Lumineers, Bat For Lashes, Dan Mangan) and mixing by three-time Grammy award-winning producer Justin Guip (Levon Helm).

Mojica‘s new long-play is intimate and empathic – a beautiful tapestry of piano-driven songs that quite intimately express his healing journey through shamanism, sexuality, trauma and ecstatic joy. The scenario, filming and direction for this video were all handled by by Mojica himself. Video editing was performed by Joel Patterson at Mountaintop Studios in Petersburgh, NY. The accompanying video was written, filmed and directed by Kelly Merchant with editing and compositing by Fredo Viola. Merchant also took the photo for the cover artwork, while Viola designed it.


“I wrote this song while walking in NYC’s East Village. The St. Mark’s bookstore had just closed, my favorite tree in Washington Square Park was severed in half, and all around me my beloved neighborhood was changing so rapidly. I walked around feeling so much loss and, this song, became a container for me to pour all kinds of loss I had experienced into it. The loss of friendships, lovers, cities, cultures, identity of self. I finished the song years after leaving the city for Woodstock, NY. You can hear a duality in the track: a somber, lonely piano and vocals against an upbeat drum and then a full on ecstatic sounding chorus. It was my way of celebrating the loss, the gentrification, and the betrayal – in hindsight. It all brought me to a new life that was much better for me. So I became grateful for the forced growth and transformation,” says Luis Mojica. And he continues “I asked 25 of my friends in Woodstock, NY to each lip sync one line from the song to create a diverse cast of individuals threaded together with the same sentiment: “I lost something”. The song, originally about NYC, became an anthem for us in Woodstock as we’ve experienced so much change in class, culture, and business. Woodstock is quickly evolving and that old, messy, timeless wild that attracted us to the area is disappearing. I shot the video at the last dive bar, now closed and abandoned, that graced Woodstock’s main street. The video features all locals of Woodstock, most of them my dearest friends, as an almost anthropological project to preserve and document this fading era of people and place”.

Luis Mojica may be best known as the bearded guy who rocked iconic cellist ensemble Rasputina up and down the USA, but there’s much more than meets the eye here. In fact, there’s so much more to his musical breadth that falls well outside the scope of his work with this legendary band. While this is not his first musical offering, it very well may be his most profound and diverse. Might we also add that this melodic jewel-box has ace production!

‘How A Stranger Is Made’ follows up Mojica‘s first studio album ‘Wholesome’, released in August 2016 after two years of touring  with Rasputina. He toured this album, which features his unique style of live looped beat boxing and rich vocal harmonies, both as support for Rasputina and as headliner. The album’s limited pressing sold out quite quickly and now is only available digitally.

A pianist and vocalist now based in Woodstock, New York, Mojica began developing his unique musical style in the crowded apartments and crumbling theaters of NYC’s East Village. In 2012, he moved upstate to the mountains of the Hudson Valley, where he’s become renowned for both his holistic healing work, as well as his musical compositions. Piano-based, his songs blend his 3+ octave vocal range to create choir-like textures, as well as utilizing unusual character voices and harmonies that explore androgyny, spirituality, and unorthodox male identity. Mojica‘s music and sound esthetic is inspired by Leonard Cohen, Tori Amos, Patti Smith, Joanna Newsom and Kate Bush. 

City Friends’ and The Ranger’ are now available across digital platforms, including Spotify. It is also available via Bandcamp and can be immediately downloaded when ordering the full ‘How A Stranger Is Made’ album, set to release on October 4. 



Sept 20 Catskill, NY – Avalon
Sept 21 Woodstock, NY – Colony (Leonard Cohen tribute)
Oct. 09 Brooklyn, NY – Pete’s Candy Store
Oct. 19 Kingston, NY – BSP (as part of VegFest)
Oct. 25 Burlington, VT – Radio Bean Keep

photo by Gregory Prescott

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About Mike D 282 Articles
Hey people I'm Mike D from Athens GR (43). I'm a sound engineer, radio producer, and certainly a music "freak." I couldn't be anything else, you see: I grew up in a musical home (my father was a composer), and wanted to be a rock-star but wasn't patient enough to study music. Instead, I studied the technical stuff and went really "nuts" when I started writing articles about the bands and artists I love. It all started back in 2002 in a printed magazine (Sound Maker - RIP) and I still do it because I really like sharing my libraries, discotheque, info, connections, knowledge, and all. I'm involved in all "waves" music (new wave/darkwave/post-punk/shoegaze), punk, industrial, EBM, alternative rock, indie, electronic, avant-garde/ experimental/ freestyle...but on the other hand I can easily throw a classical CD in the player, or a jazzy tune, or...ok you get it: Music! I'd like to read your comments on my writing because you know how it goes, and you all know the glorious song by Placebo,"Without You I'm Nothing"...Thanx and enjoy Freedom and Music, Loud!
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