Moondog shoots for the stars after performance at A&O Blowout


Madison Smith/Daily Senior Staffer

Tyler Felson, known professionally as Moondog. The Communication senior performed at A&O Productions’ Blowout.

Nicole Markus, Reporter

It’s not often a student gets the opportunity to open a concert for Raveena and WILLOW.

Communication senior Tyler Felson, known professionally as Moondog, said A&O Productions’ Blowout was among his first professional sets as a DJ. Before Blowout, Felson had just performed for some of his friends, and the moniker “Moondog” was somewhat of an inside joke in that circle, he said.

But the concert changed things. Felson became one of the most talked-about parts of the concert on social media platforms.

“We generally have a student DJ opener for all of our main concerts, but none of them have seemed to catch on and get the height and appeal that I think Moondog did,” A&O Co-Chair and Medill senior Kubair Chuchra said.

Now, Felson is the Resident DJ at Bob’s Pizza, a popular spot for Northwestern students. He’s also a regular at NU’s student-run radio station, WNUR, where his Moondog’s Meow Mix plays on Wednesdays at 11 p.m.

But Felson said he is not done yet. In an exclusive to The Daily, Felson announced his next project: a pop-up nightclub called The Crowdpleaser. 

Felson’s goal is to create a more nontraditional nightclub, where the synchronization of the music and lights generates a unique experience. He hopes to open the nightclub in May 2022.

“Whenever I go out to a club, I’m obviously stimulated but just a little disappointed because it’s so rhythmic,” Felson said. “Rhythm can exist in so many more ways in the club than it currently does.”

The creation of Moondog

For many artists, it may take years for them to land gigs like the ones Felson has gotten in the past few weeks. However, the start of his DJing career only came about during the pandemic. 

Though he entered NU as a jazz major, Felson said he noticed his passion for the genre begin to fade. However, he knew he wanted to continue with music, so he set out on a new creative endeavor.

That’s when he discovered house music, and later, DJing with house music. Felson spent time during the pandemic learning, practicing and eventually purchasing his first deck.

During this time, Felson knew he needed to come up with a name for his DJ persona, or what he calls his “alter ego.” His inspiration came from his childhood cat, Moondog.

“That’s just what came into my head first,” Felson said. “I think that captures my energy … it feels fun and bouncy and not super serious or masculine.”

After all the work Felson put into creating Moondog during the pandemic, he said he couldn’t wait to play for his friends. He loved his music, so he thought they would too. 

He was wrong.

Felson said his friends didn’t love the lack of words or lapses between action in the house music. This initial failure prompted a time of gathering new inspiration for his sets as he tried to find a middle ground between his music and the music his friends like. He practiced while spending time with his friends and roommates, and eventually started to gain an appreciation for what DJing truly meant.

“Yielding to an audience”

Despite all the time he spent learning the craft, Felson said he gained more from one hour DJing at Blowout than anything else that year. 

“Honestly, the greatest reconciliation of my DJ experience so far has been yielding to an audience in playing what they want to hear,” Felson said.

Felson added something he has enjoyed is connecting with his audience. According to him, fans have attended events specifically because they knew Moondog would be DJing.

General Manager of Bob’s Pizza Mark Hayashi said on nights when Felson performs, the restaurant-turned-bar is “completely packed.” He thinks students come specifically to watch Moondog DJ.

“He really plays to the crowd and has a very positive energy, both personally and in the music he plays,” Hayashi said. “The vibe and the music and the energy in the room really define how the night goes, so he’s done a fantastic job.”

Felson is currently working with Hayashi to transform Bob’s Pizza into a “dancing space” by bringing in lights and other multimedia equipment.

Though he loves DJing, Felson hopes to expand Moondog in the future. He said his passion lies in the intersection between multimedia art and music, which he is currently exploring both with The Crowdpleaser and in his role at Bob’s Pizza.

“I’m super interested in the club as a performance space and a communal experience, and I’m very excited about exploring that next step,” Felson said. “If I were to envision myself as an artist … it’s definitely bringing multimedia art into the club. I want to take advantage of that while I’m still at Northwestern.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @nicolejmarkus

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