By Emily Sorensen
They’re still in high school, but Half Moon Portrait, made up of local teens Ari Shiller, Daniel Martinez, Vincent Ngo and Kyle Ramirez, have already released their first album.
The pop-rock group, which has been together since December of 2012, released its first album, “Game of Life!” on June 5. “[Releasing the album is] a huge step in our musical careers,” said Shiller. “We’ve received a lot of great critique so far.”
“Half Moon Portrait” is Ari Shiller, an incoming junior at Del Norte High School, who plays guitar and does vocals, Daniel Martinez, an incoming junior at Mt. Carmel High School who plays bass and keyboard, Vincent Ngo, an incoming sophomore at Del Norte High who plays drums, and Kyle Ramirez, an incoming senior and former Del Norte High School student, who now lives in Torrance, and plays guitar, keyboard and sings lead vocals.
Shiller and Martinez are also members of the progressive rock band Relentless Nation, which has been on hiatus during the school year. “We’re officially off hiatus now, and trying to get together to practice,” said Shiller.
Right now though, Shiller and Martinez are focusing on the release and promotion of “Game of Life!” which is the band’s first full-length album. “Everything we’ve released is original material,” said Shiller, who described the band’s sound as “pretty interesting to listen to. We’re not similar to a lot of artists these days.” Shiller partially credits this to all four band members being percussionists. “It brings about a new element when you have all percussionists [in the band,” said Shiller.
Half Moon Portrait has had its share of hardships, including working practice times around Ramirez living in Torrance. “Kyle travels two hours by train for every rehearsal,” said Shiller. The band uses Facebook during the school week to discuss their music, and Ramirez travels down on the weekend to practice in person.
Shiller, Martinez, Ngo and Ramirez will spend their summer performing locally to promote the album, and trying to build up their fan base. “We’re trying to spread our reach,” said Shiller. “For the next few months, we’ll be doing everything we can to get our band out there.”
Half Moon Portrait doesn’t have a record label, and Shiller said they weren’t looking for one right now. “We’re doing everything as independently as possible right now, building our fanbase without a label.”
Half Moon Portrait will be performing a fundraising concert at Flippin’ Pizza in 4S Ranch 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 26. While the concert will be free, the band will receive a portion of the proceeds from food, which will go to promoting their new album. A flier is available on the band’s Facebook and reverbnation site, or at the door. Flippin’ Pizza is located at 16615 Dove Canyon Road in 4S Ranch.
For more on the band and to listen to their new album “Game of Life!” visit www.reverbnation.com/halfmoonportrait or www.facebook.com/halfmoonportrait.