Doom Patrol: Lawrence’s They Watch Us From the Moon! crash-land in our backyard


They Watch Us From The Moon! // Photo by Chris Ortiz

If you’ve seen them live, or even simply in promotional photos, the sheer bombast of doom metal rockers They Watch Us From the Moon! has seared the scale and scope of their grandeur into your frontal cortex. The sextet exists only in costume and wearing makeup, but they come off less like a musical group and more like a threatening interplanetary hit squad sent to eliminate you.

I speak with band leader and guitarist The General Shane Thirteen and Chelsy Larson (aka Nova 10101001)—one part of the band’s vocal duo alongside Lauren Mayhew (aka Luna Nemesis)—on a Thursday night via the omnipresent digital meeting platform. At least Shane is appropriately shadowed and mostly backlit, making the bandleader appear to broadcast from a hidden base somewhere.

We quickly get down to business talking about the band’s debut full-length, Cosmic Chronicles: Act 1, The Ascension. Out May 5 on the United Kingdom’s New Heavy Sounds, it follows TWUFTM’s Moon Doom! demo from three years prior. With a slew of collectible merchandise over the course of the last five years—a comic book, patches, t-shirts—it’s appropriate their first physical release comes as a cosmic blue and purple swirl vinyl.

“It’s been a longtime goal as a musician to actually be on a record,” says the bandleader. “I’ve had digital releases and CDs and seven inches through the ‘90s and early ‘00s, but vinyl was something that just kind of was outta reach for a while, and now it’s happening. I’m pretty excited.”

Bringing Cosmic Chronicles has been an interesting process for TWUFTM. Larson came into a band that already existed, and one with a singer—whom she herself had suggested. It’s kind of a funny story, she says.

“Soon before COVID, the band had reached out to me to audition for the role of lead singer,” Larson says with a grin. “I had told them, ‘I’m in several bands already. I’m trying to cut back on bands because I’m having a second child, and I don’t know how I’m gonna juggle it all, but you guys should absolutely audition Lauren Mayhew.’ And they were like, ‘She’s already on our list. We’re already auditioning her.’ And I was like, ‘Great,’ ‘cause she’s one of my closest friends.”

Mayhew auditioned, was a good fit, and became the lead singer. Then COVID hit. During the whole lockdown, Mayhew contacted Larson to explain that she was reworking some of TWUFTM’s songs to make the melody better fit her voice or allow her to interpret them in a more interesting way and needed some assistance.

“We met outside in my backyard and socially distanced and played it over my backyard speakers, and I helped her rewrite some of the melodies, and we started coming up with harmonies,” says Larson. “And she was like, ‘Hey, we’re gonna start recording some of this down in Wichita. Would you come to record the harmonies with me? I understand if you don’t want to—I’ll record ‘em separately—but it would be really powerful if you were singing ‘em at the same time as me.’”

Larson thought, “Sure, why not?” She went with the band to Wichita and recorded all the vocals for “Return to Earth,” stacking a massive amount of harmonies to create something that sounded like a huge chorus.

“Then a month or so later, she was like, ‘Band pictures are gonna be coming up if you wanna be in them,’” Larson continues. “I was like, ‘I feel like if I’m in a band picture, then I’m like actually in the band.’ And she’s like, ‘Well, you’re on the album.’ And I was like, ‘Shit, you tricked me.’”

Twuftm Albumcover1500

Courtesy image

The music of TWUFTM has always, at its heart, been one of big riffs and gorgeous vocals. Shane describes it as “super-heavy but accessible,” and he’s not wrong. Fans of the band familiar with their Moon Doom! EP will be excited to hear two of that release’s songs, “M.O.A.B.” and “Creeper,” in a newly-revised form alongside Cosmic Chronicles’ first single, “Return to Earth,” as well as “Space Angel” and epic opener, “On the Fields of the Moon.” It’s a melding of the old and new, representing the band’s evolution.

“It was always my intention that that was just the EP version,” says Shane. “There was gonna be an album version coming. It started off in one place and then ended up in another. The songs are similar but not the same, you know? I felt if we were gonna do an album version, they would have to really be something unique, and I think that’s what happened.”

He explains that he wrote all those songs in soul format, much in the same way that the Holland–Dozier–Holland used for Motown in the ‘60s.

“They would experiment with these different formulas and create huge pop songs that you’re still humming along to today,” he says.

By following those formulas, some of the songs from the first demo have been cut in half in terms of length. However, another part of that reason is that a few of those songs needed to be cut down to manageable terms just to get them on a record because the band wanted the LP to have optimal sound.

“We didn’t want anything to be cloudy or muddy because we were trying to jam too much on a side of a record,” Shane says. “I don’t wanna get it all smashed together, so we had to edit things appropriately to get it all to fit in.”

Part of the uniqueness of the songs on Cosmic Chronicles, whether old or new, is that the band has turned over a few members in the intervening years between it and Moon Doom! Guitarist R. Benjamin Black spent time with The General in Truth Cell back in the late ‘90s.

“Years ago, we wrote tons of songs together, so it’s just kinda like falling back into that old language,” Shane explains. “Every band has a weird way to explain: one musician to the other is like, ‘No dude, not the [imitates guitar riff] part. That one [imitates another, slightly heavier riff].’ He knows where I’m gonna go with things before I’ve said where I want to go.”

To sum it up, Shane says that he and the guitarist write well together because they exist on the same wavelength together, to which Larson is quick to agree, explaining that when the band as a whole first started collaborating, it was exciting. Equally exciting was the ability to get up on stage in costume. Being in They Watch Us From the Moon! is more than just being in a band—it’s capital ‘P’ performance.

“It’s always been fun for me to try to put together things that I’m gonna wear that will visually represent what I’m doing musically and be different than what I would wear just every day,” Larson says. She continues to say that dressing up helps take things to the next level, where the band has a storyline and a whole concept while enhancing the experience for both the musicians and the audience.

As to why this whole cosplay-meets-comics-meets-stoner-meets-metal thing just works so well, Shane points to the fact that, in conjunction with this album release, there’s a reboot of the band’s comic coming—music videos and a string of summer tour dates on the horizon. 

“I don’t feel right unless I’ve got six or seven balls in the air,” Shane says. 

Cosmic Chronicles: Act 1, The Ascension releases May 5 on New Heavy Sounds in vinyl, compact disc, and digital formats. Pre-orders will be available at 

Categories: Music