NASHVILLE SINGER/SONGWRITER/GUITARIST SEBASTIAN MOGAN FINDS HIS FOOTING AS THE RHYTHM BULLIES, CREATING “ROCK AS IT SHOULD BE IN 2021” ‘THE DYSNOMIA EP,’ PRODUCED BY GRAMMY NOMINATED ENGINEER BOBBY HOLLAND AND FEATURING JEFF COFFIN FROM THE DAVE MATTHEWS BAND


Because his emergence on the indie rock scene as The Rhythm Bullies marks a total musical re-invention and dynamic, sonically progressive path forward for Sebastian Mogan, the Nashville based singer, songwriter and guitarist had some initial hesitations making his unusual disability part of the story. And when folks get hip to the Bullies’ explosive and transformational The Dysnomia EP, they may not care that he has a rare genetic disorder called NF2. When they hear his fiery fusion of rock, synth energy, symphonic and world music that in his view is “what rock should sound like in 2021,” the fact that he is extremely visually and hearing impaired probably won’t matter.   

But for the sake of building an interesting narrative, and perhaps inspiring anyone with disabilities to not let them create limits to creativity and success, we should note that he has performed at a fundraiser at the Venetian Las Vegas with the cast of “Jersey Boys,” raised money for NF2 research at an event in his home of Franklin, TN accompanying Michael McDonald on guitar and is currently the Tennessee ambassador for NF2 bio solutions. 

Two years ago, Sebastian was dealing with a spine surgery that could have left him paralyzed and now he’s got a kickass first Rhythm Bullies EP produced by Grammy nominated engineer Bobby Holland (Kesha, Maggie Rose, ZZ Ward) and with one track featuring Dave Matthews Band saxophonist Jeff Coffin – the punky-funky, hypno-exotic pop-rocker “Through the Glass,” which the singer affectionately refers to as “a Fellini sountrack meets Gogol Bordello.” Another track, the collection’s debut single “Dysomnia,” quickly received airplay on Nashville’s Lightning 100 and Amazing Radio in the UK. 

The term “Dysnomia” has multiple meanings. In Greek mythology, she was the daemon of “lawlessness,” and in modern medicine, it has been appropriated to describe a learning disability marked by difficulty in recalling essential words, names, numbers, etc. from memory. The edgy, rhythmically chugging vibe in the verses leads to the explosive guitar and synth driven chorus, where Sebastian unleashes the title eight times. Prior to that, he treats us to a dark feast of compelling images: “Hell is empty/Look around you/The fool at the gate was seduced by the snake/The devils have come and they don’t want cake/This is the death party/Bring a stone…” 

Another key track is the slow building, ultimately soaring and explosive “Theo,” which was inspired by Van Gogh’s letters to his brother and uses that story as a vehicle for Sebastian to reflect his own determination that people hear his music. The key line is the bridge: “To be a romantic you must want the world.”  The EP also includes a multi-movement synth generated symphonic rock instrumental “Escape from Dysnomia” which spins Sebastian’s artistry in a cool, unexpected direction.

“In large part, I would say this album is kind of a rebuke to the post modern times we live in,” he says. “On ‘Through the Glass,’ I am seeking truth and challenging the subjectivity of what truth can be. ‘Escape’ is a continuation of the title track, portraying with music the intense war of ideologies. One of the most personal is ‘So Far Away,’ a depressing, disassociative song written during low point in my life a few years ago which practically runs the gamut of humanity as it tackles a search for truth amid isolation. 

“On the title track,” Sebastian adds, “a lot of the lyrics address political opportunism – and I bring in the metaphor of Notre Dame burning, because it was almost like a sign of the times. It takes you through a sequence which I equate to putting three ‘Star Wars’ films in a four and a half minute span – with ups and downs and great triumphs yet we’re still left with an unresolved chord. The battle is between what the West was vs. what it’s trying to become, and how we see our own country in this age of people having different ideas about what the truth is.”