Former student strives to establish music publication

by MARCELLA IVINS/Staff Writer

Thomas Mooney started writing about music at South Plains College and has not stopped.

That experience led to him creating a music publication that is continuing to expand in the Lubbock area.

The New Slang has many social media accounts that cover bands around Lubbock and also features interviews with guests to talk about music on Podcasts.

“It went to just being a Twitter account where I was only tweeting about what bands were playing where in and around Lubbock,” Mooney said.  “I was still in school, so I didn’t have much time to dedicate to it other than that. Now, New Slang is an online publication where I’m interviewing up-and-coming local bands, artists who are coming through town, writing about local music news, columns on the state of music, etc…”

Although Mooney says that he does enjoy being the editor for New Slang, it can be stressful.  He is constantly doing something for New Slang.  The best part of his job is that he has been able to make many new friends through this publication.

“Some of my best friends have been met through starting New Slang,” says Mooney.  “It’s allowed me to meet a lot of people and not just as musicians. Just people who enjoy music.”

Mooney also mentioned that he has done a few liner notes for albums.  He also has been a part of the songwriter competition at The Blue Light, helping organize, judge, and build the competition.  This has helped him expand and meet more people like him who just love the music.

Thomas Mooney continues his career after SPC as an editor for an up- and- coming music publication. BRANDI ORTIZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“I’ve been trying to establish New Slang for five years now,” Mooney explains. “When we started, a lot of people thought it would flame out, or I would just burn myself out because it’s so difficult to find a readership.  I’m proud that, despite wanting to quit more times than I can count, that I kept going on with it.”

New Slang isn’t where he wants it to be, but it is forming into something bigger by taking the right steps to become a “physical quarterly magazine,” as he describes it.

He says the music scene on the South Plains will continue to grow as Lubbock grows.

“I think, within 10 years, Lubbock and the Lubbock music scene will be thought of as ‘70s Austin,” says Mooney. “We’re hoping that we’re a part of shaping that narrative.”

Mooney grew up in Fort Stockton, Texas.  He moved to Lubbock after he graduated from high school and attended Lubbock Christian University, but decided that it wasn’t for him.  He later enrolled at South Plains College after trying to figure out what it was that he really wanted to do.

Mooney pursued his education at SPC for two years.  He chose to study Journalism and was on the staff of the Plainsman Press, serving as entertainment editor. While on the Plainsman Press, he got the idea of writing about local musicians, and then New Slang began.

“While I was always obsessed with music, it wasn’t until writing for the paper that I was at least mildly confident enough that I’d be able to actually write and cover it,” says Mooney. “While there, I wrote on a lot of topics. But it was music that just felt right.”

Since starting New Slang, Mooney has interviewed The Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen, Josh Abbott, and many other musicians.  He has also covered music festivals such as JABFest, South By Southwest and CrudeFest.

“Being the editor of New Slang can be pretty hectic,” said the Lubbock resident.  “You do go through these times where you’re interviewing multiple people a day. You’re going out and watching live music a few times a week. You’re jumping in a van with bands and going out on weekend trips. There are a lot of times when you just feel overwhelmed. But, of course, it’s better than the alternative.”

New Slang Lubbock also has a Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook account, along with its own website, for those to follow who would like to know more about the music scene in the Lubbock area, or just for those who love the music.

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