If you are itching for summer to hurry up, you might want to upload Dunfermline, Scotland band The Moon Kids two brand new singles ‘Forever Blue’ and ‘Something Spectacular’ right now. The band has launched the singles today, March 31st, and the tunes are the brilliant, effervescent, feel-good magic that only ‘The Moon Kids’ know how to create and are perfect for getting you in the mood for sunny days, flip flops, and music festival season! We had the opportunity to speak with the band prior to their single releases to get a more in-depth discussion on the new music, their upcoming projects for 2017, and the intense media support they have been receiving on some of the worlds most notorious radio platforms in Japan and Los Angeles. Here is what they had to say:
Interview | March 6th, 2017
By Candice Anne Marshall
*The band is comprised of: David Barr (vocals), Connor Whyte (guitar), and Rory Buchanan(drums)
SMC – The Moon Kids! This is our first official numbered series feature for you on our Spotlight. (previously the band was published in our first issue of Starlight Music Chronicles Magazine in October 2015). Can you catch us up to speed with some of the key things that have been happening for the band since then?
TMK – Gigs, single releases, recording, recording and more recording! And maybe a little soul searching!
SMC- I am going to get right into the topic of your new singles today. Before I mention the song titles, can you tell me what was the reason behind launching two singles on the same day? We have seen this with Ed Sheeran’s return in January but it’s not often that Artists these days launch two singles on the same day – this is exciting!
TMK – There wasn’t really a specific reason to putting out two tracks at the same time other than we have so much unheard material. We are constantly in the studio working on new music and always have been ever since we started. Because we have had a couple of line up changes we haven’t really been able to be as active as we would have liked… But during these periods I make a point of staying busy in the studio so that we keep moving forward. So, we’ve built up quite a large catalogue of material which I think our fans deserve to hear.
SMC – Who did you produce the album with?
TMK – We still work with Michael Brennan Jnr (snow patrol, Super Furry Animals, Primal Scream) but recently we have also spent time in the studio with Tony Doogan (Teenage Fanclub, Mogwai, Young Knives) Rafe McKenna but also a young Edinburgh based producer Mark Morrow who we recorded the next single ‘Forever Blue’ with.
SMC – So let’s get into the songs: ’Something Spectacular’ I have had the chance to sample on your SoundCloud and I am already playing it on repeat! What is the time frame from the last single to this one coming up in terms of new music?
TMK – Our last single ‘Ice Cream’ was released late in 2015 so there has been a full year gap since the last single. So definitely time for people to hear what we’ve been up to behind the scenes.
SMC – ‘Something Spectacular’ – can you tell us what brought on the inspiration for this song? Has it been something you have had waiting in your back pocket for a while or was it written very recently?
TMK – This was actually one of the very first songs I ever wrote when I was still a young teenager. It has changed and developed a lot since I first penned the track but the sentiment of the song remains the same. The other guys in the band had heard the old demo I recorded years ago and everyone just really wanted to work on it. It’s a ‘feel good’ track and the chorus is super catchy. It’s got strange groove to it… This is because years ago I used to have a little Zoom 8 -Track at home which had a built-in drum machine. So, I wrote the chord progression around a looped beat rather than writing on an acoustic first. It worked really well.
SMC – You second single ‘Forever Blue’ still encompasses that great Moon Kids sound but is a different…is this a precursor/sampling to an upcoming album?
TMK – Well… This is an odd one… This song we used play live and it was super fast. Almost quite rocky sounding. I spent some time in LA last year and really loved the chilled-out vibe… Especially Venice Beach. It’s a completely different environment to what I’m used to back home in Scotland. I felt really relaxed there. A busker gave me a shot of his guitar one night and I just started playing an acoustic version of the track. Really slow and chilled. Was just how I was feeling at the time. I just liked it and set up a few hours in the studio when I got home to record a stripped back version. And what you hear on record is how it turned out. It’s full band but it’s a lot more organic and raw compared to some of our previous releases. But personally, I love that about it.
SMC – You have been getting some great traction for your music with the media in the UK. Are there any particular platforms you would like to give a shout out to?
TMK – Yeah, I’ve been really blown away with just how many amazing reviews we’ve had and totally blown away with the amount of Spotify streams etc. We’re still very much a DIY band. We don’t have a manger or anything… So, the fact that so many people are finding and connecting to the music is really amazing. Big shout out to everyone who has listened, written about or played us really… There has been so many platforms and radio show supporting us that I’d hate to name any and forget to name others.
SMC- In terms of radio play, I know you boys have appeared on Rodney on the ROQ KROQ FM radio in Los Angeles and WhatTheFunday Inter FM Radio in Japan. Are there any other radio stations in other countries who have picked up your music?
TMK – Yeah, Rodney has been a huge support to us and that’s a great honour for us. The guy has a good hear for talent which his track record proves so it’s really great that he digs our music. It means a lot. Similarly, with WhatTheFunday… It’s really special knowing that a track you wrote in your bedroom on a rainy afternoon in Scotland is getting heard all the way out in Japan. We can’t thank these people enough.
At home Amazing Radio, BBC 6, BBC Scotland have all regularly played our music as well as a lot of other stations in Germany, New Zealand, Canada… It’s really amazing. For us being a Scottish band it is an achievement on its own just to get played in England. So, I feel really blessed to have the support we have had.
SMC – When can we expect the videos for the new singles to release?
TMK – 31rst of March… The video for Forever Blue is released. Big shout out Kansas Bowling who shot the video. She’s a super cool film-maker destined for big things I’m sure. It was great to work with her.
SMC – How do you think that Musicians in the UK differ from Musicians in North America in terms of production, branding, promotion, of their music?
TMK – I’m not sure to be honest. The UK is tiny compared to North America and we’ve been based here the whole time so it’s hard to make a comparison. I think its equally as challenging wherever you are. Especially for guitar bands in recent years. But I think that’s all going to change soon.
SMC – Which social media platforms are you most active on?
TMK – We are equally active on… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube
SMC- Which social media platforms are the best at promoting yourselves as Artists?
TMK – I’m going to be brutally honest here… They are all equal in getting yourself out there… But Facebook charges bands to post. In order to be effective with posts you have to pay to sponsor it otherwise it gets diluted in the feed. So as much as I love Facebook as a promotional tool I do feel this is slightly exploiting bands. Especially considering bands make so little money these days from streaming etc. I think it has to change.
SMC – I really appreciated the treasures you all sent over last spring (CD’s, T-shirts, Buttons). I have to publicly thank you again for that. I think that lends a real personal touch to the connection between the Artist and Media. Most Artists will send all of their content and expect that an immediate connection has to happen and a write-up but I feel that the best way to get the most out of a well written piece is to know the band/Artist. What are your thoughts on that?
TMK – Yeah… I do believe in developing relationships with the people who support you. It’s really important. I want us to be one of those bands that people feel a connection with. So, we have to show our gratitude.
SMC – What do you feel makes the magic in a band? What is it that makes a band stick together through thick and thin?
TMK – Well… A spot of luck goes a long way. I’m not sure either though… To me its about grit and determination… Bands are notoriously difficult it’s why inevitably we all split up eventually. People hear the music and think must be a great laugh being in a band… And it is, but its like anything the trials and tribulations are there. The music industry is tough and for a band trying to breakthrough it can be very gruelling. There is no way around it. One minute you’re the next big thing the next minute you can’t get arrested. It’s only really the bands at the very top who earn any money. So, you have to be prepared to ride the wave and be persistent. If being in a band is what you are passionate about then I think you should always remember just how lucky you are to be doing what you dreamed about as a kid.
SMC – I have never asked this until today but referencing the previous question, do you think that the long-term success of a band is different when they are family or friends?
TMK – Yeah, I think there might be some truth to this. Family obviously will stick together through thick and thin as will good friends. There is a closer bond I suppose. I think it’s down to the band though. If the individuals in the band are motivated, enthusiastic, passionate and determined then anything is possible.
SMC – I really have always loved the logo for The Moon Kids. Who came up with the concept?
TMK – That was myself way back when we first started. We were playing our debut show in Dunfermline and needed a logo for the kit. I think the skin got printed on the day of the gig so it wasn’t really thought about too much. It was more of a spur of the moment kind of a thing. But it’s like a tattoo. You’re stuck with it. So, I’m glad you like it.
SMC – I know that a lot of your music sounds light but the lyrics are often very deep. How do you achieve that balance when it comes to the songwriting process?
TMK – That’s really great that you have picked up on that because no-one else has. And to me this is one of the things that sets us apart. No one ever mentions our lyrics. I’ve always wanted that contrast. I love early Beatles and early pop music. The hooks, melodies and chord progressions are timeless so I always wanted our music to have this quality. To be catchy and good on the ear. But I think lyrics are so important so I didn’t want them to ever be throwaway. “Oh baby baby” and all that kind of thing. In fact, our first song ‘Rollercoaster People” is a good example I sang “Sha la la” normally a happy feel good chant over the top of quite an emotive chord progression. I love the contrast. Taking things out of perspective. Getting away with saying some quite dark stuff over the top of some nice major chords can really deceive the listener in a good way though. I love playing with that concept.
SMC – What kinds of challenges have the band face and how were they overcome?
TMK – Most bands face the same challenges, we’ve been kept on our toes I’m not going to lie about that. It hasn’t been an easy ride but then again, I didn’t expect it would be. Having very little money, working day jobs, band members leaving the day before a big gig etc. all make life a little difficult. You just have to persevere and that’s what we have always done. I’m a big believer in turning a negative into a positive. If you’re thrown into a situation that is out of your hands accept it and figure out how to flip it to your advantage.
SMC – Which would be the one country you love to all travel to in terms of live performance and getting your name out?
TMK – Definitely North America…
SMC – Okay, final question: Can you tell us what your thoughts are on the music that is being produced today and who you were most sad to see leave (pass away) the industry in 2016 and why?
TMK – Some amazing music is being made today in all different genres as always, a lot of what is played in the mainstream charts is throwaway garbage but that’ll always be the case. Scratch the surface though and there are some amazing groups and artists writing unbelievable music. Big shout out to Dutch Uncles who are my favourite band just now.
I’m sad to see anyone pass away and 2016 was just relentless. Bowie and Prince though both of their deaths really shook the musical world. Real icons so you don’t associate them with any form of weakness. It was really sad. For a song-writer when you come up against it… The right answer is always “what would Bowie have done?” He is one of a kind and brought so much joy to so many people through his art and passion for life. Really, he is a great example of what a pop-star should be.
SMC – Thank you boys!
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