Following the recent release of The Moons’ latest single, ‘Heart and Soul ‘, we catch up with lead singer Andy Crofts to talk all things rock n roll and the lead up to the new album, Mindwaves.
Congratulations on the latest single, it is a slightly different to sound to what we would normally expect. How did that come around?
Basically when I’m writing or when I’m not writing I go through phases of listening to bands that I love and I don’t plan anything. I was listening to loads of Bowie, T-Rex and Slade and I just picked up my guitar one day and thought i want to write a song and what came out was that. I just knew it had to have that glam esque style, but I wouldn’t normally plan that. It’s a bit more ballsy this time and our over stuff is very well structured songs and melodic but we’ve definitely moved on in some ways but we haven’t lost anything. Quite simply we’ve just turned our amps up and turned the volume up.
Given that the ’60s sound is something that has been experiencing somewhat of a rebirth recently and bands trying to bring it back, was it something you wanted to embrace or was it more of a natural progression?
Yes, see with what your saying about bands trying to bring it back, they probably are trying and that’s the problem. There are artists that are trying to sound a bit glam but it’s just done wrong because there isn’t any heart in it. Loads of bands just think they can imitate and don’t get me wrong ours sounds like a glam tune but our whole album doesn’t sound like that. There’s a couple of tracks in that vein but it’s quite a mixed bag but a lot more edgy and there are some melodic slow ones. There’s a song called Bodysnatchers which is probably going to be our next single and that’s a cross between like a psychie tune mixed with Blondie and Tame Impala and then a bit of Kasabian mixed in. But when I’m writing I don’t think of it like that I just write what happens and it so happens to be like that. But I’m not denying it sounds glam and I think we’ve nailed it.
So no one should be expecting a glam rock record in the new album?
No, there are a couple of moments when it does sound like that and as you know Heart and Soul is one of those and there’s a track called ‘Rage and Romance’ where the verse is a bit glammy but the chorus isn’t. The opening track, ‘Society’, is a bit more like our older stuff a bit more like ‘It’s Taking Over’. 3 part harmonies and big guitar riffs, a bit psychie and a bit garagey. And then we’ve got a little melodic one at the end of the album called ‘On the Moon’, which is a real space-pop, soaked in reverb type record.
Has there been more consideration when it comes to the mix down and the production side of things given the various nature of the sound and the album?
Yes it has been, I produced this whole album myself. I’ve always known how to make my music sound and how I want it to be. We’ve worked with producers in the past where they’ve done a good job but I don’t want to have to compromise anymore just to please someone else. Working with producers is a great thing if you don’t know why you’re doing, do you know what I mean, but I know what I want and I know how to get it. I wanted to produce this one myself because I wanted it to have a bit more of a personal touch and explain my songwriting. When we made ‘Heart and Soul’ we wasn’t going for that sound but we just thought let’s just record it and see what happens, if it sounds different to glam then brilliant but let’s just see. The only thing that makes it sound glammy is the walking baseline underneath and the nice feathered guitar and that’s the magic that makes it I think. I sung it a little differently because I wanted to sound a little different but at the end of the day it’s all about personal perception. There’s certainly no plans or effort to make that sound.
Given you’re doing the production yourself and you have more ownership of it are you enjoying it more and are you happier?
Yes, I am more happy with it but don’t get me wrong I’d like to work with a producer again. I sit with a producer and I’m asking him to change things over his shoulder so I just thought why don’t I just do it. This time I’m a lot more happy, I’ve produced it and then mixed it with the drummer, Ben, but it was my vision all along. When I’m at home I prepare a lot of tracks and bring them into the studio and we’ll build upon that so I’ve already got the foundations when we head in. I am very happy with it because it’s certainly been more hands on and Moons fans will 100% get what we’re about this way.
So now you feel like fans will get more of an understanding of what you’re in to and what you’re about as a band?
Yes, we’ve always based ourselves around really strong songwriting and really well structured songs, like back in the day. We’re really trying to keep that thread because there’s so many shit bands around at the moment with shit songs but good guitar riffs and that just doesn’t interest me, I want the whole package. We’ve just put a new coat on the music and it sounds better.
With the forthcoming tour can we expect to hear a mixture of the new and old stuff?
We’ll probably play just over an hour, maybe an hour and a half and on some the bigger tours we may even get up to 2 hours in. So we’ll get to play a big mixture, 7 songs from the new album and then the rest from the last 2 albums. We’ve so many good songs you didn’t really want to leave any out. We’ll have some new fans that won’t have heard the first 2 albums so we’d like to include some of that.
So how was the infamous 100 club gig in Dec last year when a certain Paul Weller supported you?
It was really cool because we hadn’t played together for bloody ages,we’d been working on getting the album together and taking our time with that. So we thought let’s just book the 100 club and have a London show, we knew it was a bit of pain for the fans from the North but it was something we wanted to do and it sold out then my good ol’ mate Mr.Weller wanted to support. He got up and played a few numbers on his acoustic which really shocked people.
You recorded the latest album in the his studio didn’t you?
Yes we recorded this one in his studio and the last in Edwyn Collins’ studio. Because he’s a really good mate of mine we just ask for a bit of studio time every now and again.
So he asked and wanted to support?
Yes we were sat around chatting and I mentioned i wanted an acoustic support, we didn’t really want a full band because of the logistics of changeover, no then he said that he would do it. I was a bit shocked and asked him if he was sure because really it should be us supporting him, not the other way round. He just said I’ll do it but don’t tell anyone so we kept it a secret. The crowd went a bit mental when they saw Paul Weller get up for £10.
Any plans to take the album and tour it abroad?
Yes, at the end of September we’ll be finishing the UK tour and then we’ll be going to Europe for a couple of weeks. Not too sure about other places yet, we leave that to the manager. We would have played some earlier shows and maybe toured it slightly earlier but obviously we do the Paul Weller thing with my brother and we’re loyal to him so we had to juggle a few bits around but it’s good.
I guess being in Weller’s band means there has to be some compromise with tour dates and recording etc?
Yes, in general he’s pretty cool so if he knows we’ve got something coming up he’ll try and work in our favour and likewise we’ll work around him. On the odd occasion there will be some clashes and then you have to sit down and work out which is more important but generally it’s cool and work with it as it comes. It’s a good position to be in.
Now you’re on your third album and you have been playing in an established set up like Weller’s do you have any advice for any up and coming bands?
My simple advice would be ignore everyone, just be yourself. Do whatever you want to do at the end of the day. If you want to sell out and be a dickhead and just join in with the scene then get a short haired quiff and join in and hang around Shoreditch if that’s what you want to do. But when the scene changes you’ll realise what a dickhead you looked, just be yourself and write songs from your heart and mean it. If you mean it people will believe you. There are so many bands around, all the time, that are just so fake and are just scenesters. There’s nothing wrong with being a scenester but I can just hear the bullshit in their songs, every band coming up should just be theirselves and don’t lick arse. Do it because you love it and write songs from the heart, people won’t knock at your door.
So what does the future hold for The Moons? Do you already have plans for the next album?
Yes, I’m always writing and I always have new ideas. I can’t wait to get back out on the road and tour this album but now that’s finished and it’s out I will always have an eye on the next one. I start piecing things in my head, I have old demos to work on. If it was up to me I would have an album out every year but we can’t.
So do you think there will be some newer material that could be road tested on the tour?
Yes, that type of thing happens all the time. We’ve been road testing one track for about 2 years so that might end up onto the next one. We can wait to get on the road, I really want everyone to get this new album. I think it’s brilliant, it’s an honest album, sounds mega and has a bit of everything you need in your brain to survive! The artwork is beautiful by the way, it’s done by an artist called Andrew Miller. He does all his work on Polaroids, I used his work to do the whole album and when you see it it’s stunning. The audio and the visual is perfect.
‘Mindwaves’ is out on the 21st July, via Schnitzel Records.