An interview with Lo Moon
I approached the lovely Matt Lowell from the side entrance of the O2 Apollo in Manchester, he motioned to me and suggested having our interview in the quaint pub next to the venue, Apsley Cottage, which was empty enough for an intriguing conversation with the singer and guitarist of Lo Moon, an elusive band which have three singles and an exciting album in the pipeline. The band itself made up of Matt Lowell, Chrisanta Baker and Sam Stewart, as well as touring drummer Sterling Laws.
Eve-Marie: Hi Matt, am I right to say that this is one of the first days of the UK tour supporting London Grammar?
Matt: Yeah, third yeah!
Eve-Marie: How are you feeling about this opportunity?
Matt: Oh it’s been really fun, I mean the first two shows we did were amazing, we played Manchester and then Leeds and now we’re back (in Manchester) for another show, great crowds it’s been really great so far.
Eve-Marie: I also came across the fact that you’re also supporting London Grammar abroad as well in late November?
Matt: Yeah we’re going to Europe with them as well, really exciting, we toured Europe with The Lemon Twigs a couple of months ago, but I think this’ll be really great. We’re going to Ireland at the end of this week, which we haven’t been to so we’re really excited about that too.
Eve-Marie: Love the Lemon Twigs; so the original version of “Loveless” (their first single from 2016), is 7 minutes long, it’s an amazing track. How did you go about creating the song and how come you decided for it to be so long?
Matt: Thank you, well I started it like 5 years ago now in New York, and then I moved to Los Angeles and at the time it was probably about 5 minutes long. Then I moved to L.A and I met Chrisanta and the band, showed her the song and then I started working on it some more. Then I met the producers Frank and Chris Walla himself formally from the band Death Cab for Cutie and Sam Stewart who’s in the band as well. When I met them we realised there were some problems with the track so I went back to working on it and I was so done with it! The bridge was a big mess so we worked on that, ended up elongating it and the song suddenly became 7 minutes long. It was funny because at first it was 4 and a half maybe 5 minutes and then when we finally ended it the track was so long. It was really weird because no-one really cared about the time, they were just really into the world we were creating, so I was really happy that we stuck with it. It’s weird to have it out because the song is so old to me, but it’s awesome that it’s new for so many people. It’s a weird thing because for me I’ve been living with that and now it’s out and for everyone else it’s brand new. I’ve heard this thing a million times, but it’s great. I’m really happy that it’s out and people are enjoying it!
Eve-Marie: So you’ve released two more singles since then, “This Is It” and “Thorns”, how does it feel to be building up a repertoire of songs after leaving “Loveless” on its own for so long?
Matt: Yeah nine months (laughter), it was funny because I just felt like we needed to give Loveless some time because we were a brand new band, nobody had any idea who we were so I didn’t really care about the timing between it because the song was still finding people, the fact that people were asking who we were after our first song was really encouraging so I realised we should take our time with this. Then This Is It sounded like a good second song. It wasn’t like we didn’t have any songs, we were playing them live and everything we just felt like we needed to take some time. Now it feels like we’re picking up to the album campaign and so it’s fun to get more music out there, which is a really simple thought and it’s f***ing awesome! And more people know the songs when we play live, before it was just Loveless and people saying “I vaguely know this song”.
Eve-Marie: Any surprises when you play live?
Matt: I think it’s all a surprise, which is really fun! Nobody knows the band, so it’s fun for the band to try different things before the album is out; we’ll ‘try that thing here’ because nobody really knows this song for example. We did that with “This is It” when we played it live, on guitar Sam and I did something that informed the recording. I was happy we took our time with that, because it was an integral part of the final recording and wasn’t in there when we first started.
Eve-Marie: Is playing live a chance to experiment?
Matt: Yeah! I mean a bit yeah, at this point now I feel like we’ve got the album pretty much done so we don’t change much night to night. We have a little bit of jamming that goes on that we can’t really help but other than that it’s pretty structural.
Eve-Marie: Have you got any influences which have influenced the way you play?
Matt: Talk Talk is a big influence on me, the Blue Nile and Prefab Sprout, 80’s bands – most from here actually! I’m really influenced by English music. There are American songwriters like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon who are really special to me, but bands wise all my favourite bands are from the UK. Radiohead – all those bands I’ve mentioned, they’re so integral to my being. So it’s really fun for me to play here because I feel like the audience, I don’t know if it’s sub-conscious, get the music whereas in America sometimes it feels like we’re playing to people who are just a little bit confused which is fine (laughter). The people that get it get really excited by it do because it’s not very American sounding.
Eve-Marie: Anything exciting coming up over the rest of the year and next year as well as the new album in the pipeline?
Matt: We’re gonna just continue to tour, we finish the year with London Grammar and then we go home and do a couple of headline shows. Next year hopefully we put the record out!
Eve-Marie: Two questions I always want to ask- Who would you play with if you had the chance? Living or dead.
Matt: Ooo, living or dead. Bruce Springsteen, that’s the guy I would love to play with. But weirdly I would love to just be on stage during a Bob Marley show because I feel like that would be so much fun.
Eve-Marie: That would be amazing.
Matt: Just so energetic and special – but yeah Bruce Springsteen would be the one, I probably couldn’t step out and do anything because I’d just be-
Matt: Really mesmerised.
Eve-Marie: And finally, what advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Matt: Just keep going. It’s a funny thing I heard someone say once, the people in the music industry and the bands that tell you that you can’t do it are the ones that haven’t and you can do it you just have to keep going. It just takes – we’ve all actually been doing different incarnations of the same thing for so long, and finally we’re all in a band together and we’re all like “oh this is what we’re supposed to be doing.” When we started I was a singer songwriter writing terrible songs, could barely sing. You just have to learn, and you learn by just not being afraid, putting stuff out there. I’m a believer that if you keep knocking on the door it will eventually work. You have to figure out yourself, it was the same for me, and then it started to click and it’s exciting.
Eve-Marie: Thank you so much for your time and enjoy your set and subsequent tours!
Check out Lo Moon‘s first single and music video Loveless here: