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Seven Quick Questions... Moon Duo

Seven Quick Questions... Moon Duo

Thursday 19th November, 2015 12:42PM

Portland-based pair Moon Duo have been circumnavigating the globe for a good chunk of the year in the wake of releasing their fantastic third album Shadows On The Sun, and next week their travels will bring them to New Zealand for two shows, along with drummer John Jeffrey in tow. In anticipation of their arrival, UnderTheRadar dropped guitarist Ripley Johnson (who you may also recognise from  psych outfit Wooden Shjips) a line via email to ask a few questions...

1. Hi Moon Duo! Shadows On The Sunis such a fantastic album, and seems more danceable than a lot of music that currently falls into the psych genre. Is that something you aimed for?

That’s something that we thought about a lot when we started band. We wanted to bring the roll back to rock, as it were. We’re really into early rock ’n’ roll, back when it was a dance music. At this point it’s just part of our sound, so we don’t think about it too much. When writing songs for an album I just produce as much as possible, then put aside any songs that don’t seem appropriate for Moon Duo.

2. Coming off-the-back of the album you also released the killer video for ‘Animal’ starring (and directed by) pro-skateboarder Richie Jackson, where he rides unthinkable objects. How did that project come about?

I’ve been a fan of his videos for a while, so we just contacted him. Didn’t know him at all. I just said, we have this much money and we’d like you to do whatever you want, maybe something that wouldn’t fly in a normal skate video. Luckily for us he was up for it. He’s brilliant.

3. You also have a new video for ‘Free The Skull’ dropping soon… can you tell us a little about that?

All I can say is that it’s being created by Tina Satter, who is a celebrated playwright from NYC and a good friend of Sanae’s. That’s almost all I know. I can’t wait to see it. For videos we generally try to find people who are doing interesting things and just let them do what they want.

4. You’ve been touring a lot this year following the album’s release. What three things do you think are essential for touring life?

For me, probably sleep, exercise, and somewhat healthy food. Without those things, long tours can really mess with you. It’s rough on the body and the mind. As far as material things: noise-cancelling headphones, a portable bluetooth speaker, and a good book.

5. What has been the stand-out experience of touring the new album so far?

We just did a short tour of South America and that was really special - Peru, Argentina, Chile, Colombia. To be able to go to new places, that’s one of the joys of touring.

6. What do you miss the most about Portland when you are on the road?

Mostly, I miss the quiet mornings and being able to go to the cinema.

7. You guys recently added drummer John Jeffrey to the act. What was the thinking behind that? And does it mean you might be looking at evolving from Moon Duo?

The name won’t change. We hire a drummer mostly for touring, to bring some more rhythmic dynamism to the live show, and more energy. We’d probably add more musicians if we could afford it. It’s great to switch things up as we go but at the same time we try to keep things simple.

Moon Duo
are playing next Wednesday 25th November at San Fran in Wellington, and then Thursday 26th November at Whammy Bar in Auckland. Head over here for full details and to buy tickets.


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