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Premiere: Stream The Self-Titled Debut Album From Moon Lander (+ Interview)

Premiere: Stream The Self-Titled Debut Album From Moon Lander (+ Interview)

Thursday 3rd August, 2017 12:38PM

Moon Lander first captured our attention a few months ago when they landed on the radio with their wry and incredibly catchy debut single 'Pseudoephedrine', a song that laments the struggle to buy the cold-relief medication without bring treated like a criminal. On the heels of that fantastic introduction to the Wellington-based act, we were stoked to learn that there was an album in the works. So we asked the affable helmsman Anthony Lander if we could stream a preview of the record ahead of its official release next Monday, and lucky for us he said yes. Treat your ears to the stream below and scroll on to read our interview with Lander to learn a little more about the project...

Hi Anthony! First off, could you please introduce us to Moon Lander… who you are and what you do?

Okay cool! My name is Anthony Lander and I write the songs, sing, and play bass. The band that I've now got is made up of Logan Valentine who plays guitar, Penelope Esplin who plays keys and does backing vocals, and Oli Bridgman who plays drums.

Moon Lander started as a solo venture, and the album sees you playing the vast majority of the instruments. What was the main challenge for you putting the songs together in this way?

The main challenge is that I couldn't play all the instruments I wanted on the album myself. I could play all the guitar and bass parts I had in my head, and I had to stop myself from going to crazy on the vocals (because sometimes when I get going I think I'm 90s Michael Jackson and do like a thousand vocal tracks). After some practice I managed to make the keyboard stuff happen, but the drums was something that was never going to happen for me. Warwick Donald did a good job of the drum parts and kept it pretty true to my demos - except he could play them competently, and I really liked his drum sounds).

What was your gateway instrument as a learner? What really got you into experimenting with new instruments and writing music?

I've always liked singing, right from when I was little. When I was still quite young (like eight or nine), I used to want to be a singer in a rock band. I used to dance around in my room and make up words and sing and perform to myself. I'd hear the music in my head but I had no knowledge of how to make it real outside of my head. I started getting guitar lessons when I was ten, but it wasn't till I discovered The Beatles when I was about 14 that it all came together for me. That was it. I played endlessly in my room singing songs and playing guitar, and then naturally I started to make up my own songs, because now I had the tools and I'd started to figure out how it worked. The first song I ever liked that I wrote myself was called The Only One, haha. It was about being home on my own. I was fifteen.

You worked with Warwick Donald to record this album. Aside from someone else’s recording expertise, it must be interesting to have a definitive recording time, rather than lingering on each song like you might in a bedroom recording situation where you can rework a song endlessly. Was that intentional?

Warwick is great to work with. He's really patient, and keeps the music alive. For me the perfect take is when I played what I heard in my head, but Warwick would prefer the takes I did that weren't necessarily "perfect" to my ears, but had the feel and energy that was needed. Warwick has a sublime collection of instruments, and has lots of weird guitars and weird tuning ideas that I would never have thought of but I loved. He never lets things go on too long and get stale. I think if I'd tried to record it all by myself I'd have never released it because I'd have never felt it was finished.

The album’s lead single was ‘Pseudoephedrine’, and being sick is a bit of a recurring them on the record. What made you want to pen tunes on that subject matter?

Yeah weird eh. That was not intentional, however, I think being sick just happens to be a time that I like to write songs, and I usually write songs about what's on my mind. 'Lemon and Honey' is more of a "woe is me" types song, whereas 'Pseudoephedrine' is much more of a grumpy rant. When I get a song idea in my head that feels a bit unusual for a song to be about, it makes me like it more. Often the songs that I write that I like are really everyday types of situations, with melodies that feel nice to me when they go around my head. Life is made up of lots of exciting and strange and weird experiences, and also long bits in between those things where you're doing the dishes, checking the mail, weeding the garden, or getting ready for work. Those are times when songs come to me most. For some reason.

You’ve cited The Kinks, Buzzcocks, The Clean, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre as influences. What is it about those acts that you find informs your music?

I guess they're just bands that I've always gone back to for lots of reasons. It's hard to talk about them in a short amount of space, because I could write long essays on all of them. I feel like the songs they write make songwriting seem so fun. The Kinks have lovely chord progressions and melodies. The Buzzcocks just seem to exemplify a mood that I feel a lot - like, when you play their songs it feels like your playing the electric guitar for the first time. The Clean made amazing pop music out of almost nothing and that's endlessly inspiring, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre are indulgently psychedelic and hypnotising. I guess I just really like pop music delivered through jangly guitars.

What’s your favourite song on the record and why?

'Someone Else'. It defines a simple, but emotionally core feeling, it's doesn't muck around (it's just over two minutes long), and it's got a great groove. It's our favourite to play as a band too.

Moon Lander will be celebrating the release of the new record with a show at Caroline on Friday 11th August with support from Tidal Rave and Transistor. Then on Saturday18th August they'll be playing with The Doubtful Sounds and Gold Medal Famous, head over here for tickets.


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Moon Lander Album Release
Fri 11th Aug
Caroline, Wellington
Moon Lander, The Doubtful Sounds, Gold Medal Famous
Sat 19th Aug
MOON, Wellington