Today (23rd February), Lo Moon release their debut album, a huge, shiny collection we described as “a towering debut” in our review. Supporting the likes of MUNA, Phoenix and The War On Drugs over the last year, the LA trio mould ’80s synthpop influences together into something slick, new and fresh.
With the album - produced by Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla - out now, we caught up with frontman Matt Lowell to talk through its creation, and where the band are heading next. Dig in alongside a stream of the album below.
Hi Lo Moon! Your debut album is almost out! How does it feel?
It feels incredible. We are so happy to finally have it out there. Of course we’re a little nervous but we’re proud of the album and excited to have the first one living and breathing.
How was working with Chris Walla on the record?
Working with Chris was really amazing. When we decided to bring Chris and Franc Tetez on to produce the record we knew we were getting so much more than two great engineers and producers. Chris spent so many years in a band (Death Cab For Cutie) and we knew we could learn from the experiences he had. He understands the dynamics of a band, especially a new band like us, and he helped us find ourselves and open up the palette on so many levels. Franc is a mad scientist and has such a magnetic creative energy in and out of the studio. We all became a family.
You’ve toured with Ride, Phoenix and more recently - did you learn lots from bands who have been touring for so long? Did it make you more professional?
Yes we really try and learn from every band we support. It’s such a great position to be in when you’re able to watch a band you respect play every night. Things that you connect to really start to seep in. We love trying to ask as many questions and pick up different things the bands do both on and off the stage. We’ve been lucky enough to have toured with some incredible acts, and I can only imagine it has made us more professional. You learn early on when you’re support you need to move quickly and be flexible and ultimately be easy to tour with. We pride ourselves on being pretty easy going haha.
Did you learn a lot about how to be a band from being on the road?
Being on the road is an extraordinary experience and there’s something to learn every time you go out there. You’re living with your friends and you learn quickly its important to pay attention to everyone’s moods and wants and needs. It has to be a team effort. 90% of being on the road is being in the van and in hotels, and 10% is on stage. There’s something to learn every single day.
“They always say you have a lifetime to make the debut and it will never be like that again.”
Does the album contain tracks from right back to the start of the band, or is it a newer collection of songs?
The album has songs right from the start of the band and songs that were written and recorded only a few months ago. When we listen through it we can hear all of that time in there, it’s in the fabric of the album. I can hear the 6 years spent on Loveless or Camouflage, and we can hear the year we spent on the album, its all in there and it’s one of my favorite things about this first record. They always say you have a lifetime to make the debut and it will never be like that again. Feels like that for me. On to the next one now.
Following on from the last questions, was it important for your debut album to be a chronicle of the band up until now?
I think it was important to not only chronicle the band up until now but to make sure we were saying exactly what we wanted to say. With the first record it felt so important to us to just make sure we had a strong musical identity. It just so happened this took some time and it includes material from different parts of our lives, but it’s less about the time and more about the material and the bands direction.
Were there any particular bands you took influence from when crafting the album? Any albums that you were obsessed with at the time?
While we were in the studio we really tried not to listen to anything for overall sonics but more for very specific details. Say if we wanted a “triangle” on the bridge of “Thorns” we should try and find the best triangle sound we can, so we searched for that on specific records we loved. Or for example because Crisanta was using a CMI Fairlight we would check out a Peter Gabriel record. We really tried to keep everything specific when referencing records in the studio, we didn’t want it to seep in too deep!
And finally, what can we expect from you for the rest of 2018?
Well it will be incredible to finally have this album out there and living. That’s such an exciting moment for us, it means people can discover the story and the start of us. We can’t wait to start headlining, we’re especially excited for our UK tour! AND hopefully we can even release new material sometime in 2018, that would be awesome. We’re working on it now!
Lo Moon’s self-titled debut album is out now via Columbia.
Photo: Phil Smithies.