Interview Willy Moon: ‘I’m Not Interested In Authenticity’

That advert, touring with Jack White, and now his debut… Willy Moon is aiming for the stars.

Blessed with sharp style and an innate sense of the importance of image, Willy Moon is redolent of those old stars that were instantly identifiable. The ones who cultivated their own peculiar, cult like persona. Like the glam-era Bowie and Bolan; the true icons that prompted unending adoration. In the first flushes of his career, he’s obviously a long way to go to ascend to that status, but his debut album ‘Here’s Willy Moon’ provides evidence of a strange and fascinating new star.

Moon’s sound is a rather beguiling mix of influences and eras. Fifties rock n roll combines with hip-hop beats and samples. Electronic sounds mix with primitive melodies. It’s something of a retro futurist approach. He explains that there is no particular defining sound to the songs collected on his debut. “I was never really trying to connect them together. The overarching theme of the record was creating this abstract character, this guy who sings pop songs that don’t really have any connection to reality.” For Willy, the creation of a character allows him to eschew any notion of intense emotion. It’s an approach that could be considered antithetical in an age where artists are expected to give everything of themselves emotionally. “It’s not very personal. I never wanted it to be,” he reveals. “For me, it’s more about exploring those themes of what is a pop song and how does it get put together? What does it mean, through this prism of rock n roll?”

‘Here’s Willy Moon’ is the result of a year that changed his life incredibly. At the start of 2012, Moon was a promising songwriter writing music in an extremely primitive fashion in his London flat, after making the move from his native New Zealand as an 18 year old. One of the songs he recorded, ‘Yeah Yeah’, went on to become an earworm, heard by millions after it was featured in a certain commercial worldwide. As a result, he was contacted by an admiring Jack White, who released his single ‘Railroad Track’ through his Third Man record label and invited him to support him on tour. The experience was dizzying. “It hammered home for me in my mind the fact that once you make something it takes on a life of its own,” he says. On the cusp of releasing his debut, as the culmination to his whirlwind year, he confesses he’s feeling good. “It’s really nice to feel like I’m closing a chapter in my life.”

What strikes you when speaking to Moon is quite how assured he is, utterly committed to his own pop ideal. He rejects any notion that his music is in anyway retro or backward looking. “I want to channel things from the past to make some vision of the future that makes sense to me,” he says. “I try to put the past through a prism and move it forward in some way, try to present it in a different way.” For Moon, the concept of authenticity is anathema. “I’m not interested in authenticity at all,” he explains, defiantly. “If you take the word ‘authenticity’ and try to strip back what it means, it doesn’t actually mean anything. It’s a completely redundant concept.”

Willy Moon’s debut album ‘Here’s Willy Moon’ is out now via Island Records.

Read the full interview in the new edition of DIY Weekly, available from iTunes now.

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