EVER WONDERED WHAT LIFE IS LIKE TOURING THE WORLD AS AN UP-AND-COMING BAND? WE’RE GIVING YOU AN EXCLUSIVE LOOK OF WHAT LIFE IS LIKE ON THE ROAD WITH SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE ARTISTS. SO, LET US INTRODUCE YOU TO THE BIG MOON – AN INDIE ROCK QUARTET FROM LONDON THAT’S MAKING WAVES. HITCH A RIDE AND FOLLOW THEM ON TOUR THROUGH PHOTOS, VIDEOS AND INTERVIEWS.
"We've had an incredible summer," reflects The Big Moon's Jules Jackson. Her bandmate Celia Archer adds that the months since the release of debut album Love In The 4th Dimension have been "a whirlwind - a lot of fun and a lot of hard work - So many sweet memories but playing the Mercury Awards was very, very special." With the main grind of supporting the release of the album by touring done, The Big Moon are now looking forward to writing and recording the follow-up, and have been trying out new songs on the road. It is, says Jackson, shaping what that album will sound like, for "playing to a crowd is the only way you know you’re onto something".
And "onto something" The Big Moon certainly are. Their debut earned its place on the Mercury Prize shortlist and more than a few best of 2017 lists thanks to smart songwriting nous that sits somewhere between legendary 90s groups from either side of the Atlantic, Elastica and The Breeders. Formed by Jackson when she recruited Soph Nathann, Celia Archer and Fern Ford, their songs are at once exuberant and reflective, engaging with love, regret and the passing of the carefree days of youth - as Jules sings on their song Happy New Year, "'Cause I'm never gonna be this young / And everything I do one day will just be done". This melancholic twist into their pop means that they get annoyed - very annoyed - when people describe their music as "escapist". We caught up with them to find out more.
WHY DOES THE "ESCAPISM" TAG STING?
Celia: I think it’s easy to dismiss joy and optimism and hope as naive. We’ve definitely been called that before and it really annoyed me. But I think there’s strength in taking in everything that’s going on around you, both personally and in the wider world, and choosing to be positive about it or choosing to put something positive out in the world despite all of it. Also, it will all change depending on what Jules feels like writing about. Maybe on the next album we’ll feel like wallowing.
Jules: For me our music isn't properly an escape because every lyric and every line is about something real in my life. The escape happens when we perform live and have this rush of intensity which you can’t get anywhere else. I’m glad that our music provides an escape for people though.
JULES, YOU STARTED OUT WITH THESE SONGS ON YOUR OWN, HOW WAS THE PROCESS OF SURRENDERING EGO TO GET THE OTHERS INVOLVED? WAS IT HARD FOR YOU?
Celia: Lol! This is such a barbed question. Jules doesn’t really have an ego. Also, there’s an important difference between being the songwriter and therefore having more of a vision and a say in how things are gonna go vs. being an egomaniac. She is a great lynchpin.
Jules: Not at all! It was all I ever wanted from these songs. I could never be a solo performer - I need my gang.
TELL US ABOUT THE FIRST GIG THAT CLICKED AND YOU REALISED YOU WERE ON TO SOMETHING.
Celia: I was the last to join the band and I remember sitting on a stepladder in our old rehearsal room while the others played me 'Sucker' and it was completely brilliant. I really, really wanted to be in their band.
DID THE BIG MOON PLAY A GIG ON THE SUPERMOON IN JANUARY 2018, WHEN THE LUNAR BODY WAS CLOSEST TO THE EARTH AND LOOKED HUGE IN THE SKY? IF SO, DID IT UNLEASH STRANGE ENERGIES?
Jules: We are fully connected to the moon. I went to Bodmin Moor in Devon on holiday and did a wee at midnight on the moor under a huge full moon. I think it's the first time I have introduced the actual moon to my moon. It was a life-affirming moment.
YOU'RE RELATIVE VETERANS OF TOURING, WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHANGE SINCE YOU STARTED OUT ON THE ROAD?
Celia: We eat better and always bring our own tea bags.
Jules: I've got into a really good system which saves money and time. I eat the biggest fry up I can handle most mornings and it lasts me the whole day. I’ve also discovered jacket potatoes are good for this. Seriously though, we have really grown as a band and we are so much more confident on stage.
IN THE FILM WITH MARSHALL, YOU TALK ABOUT THE GRADUATION TO BIGGER STAGES - WHAT ARE THE BEST BITS AND DRAWBACKS OF THAT?
Celia: It’s so incredible and exciting to see crowds grow and we’re very excited to see how we can expand our production for the second album tours, but nothing beats playing a tiny, sweaty, grimy room with your mates.
Jules: The best bit is having enough room to leap around.
WHAT'S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE HAD?
Celia: SPEND IT ALL, SPEND IT NOW!
Jules: Don't save ideas for later - spend it all and spend it now! New ideas will keep on flowing in.
HOW DO YOU AVOID EPIC ROWS?
Celia: Food is usually the answer.
Jules: We are very good at sensing each other’s moods.
HOW DO YOU STAY HEALTHY ON TOUR?
Celia: One time I ate an apple. Sometimes venues try and help us out by giving us low fat mayonnaise and sugar free Ribena on the rider but I obviously refuse to play under those conditions.
Jules: I don't.
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF VENUES GIVE YOU A TUB OF HUMMUS?
Jules: 100%. I will be happy if I never see Tesco hummus ever again.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ECCENTRIC RIDER REQUESTS, E.G. LOCAL POSTCARDS OR THEMED SOCKS?
Celia: I think we ask for a Ryan Gosling DVD?
Jules: Tampons if it’s a full moon. And I think socks on a Tuesday.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS OUTSIDE THE BAND WHEN YOU'RE ON TOUR?
Celia: Yeah, I’ve really got to know my angles in motel bathrooms. My mates are all super grateful.
Jules: Postcards and sexy WhatsApp pics.
AUTHOR LUKE TURNER PHOTOGRAPHER LIBBY BURKE WILDE