The band recorded their first record with Wolf Alice producer Catherine Marks earlier this year
The Big Moon, one of the UK’s hardest working new bands are having a well deserved day off. They’re in the middle of their biggest headline tour yet when NME calls bassist Celia Archer. “We’re gonna go to the Peak District and go for a nice walk,” she tells us. After a year of constantly upping their game live and on record via two excellent singles (‘Cupid’, ‘Silent Movie Susie’), it sounds like a relaxing break from the business of staking their claim as one of the most exciting groups emerging right now.
How’s tour been so far?
Celia: “Tour’s been really, really great. It might be one of my favourites that I’ve ever done. I don’t know if that’s just because I’m in it and it’s exciting. I don’t want to insult any other tours. But it’s been great. We’ve got Trudy And The Romance playing with us and they’re phenomenal and such lovely guys. We’ve had some really good local supports and Abattoir Blues are coming and doing some of the opening slots. We played the first show with them last night and it was really fun. The crowds have been great. Glasgow was particularly special. It’s all been really dreamy so far. I need to touch wood because otherwise it’s all going to explode.”
What about Glasgow was special?
“I can never tell if it’s just the fact that it’s Saturday night and we’re playing at half 10 and that kind of makes a difference, but the crowd were really going for it. Everyone was Halloween-y and dressed up. There was this group of guys who were there from Holland who were losing their shit. It was really fun. They were doing a whiskey tour and saw that we were playing. They were like ‘oh my god, we’ve got tickets to see you in Amsterdam in a week, we had to come. We love you’. It was really sweet.”
You’re playing Scala on Thursday (November 3), which is your biggest London show so far. Nervous?
“I’m excited and nervous. The ratio of nervousness to excitement changes and undulates every day. There’s been a sudden spate of ‘this Autumn everyone’s going to play at Scala’. I’ve seen quite a few people there recently that’ve made me excited to do it. I was at the Yak gig last Thursday and for some of it I was at the top bar looking down and I was like, ‘Fuck, this is like a real venue! A real big venue! Look at all those people. Maybe it’ll be like that when we play’. It’s weird, but it’s very cool.”
Does it feel like it’s quite a big moment for you as a band?
“I try not to put too much pressure on it, especially with gigs because there’s so much stuff that can go wrong or you can psych yourself out. It’s better to just pretend it’s not a big moment and pretend there aren’t loads of people there and just have fun. We’ve been working on the album recently and we’re just putting the final touches on it. That feels more of a big moment because it can, because we’ve done it. We can just enjoy it as a special ‘oh my god we made this thing!’.”
How was the experience of recording your debut album?
“We did it at Eastcote Studios with Catherine Marks (Wolf Alice, Local Natives). We did it all in 12 days and Catherine was only there for the first seven. It was pretty painless, I have to say. I think because we’ve been sitting with these songs for quite a while now. Everyone is always saying ‘oh wow, everything’s gone so fast for you. How does that feel?’, but I think it’s felt quite steady for us, even slow. It feels like ages we’ve been waiting to make the album, definitely. So by the time we got in there we’d done enough recording so we knew ‘this is how we want them to go’ so we could get in, play them and then just do some overdubs.
“We did it live and then just sprinkled some fairy dust over the top, added some bits, yelled along. It was all quite like ‘this is how it’s supposed to sound’. There were no bust-ups. We did it in the summer, which I think was also really great because those long days that you’re spending are made so much easier by the fact that when you go outside at 7pm and the sun’s still shining, you feel like you’ve still got a whole chunk of time. Whereas I think if we did it in the winter and went out at like 5pm and it was night we’d be like ‘do we really have to stay here for another seven hours? I don’t think I can do it’. It would feel more of a chore. And also you can just go outside and have some space from being in that box, but if it’s cold and rainy you’re just like ‘oh god’. But yeah, it was really fun and painless. Nobody fell out. It went really well and we’re really proud of it.”
Did you record it live to try and capture your live energy?
“Yeah or just how we sound. I guess how we play live is how we sound as a band and how we sound in rehearsal. We did ‘Cupid’ and ‘Silent Movie Susie’ with Catherine and she’s just very good at capturing what we sound like. That was another good thing about doing it so quickly – you don’t have time to agonise over things and you go with gut instinct things and it makes things sound more authentic. I guess I’m saying that because that’s how we did it, but if we did it the other way I’d be saying ‘it was so great, we had so much time to deliberate over everything and make sure everything was perfect’ because that’s how you rationalize decisions. But it all worked out for the best.”
One of the new songs you’ve been playing live for a while is ‘Formidable’. What’s that song about?
“Jules [Jackson, singer/guitarist] wrote it because Jules writes everything. It’s kind of about being there for people. I think she’s talking to a friend of hers. It’s weird when you talk about somebody else’s songs. I know what she’s told me about it, but I don’t know if that’s what she wants other people to hear. I think it’s basically about being like ‘don’t worry about asking me for help. I’m so here. I can just be here for you, together we can do this and it’ll be fine’. It’s a lovely song, it makes me feel all the feelings when we play it. I hope I haven’t butchered the meaning of a really nice song.”
How does it feel being able to listen back to an album that you’ve made?
“It’s so nice to listen to them. We’ve finished all the mixing-y bits and it’s so nice to have it and listen to it as if they’re songs by someone else. You can just listen to it and be like ‘that’s a cool song. I like it, maybe other people will like it too’. Then you get a thing every so often like ‘oh my god, I did that! We did that! Together!’”
Is it quite easy to separate yourself from the songs like that?
“I find it quite hard, but that’s because I overthink everything. I don’t know about the others. We’re just starting to separate ourselves from it. It’s a weird one. I never would know what I would think about the songs if I wasn’t in the band. I can’t imagine what other people think about them because it’s such a different relationship. I’m like ‘I love it but what if that’s just because I love it and because I have all these amazing associations with it, like the fun we had when we recorded it or the first time we played it together and everyone played their part right and it all locked in and you got that oh my god feeling’.
“I remember the first time we played ‘Formidable’. Jules sent it over the night before and we learnt it and came in and played it the next day. We were all looking at each other like ‘wow, this is so special, this is cool!’ I can’t really separate myself from them, but that’s cool. There are enough songs that I can separate myself from. It’s really cool that there are these things in the world that I’ve made with my friends. It’s nice.”
You’re touring the US with The Japanese House next month. That’s your first US tour right?
“Yeah it is and it’s gonna be amazing. I’m so excited. We’ve weirdly between us got lots of friends and family in almost every city. Soph [Nathan, guitarist] has got family in Vancouver so we’ll get to play for them. I’ve got friends in Boston and Washington. It’s really nice to be able to play for those people and hopefully we’ll be able to win over some Japanese House fans, which is really exciting. I can’t imagine what people in America will think about us – not that they’re aliens. It’s just this whole new kind of thing. It’s quite scary, but exciting. It’s like that dream road trip that you always wanna do – go to New York and then to Boston and then to Toronto then fly over and drive from Seattle down to LA and hit all the cool places along the way. We get to actually do it! I’m really looking forward to it. Amber’s great – The Japanese House – so it’s really nice to be doing it with a friend. We’re super grateful to her for taking us along. It feels weird that we’re on tour now and next time we stop it’s going to be Christmas. Where is that time gonna go? Probably in the back of a van, snoozing away, listening to podcasts – the rock’n’roll dream. Having a great time in America, spending money I don’t have on clothes I don’t need that I won’t be able to fit in my suitcase and I’ll never wear ever again. We’ve got all that to look forward to!”