Vincent Ralph talks to a Kent-based three-piece band about to dazzle audiences at the Reading and Leeds festivals.
Later this month, some of the biggest bands in the world will take to the stages of the Reading and Leeds festivals, but while the likes of Mumford & Sons, Metallica and the Libertines will be in attendance there is also a new generation of musicians well worth listening to.
The BBC Introducing stage hosts 34 up-and-coming acts between Friday 28 August and Sunday 30 August and one of those is three-piece electro pop act Moon Tourists.
Fans of Huw Stephens' Radio 1 show may well have heard their single Love is Just on the air earlier this year while their self-titled EP was released in April.
So with two huge gigs just around the corner, we caught up with the band to discuss their origins and their thoughts about playing the iconic festival.
How did the three of you meet?
It was actually a mutual friend that served as Moon Tourists’ matchmaker. I (Samuel) had been thinking of starting an electro project with a female vocalist with the vaguest concept in mind. Coincidentally, we were all in attendance at this particular friend’s shindig, and recognised that with Bronte (vocals), Mat (synths) and me (production), we had the elements required for a potential band.
To be honest, initially it was all a bit of a joke and we didn’t think for one minute that it would materialise, but it’s panned out alright really.
What made you choose the name Moon Tourists?
We would love to be able to give an incredibly pretentious explanation; alas there are no profound origins to the name. We were working under a different moniker, which we eventually decided wasn’t that fitting when Moon Tourists happened to surface in a gin-fuelled midnight brainstorm. Some people lay claim to its invention on that fateful night, but no one really knows the one true creator...or do they?
Who are your musical influences?
Our musical influences principally revolve around interesting British pop. Bands like Metronomy, for their quirky layerings of sounds and unconventional production (especially their earlier records), Hot Chip as a dance reference point, and Squeeze, are hugely influential melodically and lyrically.
Can you tell me a little about your self-titled EP?
Darling was our first attempt at creating something together and when it started to shape up as a song it became the foundations of the Moon Tourists’ sound and almost the benchmark for any future recordings.
Five Dog Night went through a painful amount of reincarnations, finally settling on the EP version. It was pretty much built up around the main bass groove and we have been told it’s the ohrwurm of the EP.
Love is Just developed quite effortlessly around the single repetitive chord sequence, with layers dropping in and out to create the variation. Shockingly it’s already been spun by Huw Stephens on his Radio 1 show and is probably a future single.
Lyrically, Love is Just is particularly interesting. Can you describe your song-writing process?
A friend of ours actually had the theory that perhaps love is just a worthless currency and the lyrics just evolved from there. In our song-writing process the lyrics generally come last. On the whole we get the beats to a decent stage, production-wise and structurally, and then use that as a base to develop the track lyrically.
You are playing the BBC Introducing stage at the Reading and Leeds festivals later this month, how did that come about?
Yep, it’s a mystery to us too; it’s the best exposure we could’ve wished for really. We actually didn’t read the email from BBC Introducing for a week or so, we’re quite lazy. They must have thought we were a right bunch of jokers, trying to play it cool. Luckily, we received a text informing us that we’d got the slots, to which our aura of cool would have immediately perished as our frantic reply read something along the lines of, ‘YES! YES! A HUNDRED TIMES, YES!’