One of my favorite parts of a band is the mixing up of a bunch of different personalities and musical styles. We have all heard the sum is greater than the parts. This is inherently true in music. Very few people can match the creativity of a group of 4 bandmates. This is very evident in our recent discovery Moonlighter.
The indie rock band from Britain is made up of a rugby player, a gay man, a death metal prodigy, and a man who taught music in India. This amalgamation of quirks has given Moonlighter their unique sound. The variety sets them apart from the commonplace music we hear so much of today.
The latest single by Moonlighter is “Breaking Even.” The song takes the alternative rock genre to a new level with strong pop-rock influences. This makes it appeal to all audiences. The vocals drip with emotion as each word seems heartfelt. The guitar drives the track forward with its angsty energy and impressive solo work. The beat is fun without being overpowering. Just enough to keep everyone in the pocket.
We also had the chance to sit down with Matheus Guimaraes – frontman of Moonlighter to get inside the head of a band on the rise to stardom. Enjoy the interview here:
First off, what is the story behind the name Moonlighter?
The band was born in 2010. Music has always been part of my life…. I’ve been writing songs since I’m 15 and built a ridiculously long catalogue of songs over the years, but it never took center stage simply because life took me into different directions. When I put an ad online and met Wheels, the lead guitarist, I discovered he had a very similar relationship with music. We were already successful professionals with a day job merely moonlighting as rock stars. So it felt right to name the band after that.
Your music seems to go in many directions. How would you describe the unique Moonlighter sound?
I always find it very difficult to describe sound. It’s a question that comes up a lot and I always find it hard because for me is like asking to describe love or anger…. most of our songs are an aural representation of those feelings and colors so they become inherently different from each other depending on what we’re saying or the energy I’m giving vocally on each track.
That remains true even for the songs with lighter or deliberately comic subject matters – we always commit to a feeling one way or the other and that’s as much rational thought as we put into it … I suppose though the common thread always naturally revolves around our strengths and you end up with organic “signature” sounds such as the breath-taking guitar solos all written by Wheels and the obvious rhythm influences from different styles of music from different parts of the world which is just a natural reflection of the melting pot formed by the four of us.
What bands have been your biggest influences?
It’s tough to summarize! When I asked the guys that question once they each sent me a list of about 30 bands or more haha. We are all very eclectic musically. Our sound gravitates towards bands such as Kings Of Leon, Coldplay, Muse, Kasabian, Oasis, Stereophonics, The Killers, or if you’re feeling more nostalgic then U2, Bon Jovi, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac… We could go on. I could also name a bunch of obscure ones from Brazil, Italy, France and even Japan. We live in the amazing digital age where you can hear any type of music from anywhere in the planer, so there’s plenty to take in out there.
How does a Moonlighter song come together. What is the songwriting process?
I’ve written all the songs so far and that’s usually quite a solitary process. I’m always having ideas for songs (usually at the most inconvenient moments!) and I keep them in my head, or on some impromptu embarrassing recording on my phone, until I have a chance to sit down with my guitar or my piano at home. Most songs will only take an hour tops for me to write – others can take only a few minutes. Then I take it to my small home studio and record multiple versions to share with the guys: a full home produced one with drum loops and what not with whatever ideas I may have for the full arrangement in addition to an acoustic version and an instrumental one. I also share with them all the scores, tabs and lyrics. Then I let them treat the song like a blank canvas and each bring their own ideas to it for next rehearsal. We then start going through it and see where the ideas match or clash and start shaping it.
We like to keep rehearsals fun though so we do improvs sometimes and it’s always possible a song can come out of it as it has already with “Lady and the Plumber”. We may do more of those, but as with everything else we don’t push anything, we just let it happen naturally.
We have heard your live performances are something to see. Tell us a crazy gig story?
Well, once we were opening for a band at The Clapham Grand in London and… we mistakenly took their VIP room! Yes, mistakenly!! Promise! We were there early and there were only a handful of people downstairs sorting out the stage and they told us the rooms were upstairs, so we followed up the steps… to the last floor. The room had a closet, fridge with wine, beer, I think even champagne if I remember well and we were over the moon.
Moonlighter can party with the best of them
Later, that evening, after soundcheck was done and dusted we followed the headliners to their room and realized that theirs was erm slightly less fancy than ours… by a few notches. Haha . So we told them about our mistake, but they were cool with it. In the end we had open doors and the room became a big backstage party with everyone coming in and out and singing songs and drinking together. It was pretty cool. And so was the gig. I’ll never forget that one because it was the first time ever when I played a gig that had fog machine on stage and on the audience floor and the lights came down halfway through haha It felt proper.
What is next for Moonlighter?
We’ve got a lot in our calendars at the moment – it’s all very exciting. Although it is getting harder and harder to be organized! We have completely rebooted this year and we’ve only just got started on the new path. This month saw the release of our first single Breaking Even. It’s been picked up by a few indie radio stations and starting to get momentum online. We’re starting to shoot the video for it while the other two tracks we’ve recorded last month are in post-production. We’re working with grammy nominated Beau Vallis to give them some final touches.
The next single “Somewhere Else Instead” should be released before end of the year. – it’s one of our political ones and talks about terrorism, selfish people… it’s really about how pissed off I am with the world at the moment. We’ve also booked a few more shows for 2018 already and have plans for a live stream show soon. We’ve also got a few photoshoots booked this month and a 4K live set video shoot. We’re also going back into the studio to start working on more tracks. Our aspiration is to have an EP put together in early 2018. We are also going to focus on playing as many festivals as we can as we love their vibe. Nothing better than showcasing your music to a bunch of music lovers infused with joy.
What advice would you give to other bands on the rise?
I think the best advice is always the simplest. Stay true to yourself. Don’t try to mold yourself into anything. Ever. The industry, the public… everyone picks up easily on someone who is trying to be something else than they truly are. It gives off a bad vibe and just comes across as really stiff. We’re not products, we’re humans and music forms this ethereal relationship between us. Relationships are exciting because they’re unique the permutations are infinite.
Don’t try to be the next (insert famous act here) … be yourself! There are billions of people in this world so I guarantee 100% that there will be at least a couple of people that will be into your art. The odds are in your favour. Don’t lost that angle and shut off all other defeatist talk. Just f*** go for it and do it. You only got one life.
Inspiring words from an inspiring band. Keep a look out for more music and performances on the Moonlighter WEBSITE.
You can find them all over Social Media as well: