INTERVIEW: Moon Rover | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Kathryn Miller

When just starting out, most bands like to take things slowly – maybe work on a couple of their own pieces alongside some covers, try and get a quick demo done to show their friends. Not this for Durham quartet Moon Rover however: having only played a handful of select shows, they’re already preparing for the release of their self-titled debut album this month. As such, we talked to Moon Rover guitarist and vocalist Scott Hepple accomplished and ambitious new record.

Talking about the genesis of the band, Hepple reveals that “I got heavily into The X-Files and other, older sci-fi work, and realised that it was fun to write about. Throughout 2014 I wrote and demoed material in a studio, then at the end of the year I had a night out with friends in Durham and I asked my two friends Dan Smith [guitars] and Cameron Smith [bass] about being in the band, and we all met drummer Ste Molloy for the first time that night too. So we decided to be a band!”

This serendipity also bled into the creation of the album itself. “Before the band got together, it was just going to be demos, but once we got together we really wanted to do it on the biggest and best scale we could. We skipped a lot of lecture time, and the album was recorded fully over the space of about four to five months. Me and my friend Dani engineered, the whole band produced it, and spent about 6 six months mixing it before we went to Broadwater Studios to get further mixing work done and to get it mastered.”

Stanley Kubrick is also a big influence for us as well: there’s way more influence from film than from music.

Out of these sessions came their debut album, an hour-long voyage of warm grunge riffs and space rock atmospherics, replete with a conceptual tale of two lost astronauts and their encounters with alien life running throughout the record. Discussing their mix of disparate influences, Hepple states, “we wanted to mix our love as a band for alternative music – we love Hum, Radiohead, My Bloody Valentine, Deftones, Dinosaur Jr and Tame Impala to mention a few influences –  with our love for everything to do with space. Stanley Kubrick is also a big influence for us as well: there’s way more influence from film than from music.”

Moon Rover have plenty more to come in 2017, including “more singles/videos from this album, hopefully a tour, a surprise later on this year, and we’ve almost finished writing the second album” – but first they’re celebrating their album release with a headline show alongside some of their favourite local bands at Empty Shop in Durham on Friday 3rd February. Discussing the bill, Hepple comments: “Mouses are a loud, quirky machine when playing live: they sound strange but great, look strange but great, and everything comes together in a beautifully unpredictable way. Casual Threats are damn entertaining and powerful live, and their songs work perfectly when playing to a sweaty rock crowd, and Japanese TV Club have an amazing innocence and lo-fi nature to them as well as a great sense of self-awareness as a band.”

Moon Rover play Empty Shop in Durham on Friday 3rd February.

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