Photography: Charlotte Patmore
Here they are! It’s London’s indie starlets, The Big Moon. Since the group’s inception in 2014, their live reputation has made them a go-to support band, touring with the likes of The Vaccines, Mystery Jets and Yak. This hard graft has gained them some well-earned fans in Europe and America, and a sold out headline show at London’s Scala back in November 2016. But it doesn’t stop there.
The Big Moon are set to eclipse this previous success with their forthcoming debut LP, ‘Love in the 4th Dimension.’ Released by the legendary Fiction label, the album will be out this year.
With a UK tour also on the horizon, there’s much to talk about. Cool Brother’s very own Joe Herrmann chats to Juliet Jackson of The Big Moon about music, politics and Love in the 4th Dimension.
Joe Herrmann: I heard you were originally inspired to make music after seeing Palma Violets and Fat White Family live. Is this how you started?
Juliet Jackson: I’d just started going to gigs again, which I hadn’t done for quite a long time. A lot of my friends were in bands, and being in a band looked like loads of fun. Also, I was in a real dead-end situation in my life. I was waitressing and didn’t have any proper qualifications. I couldn’t get out of it, so I decided to start The Big Moon. I started asking my friends if they would learn instruments to play in a band with me – and then I found these three lovely girls!
JH: What are your favourite venues in London?
JJ: I love the Windmill, for a start. I really like Scala, The Shacklewell Arms and Birthdays in Dalston. There used to be this really awesome place called the Buffalo Bar which closed down a few years ago too. My favourite is probably Scala.
JH: Scala, where you recently played your biggest headline show to date, you mean! What makes the venue so special to you?
JJ: It’s probably my favourite because of that, actually. I’m biased! It’s got a real magic about it, walking backstage – you can feel that a lot of great bands have played there.
JH: Do you still get to watch other bands while you’re on the road?
JJ: Yeah. I haven’t seen anyone for a while, as I’m currently in Rotterdam. There isn’t a great music scene here – you just get a good band about once in a blue moon. Mostly, it’s just DJs playing pan-tropical beats, but I see a lot of bands on tour, at festivals and when I’m home [in London].
"Love in the 4th Dimension is about feeling so in love, you’re on a higher plane of existence and you’re looking down on Earth. It felt like a good title, because it’s about escaping the ‘real world,’ which I hope our music can help with."
JH: What do you do to kick back?
JJ: It’s funny, I’ve been asking myself the same thing recently. After Christmas, I was back in London for the first time in three months. I got home and wanted to have a day off. I didn’t have a guitar, so I couldn’t play any music. I wanted a day off music but I was like… “What else is there?”
JH: There seems to be a new London scene brewing. How do you feel about bands like Shame, Goat Girl, Happy Meal Ltd and Dead Pretties being lumped together?
JJ: I think a scene is always something created by the press. Bands are friends and go and see each other. I guess there are always scenes in cities, and everyone goes to watch the same bands. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to get lumped together. Those bands are all amazing – Happy Meal Ltd and Goat Girl are really good.
JH: What strikes me the most when I see you lot live is the energy. I don’t think I have seen a band smile so much on stage!?
JJ: It feels good being on stage! When you are in the van all day on tour and you have half an hour on stage, it’s such a release. All the energy pours out of your fingertips and you get to jump up and down. It feels like a celebration.
JH: So, let’s talk ‘Love in the 4th Dimension!’ What made you choose the name?
JJ: There is a song on the album called ‘Love in the 4th Dimension,’ which is about feeling so in love, you’re on a higher plane of existence and you’re looking down on Earth. It felt like a good title, because it’s about escaping the ‘real world,’ which I hope our music can help with.
JH: Speaking of the ‘real world,’ I saw you attended the recent Downing Street demonstrations. Are there any political messages amongst the album’s lyrics, or is it pure escapism?
JJ: We have a few political songs, but I don’t think any of them are on the album. I’m writing more political songs now because it’s hard not to notice what’s going on. I feel like I have a responsibility to shout about all the bad things that are happening. I’m lucky enough to be on a stage, have a platform and a voice, and I feel like I should add to the voices. Sometimes you want music that’s biting and makes you angry and want to go out and go to a protest, and sometimes you want to listen to music that makes you want to snooze or snog someone.
"I’m a vinyl person! It makes music more of an activity, rather than a background noise. You put the record on and put the sleeve on a shelf to look at. You can lie down and you can turn it over, and you can lie down again and smoke a cigarette."
JH: Who writes the songs in the band?
JJ: I noodle things in my bedroom – I just fiddle with a guitar and a drum machine. I come with a basic song, and then we play it all together and turn it into a proper song.
JH: I heard you co-produced the album with Catherine Marks! Would you consider recording and producing an album entirely by yourself in the future?
JJ: I would love to do that, but I don’t have enough experience yet. To write, record and produce something would be too much. I’d love to produce other people’s music though – I like having a piece of music, and I love trying to make it better.
JH: What made you choose Catherine to co-produce with in particular?
JJ: Yeah, she’s done a lot of stuff like Foals and Wolf Alice, but we just met her and she was really cool and into our music. It felt very easy to communicate with her, which is the most important thing with a producer – you need to have the same references. You need to be able to say, “I want this guitar solo to sound like that David Bowie B-side,” and for them to understand you.
JH: You recorded the album last summer, didn’t you? Quite a lot of time has passed! Have you started thinking about album number two?
JJ: I have a week off at the moment and I am writing. I’m always writing if I’ve got free time and I’m at home. I’m always trying to come up with something, because I just enjoy it and I don’t want to stop.
JH: All your past singles were released on vinyl. Are you yourselves vinyl people?
JJ: I’m a vinyl person! I have quite a lot of vinyl in the basement. It’s nice to have something to hold. You put the record on and put the sleeve on a shelf to look at it. You can lie down and you can turn it over, and you can lie down again and smoke a cigarette. It makes music much more of a tactile thing. It makes it more of an activity, rather than a background noise. It’s also nice to have evidence of your music collection. I use Spotify, but if Spotify went bust and deleted everything, I wouldn’t know what songs I was listening to before. You can’t have that history anywhere else.
"We did some sightseeing in America. We saw the big statue of Abraham Lincoln and the thing outside the White House that looks like a giant penis. We arrived two days after Trump won the presidency though, so there was a very strange atmosphere."
JH: You’ve got a big tour coming up in April and May. Are you excited about any of the support acts?
JJ: Yes, we’re taking a group called Frankobollo, who are amazing! I’m excited to go on tour with a band I already like. They have a really cool music video [for Wonderful] – it’s one of the best music videos I’ve ever seen. It’s about this woman who goes to the bathroom and shaves all her pubes and hair on her legs. Then she goes on a date and all her hair in the shower turns into this little hair monster and gets really jealous of the boyfriend. It’s really funny!
JH: What are your favourite cities to play?
JJ: We’ve always had really good crowds in Hull… People in Hull go crazy – always crowd surfing and there are always mosh pits. I really love Manchester and Glasgow too – they’re great crowds. Glasgow is great, especially on the weekend.
JH: What albums would you recommend to your fans?
JJ: ‘Doolittle’ by Pixies, ‘Different Class’ by Pulp and ‘Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One’ by The Kinks.
JH: You also recently played in America. What were the highlights?
JJ: We did some sightseeing, we saw a lot of Washington. Saw the big statue of Abraham Lincoln and the thing outside the White House that looks like a giant penis. I can’t remember what it is really called – The ‘Penis of the Free World?’ We were in New York for a week, and LA was cool – driving through the desert was amazing. It’s a very big country! We arrived two days after Trump won the presidency though, so there was a very strange atmosphere. A lot of people were saying that they were in mourning. Everyone I met said they didn’t like Trump, yet there were millions who voted for him… It’s like there are two halves to the country.
JH: Do you have a message to Donald Trump?
JJ: Go fuck yourself.
Pull The Other One
Happy New Year
Silent Movie Susie
Love In The Fourth Dimension
April 20th: Brighton – The Haunt
April 21st: Cardiff – Clwb lfor Bach
April 22nd: Reading – Sub 89
April 23rd: Edinburgh – Electric Circus
April 25th: Belfast – Oh Yeah Music Centre
April 26th: Dublin – Dublin Academy 2
April 28th: Manchester – Deaf Institute
April 29th: Leeds – Live at Leeds
April 30th: Liverpool– FestEvol
May 2nd: London – Village Underground
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