Interview: The Moonlandingz
With their debut album Interplanetary Class Classics out now, Leo Burrell had a quick catch-up with Adrian Flanagan of The Moonlandingz.
Hey The Moonlandingz! How’s it going?
Not so bad, cheers. My dog has died, my bank account has been hacked in to, there’s no kale left in the supermarkets! You’ll get no complaints here!
It’s been a while since your debut, Johnny Rocket, Narcissist And Music Machine… I’m Your Biggest Fan in 2015, does it feel good to be back?
The above titled LP wasn’t a Moonlandingz album, it was an Eccentronic Research Council album, the album that spawned The Moonlandingz. Jheeze, do your research, man!” (Laughs) But yeah, as Gary Glitter once said: “It’s Good to be back… from Thailand!”
What planet is Johnny Rocket from?
What era would you say best suits Johnny Rocket and his aesthetic?
The next ten years – the Rocket can only be imitated!
How did the Eccentronic Research Council and Fat White Family link up?
I wrote a ‘Bakers Dozen’ feature for The Quietus where I wrote about some of my very favourite albums, in which I chose The Fat Whites debut album as my contemporary choice. Naturally, they were incredibly flattered and invited me to come and hang out with them when they played The Harley three years ago. That gig has now gone down in the annals of the venues history as the show where the singer did a poo on the stage, then put a war stripe of shite across his own face. The audience stepped back 20 feet and I stepped forward 20 feet. We became practically & begrudgingly inseparable ever since.
The album has a strong Sheffield connection: there are appearances from Phil Oakey of the Human League, drummer Ross Orton and Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor.
That’ll be because, erm, we are a Sheffield-based group… which might surprise you (both The E.R.C & The Fat Whites live in Sheffield). I think because we never really did any local press and in general work quite secretly, we never did the ‘local band’ thing. We put our first single ‘Sweet Saturn Mine’ out as a fictional band from a fictional town in South Yorkshire called Valhalla Dale. The video for the song was premiered in the Guardian and then the NME picked up on it , then the single got put on the playlist at BBC 6 Music – all of a sudden this fictional band that we did almost as a subversive joke became a very much in demand ‘real band’. I think we were already selling out shows in London before hometown press even mentioned, which I’m proud of! You guys at Exposed have been a bit slow off the mark – we should have been on the cover about six months ago!!(Laughs) We are really looking forward to the Sheffield show. In just over a year we have sold out two shows at the Picture House Social and one at the Queens Social; so now we’re getting right above our stations and trying to sell out The Leadmill, on April Fools Day, a week after the album is released. It’s gonna go right off, we’ve got a pretty hardcore following here.
Why do you think The Moonlandingz decided to set up shop here?
I Love Sheffield. The people here are the Salt of the Earth. It really is a great city to be an artist or a creative as no-one is arsed with who you think you are or what you are doing. If your being a knobhead, they’ll tell you you’re being a knobhead; and if your good, through gritted teeth they will tell you are good. We’ve got a lot of people showing us their teeth at the moment.
You recorded the album at Sean Lennon’s studio in New York. What was it like working with such Royal blood?
The album was recorded in Netheredge, Sheffield, and in Upstate New York. I think if we were of the mindset that we were working with Royal blood then we would of either got nothing of any worth done, or we just wouldn’t have done it as we deplore the Monarchy. Sean’s a really talented musician in his own right, he’s got his own voodoo going on and he’s a very sweet, down to earth dude, who yes, it goes without saying has had an extraordinary life. But he’s not just the child of John & Yoko – he’s his own man, with his own opinions and perspectives and he’s been a great friend to us. I think, if anything, Sean enjoyed being around a bunch of piss-taking Northeners !”
And Yoko makes an appearance on the album, too!
Yeah, she’s on the closing track of our album and she’s incredible on it. Yoko recorded the vocal with Sean in New York and he sent us the vocal to work into the track. I think Yoko Ono is more relevant now than she was ever given credit for; she’s been a tireless activist, an agitator kicking against the pricks and the establishment for most of her life. She’s the original avant-garde musician and singer and was new wave and punk before that was even a thing. Shes a great great artist, a woman in the driving seat of her own car in a world of useless Oompa Loompa men, who don’t even know where the steering wheel is… she’s a total hero!!”
The Moonlandingz headline the Leadmill on April 1st, and debut album Interplanetary Class Classics is out now.