Tramlines 2017: The Big Moon interview
A winning marriage of vibrant garage guitars with wry word-play, The Big Moon are bringing their ramshackle indie rock to the Devonshire Green stage at Tramlines. Their debut EP dropped to much acclaim back in April this year, and we caught lead singer Juliette Jackson bursting with enthusiasm about the band’s return to the Steel City.
I’ve heard that you met via friends of friends when you were looking to start a band. Did you immediately settle in together, or did it take you a while to find your feet?
We set off immediately, I think. I really wanted to start a band, and I was talking to and messaging everyone I knew. I met Fern [drums] first, then we looked around and found the other people. There were a few others, who came and went, but that didn’t work out for whatever reason. When we all finally got together, it just clicked. I’d already written a bunch of songs, so we kind of skipped the jamming stage. We knew what kind of band we wanted to be and worked it out from there. It happened really quickly.
You’re returning to Tramlines again this year. Stoked to be back?
I love Tramlines, I love Sheffield. We’ve always had really good shows there. People are always up for a good time and there are loads of small venues and passionate music lovers. One of the first shows we did outside of London was in Sheffield, supporting Peace at Queens Social Club. I particularly love it there; it reminds of me of youth clubs – but in a good way! All that tinsel on the stage is legendary.
You recorded your first album, Love in the 4th Dimension, earlier this year in just 12 days. Sounds pretty hectic – what was that experience like?
That’s true. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life. I was reading an article recently about groups of guys who get obsessed with video games and have to go to rehab; they forget to eat and sleep because they’re playing Legend of Zelda all the time. I’m not saying it was like addiction, but there was this strange feeling when you do the same thing all day long; it becomes like another world. I live about an hour and a half away from the studio, so all I did for those two weeks was travel to the studio and stay there all day. It was intense, but we had a good time. There was lots of time to experiment with adding stupid sounds and taking them out again.
Where does the title come from?
The title is about being really, really in love, so much that you don’t feel like you’re in three dimensions anymore – it’s as if you’re in another plane. It’s also about the idea of an album as an escape; you can shut the door and feel like you’re in another world.
You’re often referred to as a ‘girl band’. Does this bother you?
Sometimes, it depends on who’s saying it. When we were on tour in Europe, we had an all-guy support band. The singer said to us that he hadn’t listened to our music, but he knew he wanted to play with us because he loves girl bands. I guess he thought he was being accepting and egalitarian, but we found it patronising and insulting. There are more female bands than there used to be, so I suppose the label is becoming more and more unnecessary.
Where does the title of your album, Love in the Fourth Dimension, come from?
The title is about being really, really in love, so much that you don’t feel like you’re in three dimensions anymore, and kind of in another plane. It’s also about the idea of an album as an escape, where you can just shut the door and feel like you’re in another world.
You’re known for your witty lyrics – how do you go about writing songs?
I have an on-going notebook, where I write down phrases that rhyme or that other people say. I try to imagine that I’m describing how I feel to another person. I like comparing the mundane with things that are otherworldly – like writing about the fourth dimension but also Rubicon. I like stupid things that rhyme; recently I was writing a song that rhymed ‘cabbage’ and ‘marriage’.
You’re based in London, and there’s a bit of an indie scene there at the moment. Do you think there’s an advantage to being in London for a band?
We all grew up in and around London, apart from Fern, who’s from Wales. It’s my local city – and I’ve never lived anywhere else, so I can’t compare – but I don’t think there’s a big advantage to being in London. Loads of cities in the UK have amazing music scenes, like Sheffield or Manchester. London can be a cruel city; it’s very expensive and competitive – everyone’s really driven and wants to, y’know, make it.
What’s next for The Big Moon?
We’ve got a US tour and a UK headline tour in October, our biggest ever. We’ve got a lot of festivals lined up for now; I love festivals, I’m still not bored of them. I’m writing more songs too, now the first album is done; I really want to get some more stuff out there. So yeah, writing and touring.
The Big Moon play Devonshire Green at Tramlines, Sunday 6pm.