Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide to start the band?
We all just share a similar music tase and a similar sense of humour, and we basically like doing sick stuff together, making tunes, playing shows n that. It’s just good fun int it. OH and we’re fed up of shit indie bands regurgitating the same old tripe – when are we gonna turn a genre into something more than a style choice? People who sing songs to try look cool and get girls make us fucking vom. And their music is always dogshit too.
Euan “Starting Flat Moon was the natural thing to do when I got to uni. Jacob and I had played together before, so when we arrived at uni, getting something going was high on the priority list. I met Matty at uni. when he introduced himself as “a guitarist” and thus became a flat mooner. Ali was another guitarist we met on a night out but we made him play bass (turns out he’s pretty good so who’s the real winner?). Alex got a place at Leeds, and I’ve known him like 10 years and we’d played in a couple of bands together before. After agreeing to make the commute, Flat Moon had it’s 5th member. All kinda slotted into place naturally I guess…
Jacob – “I couldn’t imagine not wanting to play tunes, I think I’d hate myself too intensely if I didn’t play in a group. I just like sounds, cos they click together in my brain. I wasn’t playing with anyone until I met Euan when I was 16, and he helped coax me out of my shell a bit. Playing in Flat Moon has been fucking pivotal in helping me overcome my perceived shortcomings as a human ngl.”
Ali – “I have been a gig fiend since my very first when I was 11. I was big time into Green Day and later heavier stuff like Enter Shikari, loved a good mosh even from the first gig. There is no feeling like it when you’re screaming along with hundreds or thousands of other people just having the best time of your life, crowd surfing, and just feeling at one watching the music you love. It became very clear to me that I wanted to be the one on stage. There can’t be a better feeling. Maybe heroin?”
Introduce us all to the members and your musical history?
Alistair McCarthy (Bass and Vocals) – I began playing the guitar and singing when I was 9 or 10, inspired mainly by my young love of Billie Joe and Ed Sheeran, but also other guitar greats like Jimmy Page, Hendrix and Tom Morello. My other big musical influence growing up was Jeff Buckley, who was a massive force in pushing my vocal technique and range. I was taught violin from around the same age, teaching myself Bass on my brother’s axe and later teaching myself drums on a set that we had for a very short period – you can ask my parents about why we got rid of them. I began building a studio in my bedroom recording covers, my own tunes and beats for rappers. Upon moving to uni and joining Flat Moon, Bass became my main instrument by necessity and I have never looked back. People like Victor Wooten and Jaco Pastorius have been a big part of my intense development over the last couple years and have really made me fall deeply in love with the lower frequencies of the Bass guitar. I have continued producing, recording all of the Flat Moon Demos along with making other artists and my own tunes. I was lucky enough to be allowed to head the mixing for Demise (of course I got some vital help form the boys) and am looking forward to start doing fully produced songs ourselves.
Jacob Kendrew (Lead Geet, Vocals) – If I was more conceited, I’d say something like “I’ve always had an ear for music, ever since blah blah blah…” but in reality, I worked really hard every day of my teens to learn. I didn’t have an abundance of mates, and I thought playing the guitar would give me a reason to like myself. Bowie always looked sick with one, didn’t he? My uncle loaned me a Squier and amp, and I started figuring stuff out in my room by listening to music and repeating phrases again and again for hours. I annoyed my family a fair bit. I was playing alone until I was 16, which is when I met Euan at a practice room in college. We played ‘Moby Dick’ by Led Zeppelin together before we actually had spoken to each other, and then he asked me if I wanted to be in a band. I played with The Dwellers for about a year with my back to the audience cos I couldn’t face the number of eyes on me. The only reason I ever ended up bloody singing was because our original Flat Moon front-man didn’t show to our first gig in Leeds, and I had to then sing and play the geet. I’ve always loved all the sounds you can make when you put different musical parts together, so I’ve taught myself how it works and here I am.
Matt Floon (Rhythm guitar, Vocals) – I probably have the least musical background out of anyone in the band – I picked up the guitar for a lesson when I was 8, then didn’t play it again until about a decade later. Yeh, that sounds about right. I was on track to be a pilot, and thought “Nahh…” so now I make fucking music. I’ve always had a massive interest in music when listening, so seemed right. I like Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers. Good tunes, sounds nice. And that’s it really.
Alex Woods (Rhythm guitar, Vocals) – I have fond memories of the music from my childhood. I remember listening to a compilation album every car journey with my parents, it had everything from Talking Heads to Meatloaf on it. Since then, I’ve always wanted to be in a band, I was like 6 years old headbanging in my kitchen to Motorhead and then, fast forward to when I was in year 10, Euan asked me to be in The Dwellers and I was finally in one. That band broke up cos of people going to different uni’s but it wasn’t long after that until I joined Flat Moon. Nowadays I’m listening to a little bit of everything, I’m a big fan of anything that’s a bit weird and psychedelic. I really like anything Kevin Parker or Damon Albarn do, especially their collabs.
Euan- “Music has always been a huge part of my life- My dad is a cornet player, and I was singing in choirs and playing cello from a pretty young age. When I went to primary school, I decided I was definitely a percussionist over a cellist and used to snap my cello strings before rehearsal, so I’d have an excuse to stand at the back and jump on a triangle or something. When I went to secondary school, I remember listening to a couple of tracks a friend had sent me- David Bowie, and The Libertines. This completely shifted my interest in music and I started listening to a lot of indie bands, especially the Libertines and bands like Queen. During this time I was still singing in all the choirs, and playing percussion in Brass Bands, orchestras and wind bands. When I met Jacob at college he blew me away with his knowledge of music and I started listening to a lot of classic rock; bands like Cream, Zep, Sabbath and The Who. I have always loved Keith Moon’s ‘Freestyle’ kind of drumming so what I play is rarely the same from gig to gig, and so my style really developed while in our college band ‘The Dwellers”. Nowadays I’m listening to a lot of jazz, and Afrobeat so I try and throw a lot of ghost notes and off beats in there as well.”
It’s been a bit of a wild last year, how have you guys managed to pass time and stay sane during lockdown?
Jacob and Matty have been slowly losing belief in the moral compass of humanity, and in their spare time have been writing more tunes for future Flat Moon releases. Lots and lots more tunes. They’ve both actually preferred life in lockdown, as it means they don’t have to go outside or speak to anybody. Top stuff.
Ali’s done a lot of skateboarding; he’s actually gotten alright he reckons. Was difficult in the winter when it’s wet which would limit him to reading, practicing and making tunes basically.
Alex and Euan built a bar in their basement. Stocked it full of alcohol and snacks. Then proceeded to utilise the bar to it’s full extent. They haven’t been seen since.
How positive are you feeling now we are in 2021?
Things are looking up. We’re not quite there yet with festivals and that still being cancelled but we are definitely getting closer to a time when we can all pack in to a sweaty basement room and get down to business. That is when I think we’ll be most happy but definitely positive knowing normality is on the horizon.
How has 2020 effected your mental health?
Ali: “There has definitely been hard times when the monotony of life, especially socially I find, can and does get to you. I think everyone has had their own journey through the lockdown period and I personally can say I’ve learnt a lot about myself and how I am. Ultimately you grow in times of hardship so we can all come out of this thinking we have got through a difficult challenge and that much greener grass lays ahead.”
Jacob: “It gave me a breather. Obviously, the circumstances aren’t ideal, but I was in a state of mind at the start of 2020 that was affected very positively by everything coming to a halt in late March. I was just staying up all night for no reason, day after day. I mean, I still do that sometimes, but nowhere near as much. So, lockdown gave me time to just calm down, cos I get worked up over shit that is totally illogical. It’s annoying, but everyone gets that feeling sometimes. I didn’t feel hard done by in 2020, despite deaths in the family and other sad stuff. Life happens for a bit then you die, same as it ever was.”
Matty: “I kinda enjoyed the change of pace, it felt like everyone was going at my speed for once. Obviously, it was a bit shit not playing gigs, but it didn’t necessarily negatively impact me.”
Euan: “Mate, it’s just been a rollercoaster. 2020 had some real good, exciting times, and it also had real shit times but 2021 is looking like the best year yet so bring it on.”
Alex: “It’s not been an ideal year, especially when it was my first full year away from home, but now things are starting to feel a little more normal I’m definitely feeling a positive change. Very excited for what’s coming in the future.”
How are you feeling now the road map has been announced and live gig can return?
Two words: FUCKING BUZZING
What advice would you give other artists starting out?
Do it because you love it and have fun. Make as much music as you can. Listen to as much music as you can. Doing something for the band everyday will take you far. TRY TO BE A LITTLE UNIQUE FOR FUCKS SAKE. We get that all popular music is pretty derivative at this point, but the key is to find what you love to play, and just challenge yourself. A song that’s simple musically can still be clever, it’s all about what you do with what you’ve got.
WORK HARD and be PATIENT. You really love making music? Show that fucking passion, and apply it to all the boring shit you have to deal with as an artist. If that sentence already puts you off, give up now cos there’s enough half-arsed shit indie bands as it is. Maybe just go gym or something so you can get that immediate gratification you desire?
Listen to music. Anything and everything. Literally whatever you can get your hands on. The more the better. (See Euan’s answer to final Q)
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Well, the Moon is a bit Flat isn’t it. I mean look at it. That goes without saying.
We also rate the Royal Family are, in fact, HOLOGRAPHIC lizards. Have you ever physically touched the Queen? No, didn’t think so.
Andrew Lloyd-Webber has an underground theme park he made for himself called Lloyd-Webberland (Euan and Jacob saw it through a crack in the pavement outside where Debenhams used to be).
Cats are actually avatars for the hyper intelligent multi-dimensional beings that curate our universe. They’re just here to check how their experiment is going before they unplug us in 2036.
And finally, and this is the craziest one of all: cannabis is actually a PLANT, and really shouldn’t be illegal.
What support is out there for new artists in Leeds?
There’s lots of people out there looking to support you, be it Music:Leeds with their funds or CPWM who run vinyl pressings. Monomyth Records are certainly helping folks out and even the Uni’s that encourage musicians with their projects. Sometimes. Rehearsal places are also really important, they’re like watering holes for musicians and artists. The amount of venues and promoters has also been vital in helping us to get our name out there as an artists starting out.
Truth is though, when you’re starting out, you’re on your own. You need to roll up your sleeves and swallow your pride, cos if you don’t try to make it, no one is gonna know you exist. That’s not just in Leeds, or just applicable to music, it applies everywhere, and to everyone’s dreams
Who is inspiring you at the minute on the Leeds unsigned scene?
Loving Indigo House who are also hitting a bit of the funky vibe.
Matty’s keen on Tommy Rot.
Alligator Moon released a fucking sick album ngl.
Lily Kaye is fantastic and you can hear her backing vocals on ‘Demise’ – she’s top class.
Nicha is another fantastic artist, her latest song is just amazing.
We’ve worked with loads of great individuals for different projects, and there’s always some people make us smile – Hez and Paddy from Quentin are great lads, and a fella called Thys who works at Eiger Studios is always there to brighten our day. It’s people that make music what it is, and there’s a lot of bellends out there, so it’s great when you meet people who are good-willed and supportive of you and your ideas. More of that please.
If your fans could remember one thing about you what would it be?
How silly we are. Bands need to stop going for this cool image. It’s boring. Be daft, eat yoghurt with a fork, dribble occasionally, have a good time being unconventional.
What useless talent do you have/ party trick?
Ali: “I can solve a 7x7x7 and dodecagon Rubik’s cube. No lying.”
Jacob: “I can make consistent and degrading comments towards Ali whilst he solves his stupid fucking Rubik’s cube. No lying.”
Matty: “I can solve a dodecahexagonacolatory Rubik’s cube in 2 seconds. A little bit of lying.”
Alex: I can solve a 4-dimensional Rubik’s cube. Blindfolded.
Euan: I can stand there and tell you that this is all bullshit. Apart from Ali. No lying, I have seen him do that.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Ali: “Definitely the most fun I have had was at our headline set at Oporto. Just playing in a tiny room, packed out with all our mates basically and we were just on top form. The highlight moment was probably playing a tune called ‘Tranquillised’, when we were all just rocking the fuck out like proper rockstars – Euan had done his classic move and spit loads of beer at me as I jump off his kick drum.”
Jacob: “Oporto was sick tbf, I enjoy the end of gigs the best. We have a mad end to our sets, and after giving it everything I got lifted onto Euan’s shoulders as the guitars were feeding back. It was well good.”
Matty: “It clicked for me at one of our smaller gigs when we were starting out, cos I realised I could play the tunes without thinking about it, so I got to enjoy the gig instead of being destroyed by nerves.”
Euan: “I think in the college band days we played at this arcade in Huddersfield, the Victorian style with balconies and shops are on each floor…. Anyway, we turned up to this gig and had to run the entire thing off one plug socket. Extension after extension. Our mate Seb who’s a computer genius built us some LED lights which he kindly installed at the side of the stage. We went on and it sounded huge, It was packed and we were terrified the entire thing could blow at any moment, eventually,a plume of smoke did appear but it was only sebs plywood mounted high voltage lamp igniting…. Top that off with the bassist pissing in a bottle behind his stack, and 100 balloons we blew up before the show raining down when we gave our mates the nod. Class night.
Alex: I’d say when we played Night and Day Café in Manchester. Me and Euan and both from that area and have seen some class gigs there before, so to be able to play it was a great experience. I love the vibe in there and having a few of my mates from home in the audience meant the atmosphere was great.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Ali – “Supporting Twisted Wheel, my bass completely cut out and I was trying frantically to change my cable but that wasn’t even the issue… The boys kept it going as I found a replacement bass.”
Jacob – “Singing ‘The Fool On The Hill’ by The Beatles, solo, in a school assembly when I was 11. Yep, that’s all I’m gonna say there.”
Matty: “Every time I snap a string onstage. I use 11s and they still go mid-song. Annoys the fuck out of me.”
Alex: I once had an amp blow up on me mid-set. That was pretty shit.
Euan: this is kinda gruesome but I snapped a tendon in my finger midway through a gig, I was very drunk so carried on playing, woke up the next day in agony and spent 3 days in hospital while they decided whether or not to cut the fucker off.
Whats your biggest achievement as a band?
Probably winning the Leeds Bands Winter Cup, we got over 1300 votes from Instagram users that secured us some free studio time that then allowed us to make ‘Demise’! So that was certainly a celebratory moment.
What makes you stand out as a band/Artist?
We aren’t trying to be anyone, we’re just us. So many people out there seem to lack a real love for variety, and we just strive to create different sounding material with every release. What’s the point in creating something if you’re gonna limit yourself? We are a little unhinged, and a tad dysfunctional at first glance, but you can’t not have a good time at our show, cos for us the audience is what a gig is all about. We aren’t worried about how we look or who we are, we just put on a SHOW. Music is for pleasure, after all.
Right now, whats pissing you of the most? (Cant say the virus 🙂
Jacob: “Oh boy, where to begin? I’m being worn down by people’s refusal to emphathise with each other, whilst all the while championing issues as a way to appear as a ‘good person’ to their peers. People discard their morality for recognition, and the more time I spend out in public, the more my distaste for humans is growing.”
Matty: “This fucking battery keeps falling out of my fucking X-Box remote and fucking up my lap times on F1.”
Euan – “A lot of rude people about at the moment, and people that don’t give a fuck about the environment- Just be nice and save the planet, its not hard.
Ali: “I second Euan’s to be honest. HOW HOW HOW can people not put their rubbish in the bin. Hyde Park and Beckett Park have both been covered in rubbish since the suns been out and its just like whyyy. How can people be so lazy and arrogant. Really gets to me.”
Alex: “My phone. I feel like I’m constantly scrolling through an endless stream of shit.”
Tell us about a time when you had a proper reyt laugh while you were all together?
Recording our third and fourth singles and our first EP at Vibrations Studios in Huddersfield was a fantastic time. It was like a mini holiday, and Steve, the owner and engineer, was on form all week. The sun was shining, the zoots were burning, the tunes were being crafted. We had sossies on the BBQ, and bevvies in the fridge. And Steve has a dog called Nexo who’s a top lad.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
Ali: “Enough probably. Or tranquillised. Any song that’s quick/heavy and I can just run about and jump off shit”
Jacob: “Let’s All Get Fucked is a good one for live shows. It starts so huuuuge and has like this big epic riff intro, and then the song is just so daft. It’s literally just a song about getting fucked up at a gig, so it suits the live shows so well.”
Matty: “Filet O’ Freak. It’s not out yet, but we play it live and its fun, I always get into it.”
Euan: “We leave gaps in the set so we know we can just go have a jam for a couple minutes, You never know where you’re gonna go before you go there and you need to concentrate hard on what everyone else is doing, and you all kinda just lock in and connect. That’s the best part for me
Tell me about your new single and how it came about?
‘Demise’ is a psychedelic soul tune that explodes into a heavy funk rampage about halfway through. It’s a classic example of our genre-fluidity, with the song switching up so dramatically like that. The first segment alludes to like a Frank Sinatra-style ballad with an indie rock backing, and the double-time chorus is like Funkadelic on speed. So a good mix of stuff.
Matty had a chord progression that he always used to play whilst practicing and Jacob crafted the song around that progression. Parts were added a bit at a time, with the first full demo version being an instrumental track titled ‘Detective Barnswold III’ recorded at Ali’s bedroom studio. The parts were derived from a number of sources of inspiration, from the Bojack Horseman theme tune, to ‘Tattoo’d Lady’ by Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher, and even the sound of a train in a tunnel.
The storm aspect of the song only came into existence whilst Jacob was trying to find suitable lyrics for the melody. Caught up in a thunderstorm whilst walking around Leeds trying to clear his head, he wrote the lyrics stood in the middle of the road being battered by wind and rain. Legend has it.
But the storm metaphor has taken on a life of its own now, as it seems to represent that feeling of helplessness everyone experiences at some point in their lives. Sometimes you just have to take a battering from the storm, and know that you’re gonna pull through, no matter how bad shit seems.
Cool fact, the thunder sound is Ali’s Bass put through his octave pedal 3 octaves down. Proper rumble.
The middle section of the song somehow came together when working on the demo. It just sort of happened and is one of the only sections of our songs that came together as a group idea.
We recorded ‘Demise’ at Eiger Studios after we won the Leeds Bands Winter Cup – the free studio time was a bloody godsend. We got three songs out of that session, and ‘Demise’ is the first to be mixed and released. Not long after we recorded it, Monomyth Records invited us to work with them to release it, and here we are!
How was the recording process given the various restrictions the UK has been under of late?
Yeh, it was alright. Had to wear masks when you were out n about from your rooms, but that’s to be expected. It wasn’t too peak tbh.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Ali: “Read ‘The Secret Life of Trees’, and understand how amazing and mystical trees are. They can like communicate and live in families supporting each other. Honestly madness.”
Jacob: “Nah, not really.”
Matty: “I got nothing.”
Alex: “Did you know, a group of rhinos is called a crash.”
Euan: “Listen to Ok Computer by Radiohead, then World Music by GOAT, then Demise by Flat Moon”