We recently caught up with the prolific giggers April Moon, and chatted about musical influences, the process of how they write together, and their thoughts on the local music scene. They recently took part in Klee Music’s EdenHurst Sessions, and their five song set – including a fantastic cover of Emilio Pinchi’s Holiday – can be purchased in limited CD and download formats from www.kleemusic.co.uk.
Liverpool Noise: You guys are from Canada. How come you are in Liverpool making this great music of yours?
April Moon: Jason has dual Canadian/British citizenship so has been back and forth his whole life, but a few years ago, after we had played in the UK with a different band, we decided we wanted to stay in England for good. We came here with the idea of living in a different city every year, which we did for the first few years, but once we came to Liverpool, we fell in love with the city and have been here ever since!
LN: How did you two get together?
AM: (Jason) Jaime and I met as actors doing Shakespeare and musical theatre in Canada and I decided to form a new band using some actors I was friends with. Jaime came along and played everything from trumpet to didgeridoo- everything except guitar that is! Once she got good on guitar, we whittled the band down to 4 so we could travel – Jaime was married to the drummer and I was married to the keyboard player. And then it was just two but I think that is a story for another day 😉
LN: What are your musical influences?
AM: (Jaime) Jason’s earliest musical influences were things like Paul Simon and the Beatles. Once he hit his teens, he was a full blown Beatle fanatic and had every album on vinyl and CD. He learned to play guitar and piano by learning every Beatles song out of books. These days his favourite guitar players are Lindsey Buckingham, Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and Brian Potvin from the Northern Pikes. I loved Gwen Stefani and the Dixie Chicks when I was young but got really into 70’s music when I met Jason, especially the quirky albums like the Kinks ‘Muswell Hillbillies’, Warren Zevon’s ‘Excitable Boy’ the Stones ‘Beggars Banquet’. Today my influences tend to run with a bit more of an Americana edge with the Band, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam and some of the fun new stuff coming out of the southern US in the forms of Sierra Ferrell and Nick Shoulders.
LN: Describe your compositional process.
AM: (Jason) My favourite songs to work on are songs that Jaime has written music and lyrics for and that we can flesh out the arrangement together. That’s where I feel I can do my best work. But if I’m writing my own song, usually words and music come pretty much at the same time. Often it’ll start with a phrase that gets stuck in my head and as soon as it goes around and around in my head a few times, I start to hear music with it, and then the rest of the music will come quite quickly. And lately, in the last couple of years, I’ve been really lucky with lyrics I think. They almost read like poems.
(Jaime) Yes, when we sit down with Jason’s lyrics to go through them line by line to perfect them, there is not much that needs to be changed lately. He writes these beautiful ideas just fully formed. Jasons songs often come to him in dreams too! He’ll dream he’s watching a band or playing a song himself and then wake up and go record a demo just in case it’s not already a song that’s out there in the world. That’s fun. As for me, I keep a notebook that I am always writing little bits of lyrics in and then I often hear a song or artist that really excites me and gives me ideas musically. I usually have a song pretty much fully formed before bringing it to Jason but then we always sit down together and go over every lyric and note, create the arrangement and then jam it 🙂
LN: Give us the “outsiders perspective”. How do you find living here, and what do you make of the local music scene?
AM: (Jamie) I think that the local music scene is best represented in its various open mic nights. When you go around and play some of those, you’re always guaranteed to make a few friends and get a good reception for new songs that you’re trying out. We have had the chance to hear some phenomenal music at them (the Monday Club at the Cavern run by Ian Prowse is all original music and amazing)! Outside of that it seems – fragmented, like there’s little cliques of certain music and types and it can be really hard to meet people in different circles and make the connections that we want to make. Even though there is tons of really amazing music being made here, the musical ‘community’ doesn’t seem to be as strong as in smaller towns or other cities. When we do get to know local musicians on their own, they are always so friendly though so maybe we just haven’t discovered it all yet!
Jason is really encouraged by some of the venues that are letting you come in and play your original songs and actually paying you decently for it. They’ve been able to build up some really lovely, receptive audiences and it makes you feel really valued as a songwriter/performer. We love travelling to the towns around the Northwest and exploring how unique and vibrant the little music scenes can be in each town. As far as living in Liverpool, we do really love it! It’s such a beautiful city to just walk around in and there are always so many interesting things happening culturally. It really feels alive with artists and ideas.
LN: Physical product or streaming?
AM: (Jaime) For me, I like a bit of both- I don’t know where the world is headed with it but I think obviously, streaming music is just so accessible. You can look up an artist and immediately be hearing their songs and check out their back catalogue which I think is such a good way to browse music and find new artists I wouldn’t have otherwise discovered. BUT, it’s also so in the moment, it can be detrimental to your listening experience. As soon as you finish listening and go away from it, it’s more forgettable because you don’t have that tactile and visual connection of looking at the artwork, reading the lyrics, etc.
Maybe you’ve even been doing something else like working at the same time and I think you tend not to be as present when listening to it and are less likely to come back to it time and time again. Whereas a physical product – well everyone waxes on about the overall experience of vinyl (for me it was CD’s) but when I was a kid, I adored reading the liner notes cover to cover and putting it on and looking at the pictures while the music was playing. Now of course, things have changed again and the only CD player we have is in our car and the only CD’s we ever purchase are at live shows, mostly from local artists. But still, even if I’m only listening to it in the car, I have that physical thing in front of me and it feels substantial somehow. I think I listen more closely to the music and have more appreciation for it.
LN: Who are your favourite music producers, and why?
AM: My favourite of all time is probably George Martin. I do love Rick Rubin and Trent Reznor as producers with great ears and a talent for getting great performances out of people, but when you listen to those Beatles albums, there’s really very little that could have been improved upon from a production point of view. I think George Martin got them as close to perfect as possible.
LN: Finally, what is the 2022 Grand Plan for the April Moon Band?
AM: The 2022 Grand Plan for April Moon? We’ve been working on a few projects that we are really excited about, starting with the April release of the live Klee EP. We spent a bit of time in the cold months down in the Canaries and while there, we co-wrote and recorded a song with a very talented duo (Kirzy & Leticia Selva) – it has all these lovely, big harmonies and is set to be released as a single in May.
We also used the time down south to work on developing our Youtube channel and creating lots of content (although we hate calling it content! It’s music!) We’ve done quite a few live videos of our original stuff and covers as well to compliment our wacky videos up there 🙂
We’re feeling quite strong songwriting-wise right now so we’ve also been working on an EP of brand new music that will hopefully be out later this year. We’ve started playing some of it live and it’s been going down really well. Which brings me to live shows – what we would really LOVE to be doing is playing more live shows with our own music, whether it is opening for another artist or possibly even headlining our own show. Oh and world domination of course!
Photo Credit: Dylan Reynolds Photography