Interview: Moodbay

You recently released a full album, which is impressive for any artist, but especially so in the current context. What was it like writing, recording and releasing a full album? What challenges did you overcome?
Alfie: This album is actually a compilation of all of the first material we wrote together coupled with a few more recent tracks. It’s a real mix of genres because we’ve been finding our feet as an act over the past couple of years. It’s a bit of a time capsule to tell you the truth.

What inspired the album and the songs on it? Is there a central theme to the album, or a series of common ideas in a number of songs? 
Anna: There’s a lot from the heart in those 16 tracks. ‘Blood, sweat and tears’ went into making it, as they say. What you hear is mostly drawn from encounters we’ve had with other people, things we’ve overheard or bouts of joy, trouble or frustration we’ve been through in our personal lives. ‘Fakery’ has a pretty random story to it. It’s written about this man we met outside a cafe, who was gripping onto a bottle of red wine, belting out ‘Sweet Dreams’ by the Eurythmics. He was wearing crocodile-print loafers, white chinos with an open shirt and a straw hat, his fingers clad with pretend jewels. There were lots of raised eyebrows and double takes as passersby dodged past, trying not to get involved. 
Me and Alfie had been dragged into this because he just kept on talking to us, telling us story after story about his wild adventures. Yet after ten minutes, the cracks started to show. His outrageous anecdotes were clearly nothing more than compulsive lies, and all the song and dance was masking something deeper.

Our most recent single ‘Psycho’ is also a touch on the dark side, with elements of Bowie thrown in. Whatever the vibe though, we love to tell a story.

As a curveball question, if you had to recommend three songs for someone to listen to from the album, which songs would they be, and why?
Anna: Hmm – ‘Fallow Land’ is the first song we ever wrote together as a band, so that would be an introduction to the foundations of Moodbay. Secondly, ‘Circles’ is a slightly left-field experimental pop song that drew a touch of influence from Sevdaliza. So go listen to that to get a feel for our more creative side. On the other hand, an all out banger would be ‘Mind Games’, the most recently produced of all the tracks on there. It’s got a badass baseline and some lyrics about being venomous so listen loud to that if you want something with attitude. 

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
Anna: Broadly speaking It would be moody synth pop; there are shades of electropop, hip hop, indie and even classical. We’re neurotic about the craftsmanship but we like to let loose whenever we can. Alfie is also an obsessive producer and likes to learn new production techniques from underground techno producers to hit maker pop producers. Both Alfie and me play piano so keys and synths are at the heart of the band. Influences include everyone from Radiohead to The Weeknd, Beatles to Fleetwood Mac, deadmau5 to Flume. 

What have been band highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
Alfie: Highlights are BBC A list playlist for a few weeks, playing alongside and meeting Sam Fender, performing to Twist Helix’s amazing fans at the Georgian Theatre in Stockton – Not our biggest show but the biggest atmosphere for sure! We’d like to make a career out of music and realise our potential, grow as artists and play the super Bowl Halftime show – just kidding. But it’s not just about music, we’re super focused on making a genuinely enjoyable and entertaining show, we don’t have a sob story about our gran, we’re not working class heroes and we don’t have a political agenda; we just want to craft the best evening of entertainment possible. 

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
I think that would be Fleetwood Mac actually, but then we’d love to support Chvrches, Radiohead (obviously), Gorillaz, Muse, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Christine and the Queens, The Weeknd! Any of these would also be our dream bookings. Notice that these bands are more than just good music – they all go to town on making a larger-than-life experience and that’s fundamentally what Moodbay is about – experiences.

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
Alfie: We’ve been listening a lot to The Weeknd’s recent album ‘After Hours’, as well as The Japanese House and The 1975. Oh, and recently we’ve been playing loads of Fleetwood Mac in the studio, bits of David Bowie and Dire Straits. We love a whole host of bands and different sounds but that’s where we’re at the moment. It’s looking likely that our next album will be a mesh of all of the above!

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