Edinburgh-founded duo's new EP gives a small taste of future sounds
In the past two years the Edinburgh-founded Man of Moon have been fixtures on Scottish live stages, even as their recorded output has dried up. Formerly signed to Manchester's Melodic, they released the single 'The Road' in 2015 and the EP Medicine the following year. Since then, nothing … until now, and the partially crowd-funded release of their new EP, Chemicals.
'We had a wee bit of time away,' explains Chris Bainbridge, guitarist and singer of the duo alongside drummer Michael Reid. 'We wanted to get into a few different studios and work with different producers to see where we'd like to record new music. So we actually recorded all four tunes in different studios with different producers, which was a weird way of doing it, but we're really pleased with the result, it worked out well. For the opening track, 'Ride the Waves', we went down to Paul Epworth's Church Studios in London, it was amazing. On that, we worked with Tom Furse from The Horrors, then we recorded with Paul Gallagher at Castlemilk Youth Complex in Glasgow, Graeme Young at Chamber Studios in Edinburgh and Rick Webster at Highpony in Glasgow.'
All four tracks on the EP fit together well, with a depth and a garage-influenced rawness which sounds not so much like their often-cited 'Krautrock' influence, and more like the druggy expanses of Spacemen 3 or early Verve (before the 'The' was added). Bainbridge and Reid aren't indecisive; there was a strategy to their studio tour. 'With this EP we wanted to test the waters and see who we wanted to work with for the album,' says Bainbridge. 'It was a strange way of doing it, but I think each tune has its own identity. Different producers bring different ideas to the table – it was really good working with Rick, because he's more into his electronic stuff, so the last tune on the EP (the electro-rock 'Skin') is quite far from what we normally do. But Mikey and I are both really into our dance music, and Rick brought sounds that we wanted to use.'
Bainbridge describes the sound of Chemicals as 'louder and bigger' than Medicine, even though one track on there – 'Slide Away', its name another link to Verve (and Oasis) – is one of the first they wrote. He also played bass on the fierce 'Ride the Waves' and 'Skin', and he says this has lent a 'beefier' sound. The absence has clearly been good for the pair creatively, although it's not how they would have planned it.
'Yeah, sometimes life just gets in the way a bit,' says Bainbridge. 'I guess (when we released Medicine) we were just 19 and we were still trying to figure stuff out. We were playing a lot of gigs, then we decided we should take a wee step back, so this EP is to try and give people an idea of what to expect. Ideally we wouldn't have waited as long, but I dunno … I'm glad we gave it the gap we did, because we had some tunes demoed up last year and we weren't happy with them. Now we are, and I can assure people that the gaps between releases from now on won't be as long. I'm writing even more now than I was a couple of years ago.' Originally from Musselburgh, Bainbridge – who says Idles, Young Fathers and especially Fontaines DC are his big influences at the moment – moved through to Glasgow at the end of last year, while Reid still lives in Edinburgh.
This EP is a self-release on their management's Instinctive Raccoon label, and although they can't confirm anything about the new record – aside from the intention to record and release it this year – other labels are interested. 'Ideally, we want to get it out and follow up with the second straight away,' says Bainbridge. 'I always think bands are really strong when they follow up with the second album quickly. The plan is to spark the fire and then keep it going … we always said we would do a couple of albums and then try and see what we could switch up, arrangement-wise. What's our ambition for the band? To put the fucking hammer down, get this album out, tour it and then see where we are.'
The Chemicals EP by Man of Moon is out on Instinctive Raccoon on Fri 8 Mar.
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