Frontwoman of the London four-piece discusses her break and then return to writing music and the band's new album
Although London four-piece The Big Moon seemed to arrive fully-formed in 2016 with their springy, pithy indie pop, their frontwoman Jules Jackson knows all about the slog, having spent years in bands as the co-pilot, singing someone else's songs.
'There are so many people out there in bands who will know how this feels,' she says. 'You can spend years and years putting your heart and soul into it and it doesn't go anywhere and it's so heartbreaking and eventually you just give up.'
For Jackson, the catalyst for change was a short-lived dalliance with art school. 'I was like "I'm an artist! I hate music!" and renounced the guitar for a while. But as soon as I put my brain into something else, I realised it is what I really like doing and it was worth trying again.'
Art's loss was music's (re)gain – but this time Jackson was at the wheel, putting her love of Pixies to good use in her maiden efforts at songwriting before wasting no time assembling a band around her – drummer Fern Ford, guitarist Soph Nathan and bassist Celia Archer.
'Maybe we weren't exactly ready for it straight away but we were impatient and it was picked up so quickly,' says Jackson. 'I was so baffled, as someone who had spent five, six, seven years in different bands trying to make something work, this was really astonishing.'
Debut EP The Road was swiftly followed by their Mercury-nominated album, Love in the 4th Dimension, which Jackson freely admits was all about falling in love. Its newly released follow-up Walking Like We Do is a smoother, less puppyish proposal with some unlikely inspiration from ex-One Directioner Zayn Malik for whom she initially wrote the album track 'Piece of Me'.
'When I came back to writing I felt older and I cared about different things so I guess this album is the sound of me trying to process that,' says Jackson. 'Our first album was all about being loud and live but after a while you start to write the same songs again and again because out of instinct your hand just goes to the same place on the guitar. I was trying to get out of my rut and one way was to pretend that the song wasn't my song. It just makes it easier sometimes playing a role, frees you up a bit.'
Summerhall, Edinburgh, Sat 29 Feb, and touring.
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