“Now that you’ve been played on Emmerdale, does that count as making it?”
The Big Moon’s dreams don’t stop at being played on Emmerdale (or Celia’s wish of being a background actress in the Queen Vic), they reach as far and out of this world as their name suggests.
I was on the blower with a quarter of The Big Moon the other day, Fern. She was on her way to meet Soph, who she assumed was still sleeping. About half way through, Celia joined our lil conference call as she was also hopping on a train.
Amidst an array of beeps and train announcements I chatted to the girls about their debut album, Love in the 4th Dimension (out 7 April), what the Barbie versions of themselves would wear to perform in and why they’re starting to push the boundaries of being a support act.
Earlier that week, The Times called them The Soft Moon. A little far from the truth, slightly comedic but also frustrating. Fern said, “It’s kind of funny but it’s then you’re like ‘fuck, if they got the name right then maybe more people would listen to us’”.
But deciding a name isn’t all puppies and roses. Their makeshift name was originally Riff Randal, inspired by Rock’n’Roll High School. Before settling on The Big Moon; which Fern welcomed with open arms after getting to the ‘whatever’ point of choosing.
The debut album has been quite a long time coming, the band have been playing the tracks live for the last two years. “It took us a while to figure out what kind of record we wanted to make. You never know how these things could go, it could be your last. We wanted to road test the songs and see if they were good enough to be on a record.”
Jules wrote the title track ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’ when she met her now boyfriend. Fern explains how Jules’ usual giddiness is magnified when she is in love.
“She starts squealing all of a sudden.”
Love in the 4th Dimension encompasses the giddiness that love causes people, and Jules, to radiate. After all, it is one of the most desired emotions. “It makes you feel like you’re a weird kind of high and you feel like you could do anything, be anything, and it’s the nicest feeling.”
Fern then recalls the first version of their song ‘Sucker’, which they bashed out in early 2014. “It’s changed so much. I found some demos the other day, just phone recordings and I was like ‘OMG that sounds shit’.” She says how the tracks have developed and transitioned to be something completely different two years down the line.
Their mate, Louis Bhose, directed the cowboy inspired video for Sucker. At this point in Fern and I’s convo, Celia joins the call. Upon hearing we are talking about recording the Sucker video, she says “Oh, Louis” in a voice of longing.
Louis also directed the Barbie extravaganza that is the video for ‘Silent Movie Susie’. Celia recalls, “Our friend Phoebe [Darling-Senner], who also did the art direction for the Sucker video, was sending us photos of the Barbies dressed up in different clothes and asking: ‘Do you think this is more of a Celia outfit or a Soph outfit?’”
Who doesn’t want to see what they would look like in Barbie form?
The band have previously made a point that, although gender inequality exists in music, and in life, there’s no big deal behind the fact they are an all female band and had a female co-producer working with them.
The band had tried out quite a few producers before deciding on Catherine Marks, which Fern hints could be part of the reason the album took so long to immortalise in record.
“Catherine was the one who captured the studio version of our live sound better than anyone. That’s what we wanted.” Celia says how she was shocked that Catherine managed to make them sound the way they did, after admitting they were slightly cocky about not needing a producer at the very beginning.
But, despite this abundance of huge female talent, the gals keep it simple.
Celia explains, “We are who we are and we make the music that we make and we work with the people that we work with. It doesn’t ever feel like it is a struggle necessarily, or apart from normal things that happen sometimes if you’re a girl. We work really hard in every single part of the world that we’re in and the job that we’re doing.”
Fern says how they’re “just going to crack on”, and if people want to call them role models, then they can.
“If we just do it, then it looks easy and then hopefully more girls will do it and then it’ll stop being all about being a ‘girlband’ and just about being a ‘band’.”
*Insert chants of ‘here, here’ and glasses clinking as the entire female population agrees with this statement*.
When The Big Moon were at SXSW fest last month, they played 12 shows in four days. Fern just said how they’re “striking while the irons hot, ennit”. They played some shows with their friend Marika Hackman, for whom they played on a track of hers.
Their collaborative, and support gigs, have allowed them to play on some huge stages, and with some huge names. But it seems they’ve outgrown that cocoon and they’re ready to come out of the end as beautiful butterflies for their headline shows.
Fern says that although they have a pretty good half-an-hour support set now, they’re starting to want more. “It’s getting to the point where you want it to be more POW at the start, then dip down a little bit all moody, then get back up again.”
With more material, their slots have been pushed out as to not cut anything. She says, “especially now the album is coming out, you want to play everything on it and be able to finish with the wham bang bangers.”
And what wham bang bangers they are.
Words by Eliza Frost