Monday, April 11, 2011

Spooky Moon, Matthew Nanes

Posted By on April 11, 2011, 10:42 PM

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When browsing for a show to cover this past weekend, it was kinda preconceived that I'd be headed into familiar territory. After covering a show once every couple of weeks for over three years, the occasional overlap will eventually happen. Three bands play, one has already been on the blog, so the other two get a shot and you get some bonus pictures of old friends. But when running down the list this past weekend, pretty much every show had a lineup of people we've already talked to. So rather than skip a week I did the next best thing, I played catch-up with people and their side-projects.

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--- Last Friday we made our way over to Kilby Court where Matther Nanes (who we interviewed before in Swans Of Never) was holding a release show for his self-titled EP. Also on the bill were Mason Jones (without the Get-Togethers), Lorin Madsen from Blackhounds playing some stuff by himself, and Spooky Moon which is essentially the solo work of Tate McCallum-Law from The Lionelle. Since we've chatted with Mason and Lorin within the past six months, I decided to pick up where we left off with Matt and Tate about their solo works and other local music questions. All with over 200 pictures for you to check out here.

Spooky Moon (Tate McCallum-Law)
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http://www.myspace.com/thespookymoon

Gavin: Hey Tate! First thing, how have things been since the last interview?

Tate: I've been really well, thanks. I've been keeping super busy with my many musical projects.

Gavin: The last interview was with The Lionelle, and you guys have gone through some changes since then. What's going on with the band?

Tate: Well our original bass player, Jeff Adams, left the band this past summer to move with his wife for her job. Shortly after that our drummer, Sheyn Love, left the band as well. Wes Johnson (guitarist) and I were pretty discouraged about the entire situation. We had just barely released our new record, and I was becoming busy playing in a few other projects. We decided we still loved the music we were making, and luckily two of our friends came out of other bands right as we started looking. So now Chase Griffis from Reviver is on bass guitar, and Bryan Lee from Vinyl Williams is on drums. It's the best The Lionelle has ever been, and I couldn't be happier.
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Gavin: What influenced you to start performing as a solo artist while in The Lionelle?

Tate: Since 2008, I've been writing acoustic songs on my own that seem to have more of a folk/singer-songwriter influence behind them than anything that I would normally write for The Lionelle. It's been a healthy and therapeutic hobby to pass the time, and whenever The Lionelle is asked to play a show (and for some reason we couldn't all perform) I would play under the name Spooky Moon instead. It became sort of lonely playing by myself at shows, so I put together an amazing line up of musicians to "be" in the band with me, as a part time project. Lorin Madsen (from Blackhounds) on drums, Dan McAllister (Bobo Shand) on bass, and Sam Sorensen (Ask For The Future, Kaplan) on guitar. They're all amazingly talented musicians who bring these songs to life. It's incredible.

Gavin: How did the idea come about for Spooky Moon, and why a title rather than your own name?

Tate: I like having a name for all things I create. I knew eventually I would want to make Spooky Moon a full band, because I believe my music benefits greatly from the input of others. I never thought if it would be a "replacement" to The Lionelle, or just a band on the side.
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Gavin: How has it been for you playing around town as a solo artist as opposed to being in a group? And how often do you bring in backup players?

Tate: It gets lonely, honestly. There are a lot of times when the Spooky Moon band members can't play, because they have their own respective projects to begin with. I try to have the band with me as much as possible, but it's hard to get us all together for rehearsal. Playing out on my own is hard to pull off. I'm not a very impressive "solo act" so it's hard to catch the attention of any new listeners. but that's just life. so I try to have the band with me as much as possible.

Gavin: Are there any plans in the works for an album or just playing gigs for now?

Tate: We've tracked five full-band Spooky Moon songs, and we have another three ready to record. I'd like to put out an album, and consider it more of a documentary of the past several years of my musical works put together in one album.
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Gavin: I know you play in a few other acts around the music scene. Anything else going on in your other projects you'd like people to know about?

Tate: Well The Lionelle is my main focus, again. These new band mates for The Lionelle and our new songs are giving me the drive to push it 100%. A few of the other bands I've worked with recently around town are still doing great on their own, but I've let them all know I need to focus on my main priority.

Gavin: Moving onto local, what to you has changed around the music scene since we last spoke?

Tate: I can't quite recall what I said last time about the local music scene. But I will say this, I'm proud of our music scene- there is a lot of amazing talent being shared all around town. People just need to get out and appreciate it. But maybe they're burnt out...
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Gavin: Is there anything you wish would change, or wish hadn't changed in that time?

Tate: The only thing I wish would change is people's disconnection from the music scene/people's overload of music and shows. They're tired of going to shows, and I guess I don't blame them. There is a lot going on in this town, every single night. Everyone has a band, and everyone has a show. I wish it wasn't so polluted only for the sake of concert attenders feeling burnt out. But then again, I don't fully agree with my last statement, I love that the music scene is thriving. There just seems to be a fine line in between over saturation and a thriving community of music, I can't really distinguish between the two.

Gavin: What's your take on community radio over the past year and its influence on the scene?

Tate: I think community radio is fantastic. I don't know enough about it to assess the total influence it has over the scene, but I do know that UtahFM is doing a fantastic job at getting the community and local bands involved. For example, I've gone down on Portia's and Dag's radio shows to promote my upcoming shows and people have actually been tuning in to hear me talk about it. It's great.
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Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?

Tate: Well I plan on finishing the Spooky Moon album, hopefully about 11 or 12 songs, and The Lionelle plans on working on a new record this summer, as well. Hopefully I will have one of those records out by the end of the year, if not early 2012. The Lionelle has a lot of amazing shows coming up with some great touring bands... like Maserati, Joan of Arc, Title Fight, and Touche Amore. We just barely played with The Appleseed Cast last week, in fact. We've been very fortunate to land some really great gigs with some bands that we really enjoy.

Gavin: And again, aside yourself, is there anything you wanna promote?

Tate: April 21st at the Urban Lounge, The Lionelle will be playing with Maserati and Royal Bangs. We're super excited about that. Thanks Gavin!


Matthew Nanes
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http://matthewquennanes.bandcamp.com/

Gavin: Hey Matthew! First thing, how have things been since we last chatted?

Matthew: A lot has happened. I got married and it's been almost a year since we've been married, so that's been really cool and the best thing I've ever done. I've also continued to go to school as well and I'm a year away from completing my degree. With all of that going on, I still managed to find time to play music. Keeping busy is my thing, but not too busy.

Gavin: Since last we spoke you kinda put an end to Swans Of Never. What made you decide to end the project?

Matthew: There are a lot of reasons. I ended it because I wanted it to be this rock band but I couldn't find the right time to devote to it. Being married, having a kid and school will do that. Plus, having three other dudes' schedules to work around made it really hard too. It seemed like it had run its course.
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Gavin: You've been playing solo gigs for years as various shows, what influenced you to start making it your primary focus?

Matthew: It became hard to push a record with a full band sound on it when I would play solo. I could never present the project the way I wanted to. I just decided to go under my full name because I think it was a lot more honest and people could know what to expect from me.

Gavin: You've got a solo album on the way this week. First off, what was it like for you writing this one on your own as opposed to composing it with a group?

Matthew: It was actually the same process as writing the Swans of Never stuff. I wrote all of this record and the Swans record all on the acoustic on my own. The only thing different is that I didn't write in any open tunings and kept it pretty straightforward with open chords and that when recording with Swans, it organically turned into a rock thing, whereas I kept these songs into a more folk/Americana vibe, the way they were intended. A couple of songs I've had for a few years and a couple of other ones I wrote while on my last tour with Bradley Hathaway and the Hot Water Music cover was just for kicks but I'm really proud of these songs.
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Gavin: What was the recording process like, and were there any difficulties along the way?

Matthew: This time around with Andy Patterson was a lot smoother since I had a very good idea what I wanted. It was a more focused record. We didn't have any drums on the record on purpose, just using tambourines and shakers but I definitely wanted some bite with the electric guitars. I think Andy's experience with record punk and hardcore bands made this record as aggressive as it needed to be, even though it's an acoustic record. Really, the only difficult thing about recording was not being able to do it fast enough.

Gavin: What's the reaction been like from people who have heard it so far?

Matthew: The people that have heard it or songs from it seem to like it a lot. I think the songs are speaking to people in different kinds of ways because some of the songs are inspired by living in Utah. I've had anywhere from the hardcore/punk audience and a Christian audience identify with the same song for different reasons lyrically but really like the songs as well. I'm really excited that these songs appeal to multiple kinds of people.
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Gavin: When its finally released, do you have any plans of going on tour or sticking to home for now?

Matthew: I'm sticking to Utah for now until I graduate but I will be making trips to Logan, Ogden, Provo and St. George. I've already been to Logan once recently and it was a great show. Doing those small trips is a good excuse to turn playing a show into a vacation for my wife and I.

Gavin: Moving onto local, what in your eyes has changed around the music scene since we last spoke over a year ago?

Matthew: The $10 local show has for the most part stopped. Bands have gotten wise to it and that's awesome. I think there's a new breed of young, local bands that are really channeling some really good, raw music. I played a show with a band called Treehouse. They are really young but having a lot of fun playing aggressive music and really like them for it. I think Reviver is leading the way with good, solid, raw music and The Lionelle's finally getting some great opportunities locally. I love how hard-working Blackhounds are and I think other bands are taking notice and showing some respect. Those bands comprise of a few bands that are really banding together, not because of a genre but a love of each other and I think that's awesome.
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Gavin: Is there anything you wish would change, or wish hadn't changed in that time?

Matthew: The only thing that's been irritating me out is how bitter people get when members leave their bands for pretty legitimate personal reasons and throwing away friendships. I just think it makes the Utah music scene just as judgmental as the people we wanted to get away from by playing punk rock. It's hypocritical.

Gavin: What's your take on community radio over the past year and its influence on the scene?

Matthew: Honestly, with how busy I am, I haven't listened to the radio much other than following the Jazz on 1320. Guilty as charged.
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Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?

Matthew: I'll keep booking shows through the next year, playing the upcoming Crucial Fest with a bunch of local bands like Gaza, Reviver, I Am The Ocean and Pilot This Plane Down. I'm going to make it outside the Salt Lake Valley to play shows as well and keep working hard to finish up my English degree.

Gavin: Aside yourself, is there anything you wanna promote?

Matthew: I want to shout out some good friends of mine in The Rock Music. A lot of great people playing music for something bigger than themselves. Check out their music at ExperienceTheRockMusic.com.


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