Interview: Andy Crofts of The Moons

The Moons are an indie rock band from Northampton. Andy Crofts formed the band in 2008. He also works with Paul Weller as a touring musician and Paul Weller has collaborated with The Moons on the song “Something Soon”. They’ve gotten praise from Mojo Magazine, opened for Ocean Colour Scene, The Rifles, and Beady Eye; chosen by Mani from The Stone Roses for a tribute to Morrissey, and have had their music featured in a Jack Wills fashion campaign.

If you like psychedelia, garage rock, Britpop, and mod culture, you’ll absolutely love The Moons.

Other songs I enjoy by The Moons include:”Chinese Whisper”, “Torn Between Two”, “Nightmare Day”, “Promise Not to Tell”, and “Everyday Heroes” from Life on Earth; “Be Not Me”, “Forever Came Today”, “Revolutionary Lovers”, and “Double Vision Love” from Fables of History; and “Society”, “Vertigo”, “You Can’t Slow Me Down”, and “Time’s Not Forever” from Mindwaves.

The Moons’ last studio album, Mindwaves, was released in 2014. If you’re a Moons fan you’ve been waiting a while for a new album, but the wait will soon be over, Pocket Melodies, their next album will be released on 23rd of October: on vinyl (limited edition purple), CD, and to stream/download. If you like collecting 45s, you can order the single “Today” on limited edition white vinyl on the 11th of September. If you’re more into streaming, you can stream “Riding Man” b/w “Sunday Morning Love In” now – I talked about these songs in the last What I’ve Been Listening To, which you can read here.

We’re really lucky to have Andy Crofts here with us on Crazy on Classic Rock to talk about his music. If you want to learn more about him and his music, keep on reading!

Angie Moon: How would you describe your music to a new listener?

Andy Crofts: I’d say my music is all based around melody. 99% of The Moons songs have a very strong melodic vocal lead and I guess this comes from all of my influences such as The Beatles etc. So in a nutshell I’d maybe say jangly melodic indie psych pop but to be honest I’ve always found it hard to explain as each song has its own little world.

Angie: What has changed about the music industry since the 2000s when you started?

Andy: Well since I actually started in bands in the late 90s it has changed loads but since The Moons’ first record it’s all about social media now and streaming such as Spotify and Apple Music. I guess giving free music away will have always effected the music business because it naturally loses its value. I use Spotify and I actually like it BUT it’s one of the main reasons it’s all changed.

I still live in the old world and I do try and keep up with everything but I find myself thinking a lot of social media stuff is pointless and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in it all. There are many things that have changed the music biz but overall the huge drop in physical sales says it all really. It’s a shame because I want nothing more for one of our fans to read our record sleeve and cherish it. Oh how times have changed…

Angie: What bands and albums have influenced your sound the most?

Andy: There are so many groups, songs, parts of life that have influenced me. I have the obvious [ones] such as The Beatles. They have been the backbone to my whole life. As a kid I discovered Buddy Holly and was obsessed for quite some time but all these influences were slowly was building inside me to create my own music. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds blew my mind musically and the rhythm of Motown and soul. I love the Buzzcocks too and that inspired my writing heavily. There are so many elements to my inspiration that have all found there way into one place in my head.

Angie: You’ve worked a lot with Paul Weller recording and touring with him, what was that like?

Andy: Working with Paul Weller is just a dream come true. I never would’ve thought as a kid with Weller & Jam posters on the wall that I would end up in his band. I knew in my heart that one day I’ll probably meet him but I never thought I’d be so involved so I am very very blessed in that way. Being in the Weller band has quite simply changed my life. I’ve gone from working an every day 9 to 5 job to travelling the world, performing on TV shows, contributed to number 1 albums, met some amazing people including idols of mine and also playing to hundreds of thousands of wonderful people. So to answer your question, it’s amazing! I am very lucky but I have also worked hard over the years for this chance to come along. Paul is a very kind, generous and inspiring person to be around so it’s the dream I guess.

Angie: The last album release was in 2014, so this is a long awaited album, what have you been doing in the meantime between album releases?

Andy: Yes it has been such a long time hasn’t it? I never thought I would leave such a gap between albums to be honest. I’ve always thought it would be two years maximum between any studio album but this gap has been different because I’ve had all types of things happen in my life such as two children moved out of town I lived in and basically had to re-adjust my lifestyle just to every day living. I haven’t completely been doing nothing though I’ve been busy in the Paul Weller band obviously for all of that time and travel the world a few times over and I’ve also still been writing music and the moons did actually go into the studio and record a bunch of songs but we haven’t used them yet, so we have been doing stuff but behind the scenes. But I also had lots of problems in my mind you know I’m starting to doubt things and I needed to have some time out I guess. It wasn’t planned but I needed time out to just think about everything with the pressure of rushing new material out. Anyway, after such a long time we had the fortune of going into Abbey Road Studio 2 and that gave the band a big lift that we needed and it worked out amazing! We had the best time ever recording in Abbey Road it was a dream so now we have a new album and it feels amazing to be back!

Angie: What was writing and recording Pocket Melodies like?

Andy: Let me explain a little more. I decided to call the album Pocket Melodies because I have had these songs laying around (in my pocket) for quite some time. They have either been in my head or rough demos and it wasn’t until one day that I put them all together and realised I had a potential album all along. Now as for the writing, these songs are all a pure example of me letting the melodies flow and not holding back at all.

Sometimes when I write I’m aware that something is too sweet and I can’t let that happen but this time round I’ve let all the songs be colourful pop songs. So writing the songs was very natural and my favourite way of writing. I’m a true believer of natural instinct so I just let it flow out of me. Recording was at Abbey Road as I said earlier so that was mainly done live with a few finishing touches done at Paul Weller’s studio. We wanted a live performance this time to give a raw feel. Because we had the string quartet in the same room there was lots of spill in the microphones which made it hard to mix but that’s also part of the live magic I guess.

Angie: How has your music evolved and changed over the years?

Andy: With The Moons I don’t think of The music evolving but maybe the strength of my songwriting. With Mindwaves, we did start to go down a a heavier path with more sci fi sounds etc but for this album I wanted to go completely back to basics. I played my acoustic guitar live on every track just how I would at home. So for me it’s always been about writing great songs more that adding more bleeps and drum machines.

Angie: What have you been listening to lately?

Andy: I really love some new bands at the moment . My favourite is currently a girl band from France called Juniore. They are just amazing! I also really like a band called Babe Rainbow. In general I like to discover new music for my radio show but I prefer to listen to all my favourite older stuff.

Angie: I see that you host a show on Boogaloo radio, how did you get started and interested in radio?

Andy: Radio isn’t anything I expected to do in my life but I had always been fond of the idea. I’m a very spontaneous and when I think of things I usually want to do them immediately and that’s kind of what happened with Boogaloo Radio. One evening I was sat there and then it just came to me so I messaged Boogaloo Radio and asked if they were interested etc and they were.

Anyway, it’s been roughly one and a half years now and I really enjoy it. I feel it’s really been growing lately and it’s has kind of become a little Thursday night ritual for people where they go on my Facebook & Twitter and chat and amongst themselves and ask me questions whilst listening live. I’ve been doing it live from home since all the lockdown started but I think I prefer it to be honest. Live from my living room! I do it every Thursday 10pm till midnight on www.boogalooradio.com

Angie: What makes vinyl special to you and what are your favourite albums you have on vinyl?

Andy: When I was a kid it was records and cassettes so that’s the world I was brought into. I personally love vinyl because I feel it has so much more meaning. I know that may sound silly to some people but when I play a record I really care about what I’m playing and listening too. It’s not just a throw away disposable song in my phone. I do download (rarely) and stream music but records will always be my favourite format and I love to look at the sleeve and read all the info. It’s all part of what you bought into when you purchased the record. Some of my favourite records are Beach Boys – Pet Sounds, Beatles – Revolver and Hendrix and I even love the Love Story soundtrack as it’s musically amazing but I like my 7” records as I have lots of cool stuff I like to DJ with.

Angie: What is your proudest moment in your career?

Andy: In my career? Umm it’s hard to pick one. I guess the proudest moment would be joining Paul Weller’s band. Being asked to join literally changed my life around. Other proud moments was releasing my first record with The Moons, Meeting Paul McCartney and recently releasing my debut photography book. I find myself feeling proud of lots of things though but it usually takes me some time to notice I am proud. I put myself down too much so it takes me a while to look at myself for what I am.

Angie: What do you wish you had known early in your career?

Andy: Good question…. I wish I’d known how much work goes into making a band good. I should have worked harder at my music and gone with my instincts of leaving my town and going to a city but I let life get in the way maybe too much. Don’t get me wrong, all I did was play music and write songs but I think I maybe was dreaming too much and expecting things to come to me. It’s a tough business and you have to work hard and go out and get it. I was lucky that I had a break in the end. I did work hard but I could have done more in hindsight.

You can follow The Moons on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Shoutout to my friend Patrick for supporting the blog!

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