Toronto dream-pop crew are making a buzz with their latest act.
Photographer / Simon Mohos
If the name Moon King is new to you right now, do yourself a favour and give this stuff a listen. It’s the dreamy, bouncy, gritty (yes, all in one) brainchild of ex Spiral Beach member, Daniel Woodhead. Like what you hear? Well, good. Because even though Moon King’s first EP, Obsession I, was released just recently, Woodhead has already made his way to New York to work on a whole new batch of songs – and to learn how to cook.
Amanda Cuda: You are yet another great band to come out of the Spiral Beach break up. What made you two want to get together and start Moon King?
Daniel Woodhead: After our old band broke up I was pretty unsure of what to do with myself. I went to New York and spent the winter in a little apartment there on my friend’s floor, tried to get my shit together. Up until that point, me and my brother wrote most of our music together; I honestly didn’t think I would keep making music by myself. I was pretty confused. I felt like I had no center. Actually, I still feel like that most of the time. But as it turns out, I can’t stop writing, so when everything else feels like a waste of time, I can sit and work on a song. I guess that’s why I need to be doing this!
AC: Moon King features Maddy Wilde, another member of your old band, on vocals. What was it like switching from working in a band to duo?
DW: It’s about self-sufficiency for me. I taught myself how to play guitar, how to drive, how to book a tour, so that I could do this myself, or at least understand how everything works. After I recorded some Moon King songs with Maddy singing on them, I thought it would make sense to play with her for the live shows too. For the first year of shows, it was just the two of us, with a lot of electronics. I was very into this DIY thing and just being able to play anywhere, be very mobile & adaptable, and it’s much easier to tour with just two people.
AC: Do you always have a full band for your live shows?
DW: Yeah, we just started playing with a full band over the summer and I think I’m gonna keep doing it this way. I think Moon King can be a cast of interesting characters, like a TV show, it’s most important that everyone in the band be unique and bring some personality of their own. It also helps to have people in the band who are really, really funny. But I doubt there will be a permanent solid lineup anytime soon. Everyone plays in different bands as well, and it’s nice to keep things changing up. Right now the band is Maddy Wilde, Steve Foster, who has an amazing solo project called Omhouse, and Sean Dunal, a.k.a. Sexy Merlin, who also makes super cool music on his own.
AC: Can you tell us about what it was like making that EP?
DW: I recorded it pretty much just myself. It was the winter – I think most of the important things that happen to me occur in January / February. I was just back from playing drums on tour with my friend’s band and I tried to hide and not tell anyone I was back in Toronto. I didn’t have much space, so I just did everything direct, no amps, and used a ton of gain on the preamp to get this kind of weird fizzy sound. The drums were all electronic for the same reason. Also, me and Maddy both had this cough that lasted for a couple months, so the vocals sound pretty fucked up!
AC: What are you focusing on right now?
DW: I’m in New York working on new songs. It’s funny ’cause this city is so overwhelmingly busy and social-based, but here I am just by myself again. I’m trying to get better at cooking. Like, me and my friend Lorely, who I’m staying with, made the most amazing plantain stir-fry last night.
AC: What do you guys have planned next?
DW: We’re doing some shows in the fall, but not a super long tour – I think that might happen early next year. Mostly I’m just trying to finish these songs and get them recorded so I can clear my head and get to work on the next ones. Also, I want to make a video for Crucified and work on my Blade Runner analogy.