Like many of our favourites, The Big Moon were set to shine brightly back in the forgotten times of early 2020, in those heady days before pesky pandemics and lengthy lockdowns stopped them (and everyone else) in their tracks just as they were set to tour their (still) brilliant second album ‘Walking Like We Do’. With only a handful of festival spots last year, it has been a while then. But now, The Big Moon are back (back!! BACK!!!)!
‘Wide Eyes’, the first single to be taken from the gang’s fourth album, ‘Here Is Everything’ (set for release on 14th October, FYI – Ed), is a perfect slice of feel-good vibes to usher in the summer with. A song that carries that feeling of reconnecting with everything and everyone that we missed, it comes complete with a video that packs an almighty emotional punch in its sheer joy and elation at the sight of friendships rekindling and secret handshakes. So, we obviously had to dry our eyes and catch up with Jules and Soph to welcome them back.
Welcome back!! First things first though. It is hotter than hell today, do you have any tips for coping with the heat?
Soph: Hello! The internet says to put your socks in the freezer?
Jules: And then put them on your feet?
Soph: No, just leave them in there Jules.
Jules: I used to have a wet sock that I would drape around my neck. I haven’t done that for a while, I forgot about that.
Soph: We did a photoshoot yesterday for hours and it was really hot and someone had a neck fan. You put it round your neck and you have little fans blowing in your face, which was amazing.
You’re gonna need to wear them at Finsbury Park this weekend. Congrats on the new single, the video is beautiful and quite emotional isn’t it? Was it meant to be or is it just us?
Jules: Yeah, it was meant to feel like coming back together after going through so many things. It’s a really good post-everything feeling.
The video looked like loads of fun to do, especially learning the hand-dance moves. Who was the best at learning all those moves?
Soph: Well, Jules and Cee had the most to do and I was honestly gobsmacked watching them learn it.
Jules: It was so much fun to learn. I am honestly trying to convince all my friends to do secret handshakes with me now. It’s just so fun to work it out together. I really loved it.
Fern arrives really late in the video, is that secretly because she was really bad at learning the moves?
Jules: Hahaha, no she was really good.
It feels like this summer is the one where everyone’s really catching up, especially mates from around the country and around the world. The video kind of reflects that, what was it like when you finally all back in a room together?
Soph: We’d only seen each other on Zoom for a really long time. And then we went to Suffolk for two weeks to get the album ready to record. Jules had written loads of songs in that time and that was the first time we had been together properly and not just meeting in a park I think.
Jules: We were cooking each other giant meals and all sleeping in a dormitory, like a really long room.
Soph: It was like the closest we could be after being the furthest away from each other.
It’s such a feel good song, was it important for you to come back with that sort of vibe?
Jules: I think it is a really happy song, and I think it’s nice to come back with that vibe. Because we’ve all been through so much, like COVID. And I’ve had a baby, and I’m finally in a place where I can look back on that experience and feel really okay and happy about it. On the album, there’s a lot of really happy songs but there’s also a couple of painful songs, because my experience of the last couple of years has been that and that is the experience of everyone. That’s what life is like. But yeah, it’s nice to come back with a happy one for sure.
So last summer must have been wild, having a baby and coming back to the music world all at the same time.
Jules: The week that the last lockdown ended, just exactly as everyone started going back to pubs and indoor places I had my baby and hid inside my house for another six months and entered my own personal lockdown. Yeah, it was such a weird feeling and really surreal.
Soph: And you came out to play festivals with us, with them.You were having the whole experience, and then you came out and did that and then went back to it. It was so surreal.
Having to juggle everything all at once, after not having to do anything socially or musically for a year must have been tough.
Jules: Yeah, it was a lot. But I think it’s amazing how much stamina parents have and what you can do on no sleep or very little energy while you’re going through a huge hormonal crash and life change. You just keep going. I think it’s really amazing. People say it takes a village to raise a child, right? That’s the saying. Every time I hear that, I’m like, it doesn’t. It takes parents. It takes a mum, it takes me. I’m doing it! I sound angry now, I’m not angry (laughs)
Soph: It’s good that you know that? Because seeing you have a newborn and also manage to record this album and go through all of that with us. It’s like, so impressive.
Jules: I think it’s amazing when you find out what you can do, what your body can do and what you’re actually physically capable of doing.
“We’ve been a band for eight years now and this is our third album. I think at this point we’re sure of what we’re doing”Jules Jackson
‘Wide Eyes’ feels almost related to the second album’s Barcelona, where things are changing and people are moving on and wondering what’s next. And now this feels like catching up five years later and seeing what’s happened. Is the rest of the album a bit like that?
Jules: Yeah, I write songs based on my life. My songs come from me, so it all just comes from my experience and is always reflective. The album was half-finished for a long time. I wrote some of it in lockdown, and then I wrote some of it while I was pregnant and took a break. I wanted to write more when my baby was about five or six months old, because I just felt really, really happy and I felt like I needed to write big happy songs. About how I felt about being a mum, but I was so exhausted and I couldn’t really do it because I was trying to do something creative with about 10% of the energy I used to have. I just couldn’t match notes together or string sentences together. I met Jessica Winter, who is an amazing musician. And she was like, well let’s write a happy song. So we went to her uncle’s shed, at the end of his garden, and we just wrote it in a day. She helped to turn it into something actually physical, rather than just a feeling inside my body.
Soph: I’m so glad that all happened and that we got both sides of your experiences, it’s really cool.
Jules: Yeah, me too. It’s like a diary of my life. And when I listen to it, I feel like I’m listening to another person. And all the things I thought it would be like to be a parent. I’m singing all these songs about “I’m pregnant, what’s it gonna be like? What am I going to teach my child?” And then you have the kid and then you’re like WAAAAAAGH! This is so not what I was expecting! It’s nice that the album covers the whole scope of that experience.
What was recording the album like this time round? It’s co-produced with Ben Allen and CECIL again?
Soph: It felt like it had a journey that the other albums didn’t have. It felt so nice, especially to do so much of it together, especially after not being able to be together.
Jules: We’ve been a band for eight years now and this is our third album. I think at this point we’re sure of what we’re doing. It’s really nice to just be confident with that and be like, actually, I think we know what we want this to sound like. And I think we know how to make these sounds and we know how to record it. So let’s just do it at Fern’s house.
Soph: We also understand each other, and what each other can do or would want to do. I didn’t really realise that until you’re in that situation and you realise we’ve been friends and working together for eight years. It felt really empowering.
How would you describe ‘Here Is Everything’ then? What can we expect?
Jules: For me, emotionally, it’s such a big album. It’s called ‘Here Is Everything’ because it is just everything that I had to give for the last couple of years. Here is all of me, I feel that it’s so personal and bare. The cover image is also very ‘here is everything’. The songs on the album are super personal but I think the way that we worked on it as a band was so special, it felt really like our friendship and our bond as a band is so strong right now. And I think you can hear that and you can hear everyone putting everything into it.
Obviously there is no good time for a lockdown, but for you it seemed particularly bad timing. Does that make it even more special now this time with this album?
Jules: I think for me, definitely. When we were playing festivals for the first time again last year, I enjoyed it so much. I feel like I’ve recommitted to being in this band. This is all I want to do forever. I just love it so much.
Soph: I feel that too. I think we all cried on stage at the first festival. Also, I was quite nervous because it felt scary to be going on stage and being in a place with people and I wasn’t really doing that in my own life. So I think we all just walked on like confused zombies. And then when we were playing songs looking at each other and at the crowd, it really hit me. Obviously it sucked that we had to stop touring and stuff, but I was so worried about how everyone that it only hit me quite a few months later that actually, it really, really sucked because we were stopped in our tracks.
So, first show at Finsbury Park on Sunday with George Ezra. Are you gonna be pulling out any of the ‘Wide Eyes’ dance moves?
Jules: Oh man, I would absolutely love that. When we play ‘Wide Eyes’, let’s just mime it and do the whole routine. I would love that so much.
Soph: Yes! See you there with our neck fans and ice socks on.
The Big Moon’s new album ‘Here Is Everything’ is out 14th October. New track ‘Wide Eyes’ is streaming now.