Neon Lights Festival is a great opportunity for you (and everyone) to enjoy a diverse range of music played by some of the world’s best artists and bands; that fact has never been in doubt and remains one of the festival’s main attraction. However, there are definitely some local bands (Singapore represent!) playing at Neon Lights who are more than talented enough to hold their own. This includes Hanging Up The Moon who has also played at Laneway Festival and along with Rio! In Magenta, are one of my favourite local bands thus you can only imagine my excitement at having the opportunity to interview them! In our little chat, we talk about how Hanging Up The Moon went from a 1 man show to its current state – a 5 member band, what some of their favourite records are and of course, who else they are looking forward to checking out at Neon Lights!
Hanging Up The Moon is a 5 member band comprising of Sean Lam, Dean Aziz, Leslie Low, Victor Low and Alexius Cai and has just released their latest album, Immaterial. As mentioned previously, Hanging Up The Moon started off as a moniker for Sean Lam’s solo project but “after my minimalist album, I was ready to explore a different sound.” “Victor, who helped with the album’s production and mastering suggested that I could try looking into collaborations next.” The rest was as the cliche goes, history. He didn’t have to look too far for fellow collaborators, first up to be approached (after Victor) was Leslie who was already backing Sean up during his live gigs. “Since we felt really comfortable playing together, I approached them with the idea of having a band sound for the next album.” The initial lineup was completed after the addition of Dean, “I roped in long time buddy and old band mate, Dean, to add his percussive touches to the new songs. That’s how we ended up with the fuller sounding second album The Biggest Lie In The World.” The 5 man band that we will be seeing was only recently completed with the addition of Alexius who Sean was also familiar with. “I got to know him through mutual friends and had the pleasure of playing a couple of gigs together for his Piblokto shows. I really like his style and I feel his input will add another dimension to our expanding soundscape.”
Hanging Up The Moon at Laneway 2015!
Now that we know how Hanging Up The Moon grew from Sean’s desire to create a certain type of music that required the help of other musicians, I was also curious on why the other members agreed to be a part of Hanging Up The Moon. For Alexius, being a part of Hanging Up The Moon was a little surreal especially “having grown up with his [Leslie’s] music.” He then got to know Sean who “picked up the [his solo] album and we met at some of the gigs that I played at.” A couple of beers and conversation was enough for them to hit it off and it ended with Sean being “cool with the idea of backing me up in a couple of my solo gigs. From then on, it felt natural and comfortable working with him musically.” Alexius then goes on to explain that him being a part of Hanging Up The Moon was not exactly all smooth sailing at the start. “After checking out “The Biggest Lie In The World”, I could somewhat feel what sort of direction the band is going towards and at that time, the raw skeleton tracks for Immaterial were already written. So Sean suggested that I have a listen and fill in any ideas that I may have. It was pretty hard at first as I felt that I couldn’t find a comfortable spot within the songs but thanks the sensitivities and talents of the rest of the band members, I manage to find a comfortable sweet spot within the songs.”
Interestingly enough, their latest album Immaterial was released in vinyls and a quick look around the numerous vinyl record stores in Singapore and in the local music section, I guarantee that you will be able to find some Hanging Up The Moon records. Sean’s explanation for why they continue to release their music on vinyl is perfect on point on why I love vinyls myself. “We’re fond of the vinyl format because of how warm it sounds. Naturally, it has less clarity than a CD but it is exactly this analog quality that I feel really suits the lo-fi nature of Hanging Up The Moon’s songs. LPs are also tangible and I think there’s something really nice about having music in physical formats. It’s so much more of an occasion when you put a record on a player. I think it actually encourages people to appreciate the music more because you’d have to care for it. Of course, where packaging and album art is concerned, it’s also a wonderful thing to look at.”
As previously mentioned, Hanging Up The Moon is no stranger to huge international festivals such as Neon Lights, having also played at Laneway Festival last year. The members were definitely excited to play at such a scale, as Sean explains “it is the opportunity to share our songs with a large audience…that was the other nice thing about Laneway, the people.” However, we are more inclined to agree with what Alexius felt the best part of Laneway was, “the best part of course would be the free booze and most importantly the amazingly supportive crowd that were there.” At Neon Lights, Hanging Up The Moon will be “performing songs from all 3 albums, but mostly from the latest, Immaterial.” As for artists they’re most excited to check out, Alexius and Sean are both in agreement with Sun Kil Moon (YES!! Benji and Among The Leaves are one of my favourite albums!!), Ride and Bennett Bay.
Before the interview ended though, I wanted to get some record recommendations so I had to ask, what are the members’ top 3 vinyl record of all time. Here’s for everyone looking for some new music to add to their collection! From their choices (which are pretty different), you can see the type of music that each member listens to and conclude that them working together musically is actually pretty amazing.
Sean: 1) Decades by Neil Young 2) Scott2 by Scott Walker 3) Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco
Alexius 1) Live at the Cellar Door by Neil Young 2) No Such Things as Ghost by Leslie Low 3) A Love Supreme by John Coltrane
Leslie: 1) Blue Afternoon by Tim Buckley 2) Time has Told Me by Nicholas Rodney Drake 3) 4-way Street by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Dean: 1) 4 Signs by Led Zeppelin 2) Reigning Blood by Slayer 3) Storm In Heaven by The Verve
Victor: 1) Molly Drake 2) Antonin Dvorak by New World Symphony 3) Oscilla by The Observatory.
For the full schedule of the 2 day festival, check out the image below and don’t miss your favourite bands/artists! For more information, check out our event listing here!
Images Courtesy of Hanging Up The Moon!