Album Spotlight: New Moons XII

New Moons Volume XII

Release date: July 19th 2019

Words: Elena Katrina

Killing Moon as a label and as a curator has given us an introduction to many a new favourite song or band over the years so when we got the chance to nab some time with Killing Moon’s head honcho himself, Ach Dillon, to chat all things New Moons we jumped at the chance. Below you’ll see an insight into not just what his feelings and processes are but also some quotes from some of the artists involved in the most recent compilation.

Tell us why you decided to pull together the New Moons Compilation albums in the first place? 

New Moons Volume I came out in January 2014 to much aplomb, following conceiving the whole thing with my dear friend Ally McCrae, a very tall, sweet Scottish man who at the time was presenting the national BBC Introducing show with Jen Long on Radio 1 at the time. As to why, and with the benefit of the almighty hindsight, I found a lot of music being pushed to the front of the proverbial promotional queue at the time was being celebrated as exceptional when in fact a lot of it was resoundly average and further, a lot of the plaudits being tossed around in pop had very little to do with the music itself and seemed devoid of an overall message. 

The context of Killing Moon’s foundations – we started as a blog in 2012 when I got laid off from my last job, and if you think the music job market sucks now, there was fuck-all happening back then – allude to presenting the ostensible soundtrack of my life by presenting new track posts in line with an open diary. I wanted to remember upon listening to each song subsequently what I was up to that day, or more to the point how I was feeling that day. You then create the association with that song forevermore, which ultimately gives it subjective meaning. 

The compilation volumes follow suit and each one encapsulates the last 6 months of the curator since it has turned into a biannual thing. So, basically, I wanted to give these amazing new artists and their songs meaning, beyond the standard-issue narrative of “hi, we are a band, we have a song, listen to it please”. 

It’s also the reason we choose a different contemporaneous person of note at the time of the release to feature on the cover as a “moon face” – this time its the immaculate Greta Thunberg, the ostensible face of the Extinction Rebellion movement. Not that this is an endorsement of her, Extinction Rebellion or anything else really (previous cover moon faces have included Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn and Kim Jong Un as a galactic lunar battle station with lasers shooting out of his eyes). It’s all to do with remembering what was going on at the time. We have a brilliant designer called Ellie Cox who just nails what this is about every time. She’s brilliant, she’s done artwork for the likes of Jack Garratt and Jay Brown and I’m just a massive fan of her work.

As a curator of the most recent, how did you decide which bands you wanted to feature?

I had a pretty shite 2018. I’ve since to come to understand that a lot of other people did. I was going through a terrible break up at the time, alongside losing a lot of people that I had been close friends with for years. It may have been more efficient to carve a smile into my face at the time, given the extent of the personal crisis in contrast to having to carry on responsibly running several music companies as well as trying not to let my family, friends and staff down along with the artists I work with who were depending on me to be functional. It was fucking hard, the hardest thing I have ever done. I was not a pleasant person to be around. I was angry all the time.

Fortunately, the whole thing forced me to finally grow up. Drop the bullshit both internally and externally, and finally bringing an end to my ostensible student lifestyle that had carried on long beyond my twenties. It taught me validation comes from oneself, and never others, and I should stop trying so fucking hard to impress everyone all the time. It affirmed other friendships and forms of unconditional love that I often used to preach but seldom practised.

So I think the main theme of this Volume is the concept of change and why it is so ultimately necessary to the species. Our world is changing, along with our perceptions of it and one another. And we are all reacting, for better or for worse remains to be seen. Personally, I have faith because I choose to. The tracks allude to the rather painful processes involved in varying contexts as far as growing up is concerned. I guess that’s why they call it “growing pains”, and not “growing fun”. I know a lot of people have experienced similar things beyond last year and presently, so this one is for them.

 

What have been the struggles of working on such a release? 

Other than my personal emo shash? Co-ordinating assets like masters, artwork, label copy (seriously, if you run a label and don’t know what “label copy” is, please for fuck’s sake look it up, it’s important). A big part of why I wanted to do the entire thing myself (with a lot of help from my staff and friends of course. No-one can pull this shit off on their own) was that I’ve not had much to do with the proverbial heavy-lifting of the releases via KM, particularly in the realms of marketing and distribution, for a couple of years now. So I wanted to relearn to do it, and it has indeed changed significantly in a number of ways. 

The licensing is far from easy. You’re dealing with different contractual terms with a plethora of different contracting parties in different countries, often with their own jurisdictions, different intellectual property laws and, in the case of larger labels that we have licensed the tracks from, different contractual precedents entirely from the original deal sent over. So you have to be fucking organised. A solid grasp of IP and contract law helps, which I’m very lucky to have.

Were there any bands or tracks you couldn’t use that you felt would have worked really well on this particular album?

I really wanted a track by a band called LIILY, who are a 5-piece indie rock band based in LA. I ended up seeing them at South By South West this year after my friend Abbie McCarthy (who I run Good Karma Club with) tipped me off about them, and I pretty much ended up wandering around after them like a lost puppy for the remainder of the week. They’ve got this amazing EP out called I Can Fool Anybody In This Town which actually smacks of a lot of British indie from when I was a student. Unfortunately, their US label weren’t up for it and they control the tracks. Which is fine. This isn’t for everyone, of course.

How do you go about deciding which tracks it is you want to use from some of these artists? 

I’m a fan of every single artist on the tracklisting, as I am of every single artist I’ve ever released on Killing Moon. 

Madge’sFight Or Flight Club” is particularly relevant to me, personally. 

The Ninth Wave are one of the best, if not the best, live acts in the country and “A New Kind Of Ego” speaks volumes to me in the context of personal change. 

WAAX superbly document what a lot of my friends and women, in general, have to go through each fucking day whether or not the world realises it, on “Labrador“. 

Cleopatrick. Fuck, man, Cleopatrick make me regret ever thinking I was above moshing (which seems counter-productive to the whole growing up thing, but self-fulfilment requires you to embrace the shit you really like and who you really are regardless of who or who isn’t watching), they are my favourite band in the world.

The tracks from Killing Moon-managed Mina Rose, Annabel Allum and Chapter & Verse lyrically depict between them the journey of feeling a bit shit to basically not. These tracks serve as a reminder that well-being and happiness operate in tandem with the absence of stress.

Of course, it would be super-spinny of me to claim that I painstakingly chose each track in alignment with the overarching message this Volume is meant to portray. Artists like ROE, Superlove, Wyldest, and Farebrother each chose their own tracks to put forward which were either selected because they wanted to put something brand new out there, or its more closely in alignment with their own campaigns they have going on at the time. Which in my mind makes them as relevant as the other tracks, if not more.

 

Quotes from the bands:

“We’ve listen to, and found lots of new exciting music through the ‘New Moons’ playlists. So to now be a part of one, and have ‘I’d Be The Worst’ on there at that, is ace!” – Tom Hunt – Farebrother

“We’re mega happy to be a part of this compilation with a bunch of bands we know and love. It’s gonna be the soundtrack to your summer.”  – Wyldest

“Take Your Time is all about love. But not really that kind of fairytale love where everything turns pink and you’re just floating around on some fluffy cloud. It’s about that intoxicatingly all-engulfing feeling that’ll overpower you to the extent that it becomes blinding – and destructive – at times. You have no choice but surrender to it – even as you feel yourself being dragged all the way to the edge of the abyss.” – Rebecca Lou

“This song is very special to me as it is the very first single I’ve ever released, my best music production so far and the creation and recording process was filled with high vibes and deep emotions as the vocalist is my girlfriend. The two days we spent cutting the track felt completely out of time and space. It would be my sincere fulfillment if the listeners would carry the same emotions after hearing this song.” – Rick Feds

Listen to New Moons XII here:

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