Whatever you may think about the music scene in Oslo, there are always some hidden gems just hiding below the surface. One of these are Moon Relay which feature Daniel Meyer Grønvold on guitar, Håvard Volden on guitar, Ola Høyer on bass, and Martin Smådal Larsen on drums, and percussion. Last years 12″ on Hubro was one of my local favorite releases. On september 5th Moon Relay will release their long awaited debut LP on Fysisk Format. Bad Sounds sat down with Daniel Meyer Grønvold, guitarist and songwriter in the band for a little chat:
How long have Moon Relay been around for?
Two years approximately in this formation.
How did the band find it’s natural formation?
We were in several duos and trios that decided to become a quartet, about the same time that I had started doing solo guitar/drum machine shows. So those different projects became one.
How has the reception for the band been here locally?
We all come from playing much weirder music than Moon Relay, so by our low standards it has been good.
What are your main influences; personally, and for the bands sound?
Its a mixture of a lot of stuff. Early use of echo and reverb etc in Joe Meek productions, The weird sound making aspect of certain early surf bands, Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham’s guitar pieces, electroacoustic music etc etc. But it does not only come from other music, the sound of water dripping into heated oil can just as well spark an idea.
What is the songwriting process like? Do you jam/experiment until something sticks, or is it written piece by piece, or both?
Both and everything in between, but most songs are started by me or by me and Håvard. Arrangements and structure are mostly worked out together.
Can you explain the thought behind the abnormal song titles?
While some people already has deemed it pretentious, for us it was simply about letting the music communicate itself. Instead of some forced “meaningful” title on something that originally was about nothing but combinations of sounds and how we chose to structure them, we chose something more abstract. Also it looks good.
Has touring outside of Norway or in general affected your sound?
Touring has affected our sound, just by playing together a lot and by learning to make unideal situations work. It has also been inspiring to see scenes and venues with shittier conditions than we are used to from Norway, but still with a greater feeling of community and initiative.
Any good stories from the road?
Most would not translate very well.
We met a pony in Antwerp that joined us for the rest of the tour though.
How and where did you record the record?
Malabar in Oslo with Jørgen Smådal Larsen and Martin Bowitz. Then Håvard and myself recorded a good portion of the overdubs in different rehearsal rooms with Håvard as the technician.
Jørgen & Martin also mixed it, and Martin mastered it.
There are always a lot of rave reviews of Norwegian music in the papers, no matter what the record sounds like. Do you think Norwegian bands are afraid of constructive criticism? Is the scene too small?
Isn’t that more a problem of overenthusiastic writers, than the bands? Probably related to the “we are the greatest country in the world” attitude that is pretty dominant in parts of norwegian press.
Why did you choose Fysisk Format to release your first full length?
We felt they fitted us the best.
Who in your opinion, are some of the more exciting local bands playing these days?
MOE is the first one that comes to mind.
What are Moon Relays plans for the future?
Play as much as possible, and write new material.
Moon Relay will have a release party for the new record at The Crossroad Club on September 9th.
cover photo: Jenny Berger Myhre
live in Berlin: James Welburn