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Courtesy Half Moon Run

Half Moon Run kicks off first Canadian tour

By Gurman Sahota, November 29 2016 —

Half Moon Run is an indie-rock band beginning their first full Canadian tour after forming in Montreal in 2010. Following the release of their second album, Dark Eyes, and a year of touring other locations, Half Moon Run will play in Calgary on Dec. 13. The Gauntlet spoke with vocalist and instrumentalist Connor Molander to talke about the band and their upcoming tour.

The Gauntlet: How did Half Moon Run form?

Conner Molander: In 2010 we moved from other parts of the country to Montreal because we were young and wanted to play music. We were just on the lookout for projects to get involved with and we found each other through mutual friends. When the core group was eventually in the same room in 2010, it became clear to all of us that we would basically change the direction of the rest of our lives to facilitate this band working because we thought it showed a lot of promise. It took another year or so for the record to be put together and then things just continued from there.

G: How do you compare this tour to tours of the past?

M: This is our first tour of Canada since the second record came out that is of a proper size. When the record first came out, we decided to play smaller, more intimate venues at that time. So this tour is a proper, full-production “we’re gonna pull out all the stops” kind of tour.

G: Why did you choose to do it now? 

M: We made a whole plan about exactly where we wanted to go and what time. There’s a lot of places that we go — Europe and America and even Australia. This is just how the scheduling worked out. We started by playing more intimate-sized venues and then we decided to do a big one. So the time has come for us to do a big one.

G: Have you noticed any reception for the new works?

M: It’s been great, we’ve played all kinds of festivals this summer and when we did the first record, it [was] a challenge at times to stretch just one album’s worth of material over the course of a long show. [It’s] more fun now to plan out the set list because we’ve got more to work with.

G: You’ve toured the United States and Europe and are now touring Canada, do you find any difference?

M: Historically there’s differences [and it] depends on any number of things — the room we’re playing in, how we’re feeling, all these things. Canada tends to be one the places people know us the best and so that’s always nice, the level of familiarity. [You] try to keep the same mindset every night that you’re going to give your best show and that people hopefully respond and try to be a little zen about it.

G: Do you have any expectations of this album and the tour in general?

M: Since the second record came out, it’s been a year so we’ve been touring this longer set for a year now. We just haven’t done the full-sized Canadian tour yet, [but] I kind of have a sense of how the show goes, what the high points and what the quiet points are. It’s fairly well-refined at this point. There’s a few extra production tools that we’re bringing in — a few other surprises and a really great opening band. I think the show that we’re touring is the strongest show we’ve ever brought on tour which is nice.

G: Being a Canadian band, do you have to prove yourself a little more? Do you feel like the music scene in Canada is still in its growth period?

M: The music scene in Montreal is pretty world-wide, pretty well renowned and a lot of great bands are coming out of Montreal. People from other places move here because it’s such a great music scene. As far as any city right now in the world, I think Montreal compares anywhere in terms of great music coming out including New York and Los Angeles or whatever. So I wouldn’t agree that Canada has an underdeveloped music scene because I think it has a world class music scene. If anything we’re trying to live up to that.

G: Is the writing process collaborative or more of a singular act?

M: It’s collaborative. Everyone sits around at home and fiddles with their instruments and comes up with their parts. You do what you can to develop your skillset. But really, the bulk of the work gets done when you meet up at the jam space and spend hours, days, weeks and months just negotiating song forms and figuring it all out.

G: Do you have a preference when it comes to venue size — smaller or larger?

M: A good show’s a good show. The best shows I’ve played have been in tiny little places that don’t necessarily have full production or anything. It’s because the vibe is so good. Sometimes you play in a big place and it can be empty emotionally. I’ve had good and bad shows in every set of circumstances. This tour, the venues that we chose all are acoustically very good. It’ll be in an environment where some of the intricate parts of the music that don’t always come across in other situations are going to be able to come through. I hope that embellishes the experience for people.

G: How has Half Moon Run changed from the beginning of the band to now?

M: When I got into the band I was 19. My life has changed in ways I can go on [about] forever. It’s hard to even quantify all the ways. Just as people in that amount of time, things change, people change. Your notion of success changes, your musical taste changes, everything. We’re more confident instrumentalists, we have a more balanced outlook on what we’re after now. It’s kind of a strange time to be alive in the world right now. I’m looking forward to the next stage of creative and musical output and I hope we can address those sorts of things through music and through musical ideas we put together because that’s our job, that’s our specialty.

G: Do you find that you garner a lot of inspiration from current events and what’s happening around you? Or are you more emotionally driven with your lyrics?

M: Yeah, I think both. In terms of current events and basically stuff other than completely personal stuff, it is affecting. When you go to write or when you go to play your instruments, I think your emotional energy is laden with whatever is on your mind. So it’s variously personal stuff or bigger issues, I think to some extent it all comes through. Whether or not the subject matter of the song is one thing or another, it’s all there somewhere.

G: How do you find playing university campuses? Is there a difference between here and other venues?

M: It’s not like the real world, it’s a different way of life. People are usually very drunk, but also very enthusiastic, optimistic and full of energy and those are all great things. Often, it can be a lot of fun.

G: What’s next for the band after the tour?

M: After this tour, a little Christmas break. Then flying to Australia and then in the new year we have a bit more touring in Quebec, our home province. Then after that, we’ll keep on being creative. We’re just being a band.

Edited for clarity and brevity.

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