Five Minutes With: Moon Puppy Blues Band (Big Splash Heat #2 Winners)
Following their win to get into the semi-finals, Bob Gordon took 5 with the Puppies.
Words by Bob Gordon.
MPBB on winning Heat #2 of The Big Splash: “We didn’t really think we had much of a shot winning, so it was pretty unbelievable when we won and we are still trying to get our heads around it.”
It’s still all pretty new to these heat-winners, but they’re confident that the experience they create “is more derived from the music than the musicians.”
Heat #6 of The Big Splash happens at The Bird this Thursday, July 28, with Beni Bjah, Kallan Phillips, Moana and POW! Negro.
For many musical bedroom philosophers, getting out from the cosy four walls of nascent song creation and onto a stage takes a certain catalyst.
For the Moon Puppy Blues Band – and indeed many bands before them in the last three years – that catalyst was WA’s The Big Slash band competition.
“I’ve been recording in my bedroom since primary school but never really did much with the songs,” says vocalist/guitarist, Liam Carmody. “When I heard about the comp I sent in a few old tracks that I had put on Bandcamp under the name Moon Puppy Blues Band, not really expecting to get through.
“I got an email about our heat and realised that I needed a band, so I called some good buds of mine that I had jammed with before and we learnt everything as best we could in about a week and a half-fuelled by stress and black coffee.”
Carmody was joined by Aidan Howitt (bass), Douglas Laurie (drums), Max Baines (lead guitar/keys) and, after years of being the singer/songwriter’s nom de plume, the Moon Puppy Blues Band was now literally that. And while the band is conscious of still being somewhat formative, it’s already empowered by the diversity of its own music.
“We try to focus on the sound of each song individually and not worry so much about our image,” Carmody says. “Most of the songs have a really huge variety of influences, as well as all of us being influenced by different musicians in our playing styles, but we can generally agree on what sounds okay and what doesn’t.
“I record most of the tracks at home; usually a song is made start to finish at a tape machine or computer by layering different instruments on top of each other, erasing and re-recording different parts until they are more or less done. We learn these and adapt them for a live setting. Some of the songs we play are a few years old, and some we finished as a band very recently.”
As a live entity, Moon Puppy Blues Band are still a band-becoming in many respects, having started purely as a recording project. Still, there’s been much to learn quickly, even at this stage.
“It’s been really awesome to meet all the other bands we've played with and seeing what works well live and what doesn't,” Carmody notes.
“We’re not really showmen, we’re just mates on stage playing our songs. Our music doesn’t really pertain to one genre, so we try to focus on playing a cohesive set with each song complementing the next and hope that the experience we create is derived more from the music than the musicians.”
Citing their Big Splash heat win as a highlight of their existence thus far, Carmody says that the main plan for Moon Puppy Blues Band is to put more music online and play a lot more gigs.
“The Big Splash has been super supportive of us before we even played our heat, getting us gigs and airplay on RTRFM, which is pretty crazy going from a bedroom recording project to a band in a short amount of time. We didn’t really think we had much of a shot winning, so it was pretty unbelievable when we won and we are still trying to get our heads around it.”
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