Since The White Stripes hit the big time back in 2002, a long lineage of alternative rock duos has followed in their wake - The Black Keys, Japandroids and The Kills, anyone? In saying that, Adelaide might have finally found their own hard-hitting duo too in the form of Moonhunter. Guitarist Steff Esposito and drummer Jack Crawford combine both instrumentally and vocally for bone-crunching music that sounds way more dense than the sum of its parts. We spoke to the boys following their launch of debut single 'Tell Me Kid' on January 20 - check out the video for the belter below.
Where did you two first meet?
Steff: We both studied in the same MusicSA VET course in 2013, and gravitated toward each other through musical taste.
What would you cite as shared influences?
Steff: We listen to different music, some would definitely overlap. We both appreciate a good rhythm or riff and like dissecting songs.
Jack: I think we both get into bands like Children Collide, Rage Against The Machine, Dead Letter Circus and just big riff bands really. I think individually we both listen to quite different music which is why we achieve the sound we do, I guess!
Have either of you had much experience in bands before Moonhunter?
Jack: Steff is in Tomorrow Rising, and I'm in Slick Arnold. It's quite cool to see the differences in our backgrounds come together to create the music that Moonhunter does, as we both have a lot to bring to the table.
The single teaser posted on Facebook hints at a very full sound - how do you guys intend to replicate this live as a duo?
Steff: We kept the studio tricks to a minimum and used the same equipment as we do live, to make sure the studio and live performances aren't worlds apart. I play through a guitar and bass amp. Jack's harmonies add a lot to the sound as well.
Jack: We have been playing shows live for the past 6 months, and over time it's become better and better, as Steff works out ways to make his guitar sound nice and huge. The way that the signal is split with various effects and whatnot makes for a great clear live sound, I think.
How does the songwriting process work between you two - are song ideas brought to the table individually or are they worked upon jams?
Steff: Up until now I've written most chunks of the material and taken it to rehearsal to nut out the rest. Jack will add his harmonies, and make suggestions for tweaks in what I've written. It heightens the songs for sure.
Jack: Steff had a lot of riffs and also full songs written when I joined the band so I just did my bit and fit into those moulds, I guess. As far as writing goes now, we both might have a little idea for a riff, or even just a tempo and time signature or something and we just feed off each other's ideas. A lot of the stuff we write gets birthed from jams, I personally think that's the best way to really write very tight and natural music.
Has it been challenging trying to create such a bombastic sound as a two piece?
Steff: Bombastic!! The challenging part for me is having to play every part of the song while singing. So I'll be doing bass lines and have to keep the main melody going instead of just chords for example. It sounds mental when it's mixed right at a venue!
What was expected at the single launch? Scissor Kicks? Flaming drumsticks? Somebody sculling a drink midway through the set?
Steff: The launch blew away my expectations. I think there were about 115 people there, and the room was set alight when we started. Lots and lots of good energy thrown around, ya' know?
Are there plans for a follow up release after this single?
Jack: At this stage I think we are planning for an EP sometime later this year, which should be nice and epic.
You opened for Stonefield during their national tour in August - how was that?
Steff: That was like my third or fourth ever time singing live, so I was s****** my pants beforehand. We played to a packed out room at Rocket Bar and it felt damn good.
Jack: That was a fun show, it was actually my first show in the band, so it was a nice 'welcome to Moonhunter' kinda night. Stonefield were tight.
Can you describe your dream gig in one sentence? It can be as ridiculous as you want.
Jack: I dunno, maybe to play inside a three dimensional water tank, with beautiful fish swimming around us. That'd be pretty mint.
Steff: I will raise Jack one - an aquarium floating in the sky, with hot air balloons with the Moonhunter logo on it - and when we reach far enough above the ocean, it detaches and sends the fish home to freedom.
Finally, what was the last thing you guys ate?
Jack: Anzac Biscuit.
Keep up to date with Moonhunter on Facebook here.
Header image supplied.