The Moonlight Club is a Montreal based power trio with exceptional songwriting craft that released their first LP on Feb 2nd, 2018 including two official singles. They possess a refreshing and energizing signature sound that demonstrates strong hooks combined with inspired creativity.
You don’t want to miss their intimate album launch at L’Escogriffe this Thursday.
Time spent in studio: 9 days
Number of songs on LP: 7
Number of musicians: 3
Sound: lush jangly guitars with a generous helping of 80s new wave hooks
Band formation: 2010
Artist Development Support: Indie Montreal
Past work: 2 EPs (2015, 2016)
They look like typical indie rockers you’ll spot walking the shady streets of the Mile End; beards, jeans, tattoos and semi-hollow guitars. But what distinguishes this power trio are its songs: energetic, authentic, with an unusual intensity.
The indie three-piece drew inspiration for the band’s name from a club in London’s West End Lane that showcased bands that were part of the New Romantics club scene of the 80s including Joy Division and The Specials. The fact that psychedelic electronic act The Stone Roses played there before the beloved club closed down added to its mystic appeal.
Primary songwriter, guitarist and lead singer Francois Royer Mireault and John Pankert (bass and vocals) each jammed with a lot of musicians over the years but it was really their chemistry together that fueled their passion to embark on a musical journey that captured the attention of artist development firm Indy Montreal.
That chemistry remained strong and lead to the creation of their first EP, Words in Gold, in 2015, and then again to their next big step which was recording their first debut self-titled album in 2017.
Francois draws inspiration from The Stone Roses, Neil Young and The Kinks.
“These bands write beautiful timeless songs that leave you dreaming for days. They record songs in their own way with their own quirks and particularities. These artists write songs that come from an honest place.”
Frank Rousso’s agile expressive drumming and John’s groove laden deep bass lines draw inspiration from bands like Half Moon Run, Plants & Animals and Leif Vollebekk.
An Obsession With Songwriting
Francois’s approach to songwriting is organic and free flowing, where there is no start or finish.
“I’m always observing reality and re-purposing it into a song.”
His phone is filled with little bits of ideas here and there. When the right time comes, he’ll use his backlog of 15-20 ideas and then he’ll hunker down and really focus on the details.
Both he and John, the band’s other primary songsmith, work on their concepts by themselves until a sketch is ready to show others. After that, its months of fine tuning with the objective ears of friends and band-mates and then a final spin with a producer.
“Songwriting isn’t just a craft, it’s an obsession. There is no recipe. You can copy tricks from famous songwriters and pop stars but it won’t feel authentic. Your audience knows instinctively when a song is authentic and when it’s not.”
Living Life Large At Breakglass Studios
The band burrowed themselves away for only nine days in the studio to emerge back into the world with seven brand new songs. They chose to record at famed Breakglass Studios nestled in a loft in the hills of Montreal’s leafy Plateau.
With 5000 square feet, vintage Fender Silverface amps, a 70s Ludwig drum kit, a grocery list of ribbon microphones, and a 1968 Neve Pre 80 Series input console; the boys were in good company. Guided by the wisdom of talented producer David Smith (Elephant Stone, Patrick Watson, Leif) the band went on a musical journey and discovered what they were made of.
Spacious Dreamlike Sounds From The Ether
In the vein of less is more, The Moonlight Club demonstrates that a lot can come out of simplicity.
Although they already recorded two EPs before this album, their core signature sound has remained the same. If anything, they’ve refined the arrangements for recording their first LP demonstrating an increase in confidence and willingness to reveal more.
With less fills, less distortion, less speed and more space for vocals, and the addition of agile drummer Francois Rousseau, the band has channeled the spirit of raw authentic bands like Neil Young and Joy Divison, celebrating their own unique take of an expansive energizing sound.
“Our sound is a natural response to the overproduced music on the airwaves right now. It’s just not good for your brain or your soul.”
The band opted for a raw sound for other reasons as well such as limited studio time and being a three piece power trio, but perhaps even more importantly:
“It’s way more fun to just plug and play,” Francois noted, “when the band plays live, what you hear on the record is what you hear on stage.”
Plans for 2018 include several shows already booked in Montreal for the upcoming months, filming some original video clips for some of the songs as well as creative side projects for various members of the band. Also, there are some live sessions with local radios in the pipeline. In addition, the band has their eye on getting on the roster for outdoor summer festivals to gain exposure to a wider fan base.