Eora/Sydney based musician, songwriter, singer and presenter GEORGIA MOONEY (one quarter of ARIA Award-winning folk band All Our Exes Live In Texas) is excited to release her eagerly anticipated debut album Full of Moon, out now via Nettwerk, and new single Break It Off out everywhere now. Also featuring the singles War Romance and I Am Not In A Hurry, Full of Moon is a meticulously crafted sonic universe that tells stories of the beauty and potency of vulnerability, and the complexities of connection and perception, carried by Mooney’s soaring ethereal voice over lush, cinematic soundscapes.
Co-produced with Grammy Award-winning heavyweight Noah Georgeson (Cate Le Bon, Devendra Banhart, Marlon Williams, Joanna Newsom), Full of Moon is a glorious and imaginative sonic fresco, rich in texture and colour, and as wide in scope as the seductive intimacy of Mooney’s stunning vocals and confronting and deftly observed lyrics. The diversity of her songwriting is on full display: from Kate Bush-esque artful pop on War Romance, to 80s-inspired eccentricity on Some Of Us, to folk songs like What An Inconvenience and What’ll I Do which feel instantly timeless, as Mooney combines a breadth of influences to create a world and sound uniquely her own. Georgia talks to Hi Fi Way in greater detail album the album.
Is there a feeling of relief and satisfaction once you get to the finish line with your debut solo album?
Yes there really is! It’s been a long time coming. I feel like I’ve been thinking about this album for a decade. That’s the thing about a debut I think, often thoughts of it have been brewing as long as you can remember. It’s interesting to look back on all the stages of making a record. There’s the writing, which is the most quiet and contemplative stage, then there’s recording which involves collaboration and experimentation and thinking about things a bit more holistically. Then there’s promoting the record, revisiting narratives and trying to describe the music in a concise, entertaining way. Then I suppose there’s the moment when you release it and suddenly it is no longer yours, it’s in the hands of others. That’s quite a beautiful feeling, and a terrifying one too. I often think about how songwriting is such a private thing in many ways, that you then must perform and share very publicly. It’s strange getting your head around the music being just for you, and the music being for everyone else at the same time.
Was it always about finding the right time to do a solo album?
Yes I think so, logistically and perhaps emotionally too. I think there’s a bit of pressure that comes with a debut album. There’s a sense that you need to be defining yourself, and you only have this one chance to make a first impression. So perhaps I spent more time on the songs than I might have otherwise. At the same time, I had wanted to make an album years earlier but was too busy touring with All Our Exes Live in Texas. For a long time I felt a level of frustration that I wasn’t able to do both things. But in the end I’m glad it happened when it did. I learnt so much about music from those years with the band, I am a far better musician for having had that experience.
Is the song writing process cathartic for you?
Profoundly! Sometimes I think I treat it a little too much like a diary, pouring all my secrets into songs and forgetting, like I said, that one day ideally I’ll be singing them for people. So maybe it’s not a great idea to include the full names and addresses of your crushes. Songwriting is also definitely torturous, but I think that’s important too. Not everyone believes this, but I think you should really have to work hard on a song. Pay your respects to music in a way. I sound like a lunatic, but I do mean that. It should be hard yakka. But of course music is also immensely therapeutic. I encourage anyone to sit at an instrument and noodle away for a while. It’s a magical way of letting your brain go for a wander.
Were the ideas floating around in your mind for a while?
Yes, though many of the songs have transformed many times too. They’ve been polished and edited and sometimes turned entirely upside down. The oldest song is almost 9 years old. The youngest one was written while recording. Your taste changes over a period like that. They come from different times and places. I like to think of them as a collection of short stories in that sense.
Did you find it hard separating what you have done with All Our Exes Live In Texas?
Surprisingly, not particularly. In Exes we would write the songs separately and bring them to the band to be work-shopped and rearranged by the four of us. At the end of that process, the songs had a sound that was representative of our collective sound. I really liked the fact that each person had a completely different style. I don’t necessarily think I write differently for the band compared to for myself, it’s just that my songs go solely through my own filter, not an Exes filter, if that makes sense? Having said that, I think like anything, you get better at songwriting the more you do it, so the songs on my solo album are a lot more mature than the songs I wrote for Exes, simply by virtue of having been written with more experience and dare I say a tiny bit more wisdom?
Is it more challenging creating a solo album?
It is daunting! I love having full creative control. But I also miss sharing every step with band mates. The beauty of a band is sharing responsibility for everything. Every challenge is lighter because it is shared. But then of course there are conflicts and complications too! Creating a solo album feels like it takes more courage. It’s very exposing, but that can be liberating too.
Your band colleague Katie has released a solo album as well, did you do much compare and contrast?
She has and it’s wonderful! So has Hannah and I believe Elana has one on the way. Nooo I definitely don’t compare and contrast. One thing I feel very strongly about is that there is never any point in comparing yourself to another artist. There is room for everyone at the table! That’s the amazing thing about making music, no two artists are the same. I love the music the other girls are making and I’m very happy they are doing it! I feel like a proud sister.
Sonically, how would you describe Full Of Moon?
Here are a few key words: lush, cinematic, romantic, whimsical, lustful, camp, melodic, maximalist, folky, baroque-y, art-pop-y, colourful, atmospheric, daydreamy, gazing at the moon. It features layers of dulcimer, piano, synths, electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, strings, bass, brass, drums and harmonies. It was inspired by the likes of Kate Bush, Rufus Wainwright, ABBA, Joni Mitchell and more… all artists who seek beauty and embrace strangeness.
What did you think when you played the finished version of the album back for the first time?
Overwhelmed and full to bursting. I love this album. I love the parts that my fellow musicians contributed, I love the work that my producer Noah put into it. I think it’s quite unique and special, and I’m proud of that.
Are there plans for more touring over the summer?
Yes! I’m off to the UK for a couple of months. Then from January through to March next year I’m very excited to be going on a big thirty-date regional tour all around the country with the incredible Kate Miller-Heidke. I can’t wait!!
Interview By Rob Lyon
Full Of Moon is out now…