How did Moonface get it’s start?
It was a long time ago now, at least 5 years. I was still playing in the other band Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown and I just wanted to start anything where there were no rules or no set members or set instrumentation. It was just a moniker under which I could experiment and not have to worry about keeping to one certain sound or one certain group of people. So I started Moonface.
How long have you been playing the piano?
On and off since I was about 12.
Who are some of your music inspirations?
There’s this guy Destroyer, a friend of mine, Dan Bejar. I think he’s a really great lyricist. I listen to a lot of instrumental music, random contemporary classical stuff and the old classics like Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith. I’ve been listening to a lot of classical stuff lately.
How would you describe your songwriting process?
I would say every song is different. Some of them happen in an hour and some of them take a month to finalize and become what they naturally want to be. In general it comes pretty naturally. I don’t really have a set process. I just sit down and start fooling around until I hear something I like. I start structuring it, singing melodies, or maybe I have some words that I’ve written down somewhere. Then I sit down with those in mind and start making music around the words or sometimes the right words around the music. It’s just chaos really.
What is your favorite aspect of touring?
I like the constant motion. It’s sort of dreamlike existence where you’re never in one spot for longer than a day and you’re constantly moving and everything is constantly like in your wake. Even if I play a bad show and make a fool of myself it’s like…whatever. You get too drunk one night, just get in the car, and literally just drive away for hours. That’s sort of a cleansing, dreamlike, refreshing existence. That’s not the way that anyone can exist when you’re in the same spot all the time. That’s how people live right? So it’s a unique existence that way. I also love meeting strangers and talking to them. I meet so many random people everyday. When I tour Europe it’s not quite the same because of all the language barriers, but when I’m back over here in North America it’s a nice feel to be able to talk to everyone and hear their unbelievable stories.
How do you connect with the crowd when playing a live show?
Through music…haha. I try to always create like a two way transmission. I try to sort of respect the fact that the audience is there, that people even bothered to show up to hear what I’m doing, and that’s a huge compliment. So I try to respect that and create a relationship with them for the hour I’m on stage. Sometimes bands feel the urge to act like the audience is not there. It’s weird. I like a two way transmission where the energy goes both ways, but to answer how I create that transmission I really don’t know.
What is a performance you have been really inspired by?
I don’t really think in terms of favorites or the best, but the Braves from Montreal…I just saw them in Portugal. I was playing a festival there, and they played right after me at a different venue, so I went out and watched them. I didn’t know what to expect. I had heard their first record, and it didn’t have much of an impact on me. I just wasn’t expecting anything, then what I saw were these three kids playing really amazing electronic music and really amazing vocals over the top. They were just so present and together. They were playing together as three people. They weren’t just three musicians on stage. They had become one. It was mesmerizing and addicting. I don’t normally watch a whole show. I don’t have the patience, but that show I just stood there, and I was kind of transfixed. It turns out their last record was fucking amazing and I had no idea! So after that I found their album. They had gone in a more electronic direction which I wasn’t expecting, and it was really cool.
What has been your most memorable performance?
After I made the record, Heartbreaking Bravery, with Siinai, a band from Finland, we went on tour, and we had this amazing show in Poland. The day before we had been in Berlin, and all of us stayed up all night partying, especially me and the drummer. It’s Berlin. It’s easy to do that there because the bars don’t close. We just went too hard, stayed up way too late, and got kind of obliterated. We rolled into Poland after a hard day of driving on unfinished highways, looking like just the most tired, dirtiest pieces of shit/worst human beings ever. We actually had to lift our drummer onto the stage because he had fallen the night before and hurt his leg, and he was too hungover to get on the stage himself. Then we had the most fun show. Music is feeling. I guess because we needed to push ourselves the extra step in order to have the songs come out a decent way that created this magic between us, and the audience reciprocated. People appreciated that we had to try really hard, and they helped us along. We had a blast. It was one of the best shows ever. We ended up doing a lot of improvising, jamming for way too long, and to think we came on stage thinking it was going to be an absolute fucking mess.
Don’t miss Spencer at the Mammal Gallery on 2/9! Tickets are $12 Online and phone sales close @ 4 p.m. day of show.