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In the midst of an 18-month long international tour alongside Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men, Metric and Patrick Watson, Half Moon Run made a stop back at their home base of Montreal last May to play a show on the banks of the Lachine Canal.
As HMR made it on stage, the crowd of roughly 10,000 stood in the drizzling rain cheering in anticipation of their first song…not bad for the opening act. Flash forward to today, where the group is now headlining in Europe, performing songs from their debut album Dark Eyes, which was released in 2012.▼ Article continues below ▼
The band — Devon Portielje (lead vocals, guitars, drums), Conner Molander (vocals, guitars, keys), Dylan Phillips (vocals, drums, keys) and Isaac Symonds (vocals, drums, guitars keys) — was dubbed by Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett as “one of the most important bands debuting an album” last year. During the writing process, Phillips said they had no idea what kind of sound they were going to produce.
“We weren’t really ever interested in preconceived ideas about sonic qualities or messages or themes,” Phillips explains. “For us, the jam space is kind of a sacred place where you leave your ego and your preconceptions at the door and try to focus on the music at hand.”
When released in Canada by Indica Records, the album received instant praise and was quickly picked up by Glassnote Entertainment Group to be released globally. Now, the band is looking forward to working on their next album, which Phillips believes will be noticeably different than Dark Eyes.
“We had almost completely different social lives [before], so any time we spent together was, for the most part, writing music,” he says. “We’re wondering what’s going to happen with album two now that we spend basically all of our time together on the road.”
With musical influences that range from Bob Dylan and Steely Dan to Jon Hopkins and Bonobo, along with touring experiences like racing amps down hills in Leuven, Belgium and bodysurfing at 3 a.m. in Sydney, Australia, HMR is sure to find their own musical identity and sound.
“It’s more interesting to try and free yourself from the idea and just write what feels best.”
HOMETOWN: Montreal, QC
GENRE: Indie Folk Rock
ARTISTIC APPROACH: Ditching writing clichés for jam space inspiration.
photo by Valeria Cherchi