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December 2018 / January 2019
Feature

Moose Blood: The great unknown

Right now, the UK’s rock underground is hoarding increasingly shiny gems. With their second album, Moose Blood shine so bright they’re heading straight for the surface.
Published: 9:00 am, August 10, 2016
Moose Blood: The great unknown
"This one ain’t like the last one,” promise Moose Blood on ‘Sway’. Sure, they’re not actually talking about the differences between debut ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time’ and ‘Blush’ but the message still rings loud and true. See, Moose Blood can’t help but sing about being Moose Blood. Everything Eddy Brewerton, Kyle Todd, Glenn Harvey and Mark Osbourne live, finds a home in their music. And a lot has changed for the band between then and now. Despite everything though, ‘Blush’ makes sense of it all.

Where their debut was lit with a comforting reflection and not-so-subtle nods to Jimmy Eat World, Death Cab For Cutie and Brand New, the follow up is wholly theirs. “You get a better understanding of your own ability,” starts Kyle, before Glenn adds: “Or what makes something good.” And with ‘Blush’, Moose Blood are very good indeed. Bigger than just an emo record, it’s an album poised to cross over, all breakaway songs, spirited adventure and heart. So much heart.

Growing up surrounded by people who played music, Moose Blood were drawn to each other. “We were definitely part of a good little clique where everyone was making music for fun,” explains Kyle. “Everyone was doing it for the passion of wanting to play and go see these shows. This spirit of music was definitely there. And it still is.” Despite the band swiftly growing out of the pubs and back rooms of Chatham and Canterbury, they haven’t outgrown the excitement that came with it.

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In the eighteen months that followed their debut, Moose Blood were constantly on the move. From a free entry album release show at London’s Old Blue Last, to a gruelling summer in the US on the Vans Warped Tour, through a gallant return to Reading & Leeds alongside a host of other tours and then onwards to announcing and swiftly selling out KOKO at the start of this year, the band have been on a hectic, dizzying journey. There hasn’t been a ‘moment’ to set it all off - just a growing investment in what the band are doing.

“More people are singing along to the songs, but apart from that I don’t think anything massively changed,” offers Eddy of their story so far.

“We never felt it change because we never thought ‘oh, we’re playing to a bigger audience’ or ‘we’ve been all around America and people have been singing on every date of Warped Tour. It’s like,” Mark stumbles. “I don’t know how we take it in.”

Instead of focusing on what’s going on around them, Moose Blood like to focus on what they can control; the music, the visuals, the merch and their connection to their fans. They want to inspire others to create but ask them about their position as head of a UK scene that includes the likes of Creeper and Milk Teeth, and Mark’s reasoning is that “maybe we’ve just been around longer.” “We don’t really think about that outsider perspective. They’re all bands we’ve toured with,” adds Glenn. “Creeper are our mates.”

And while the band are never going to “sit around with our head up our own arse”, Moose Blood can’t help but feel things start to change with ‘Blush’. As the release draws near, it’s getting scarier, but their excitement is holding steady. “It’s this massive unknown,” says Glenn. “Once the record’s done, it’s done. You can’t change it. It just comes down to whether people want to accept it or not.”

“We’ve done our job,” smiles Eddy.

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But it wasn’t an easy one. Going into the studio under-prepared because of the sheer amount of touring the band had done, their only vision was to create a record that was better than their first. They thought and rethought every angle of ‘Blush’. “We just wanted to get the best out of ourselves,” claims Mark. “If we didn’t think something was good enough, we’d go over it. I don’t think we over-thought stuff in a way that was bad; we just needed to do it so we could do the best possible thing. We didn’t want to settle. I don’t think we could really afford to. Maybe you can have more of that attitude and mentality towards it if it’s the first thing you’re ever going to put out but wanting to make a better record than our first, we did really think about it.”

‘Blush’ is definitely a Moose Blood record, but it’s a Moose Blood record written after two years of touring. This one ain’t like the last one. There’s a comfort within the band. Mark can check with Kyle about the name of the pedal he was playing around with to create ‘Sway’ and the group are quick to poke fun at what each other are saying. It’s a bond that sees the band at ease in each other’s company and, extended to Beau, can be felt across ‘Blush’.

‘Freckle’ is about being away a lot. “You fall out because you don’t speak as much as you should do and that strain goes into a relationship. It’s about falling out with your girlfriend, or your wife, and them giving you a bit of gip,” while ‘Sulk’, one of the first songs written for the record, came from “a living room jam session,” and is simply about family. Moose Blood have always had an openness to them, it’s probably one of the reasons why people feel such a strong connection to the group, but ‘Blush’ takes that further.

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There are songs about death, about loss and about the fear of losing. ‘Pastel’ picks up where ‘Cherry’ left off. “When we wrote the first record, I was engaged, about to get married and about to start this new life,” explains Eddy. “It’s just following on from that. It’s a song for my wife,” he continues before breaking into a smile. “She likes it.” It’s a similar story for ‘Sway’, which is about his brother-in-law. “He had a bit of a tough time and he did some silly things. It was me telling him that he’s better than this because he’s a lovely person. And he loves it too.”

Every song on ‘Blush’ has a meaning and every moment is there for a reason. But again, beyond that, the band aren’t focusing on what they can’t control. They want people to get whatever they get from it. “We haven’t written a bunch of songs where we want people to feel a certain way or anything like that. Whatever people get from it and if people are into it, that’s great. If it can go down or be as anywhere near as well-received as the first record, we’ll be over the moon,” beams Mark. “As long as it doesn’t go the other way.”

Moose Blood’s “just go with it and see what happens” attitude has carried them this far and while that’s unlikely to ever change, ‘Blush’ has seen them take ownership like never before. “We’re definitely in control of every decision that we make. I think we’re really lucky to have that,” offers Glenn.

“We’ve got some great people around us but at the end of the day, everything is our decision,” starts Mark. “And they’ve made that clear to us, it is our call at the end of the day. We do feel in control of what we’re doing, which is awesome. Maybe not the future of the band, because you never know what’s going to happen.” But right now it’s a privileged position to be in, they say, to be “doing what you love and have full control over that.” And that feeling, like ‘Honey’, will only get better.
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Moose Blood’s album ‘Blush’ is out now. Taken from the August issue of Dork - order a copy here.

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