Hohoho, it's time for The Big Moon's present swap.
Hats, jumpers and bundles of cheer, Jules, Cee, Soph and Fern are huddled around the Christmas tree, trying to untangle fairy lights and find the broken bulb. “I did it!” shouts Fern triumphantly. “I saved Christmas with my tiny spanner!” Once the band have decided on who’s wearing which piece of festive headwear, they settle down to exchange gifts.
Secret Santa is a Christmas tradition. You get given the name of someone, you buy that person a present within the £5 spending limit, someone else buys you a present, and you all keep it secret until everyone has unwrapped their gift. Happy tidings all around.
Jules unwraps a light-up photo-slash-Christmas-card holder, depending on the time of year. Fern gets a wooden elephant and a Queen of Awesomeness mug. Cee gets a Winnie The Pooh book of wisdom, and Soph spends a good ten minutes unwrapping a shoe-box sized present before finally getting to a matchbox-sized parcel with a folded up £5 note inside. Everyone is on the floor in hysterics.
“I’m going to say my present is from Fern,” ventures Jules. “I mean, it’s a process of elimination really,” she replies. “We talked about how Cee got me mine; you got that for Soph and Soph said in the Winnie The Pooh book that it was from her, so yours probably was from me.”
“Oh, I didn’t actually do that. I just know you like shopping in Tiger.”
“If you ever want to find someone a present, just go to Tiger,” Fern tells us with a knowing nod. “I got that for Jules ‘cos she takes good photos and I thought it would be nice to put them up. It would be nice above your bed. I thought it would be nice and sentimental. That’s me in a nutshell. Sentimental. And modest.”
“I was looking for a nice coffee mug for Fern,” starts Cee. “Then I saw the Queen of Awesomeness one, which isn’t particularly nice but she is the Queen of Awesomeness, and I like the fact that once you’ve finished your drink, it says “Yeah” at the bottom. You wake up; you’ve already achieved something by finishing your drink. And Fern always draws elephants, so.”
“I do. It’s the only thing I can draw. Plus an elephant never forgets. I always forget, so we’re the opposite.”
“And they’re vegetarians,” adds Soph.
“Are they?” starts Jules, before answering her own question. “Obviously elephants don’t eat animals. Can you imagine it picking up a monkey and eating it? It wouldn’t happen,” she continues. “I bet they eat little bugs though. They wouldn’t say no to a little cockroach.”
“They’re too gentle,” reasons Fern. “They are gentle, right? Wait. I’m not going too off topic, sorry.”
Soph was going to spend her £5 on a pint, before Jules explains: “I was thinking you could buy macaroni cheese.”
“You could!” exclaims Cee. “£4.95 in Pret. Did you actually go to any shops, Jules? When did you come up with that idea?”
“She’s very easy to buy for, but it was the first thing I thought of.”
“I love your brain,” says Cee.
“It’s a good brain,” agrees Fern.
“I just hate when you have to buy something cheap, and you don’t know what you’re going to get yet, and the person doesn’t want it. And also, I thought it would be funny. There wasn’t a great thought process behind it,” explains Jules.
“Half the joy is opening the present. I played pass-the-parcel with myself,” starts Soph, before Cee adds: “And us. And then yourself again. So many layers.”
“I was worried it wasn’t going to be enough,” admits Jules. “But it was great. I loved how you thought the gift was a little flannel.”
“And Tupperware,” beams Soph. “But I like Tupperware, and flannels are cool for washing. I got Cee the book ‘cos it’s cute, and I thought Cee would like it because Winnie The Pooh is cute. This isn’t specifically about you Cee, but it’s a good toilet book. One to keep on the shelf behind the loo.”
Everyone is quick to ask Soph if it’s a book from her own bathroom but no, “I got it from a shop. Plus, it’s nice to get little bits of wisdom from a bear.”
“A fictional bear as well, which I so often do,” grins Cee.
It’s no surprise that The Big Moon can turn a silly gift exchange into something wholesome and heartwarming. Back when they were recording debut album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’, they told us how they just don’t do sad songs. And since its release earlier this year, they haven’t needed any.
“It’s been the best year of our lives, probably,” ventures Jules before each one of the gang repeats the same sentiment, word for word. “Yay. We’ve done so many things this year, we’ve been so busy.” She continues as the band start reflecting. “Remember SXSW?” “That was so long ago.” “Was that even this year?”
“I’ve forgotten loads. I’ll have that bit between Christmas and New Years where you think about a lot, I’ll think about it then,” promises Fern.
“It’s been pretty intense, and now we’ve played the last show of the last tour for a while, and it’s kinda weird.”
That show at London’s KOKO was “the best show we’ve ever done in the best year of our lives,” according to the whole band but the tour, in general, was “so good; there were so many people, and they all knew the words. It was the biggest, best tour but that London show especially,” continues Jules, before Fern admits: “I had to have a lay down before.”
“And I had a weird laughing fit when we came off stage,” grins Jules. “It was just so much fun. It felt like everyone was really enjoying it. Us, the crowd, and the people on the balconies.”
“It was nice to end it on a high. I’m glad we rounded off this album cycle with a sell-out tour, visiting loads of different places and with Get Inuit, who are amazing. Then we did this big huge London show at this place we’ve always wanted to play, we sold it out, and all our friends were there, our family. It was this whole big party, and now we can look back and go yeah, we smashed it,” explains Cee.
“I’m really proud of us,” beams Jules, as The Big Moon share the feeling with each other.
“I didn’t get to the point where I got tired of playing those songs,” Cee continues. “I look forward to having fresh ones though. I’m looking forward to next year already. Can’t wait to see what bangers you churn out,” she says, looking at Jules. (“No pressure, Santa,” adds Soph.) “We’re not sure how much time we’re taking off, it’ll be what it is, which is also quite nice about how this year has gone. I don’t feel nervous about this time off or nervous about what happens next, whatever that is. And we also get back into rehearsal phase, ‘cos that’s my favourite phase of banding. You’re just in the rehearsal studio for days at a time, and it feels like you’re going to work every day, but you’re still just sitting around, drinking a lot of tea and yay, we made a song. We’re great. We’re such a great band.”
“It’s just remembering to do all that again,” says Fern.
“It feels really good when you get it and when it comes together,” continues Jules. “I was thinking last night, you know when we have a new song, and no one knows how the drums are going to go? We just have to work it out. I was trying to remember how all the drums go in all our songs, and I don’t even know anymore. It’s so long since we recorded the album and we play them every night, but I don’t really listen to the drum beats, I play in time. I don’t think ‘Oh cool fill’, I’m too busy thinking about what I’m doing.”
“Stop talking Jules,” interjects Fern.
“You know I think you’re the best drummer in the world.”
“You don’t know many drummers.”
“In the same way, I don’t think ‘Oh Soph did that solo again’,” starts Cee, before realising: “I was trying to deflect, but now I’m just being a dick to you.”
“She’s doing it again,” replies Soph. “Getting on stage, playing our song. What do you expect me to do? Fine, I’ll try some improv next year. Practice my scales.”
“Just shake it up,” shrugs Cee.
“We’re going to do it all again. Work it all out again, and it’s going to be new and exciting,” promises Jules. “I’ve started writing already. It takes a while to get going. It takes a lot of pottering. I’m doing a lot of pottering at the moment, but I’ll get there. I had to take down a calendar that my boyfriend put up on my bedroom wall ‘cos it was putting me off. It was one of those calendars they have at school, the whole of 2018 on one poster. My boyfriend tried to tell me ‘It’s an artwork’. Nah, it’s horrible, so I took it down. I’ve been doing things like that, planning the atmosphere. I’ve got a pink lamp which is really nice. I’ve been eating lots of brazil nuts.” - “Good fats,” according to Fern. - “It all comes into your creative process.”
“How’s the album going?” “I’m eating a lot of brazil nuts.” “Say no more.”
“Fat sounds,” winks Fern.
Taken from the December 2017 / January 2018 issue of Dork, out now. Order a copy here.