As the year slowly starts to come to an end, so does the conclusion of Moulettes 2 year tour in support of “Preternatural”. The album has taken the band across Europe, Canada and beyond. Things aren’t ending quietly for the Brighton based multi-instrumentalists however, as this 18 date tour of the UK shows.
With elements of prog-rock, folk, electro and mystical sea creatures “Preternatural” by Moulettes is possibly their best work yet. Live the band are something to behold too (review of 2015 gig with Nizlopi here). Having started the last leg of their tour, Hannah Miller kindly took time out for this interview with Mr Teeth Reviews:
It’s hard to believe the ‘Preternatural’ tour started almost 2 years ago, how’s it all been going?
“Time gets squished in a funny way on tour, thats true. We’ve had many adventures- coast to coast in Canada twice, across from the Netherlands to Poland, Malta, and Scandinavia… We have met many wonderful people, we’ve played millions of notes, and eaten a thousand sandwiches…“
Where have you got left to visit, anywhere in particular you’re looking forward to?
“Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh are a few places where we haven’t stopped off for a while, that I always enjoy. There are 20 dates on this tour, and we’ll try and document the journeys and get a taste of each place.”
Likewise anywhere you wish you could have played?
“In the world? Many many places… traveling and experiencing new cultures, meeting people- that’s what it’s all about. In the UK, I wish we had had a welsh date, but it didn’t work out this time around.”
For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to check out the album, can you explain the concept?
“Each song takes its inspiration from a particular creature; it’s behaviour and characteristics. We wanted to use it as a mirror to our own species, and to celebrate the wonderful and strange hidden worlds in the animal kingdom. It really ended up being a dialogue about how dangerous ‘monoculture’ is – whether in an ecosystem, in music, in a society. Diversity is essential for adaption and survival.”
Are there any tracks particularly difficult to recreate live?
“There were a couple that needed re-working – but that’s the beauty of live music- the songs evolve and change, we adapt them for the live show.“
I had the chance of seeing you play a couple of in-store events how do you go about stripping them back?
“We cut out the synths and samplers, and tend to do it a little more acoustically. Oliver has been known to create a fine drum kit out with cello case as kick drum and shakey egg. It’s fun hearing the songs breathe in different ways.”
(You can read about one of the Pie & Vinyl events here)
I do love a concept album, which others are up there among your favourites?
“It’s interesting to define what we mean by concept records… It’s a broad spectrum.
Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain, Bobbie Gentry- The Delta Sweete, Beatles- Sgt Peppers, Kate Bush – The Red Shoes & more recently, Bjork- Biophilia, Janelle Monae – Arch Android. Anais Mitchell – Hadestown.”
Are there any more concept alums in the pipeline for the Moulettes?
“A wise person once told me, never discuss work in progress ! secrecy helps the ideas grow. But I also do love concepts, I like the perimeters and focus that it brings, and the layers of detail that can shine through.”
This is also the first album with Raevennan Husbandes joining the band, what does Raevennan bring to the Moulettes (both musically and personally)?
“Dazzling moves, dizzying shreds, and a golden voice, great company and inspirational hygiene.”
Before “Preternatural” there was “Constellations” with a bunch of special guests, how did they come about?
“Constellations was about documenting all the shining people we have worked with through the years, from Contemporaries like Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets), Emma Richardson (Band of Skulls) & The Unthanks to legends like Arthur Brown (God of Hellfire) & Herbie Flowers (Lou Reed, David Bowie). We assembled a chamber orchestra of glittering souls from people we had met and play with in Brighton.”
Is there anyone else you’d love to collaborate with?
“Björk, Laura Mvula, Esperanza Spalding, Xuefei Yang.”
Finally, as we’re reaching the end of the year, what does 2018 have in store for you outside of the band?
“Immediately after the tour, hopefully, port, cheese and sofa times… in the new year, we will be regathering for some creative sabbatical times. Some of us will be on tour as The Levellers string / percussion section to tour the record we made in Abbey Road. I (Hannah) am playing some shows with the magnificent and unique poet & musician, Alabaster De Plume.“