Releasing their debut album in 2012, Canadian earnest folk-poppers Half Moon Run suddenly found themselves torn from their day jobs in kitchens and out onto stages across the globe, as tracks like Nerve and Full Circle struck straight into the rib cages of anyone with ears and a soul.
“We drove 100,000km in 2013,” sighs Devon Portielje, co-vocalist/guitarist from under a baseball cap, slumped on a table, hungover. “We drive a lot.”
“You turn into mush,” adds Conner Molander, also responsible for guitar and vocals, somewhat chirpier. “I can’t even read.”
“And then eventually the mind just slows to a halt and you’re just in the van,” continues Devon in a low growl.
“And then your phone doesn’t work, so you just look at it,” shrugs Conner.
Retiring themselves from gigging at the end of last year’s festival season to fully focus on writing, they fell back into routine life. “It was great for the past year,” beams Conner. “We got back into the swing of things, I got my life back a bit. I was just basking in domestic bliss - jogging, cooking. So now I’m honestly afraid.”
Back on the road and with new record Sun Leads On Me out this autumn, Conner may be worrying about the return of his mush brain, but when it comes to the music they’ve made, he’s fully confident. “We did it, and we did really seriously our best with it and now we’re just like, at peace with it whatever happens.
“At first the writing was a little slow, actually. It took a while to get into the groove. It was like starting a new band again. But I’ve no problems with the consequences, we did our best and whatever happens, so be it.”
And what one thing have they brought to the new record that they picked up from their three epic years playing to anyone and everyone? “One thing we were talking about is why can’t we ever sit on a groove?” asks Conner. “Like, our songs are so concise, they’re like these packaged little one punch kind of things, and then you hear some bands that are just confidently, elegantly, sitting on grooves. So we were at least trying to give ourselves the opportunity to do that live.”
Recording their new album part in Montreal and part in LA, and working with producer Jim Abbiss, they entered the studio ready to perform. “The last record was more pieced together, like instrument by instrument”, explains Conner. “This one, sometimes we’d get like drums, bass, two guitars and a lead vocal all at the same time on the same take, so it really was a more live playing experience”
“Yeah, this is more how we actually sound,” agrees Devon.
“Everybody knew this time around how polished your parts have to be and how strong you have to be,” continues Conner. “No more figuring things out as you play them, you have to be really ready. And since we were, it was a lot more enjoyable to just try and get the best performances. Rather than just, like, trying to pull it off. Our standard was higher.”