You know that thing where you learn a new word one day and then suddenly it’s everywhere? It’s in every piece of text you read, crops up in every conversation? Well, it turns out that feeling has a name. Known as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, it’s apparently all down to the brain’s prejudices towards patterns. And it’s also how I feel about The Big Moon.
I’d heard their name perhaps a week before I first met them in Leeds, pulling silly shapes on the dance floor of a festival after party. And then I saw them EVERYWHERE. At every festival, on every line up, every blog post, hell – every email.
Now sitting with singer Juliette and bassist Celia in the June sunshine just a week before their single launch, it all does seem a little suspect. I mean, for an indie band to just appear, so fully formed, as if from nowhere…
And the first thing I said was, ‘You’ve got shit shoes’. But it’s just not true.
“Yeah,” nods Juliette, “I kind of feel, especially when we’ve done interviews with people, I kind of feel they’re quite suspicious of us. Like they’re kind of thinking, how do four girls get in the same room at the same time, who can all play, who can all be friends? Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but it does feel like we’ve got something to prove.”
“I mean, I wish we could say, oh we met at school and we’ve been friends forever,” chips in Celia, before Juliette laughs, “And the first thing I said was, ‘You’ve got shit shoes’. But it’s just not true.”
“But it doesn’t make it any less real.” Celia reminds her with a stern nod.
Formed just over a year ago by lead singer/guitarist Juliette, intimidatingly tall with a warm charm and the kind of hair that could rock a side ponytail, the four piece are completed by Celia, Soph, and Fern who was supposed to join us for the interview but had to go home because she thought she’d left her hair straighteners on.
“Fern definitely does not use hair straighteners,” asserts Juliette. “She’s got curly hair.”
“And Fern does not leave things plugged in,” confirms Celia, who complete with choker necklace draws to mind a The Craft era Neve Campbell.
I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats reading this, so let me just allay all fears and reveal that Fern’s straighteners were unplugged in the end, and all was well.
Sitting with Celia and Juliette over the course of an hour, it was hard to keep track of the conversation. They drag you off in tangents, laugh, joke, and bounce off each other with the kind of sentence finishing second-guessing that only comes from a true bond of friendship.
It took several months for Juliette to piece together the right line up for The Big Moon, but sitting with them I guess good things do come to those who wait, or at least those who hold numerous awkward pub try outs with prospective band members.
“Fern was first to join,” Juliette begins. “We met in the pub through friends, like a blind date. And she was drinking coffee and reading Game Of Thrones and I had a whisky, and I went and sat next to her and was like, ‘Hi.’ I don’t know how I knew it was her because I didn’t know what she looked like. I think it was something to do with the Game of Thrones and the fact she was there alone… I think she may have had a snare drum as well.”
After years of playing in different bands, some with friends, “Singing someone else’s words and playing someone else’s things as I was too shy to do anything myself,” and some as a session musician, Juliette eventually snapped.
“I was just like, I want a band, I want a band, I want a band, I want a band…” She laughs. “And then started trying to write songs and the rest is history.”
Meeting her now manager Louise Latimer through friends, Juliette plucked up the courage to share her first attempts at songwriting, but only after some serious persuasion. “She was like, begging me to show her, and I can’t even remember why,” Juliette puzzles.
“And I showed her and she said that they were good, and I was like, ‘What?? Really??’ And she encouraged me to write more like, ‘What do you want to do? What are you doing?’
“I was like, I’m going to start a band! So I started asking everyone everywhere if they knew how to play instruments, or would learn instruments, or knew anyone who would learn instruments.”
Fern came first, hired for her skills behind the kit, not her prudence with electrical equipment. “Fern is wonderful, glows Celia leaning in close to the mic and enunciating, “One of my favourite people. Ever.”
“Yeah, she loves Tetris in the van,” adds Juliette referring to the rare dad-like ability to pack a vehicle effectively. “She also writes spreadsheets about things and she laminated our merch signs. I don’t know where she got a laminator? I mean I wouldn’t mind a laminator. Imagine all the things you could laminate.”
“You could laminate every page of your books and read them in the bath,” replies Celia as a matter of fact. “Fern is so smart. I mean she plays the drums and the keys at the same time, and the SPD. You have to have like mega levels of a logical brain to do those things.”
“She’s like a circus animal!” Bursts in Juliette as we point out that that’s not really the compliment she was aiming for.
Next came lead guitarist Soph, who according to Celia has been playing guitar since the age of seven. “She sent us these recordings she did the other day when she was like 13, of her doing covers of Golden Touch by Razorlight in the band she was in with her friends at the time and her voice sounds so adorable. So, she’s always been cool.”
Juliette met with her in the same pub; “I walked past her and I was like, ooh that might be her, that’s probably her. But I didn’t say anything just in case it wasn’t her. But it turned out it was!”
Does Juliette think the bar staff of this pub might have started getting suspicious after the seventh blind date? As if she were on some kind of musical Tinder spree.
“They already know,” both blurt out in sync. “This one’s carrying a guitar!” Exclaims Celia before continuing, “Have you noticed that there’s a certain time of the evening where every bar in London is full of Tinders? You just walk around Shoreditch especially and look in the windows. They’re all dates.”
“There’s a new TV show about it,” replies Juliette.
“What? First Dates? I LOVE IT. It’s so good, it’s so great,” Celia grins.
And back to your band, girls.
How many dates did Juliette have to go on before finding the final line up? “There were a couple of people where we met them and we were just like, no they are weird or they are much too cool. There was one girl who was just so cool we felt really intimidated by her when we met her and we just couldn’t deal with it.”
“Now I feel lame” sinks Celia. “Like, ‘You were alright, but not threateningly awesome.’”
“I didn’t want to be in a band with someone I was afraid of!” Bellows Juliette. “Imagine if I was trying to play her a new song and I was really nervous about my clothes!”
Last but by no means least came Celia who’d returned to London after a few months working in a gallery in New York. “I didn’t know what I was going to do, and then I got an email from a friend of a friend saying, I know this band and they’re looking for a bassist. Do you wanna audition? And I did!”
“They’d been working on songs for a few months, and then the bassist they were working with had to leave as she didn’t have enough time for it. So yeah, I came and I played the songs. I dropped my bass on a child…”
Hang on, what??
“I went home that night and got a text from Louise being like, ‘Oh the girls really loved you and they want you to come back tomorrow.’ And I was like, ‘OH MY GOD, maybe I’m in the band!’ And my dad was like, ‘No, that means that they want to meet you again. Don’t get your hopes up.’
“The next day I went in and my bass strap snapped as I stood up on the train and it just dropped on this child’s head and I was like, ‘That’s it. I’m not in. This is a sign. I’m not meant to be carrying my bass, I’m not meant to be here. This is all wrong.’”
“And then I got there and we sat down at a café around the corner from where we practice just like, ‘Hey, how’s it going? Yeah, good. What you been up to?’ And then Jules was just like, ‘DO YOU WANNA BE IN OUR BAND?!’”
Juliette laughs, “Yeah, me and Fern and Soph had sat in the café for like half an hour before Ce arrived all just like, yeah let’s not say anything, just see how it goes. And we were gonna be really careful about it and then you just came in and I was like, AH GO ON. ‘Will you be in the band?!’”
“Actually, the first thing I ever said to Celia was, ‘Oh my God, I love you already.’”
“And she cried when I was playing with them for the first time,” adds Celia.
“Because she was just so great! I was just like, YES! The missing link!” Juliette replies as I point out you really shouldn’t call one band member a circus animal and the other ‘the missing link’ in the same interview.
With Celia joining the band at the end of August last year, they release their debut single proper, Sucker, this Monday. It’s a striking slice of indie pop that sits somewhere between Warpaint and Kenicke with fierce guitars and sassy sentiment. Or as Celia tells me, “It’s a banger.”
“I wake up every day like, WOAH! It’s really real!” Beams Juliette before wondering, “Do you think we’ll be in the charts? Like number 550? Does it go down that low?”
Currently in the midst of writing ahead of what they expect to be a busy autumn of shows they’re starting to get into real life as a band. “I’m learning to accept that it’s OK to have a photo face,” Juliette tells me.
She’s also tentatively quit her day job. “I was working in a toy shop. It was really fun. I basically just got there in the morning every day and picked up stuff like, what’s that?
“I once went there really, really hung-over. I think I’d been up all night and then just gone straight to work and just walked straight in wearing this really big winter coat and just knocked over a child into a box.”
I have a feeling my Baader-Meinhof vibes are only going to get worse. The Big Moon will be everywhere this year. They just need to watch it around the kids.
Grab tickets to The Big Moon’s single launch on DICE.