The Moons’ New video for ‘Today’ Out Now
By SYLVIA BORGO
Andy Crofts is taking the time to pursue all his passions: Music, photography and interviews via his podcast. With a new video out, called “Today,” the founder of The Moons and the bass player for Paul Weller, Crofts answered the important questions from Sylvia Borgo for California Rocker.
Sylvia Borgo: It’s been quite a year, 2020. How have you been? How are you doing?
Andy Crofts: I’ve been ok, thank you. I guess the same as everybody else. Confused and bored! It’s all very strange and we are all going through it together. I’ve definitely been feeling some cabin fever setting in lately though and even though they are letting us do some things now I’m still feeling a little trapped. I think I’m more concerned about being trapped in my own mind! I don’t think we will experience something like this again in our lifetime.
SB: Many of your gigging plans have been canceled for this year, but you’ve been hosting a few online gigs for fans on Saturday nights. What other plans do you have to get your music out?
AC: Yes, like many other musicians, I’ve been playing and use the internet to my advantage. It’s not the same but I do quite like doing it as it actually helps me be better as it’s just me and a guitar. I have to make my guitar sing to fill in the empty space around me. As for other plans, I’m just trying to prepare releases for The Moons, a solo adventure, and other artists on my Colorama Records label.
SB: The Moon’s new single, “Today” is getting a release, tell us a bit about the single and the forthcoming album. What was your writing process?
AC: The single is the follow up to ‘Riding Man’ which was loved by our fans. It’s another song that is upbeat, it has a nice summer feel to it. It’s a good song and it felt perfect for single number 2. The B side has a song from the album called ‘The Old Brigade’ which will give people more of a teaser of what’s to come. For me, writing music is the most natural thing I can do. It comes from somewhere deep inside and from somewhere in the universe. Many musicians say it, but it’s a bit like having an antenna that draws in the songs. When I write, it has to be natural and I always believe in the initial vocal melody I come up with. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have to work at some songs because I do. Sometimes they just fall into place. Sometimes you have to give them a little nudge. There have only been a handful of times in my life where I have sat down and decided to write a song, and when I have, they were not that great. It just has to feel real and kinda fall out of me. Sometimes I can just play some chords and vocal melody happens immediately and sometimes I may wake up from a dream with a rough idea. In general, there is no set way but I have to be ready to record it quickly before I forget.
SB: Can you tell us about the new album Pocket Melodies out Oct 23rd?
AC: I had a bunch of songs sitting around in my pocket for quite some time. It wasn’t until one day I just felt the need to put all the demos together and look at it as a body of work. I then realised I had an album all along so it felt right to call it Pocket Melodies as these were stray songs I’d been carrying around with me.
The album is a colourful and melodic trip. It’s straight-up melodic pop and nothing much deeper. It isn’t meant to be. I didn’t want to fight myself and wanted it to be natural and so it is. 12 songs of love, unity, romance, regret, hope, and dreams all recorded live at Abbey Road Studios London with a string quartet. Although I wrote all of the songs on the album, one of the songs ‘Tunnel of Time’ is a co-write with Paul Weller. He once sent me a phone recording of an idea (very rough) and we slowly wrote it in dressing rooms around the world over time until I took it away and finished it. It’s a cool little song that the fans will love. We really wanted to give the fans something special this time and I think it’s our best record. The album is out in October on CD, LP & Download and available for pre-order now.
SB: You are a man who does keep busy while in quarantine. You’ve been hosting Boogaloo Radio on Thursday nights as well, how do you select the music you play? I’m especially interested in how you’ve selected the covers you’ve done thus far.
AC: Yes my Boogaloo Radio show is my little pleasure. I purely do it because I love music and want to share it with everyone. I’m not very natural on the air but one thing I did learn is to just be myself and if I mess up who cares. I hate all that generic radio these days so it’s nice to have a bit of randomness and character I guess. The covers CD I did came around from me asking the listeners to choose a song every week for me to do. That’s it really, I recorded them for the show but didn’t want them to go to waste so put them on a CD and people loved it.
SB: Can I geek out and fangirl a little bit with this next question? You have a book of photographs coming out, photos that you’ve taken over the years of Paul Weller. I’ve seen a handful of the shots and I have to say that they are positively gorgeous photos. When did your love for this medium begin? You have such a mastery of both portraiture and photojournalism, who are your favorite photographers? Sorry, last photo-related question, what is your favorite lens, and why?
AC: Don’t be sorry. It’s an interesting question. Ok, first of all, yes I have made a photography book of Paul Weller including lots of pictures taken over the years of my time in the band. It’s officially out in September but a limited version is available in August for die-hard fans.
When I was a young boy I saw an old SLR camera in a second-hand shop window in my town and I just felt intrigued and really had to have it. I sold some things, part exchanged, and got the camera. Walking out of the shop I put the camera to my eye and everything changed. I suddenly felt I could see for the first time. I could see in-depth, control my focus, and capture time in the most beautiful way. It wasn’t the best camera, but I loved it and I didn’t understand the settings but kind of learned as I went along. I briefly went to college to do photography and this was mainly to use their darkroom and equipment. I didn’t finish the course as my music took first place so I followed my heart and left college.
One thing I did learn though was about different styles of photography. I realised my natural style was documentary and journalistic. I liked real things in their locations and seems to capture it better this way. I was never good at portraits or studio work. I had to be out on the street. My favourite photographer is probably Henri Cartier Breson as I absolutely love his work. Other photographers I love are Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, David Bailey, Don Mccullen. I could go on, but I love so many photographers’ work for different reasons. As for a favourite lens, there’s no particular brand as I have always used pretty cheap equipment but I love a standard 50m lens. It’s the first I ever looked through and still a favourite.
SB: Since you are brilliant with the guitar and with the camera if you had to choose just one to take to a deserted island, which one would it be. I know it is an unfair question, indulge me.
AC: It would be my guitar. My guitar can go anywhere with me and it’s an extension of the body. I’d love a camera but I’d much rather sing and write music on an island. Sing to the birds….Scare the birds… ha ha!
SB: You know, I’m not sure I know too much of your background. How did you first become involved in music?
AC: I got my first acoustic guitar at about the age of 12 or 13, I think, and the first thing I tried to play was The Animals ‘House of the Rising Sun’ but I broke a string and then got annoyed and put it away. I didn’t pick it back up for a few years until I left school. I was about 16 and I remember just picking it up and I could play. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t great but felt I was able with it. When I was a little kid I used to sit in my bedroom hitting all my books with sticks as I wanted to be a drummer. I didn’t actually see a guitar in the flesh until I was about 12 as I was always in the bad classes at school in which they would give us all a keyboard and let us get on with it and mess around. Only the posh kids got to see guitars and classical instruments. It’s hard to write it all exactly here because there’s a lot to write but in a nutshell, I met some new friends at age 16 who were into music like me and that was it. I ended up starting a band called Circa and that’s where it all began.
SB: Would you ever leave England? Let’s say I forced you to live somewhere outside of the UK, where would you move to?
AC: With the current state of England, yes, I probably would leave. I bloody love England and it’s history but the idiots inside it ruin it for everyone. I really hope the country sorts itself out because it’s a mess at the moment. A BIG MESS run by fools! So, yes, I would leave and would love a place in Paris or St Germain France; a little old place with a basic lifestyle, a bike, books and baguettes, and no internet. That’s me at an old age. That’s the life. Oh, I do love San Francisco though. Maybe I could have a place there too.
SB: Let’s get to know a little bit more about Andy Crofts:
1. A cocktail or a beer? Cocktail
2. Books or magazines? Books
3. Fresh fruit or fresh vegetables? Fruit
4. Bali or Iceland? Bali, but I’d rather the Netherlands
5. Puppies or kittens? Kittens