This Friday The Moonlandingz make their London debut at the Lexington. This fictional group, ‘The Moonlandingz’, feature as part of the Eccentronic Research Council’s forthcoming concept album, ‘Johnny Rocket, Narcissist & Music Machine..I’m Your Biggest Fan’, and features members of both the ERC and the Fat White Family. For a self-proclaimed ‘fictional’ band they’re less straddling and more blurring the conceptual line between fact and fiction, not content to merely exist as a concept within the record’s narrative, instead playing as a fully realised band. We caught up with Adrain of the ERC to decipher some of the mysteries and bizarre forces that drive The Moonlandingz.
In relation to the narrative of Johnny Rocket, Narcissist And Music Machine…I’m Your Biggest Fan where does the band exist? That record after all suggests an end to things or at least a change of front man?
They live in a fictional ex mining village in South Yorkshire called Valhalla Dale, which is just outside Sheffield. A place where emaciated dogs spit out their food because their owners can only afford the cheap stuff (that contains other dogs) and watching Jeremy Kyle, is a family pursuit.
In the “Sweet Saturn Mine” video we see a band with some interest in the occult so I guess depending on the metaphysics of Valhalla Dale there could be some scope for the group to continue after the events of that record anyway?
Fictional bands can exist in the realms of anywhere – I see us existing directly in the middle of the twilight zone and the northern working men’s club circuit via the pavement outside the Viper Rooms.
How much do you want people to read into the story of the band, I assume there’s any number of people who like the Moonlandingz record that have no idea of its conceptual past, having come to it through the Fat White Family link of the ERC link or even just heard it on the radio one day and like it for what it is….
The reason I wanted to create an actual band for the record was too give the ERC album that extra depth, I wanted to get real fans and real stalkers for the fictional band & by some cruel twist of fate that has now happened, we are now the hottest ticket in town, our Glasgow show for instance was a violent, sexual orgy of mind abandon, total freedom and joy, there was actual foot prints all over the ceiling!!
Will those people be in for a shock when they get to the shows, are you going to be going for the full lederhosen and tin foil sock look?
The lederhosen & tin foil socks were only worn in the early days of our existence when we were playing in and around Valhalla Dale. There’s too much chafing wearing lederhosen, there’s only so much talcum powder & savlon a future rock stars genitals can take!! The band tend to go for a sensible jacket and a comfy pair of slacks nowadays, occasionally Johnny Rocket/Lias, our formidable front man will throw himself in to a kind of faded homoerotic glamour, or just a glowing nakedness of sorts!!
To what level have any of you been getting into character for things relating to this band?
We live & breathe these characters 25/7, you’ll never catch us off duty washing cars at the local garage or practising our short hand.
What is it that you want to do with this band that you don’t get from your others musical outlets? Sean Lennon, who’s producing the album has said, “it’s a side project for all of us in a way, but because it’s not the main project, things feel a lot more fun and easy, I think it should be a great record because there’s not a lot of pressure.” But looking at FWF and ERC it doesn’t seem like you feel too constrained within those anyway?
I think this project is a lot more open to collaborative input, pulling in some interesting guests & to have an almost heroic, heightened sense of itself than our other respected bands. I think with the Moonlandingz, the more crazier the idea, the more likely we will embrace it, we can have some real fun with this and still make awesome, credible music . Both the ERC & the FWF are totally artistically free, I think the only pressure though, certainly for the FWF is the constant gruelling touring schedules, that mentally & physically takes a lot out of a band, also when your being hailed by the NME as the most exciting band in Britain etc,which they are, and there’s a team of music industry people behind the scenes all tapping their fingers on a desk & expecting results and trying to control & harness the uncontrollable & all of a sudden you’ve got every little scabby vampire wanting to be your friend, that’s the only real pressure.
The natural pressure you put on yourself to create something great is the only pressure you should allow to ingratiate itself with you though, the rest is all fuckwittery & dogshit!!
I guess the logical follow on to mentioning it is to ask what people can expect from that album?
I’d like it to be like a lost cassette someone has found on a bus in South Yorkshire, containing possibly the greatest outsider pop songs ever, with some people they might of heard of guesting on it. Expect audacity and the future top 10 greatest albums of all time.
On Facebook you dedicate ‘Lay Yer Head Down In The Road’ to all “Tories, bullies, racists and other blood sucking scum balls.” I take it the current government aren’t beloved in Valhalla Dale?
The current government shut down the coal mines and the steel works in the areas we live in, put thousands of people out of work and turned thriving, proud towns in to depressed ghost towns. Our parents were hit with batons at Orgreave by the police on the order of the Tories, working people set upon by wanting to work people by greedy lazy spineless Oxbridge tax dodging, child raping politicians who are supposed to be there for those people. There’s nothing democratic about a Tory government. This is why they need to Go. Die even.
Another target of online ire are “all those middle class Faux Psych rock bands playing guitars bought by daddy.” It seems somewhat odd to challenge the credibility of others from the position of a semi-fictional band?
Good literature, art, music and film has always challenged something, specially when it has originated from real personal struggle. I’m not hiding behind a character here either and you know what, often I’m just poking fun and teasing as it’s important also that the above mentioned get ribbed a little for it, it’s good for their souls. There’s no entitlement to art and the imagination, it shouldn’t just be something accessible to those who have, which is how it’s getting in this country. The government cuts arts grants and funding to venues, theatres, arts spaces, & galleries from the very cities where all the great art and music comes out of, the places that are in general working class communities and of whom are also in need of a little financial help & encouragement. So you get all these great galleries with Rembrandt and Picasso’s paintings in in places like Newcastle, either relying on local funding or shutting down, you then get some government affiliated art collector stepping in and taking all these beautiful pieces of art and sticking them in the national gallery in London for their already thriving & lucrative tourist trade, whilst the closest thing we get to seeing art is that yearly Christmas card from oxfam posted through the door painted by some 5 year old African child dying of aids asking us to give generously. They are as bad as the Nazis this government.
You said “There used to be a time when bands, pop stars and screen stars seemed to live in some magical and unobtainable world; but now, thanks to social media, everyone is accessible.” Yet you have multiple social media accounts for this band, was there not a temptation to avoid those things with this project?
Unfortunately these are the times we live in , that era of music business and rockstar is dead, a lot of people are now accessible and yes; the instant access by and too your fans is a double edged sword, which you either choose to fall on or swing above your own head magnificently taking heads as you go.
Questions by Tom Hinton