Hailing from the Sydney, Australia music scene, Peasant Moon (Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell) are known for their melancholic alt-country folk songs. The duo, who haves gained a strong international following, have toured Melbourne, country Victoria, Newcastle, Adelaide in addition to major showcases in Canada and the United States. Peasant Moon released their debut EP 'Fading In The Light' in 2015 to critical acclaim. Currently, the duo has expanded their sound on their latest five track EP 'Our Timing Was Wrong.' This EP presents a full band sound adding many stellar musicians to the recording.
10 QUESTIONS for Peasant Moon!
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Harvey: As an early teenager I heard Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side on the radio one morning and was transfixed by the dark and beautiful character portrayals he was able to achieve so simply in a rock song: an amazing statement of art. I quickly sought out the Velvet Underground, bought the album, put it on and boom…that was that. I had zero songwriting ability. But I had a Fender Strat copy and was on my way to forming a band. At the same time I was getting more and more inspired by Dylan’s early work. That was great because even a novice can follow along to some of those folk songs and get their head around the chord structures.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
The first thing that comes to mind is leaving the doors open on our tour van while we played at a music festival, and not getting robbed. It’s times that when we think we need a manager to look after those important details!
What has been the high point of your music path?
We have played a number of wonderful shows, over the years, but a real highlight was in January this year when we were invited to perform at the Americana in the Park showcase at Tamworth Country Music Festival. It was such an amazing opportunity to play with some of our favourite artists: Katie Brianna, Jason Walker, Tori Forsyth and Lachlan Bryant! Funnily enough, Aaron, our pedal steel player, broke a string while tuning up - we had to quickly switch the setlist around while he restrung and the extra adrenaline helped us enjoy the moment even more - it was wonderful and very addictive!
Let's take a break to view Crossfire by Peasant Moon - Live at the Wheatsheaf Hotel!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Inspiration comes in different ways and at different times. It’s often about seizing the moment when it comes along and effectively taming a busy mind. That might mean remembering a melody which emerges while I’m out running or walking, or jotting down lyrics that come to mind on the train on the way to work…or even getting up in the middle of the night to capture an idea that appears out of the blue. On (very!) rare occasions I’ll just be mucking around on guitar and lyrical melodies form naturally around a riff. Sometimes they even work as a song!
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
One of the biggest challenges facing artists today is working out how to get people off their couch where so much entertainment can be delivered by a tiny screen. You’ve got to think creatively to get people to come out and support live music - there’s so much competition for people’s time.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
The Band - so much talent, musicianship and opened up a pathway for so many other acts to employ roots music in a modern context.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Our rehearsals generally revolve around having a few beers and playing through our tunes. If we’re lucky we spend some time working on new music as well as our current setlist and some covers. Of course, this has proven much more challenging now that Josie is based in Chicago - we have to play a lot on our own, or with other musicians. We even record songs on our phones and send them to each other to jam along to…. thank goodness for modern technology!
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Lift the Curtains was probably the biggest challenge to write as it was the first time we wrote a real duet. We had to think through getting the parts right and how to tell a story from two perspectives. To be honest, it felt like the fraud police were going to come storming through the door at any moment! But we persisted and it’s actually a great song, and when we play it live we often have a fiddle player along which makes it even more special.
What's coming up in the future?
Great question as Peasant Moon is entering a new era where we aren't going to be based in the same city - we'll be split between Sydney and Chicago. Josie: More mandolin! I'm talking advantage of being in Chicago and have lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music, which as been really awesome. Harvey: We'll be writing more songs and hopefully playing more shows in North America. In two years I'd like to have our debut album out, as well as expanded our audience from Australia to Canada and the USA.
Where are a few place fans can access your music?