Half Moon Run is a Canadian four-piece consisting of Devon Portielje, Dylan Phillips, Conner Molander and Isaac Symonds. They release their second album, Sun Leads Me On, on October 23 and tour the UK from October 26. We spoke to Portielje to find out more
THE ALBUM IS ALMOST OUT. HOW DO YOU FEEL?
I am coming out of the hibernation phase and I am really proud of the things we’ve accomplished. Jim Abbiss, the producer, really helped and I think we’ve made a great album.
YOUR FIRST ALBUM, DARK EYES, WAS RELEASED IN CANADA IN 2012, A YEAR BEFORE IT CAME OUT IN THE UK. DOES THAT FEEL LIKE A LONG TIME?
It was frustrating really, because we did what was known as a soft release in 2013, and it went well, so we sort of re-released it in 2014. By that point, we were itching to release another album and get some new material recorded. In an ideal world, we’d treat it like a film, where we’d do some promo and move on to the next thing, but instead we toured the same album for two-and-a-half years.
HOW MANY SONGS DID YOU WRITE FOR SUN LEADS ME ON?
We had about 40, and then we started paring it down every day. Sometimes we’d walk into the studio with no ideas at all, and walk away with a complete song. It was amazing.
WAS IT AN EASY ALBUM TO MAKE?
No, far from it. I don’t think I’ll ever make an easy album. I don’t want to stay at my ability, I want to push myself all the time, and I don’t think that will ever end. It was our first time working with a producer, giving someone else creative control, and it was challenging, but we got there, even though it was hard at times.
WHERE DID YOU DO IT?
We were in a small town in the north of Canada, and there was nowhere to go at the end of the day. We’ve spent so long on the road together so it’s not like it’s ever awkward, it’s a family, but we did develop this sort of sub-language where we don’t talk that much but understand each other completely.
WAS THE BAND IN A GOOD WAY BEFORE STARTING THIS RECORD? DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW YOU’D MAKE THE ALBUM?
It’s true that touring took its toll on us, and being on the road means you start to lose sight of who you are, and that can be tough, combined with poor health while touring. I don’t want to complain, but you don’t get any alone time, and you don’t develop as a person while you’re touring. Getting back to normal life afterward is weird. Do I call people to go for dinner? Is that what normal people do? I had to learn it all over again.
SO WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO MAKE ANOTHER ALBUM AFTER READJUSTING TO NORMAL LIFE?
That was hard too. I had to fall back in love with music again. We all called each other and we went off to a cabin for two weeks. We noticed that we fell right back into it, and remembered what we used to like before the first album took off. It tickled our ears again, and we held on to that. And the friendships stayed strong, we can’t let bad vibes fester, and we help each other grow along the way. We challenge each other and encourage each other as much as we can. Open communication is the key. We don’t have any problems in that regard.
lVisit www.halfmoonrun.com to find out more