By Serenat Kivilcim
Shoegaze inspired dream pop duo Moonbabies formed in 1997 in Malmö, Sweden returned after a seven-year hiatus with a new album “ Wizard on the Beach” earlier this spring, which is now given the Deluxe Edition treatment, complete with 12 extra songs. This husband/wife duo is capable of some incredible music that will cut to your soul.
Black on the Canvas caught up with Ola Frick of Moonbabies and chatted about their latest album, inspirations and favorite underground artists.
Would you give us the lowdown on Moonbabies?
Ola: Moonbabies consists of Carina and me. We live in Sweden and have been doing this since the late 90s. We have released 4 albums, lots of singles and EPs, and full-length cassettes independently. We have stayed true to our vision of the band, which sometimes is labeled as Dream Pop. It’s often melodic, and often electronic.
How did you two meet and ultimately decide to make music together?
Ola: We met through music school, although we had a brief occasional meeting, where I fell totally head over heels in love with Carina (which she didn’t notice at the time). So after we started dating, we spent that summer travelling around Europe busking on the streets. Our voices just melted together nicely, and even if we swore not to ruin anything by starting a band, we naturally did… Just had to.
You have been making music since the 90’s. How would you say your music has evolved over the years?
Ola: Our first demos and the 4-piece band we were in during the beginning of 1997-98 was very MBV inspired, a shoegazy type of Guitar Indie Rock. Then we introduced more and more styles, and from there we sort of opened up bit by bit and allowed to color the sound further. In recent years we’ve been drawn into more rhythmically interesting music. And even if there are big changes from where we started, I can still hear and feel the Moonbabies signature all over it. There’s something about the chords we use and our voices and melodies that just is us. Every album has been more and more sophisticated and the production/songwriting has been upped one step at a time.
After a seven year hiatus, you came out with your latest album, “Wizard on the Beach”. What was the writing and producing process of this album like?
Ola: While we started working on this album, back in 2008, we were fed up with quite a few things musically (that we made around the 3rd album “Moonbabies at the Ballroom”) and after a move to Berlin, we were shaken up, or maybe more accurately, we were completely changed by discovering the electronic dance scene there.
But things started to go wrong. While we were inspired and creative, it had started to mess with our minds. Making a great album just wasn’t enough. Ambitions of an epic masterpiece broke us down, basically. Those ambitions, combined with growing self-criticism and doubts, and the stress involved killed the rest of our creativity. We started the ’album’ process at least 30 times over, re-wrote songs and tried new arrangements, worked day and night for a very long time.
And at some points we were basically about to quit. Until one day we just managed to get back to our original core. Getting back to that place of making music that is free and personal and melodic, and fun to do and without betraying any artistic sensibilities. Just to cut away all bad memories and just focus on the songs that made the hairs on our arms stand up.
From where do you primarily derive your inspirations?
Ola: I’d say when the moment of inspiration strikes you go on autopilot and just write/record by intuition. Lots and lots of times the lyrics are written on the spot and just slightly changed afterwards, almost subconsciously lots of those lyrics prove to be our best ones, and very often those lyrics which just came from stream of conciseness have proven to be true and even prophetic. As far as musical inspirations, Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, Daft Punk, Caribou, Bonobo, E.L.O., Jim O’Rourke, Fleetwood Mac… and lots of movies (from the 70s and back to the 50s).
Do you find it difficult at times to be married while in a band together?
Ola: Yes and No. It’s a bit tricky to balance and separate the feelings and dealings from our normal family life from time to time. At the same time, we are pretty flexible when it comes to being creative and getting things done. Knowing each other so extremely well is handy in many situations.
What are your favorite underground artists that deserve more attention?
Ola: The Glass Children, Youngs, The Land Below, Christine Owman, Hey Elbow, Watermark High.
If you two weren’t musicians, what would you be doing?
Ola: Definitely something with art. Painting, Designing, Photography or something of that nature.
Are you planning on touring in the States?
Ola: Hope to be, quite possibly, nothing to announce right now.