London-based female quartet, The Big Moon are back on tour following a summer of festivals, and on 15 November they’re coming to Oxford’s O2 Academy. Having recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of their third album, Here Is Everything, the band are celebrating by releasing a Deluxe Version which features additional bonus tracks. We spoke with bassist Celia Archer and drummer Fern Ford to find out what to expect.
We're very excited to have you in Oxford in December, have you played here before?
Celia: We've played at the O2 Academy a few times, both supporting and headlining, and we've played Truck Festival quite a few times.
Truck’s a great festival.
Fern: Yeah, lots of young people!
Celia: Yeah, I think for a lot of people there it feels like it’s their first festival.
October marked the first anniversary of the release of Here is Everything, what has this past year been like in terms of the response from fans?
Fern: Good… I think. I haven’t thought about it too much. The reviews have been good and we were top 10 which isn’t something we tried to do but we’ll take it. Like everyone, we had a big chunk of time off and we felt like we’d lost a bit of momentum, but then we came out on stage at Glastonbury and were like, ‘Oh sh*t, people are listening to us” That was a nice comeback.
It's quite a raw, personal album. How did it feel putting that out into the world?
Celia: For Jules, the lead singer and songwriter, it was a vulnerable feeling. It takes a lot out of you writing an album like that and offering it all up. The reward of doing that, though, is being able to speak about an experience that isn’t often talked about – particularly in rock music. Parenthood and motherhood, pregnancy and birth and being a new mum, breastfeeding, and all that. I think she probably wants the next album to just be like, a concept album about a bee or something you know. It won’t be, but she gave a lot to this one.
We’ve just seen the release of Summer Still Comes which is one of the bonus tracks from the Deluxe Version. What does that particular song mean to you?
Fern: It’s kind of remembering what you do have, and a sort of ‘we'll be okay.’
Celia: Yeah, and it’s about how some things are inevitable. It was also one of our favourites, so when we were choosing the track list for the original version of the album, it was hard having to leave that one behind. We were doing this thing during the pandemic where Jules would send a song, one of us would take it and add a bit and send it back and that would go on for a while, and then Fern added this drum beat to it and just completely shifted it. During the process of making this album, Jules had started to leave a bit more space and we kind of stepped in. Filled different bits and it pushed things into a new direction, so it was exciting.
How does that differ from your normal creative process?
Celia: Normally Jules will come with pretty fully formed demos or if they’re not then she has pretty specific ideas of what she wants to fill the gaps with. As we've grown as a band, she knows what kind of thing we'll do and we know what kind of things she might want. With this album there was more space to be like, ‘maybe this could work’, or ‘you might not have thought about it but here's this’, which was quite exciting as well as a way to collaborate and find different sounds.
Image credit: Aaron Parsons Photography
Do you think the music industry is a welcoming place?
Fern: With our peers we've had quite good experiences and we've met lots of great people. When you make business out of art though, it’s difficult and hard to navigate. We've also met some not-great people, but I don’t hear about them much anymore.
Celia: It’s nice being a band because it’s all of us and we're luckily in a position where we have control over our team and our crew, to make decisions about things and ask people who are working with us to do things in a certain way that feels right for us. Sometimes we'll poke our heads into different places or like sometimes I’ll end up somewhere else doing a different kind of job and I’m like oh god, I don’t like this – get me back. It’s hard to speak to everyone’s experience.
And who are you both listening to at the moment?
Fern: I listen to the same bands all time, but I’m loving Andy Shauf at the moment.
Celia: I’ve been listening to the new Olivia Rodrigo album, I love it, and I’ve listened to a bit of the new CMAT album – she's incredible.
What’s next for you for 2024?
Celia: A big break
Fern: Yeah, a holiday. Jules will write some more songs, but she needs some time off before that.
Celia: A big sigh
The Big Moon are at Oxford’s O2 Academy on 15 December.
Image credits: Fiction Records