This UK duo is doing something I’ve never seen or heard before, and I can’t lie, I quite like it. Heymoonshaker’s Andy BaLcon and Dave Crowe (who goes by Crowe) are citizens of the world. They’re bringing their unique and edgy blend of blues guitar and vocals with beatboxing to our fair city.
I sat with them at the iconic Bistro à Jojo last week and discussed everything from music, their manager (a Tom Selleck look-alike), to science and spirituality. Here are some highlights from our chat.
Stephanie Weiner (SW): So, I understand that you’re both from small towns in England and wound up meeting in New Zealand. How did that come about?
Andy BaLcon (AB): I was supposed to move over to New Zealand with my parents when I was about 16, but they ended up split up. One of my friends had moved over there, so the idea of New Zealand warmed on me more and more. I figured I would have to go over on my own, I needed to see it. I felt I was being drawn there, so I went over and I met this lad. It’s funny how things are written in the stars.
Crowe (C) : I was touring around with my girlfriend, looking for excitement and adventure and we met plying mini golf. As you do, as you meet all of your soul mates. We met, hooked up for a beer, it had nothing to do with music, it was just a meeting. The music came afterwards, and as soon as we tried it, it was cool, even though we were a bit shitty, it was still cool.
SW: Did you know right away when you met that you wanted to do beatboxing with the guitar?
AB: Instantly. We stayed up all night for about five hours recording every idea that we’d ever had.
C: You never know when you’re traveling, where someone might be from one day to the next, so we figured, let’s get it down, get a copy of what’s been done. Then we spent the next five months with each other, gigging and recording, trying to get any new opportunity.
AB: But it didn’t work. Crowe left and he went traveling to Australia. I stayed in New Zealand then went to Australia and wound up getting work with young indigenous kids. My job was kind of based around music, using music to engage the kids in education. That didn’t work out because once the kids were old enough, they were introduced to a sister company that would try to get them apprenticeships in things like mines. It’s basically paid slavery. With that and the fact that I felt like I was being pulled away from the music I wanted to create, I left and moved over to Sweden, where Crowe was at the time. We started the band up again. It was slow going at first. The story of that is in London Part 1.
SW: How did your name, Heymoonshaker, come about?
AB: I was working in an office, and I wasn’t doing what I wanted to be doing. So, while I was there I was doing a lot of art work. Heymoonshaker was part of an art piece, and I said, hey that’s the name of the band that I’m going to be in in the future.
C: It took me a gig to get on board with it. At the first gig we ever did together it was Heymoonshaker featuring Dave Crowe. After that, I was like, this is way better than what I do alone. I’ll sign up to the name if you’ll still have me.
SW: You spoke earlier about the material you had put together while in NZ, what is it like for you to create your music?
AB: A lot of the time it’ll come from a riff. A lot of the time the lyrical content just comes from conversation. We’re both quite witty, if you put us in a room together, we’re able to bounce a lot of ideas…
C: Just record for twelve hours and you’ll have a fuckin’ album. (laughs) We both write poetry as well, so anything we’re honestly thinking within a poem, one sentence and we’ll be like “we can grow on this.” It’ll build and then often we take the exact same song and run it in different rhythm patterns and different genre ideas. Surprisingly enough, you’ll write a song and think it’s finished, play it again a year later 20 beats per minute faster and be like “now that’s a song!”
SW: You released your first album, Shakerism, a couple of years ago. How did it come together?
C: It’s like an amalgamation of three separate recording times: seven years ago in New Zealand, that’s one song; four songs from Sweden, and the rest of the songs from France. Using different studios and producers. There was never a point when we could make a solid release with any one of those parts, so when we had the moment, we put it all together and released it. Essentially, I think the fact that we did it on our own, we had no backing, label, investments-I’m really proud of what Shakerism is. Now, we’re a few years down the line, and what we’re writing for the release this year, it’s very exciting.
AB: It’s more mature, more sexy.
SW: What would you say to someone considering coming to see you? What can they expect?
C: You’ve never seen anything like this. And it’s not egotistical or an arrogant point of view or anything, you just haven’t seen anything like this before. And stuff like that is worth seeing at least once. If you don’t like it, thank you for coming. But you will like it, so welcome to the family.
Following their shows in Quebec, Heymoonshaker heads to New York and then home to see their family and finish their new album in France. Can’t wait to hear it. Stay tuned for photos of their Montreal show.
Heymoonshaker plays at Casa Del Popolo (4873 Boul. St-Laurent) February 18, 6 p.m. Free. Heymoonshaker opens for Steve Hill at l’Astral (305 St. Catherine O.) February 19, 8p.m. $28-$32.