With the confidence of a matador, Willy Moon is sharp as a tack, barely legal to enjoy alcohol in the States, and the next big thing to come out of Jack White’s elitist Third Man Records since Alabama Shakes. Despite the star-studded company he keeps, his burgeoning success can only be attributed to precocious talent. The New Zealander by way of London, writes, records, and produces music all his own, smashing together 1960’s rock ‘n’ roll, hip hop samples, electronic interludes, and a style that could provoke envy in Don Draper himself.
We got a chance to talk shop with the 21 year old, and ask him what is up with the suits and swagger he won’t leave the house without. Check out his single, “Railroad Track” out August 20th. His debut EP, Yeah Yeah is available for pre order HERE.
TL: The envy of many, you have made it into Jack White’s elite Third Man Records label. What has he taught you as the legend that he is? And how did you get to meet and work with him?
WM: Jack White taught me a lot as a teenager in his approach to the guitar as an instrument, he abuses it so tenderly. Third Man Records put the kind of love into details that is sorely missed in an age of plastic CD cases and ripped MP3’s, so when he offered to release the single I jumped at it.
TL: Can we expect a collaboration in the future from you two?
WM: The future either contains infinite possibilities, or follows a pre-ordained path. If you can tell me which then perhaps we can approach the question.
TL:I love the suits and the retro style. Was it all your idea…? How is your look influenced, and why do you feel the dapper suit represents you as an artist? (Ever see yourself in fashion?)
WM: I started wearing suits when I lived in Berlin years ago. It began to really piss me off that people dressed intentionally poorly in order to signpost their supposed counter-culture credentials, the irony being that everything they were representing had already been chewed up and spat out by the corporate machine years ago. So I thought fuck it, I’m going to buy a suit, shine my shoes and cut and comb my hair. I saw a friend of mine on the street and he didn’t recognise me, when he finally did he asked if I was going to a wedding, I think it pissed people off. Times have changed and it no longer has the same effect but I can’t imagine not putting a shirt on in the morning, it terrifies me.
TL: You have managed to set your 1960’s rock ‘n’ roll apart from The Black Keys and the like by adding your hip-hop, electro flavor here and there. How would you describe your music?
WM: The Black Keys belong to another generation from me, they have a different perspective. Sonically I find guitars an interesting tool, but the rest I prefer to composite from other places. There have been such interesting advances in other genres that it would be sad to ignore them in some misguided attempt at authenticity. Authenticity is the death of music, putting context before experience.
TL: What major childhood experience(s) encouraged you to dedicate yourself to music, especially that of a nostalgic sensibility and mixing blues, rock, rhythm, and somewhat electro dynamics?
WM: After years of pleading my parents bought me a guitar when I was 9 or 10. We met this really weird guy at the end of a pier one night, who had a Stratocaster in the trunk of his car. It was way too cheap not to be stolen. That single moment has influenced my life more than I care to think.