Friday Nights at NGV: Interview with Moon Duo

We interviewed Sanae Yamada from Moon Duo, who will be headlining Friday Nights at NGV on 11 December 2015.

Describe your sound in 5 words or less?
Propulsive rock; movement desired.

If your music was an artwork what would it look like?
It would involve repeating patterns interacting with elements of the loose and abstract.

Do you have a favourite artist/artwork?
Anthony McCall’s ‘Five Minutes of Pure Sculpture’ at the Hamburger Banhof in Berlin.

What’s your favourite gig you have played to date?

I don’t have a favourite.  I have enjoyed some more than others during the actual playing, but ultimately every gig is its own singular entity, never to be repeated or replaced, so each has its own unique value.  I feel grateful for the lot.

What inspires/influences your music the most?
That’s like asking which thread is the most important in a tapestry – it’s about the sum of the threads and their interplay.  There is no most.

What song do you wish you wrote?
I don’t.  I love that my favorite songs were written by others, it makes me feel connected to humanity.

What part of making music excites you the most?
The moment of stumbling upon the riff I’ve been looking for.

What can someone expect from your live show?
I don’t know what our show is like from an audience perspective, but we aim for music one can dance to and a dreamlike visual environment.

Tell us about the last song or album you created?
The last album we made is called Shadow Of The Sun.  We worked on it from March through October of 2014. It is both a continuation of and a subtle departure from what we’ve done before.  I think it has a somewhat cinematic feel.  This particular album was a very challenging process, at times chaotic and filled with uncertainty.  In retrospect I see that those qualities were indicators of a desire to evolve, but it is hard to see what a work is about when one is in the process of forming it.  I think ultimately the challenges involved made the completion of the album all the more satisfying.

What is your favourite part of being involved in Friday Nights at NGV?

I think that remains to be seen, and I look forward to finding out.  Ask me after.

Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei showcases over 300 artworks that explore the parallels and intersections between the practices of these two exemplary artists. Are you excited about the exhibition?
Tremendously.  We’re delighted to have the chance to see the exhibition, and beyond honored to have any affiliation with Andy Warhol and Ai Wei Wei.

A large portion of the works included in the Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibition include political or social commentary. Have you been inspired to do this through your music?
Our music is not overtly or intentionally political.  That said, I think that all music (and all art in any medium) is a form of social commentary whether intentionally or not.  Any creative expression is necessarily a reflection of the society and era in which it was produced, as filtered through the lens of an individual consciousness.

Andy Warhol famously said: ‘Art is what you can get away with.’ How would you respond?
I would not presume to define art, but that sounds like as good a description as any.  I certainly see how Warhol was playing with that notion in his own art.

Ai Weiwei once said: ‘A small act is worth a million thoughts.’ How would you respond?
That resonates.  We all have millions of thoughts and scraps of thought every day – practicalities, lists, fantasies, imagined conversations, ideas we intend to pursue, old conflicts, memories, faces of others we know and have known, hopes for the future, grief for the lost – while our actions within the same time period are relatively few, yet the actions are the tracks we leave.  We choose how to channel the endless stream of ephemeral thought into concrete expression, and these choices comprise the effect of our presence in the world.  Even the smallest act is a ripple on the plane of reality.

What else are you working on now? Or where are you next touring?
This is our last tour of the year!  We are taking a break to make a new album from January through April.