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Q&A: The Moondoggies

By Spencer Flanagan on September 29, 2010


Q&A: The Moondoggies

Beards and flannel shirts almost seem to be a requirement for those wishing to play any form of indie-folk music, especially those coming out of the American Northwest. However, The Moondoggies, one such flannel-clad, Seattle-based indie-folk quartet, prove that there is more to them than clothing and facial hair. The Moondoggies will release their second full-length album, Tidelands - 10 tracks of full-throated vocal harmonies with a vintage feel - on Oct. 12 via the Sub Pop imprint Hardly Art, and will then join Dawes on a Midwest and West Coast tour this November.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Kevin Murphy took some time to answer some email questions about The Moondoggies’ new album, the influence of water on the band’s music, and comparisons to Blitzen Trapper and Fleet Foxes, all while Sunday Night Football played in the background.

Who or what inspires your music?

Kevin Murphy: That's not an easy question to answer. The people I know and have met I suppose, and also filling a certain need to communicate and create.

Your new album, Tidelands, will be released on Oct. 12. How does this album differ from your debut full-length, Don’t Be A Stranger?

It was approached more as creating a comprehensive record, rather than throwing tracks on it. It has a more complete feeling to it, which I like out of albums.

What about the recording process? Did you do things different this time around?

We took time to let songs develop a bit more. We experimented with different sounds and tried to nail the feelings of songs more.

I read that water is a main theme on Tidelands. Can you explain a little about that?

Personally it has to do more with my time I spent in Alaska and the imagery of the Northwest in general, being surrounded by rain and water all the time probably seeps into my brain. I've always loved it here and wanted to run with it a little bit as a theme because it kept coming up and naturally you should run with what you're feeling.

What affect do you hope your music has on listeners?

The same affect music has on me I hope.

The Moondoggies have received comparison to bands like Blitzen Trapper and Fleet Foxes. Although flattering I’m sure, what are some things you think The Moondoggies do differently that set the band apart from other bands out there with a similar sound?

We collaborate more within the band I believe. This isn't the Kevin Murphy project, it's a band. I think it's easy to lump us in because we obviously dig the same stuff generally, but when you get down to listening to those bands and us there's no mistaking the difference....unless you listen to techno.

What are you listening to right now?

Specifically I'm listening to Sunday Night Football as I'm answering this question. Also the synagogue next door is BUMPING, they're celebrating "sukkot." I've been digging Paul McCartney’s Ram album.

Where did the name Moondoggies come from?

The movie Gidget was the first reference to "moondoggy" I ever heard, but my brother also wrote an awesome play with a character named Moondoggy.

If you could tour with any band or musician, dead or alive, who would it be?

Dead: The Band. Alive: Built to Spill or Camper van Beethoven.

How much do you think coming from a particular region in the U.S. affects the music a band plays? For example, The Moondoggies are based out of Seattle. How do you think being from the Northwest has affected or helped shape the type of music you write and play?

Like I said before, it did have an affect on this album specifically with our surrounding and being inspired by it, but our next album will not be the same as this one so we'll see how much it does. We'll be touring a lot more so I really can't say what in the future will inspire our writing. But it's hard to answer that having lived here our whole lives and never having experienced living somewhere else. F

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