DiscoverThe Art of LongevityThe Art of Longevity Season 8, Episode 2: Half Moon Run
The Art of Longevity Season 8, Episode 2: Half Moon Run

The Art of Longevity Season 8, Episode 2: Half Moon Run

Update: 2023-10-28
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I had invited Half Moon Run onto the podcast after first hearing Salt - imploring their BMG PR to arrange it as a matter of priority. 

Speaking with Dylan Phillips was an insight behind the creative process of the (decades long) making of one of my favourite records in ages. Also, I had never spoken to a drummer who is simultaneously a keyboard player, but that is part of the modus operandi of Half Moon Run - a continual swapping out switching up of instruments between the band’s three members, Phillips, Devon Portielje (also lead vocals) and Conner Molander. 

Half Moon Run was formed over a decade ago, originally as a four piece (with Isaac Symonds). The band’s 2012 debut album Dark Eyes was a well received and exciting addition to the indie-rock canon. But now four albums into their 14 year career, their 2023 release Salt really is something else. It is the sound of a band finding a different level. The band itself knows it too:

“It’s the first time we felt unanimously that we were fully happy with the work we did on a record”.

So how does a band with no hits to speak of (Full Circle is the nearest thing, approaching 50M streams on Spotify), albums that don’t chart and a virtually unrecognisable name make a viable living after a decade in the game? Being brilliant appears to be the answer, mostly. Work as hard on your songs and performance as Half Moon Run does, and enough fans will follow you to the ends of the earth. Or at least from city to city. 

Making an excellent album certainly helps. Salt is the complete work, a perfect album - as close as this band has come to a masterpiece, even if it will not chart or feature on many (if any?) critics best of lists. 

“We had done this little project called the 1969 Collective, with Connor Sidell and we called him to see if he was interested in making a new full length record. He was, so we put all cards on the table - opened the books on everything we’ve ever done. Even if we’d failed with some of the songs before, maybe we could succeed this time around. We went from 80s songs to 24 and then brought it down to 11 songs for the album. A lot of the songs were a gift from ourselves, songs we’d had been trying out for a long time”. 

So, once a special record has been made - surely it deserves a wider audience? Or, as I prefer to say about Salt - lot’s of people deserve to hear this record. Is the band itself happy with their modest level of success?

“I’m super grateful that we are making this work. It’s tough though, especially when it’s hard to make a tour just about break even. When you want to make a good production of it”. 

Perhaps Half Moon Run will keep running purely on the strength and passion of the band’s existing fanbase. It’s those fans that are frustrated about the band’s relative lack of recognition. It isn’t enough to just make it out of Canada (a theme that may emerge in the current season of TAoL if you follow the podcast episodes). But that is the modern music industry. The very best music doesn’t always naturally rise to the top. 

Salt may not be on the 2023 ‘best of’ lists simply because the compilers of those lists will have missed it in the glut of music albums that come week-on-week. Yet It stands up as a modern indie-pop/rock classic by a band with real promise. 

(full write up on https://www.songsommelier.com/)

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The Art of Longevity Season 8, Episode 2: Half Moon Run

The Art of Longevity Season 8, Episode 2: Half Moon Run

The Song Sommelier