Hailing from London, meet The Big Moon, your new favorite band-slash-girl gang. Their brand of rock is unapologetic, playful, and often captures harmonies that are to die for. The Big Moon have just released their debut full-length album, Love In The 4th Dimension – the collection of 11 stories does not have one bad song in the mix. This is a product of passion and dedication. Introducing: The Big Moon.
Just a few years ago, The Big Moon was a fever dream of lead vocalist and songwriter Juliette Jackson. As fate would have it, she would be free of the fear of working an undesirable day job when the band was finally formed. Celia Archer (bass), Fern Ford (drums), and Soph Nathan (Guitar) were linked up with Jackson, and their chemistry was immediately apparent. As the legend goes, Jackson cried the first time they all played together.
From that point on, the band launched into a career that has been successful thus far and was founded on a relationship between four people that is built to last.
Out of all their work writing, touring, and promoting in the past two years comes Love In The 4th Dimension . This album is a perfect package of grunge rock, impeccable melodies, and a rawness that can only come with talent.
We spoke with Jackson and Nathan about the album, the band, and what comes next.
The album kicks off with “Sucker,” a gritty rock tune with tantalizing guitar riffs and a vocal track from Jackson that would be right at home among old punk-rock records. It’s only fitting as an opener – “Sucker” first appeared in 2015 as the band’s debut single. For 4th Dimension, it has been re-recorded as a cleaner, clearer version. The heavy-hitting “Sucker” was enough to intrigue back then, and that hasn’t changed a bit.
The improvement in production is in part thanks to Catherine Marks, co-producer of the album – her catalog includes work for The Killers, Wolf Alice, and Local Natives. “She just knows how to make things sound that way you want them to,” Nathan said of the process.
Don’t be fooled, however, by the tone of that opening track. Next up, “Pull The Other One,” comes right in with a lighter, airier version of The Big Moon’s guitar-driven sound. Along with a consistently killer melody, the chorus in particular features a harmony that is nice and simple, which is just what makes it so attractive. “Pull The Other One” is rather wordy – this is not a bad thing, as it results in gems such as “Finally you’re here with me and will you stay the night? / I’d like to let you stay the day but my schedule’s very tight.”
One of the most powerful moments of 4th Dimension is “Formidable,” a poignant, vocally-driven anthem that manages to pack a world of emotion in just under three minutes. It’s refreshing and encouraging to hear a powerful female voice declaring “I’m not invisible … I’ll be formidable.” The ladies of The Big Moon would rather not make a big deal about the obvious fact that they are an all-female band, especially as it relates to their success. Still, this feels like a step in the right direction for women in the arts. Not to mention, “Formidable” is an addictively wild ride. The slow and sultry start makes the payoff that much more satisfying when it breaks out into a downright banger.
The meaning, according to Jackson, is that “It’s about being there for someone who needs a friend, being a killer strong force for someone who feels weak. It’s about looking after each other and talking to each other — something we all need to be doing these days.”
All that and more, and just within the first four tracks. They show no signs of slowing down upon reaching the live show favorite “Bonfire,” ditching the deep lyrics and turning to the pure sound of rock and roll.
The midway point of an album is generally the perfect point at which to slow things down, andLove In The 4th Dimension is happy to oblige. While “The Road” is not without a vigorous guitar bit, this is a moment to appreciate some of the lyrical craftsmanship of The Big Moon, as Jackson cries out, “People can change / I know I’m not the same.”
Another song making its second appearance is “Silent Movie Susie.” When a song’s opening riff sounds like hard-rock version of that of the 1974 classic “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” you know you’re in for a good time. “Silent Movie Susie” quickly goes its own way, evolving into a cheeky tune that creates a feeling of nostalgia through the mention of summertime and silent movies. Mix in a series of sing-along “oohs” and buoyant hook and what results is an example of how The Big Moon can hone in their pop song skills as well as anything else.
“Susie” is also indicative of the way the album functions as a whole, in that each song exists in its own world. “They are a bit more like a series of snapshots,” Jackson tells us, ‘I definitely think of songs as individual stories with a beginning, a middle and an end. There are these repeated riffs within that world that doesn’t happen in the others.”
Following the title track,Love In The 4th Dimension closes out with a pair of atmospheric tracks to wind down the mood and give the album a proper sendoff. The penultimate song is “Zeds,” a lyrically-driven slow tune that sounds, according to Jackson, “so slinky and sexy and more relaxed than the others.” At this point in the album, it tones things down at just the right time.
Finishing things off is arguable one of the best songs on the album, appropriately titled “The End.” The draw of the song is, among other things, the fact that it is such an honest display of human vulnerability. “The End” is about letting yourself fall in love after resisting it – and the feeling of “going soft” that comes with it. This is what the ladies had to say about the song:
Nathan: It’s probably my favorite song on the album. It’s the only song that we have strings on, and it has the same type of feeling that “Formidable” has that it’s triumphant. There’s just so much going on in it and it still feels whole. There’s so many different bits that fit so well together. There’s also the more emotional and ballsy-side of it.
Jackson: It’s about being begrudgingly pulled towards someone and then succumbing to it and going all floppy and melting. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album. It had to finish the album! It’s called “The End”! Also, it finishes in a cacophony and it’s our only song with a proper cheesy rock ending where you jump in the air and do scissor kicks. Perfect ending.
And a perfect ending it is. “The End” is sincere in every way, with an emotional outpour in the chorus and an artistic feat in lines such as “where once I used to bite / my fangs are falling out.”
The Big Moon have accomplished something special withLove In The 4th Dimension . They work well as a unit, and it shows. All of these songs have been in the works for a few years, and it’s good for the band and audience alike to finally have them in the world.
Check out the full interview with The Big Moon below.
Your debut album is finally about to be released. How are you all feeling?
Jules: Very excited. Someone else asked us yesterday and I said I felt like a balloon about to pop.
Soph: Yeah it does feel a bit like that. Jules: Like a balloon being held by a toddler that’s just scraping their fingernails and it’s ready to blow. It’s so close! A lot of these songs have been at least a few years in the works.
Is there a common thread that holds them all together or are they more like a series of snapshots?
Jules: They are a bit more like a series of snapshots. I definitely think of songs as individual stories with a beginning, a middle and an end. There are these repeated riffs within that world that doesn’t happen in the others. When they are all next to each other, it does sound quite happy — which I would agree with.
What was your songwriting process like?
Jules: They’re all different, really. I have a constant notepad on the go to write down things I think of for lyrics and stuff. But usually I just noodle on the guitar in my bedroom until something sounds kind of okay, then make a rubbish demo and show the girls.
You weren’t all friends yet when the band was conceived – how has that affected your dynamic when making music together? How have you grown as a unit since then?
Soph: I think we did — it happened quite quickly. We met when we formed the band really, and it was over summer and we had a few days every week rehearsing and going to the park and having a beer and stuff. It was a really nice hang out time — it happened quite naturally.
“Pull The Other One” seems very anecdotal. I love the line, “I’d like to let you stay the day but my schedule’s very tight.” Could you talk a bit about the meaning of this song?
Jules: It’s about lying to yourself and knowing that you’re lying to yourself but still going along with it.
Your producer for the album, Catherine Marks, has quite the resume. What was it like working with her?
Soph: Oh, she’s amazing. It was really good. We worked with a couple different people and we just did one song “Keep It,” with her and she quite instantly captured how we are live, but a bit better. She’s just brilliant. We met up the other night and just chatted about the album and reminiscing. She just knows how to make things sound that way you want them to.
I’m pretty in love with “Formidable.” What do you want listeners to take away from that song?
Soph: I think it’s quite empowering song. It’s about looking after someone else, really. The way the song builds up, feels quite triumphant and I felt that when Jules first sent out the demo I felt a tingling feeling.
Jules: It’s about being there for someone who needs a friend, being a killer strong force for someone who feels weak. It’s about looking after each other and talking to each other — something we all need to be doing these days.
If you had the power to tour with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Soph: My God. That’s a big question. Also, I feel like I know what we’d answer as a band. The White Stripes would be an amazing one. Or the Pixies — I guess they’re two bands that Jules really loves. I grew up listening to The White Stripes and the way Jack White writes songs — that would be an amazing band to support on tour.
Jules: Elvis. He had great snack taste. There was something I read that he liked a whole loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with bananas, bacon, peanut butter and jam. My kinda guy. And he was totally fit. I’d just like to look at his face. Oh, and he was an alright singer too.
Is there any particular story behind the band name?
Soph: Not particularly. It’s formed to us now. Jules always makes a joke that it’s her bum, she likes mooning. We had a lot of names and then we were The Moon, then we had to change it, so it became The Big Moon.
“The End” captures such a unique emotion of falling for someone without really meaning to. What does this song mean to you? What made you choose it to finish off the album?
Soph: Besides the obvious name thing (laughs). It’s probably my favorite song on the album. It’s the only song that we have strings on, and it has the same type of feeling that “Formidable” has that it’s triumphant. There’s just so much going on in it and it still feels whole. There’s so many different bits that fit so well together. There’s also the more emotional and ballsy-side of it.
Jules: It’s about being begrudgingly pulled towards someone and then succumbing to it and going all floppy and melting. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album. It had to finish the album! It’s called “The End”! Also, it finishes in a cacophony and it’s our only song with a proper cheesy rock ending where you jump in the air and do scissor kicks. Perfect ending.
If you had to choose, which song off of Love In The 4th Dimension is your favorite? How about which one you most like to play live?
Jules: “The End.” And “Zeds” is another favorite, it’s so slinky and sexy and more relaxed than the others and you just glide along with it. I also love “Bonfire,” it’s my favorite to play live at the moment — I take off my guitar and get down with the crowd and we start a riot.
What’s next for the band? Any big plans for the rest of the year?
Soph: We’ve got a headlining tour coming up in the UK and Europe kind of like an album tour. Then, summer we got a few festivals! It’s basically festivals all summer and then more touring from September onward.