I’m terribly jealous of Toronto’s Moon King. They’ve spent the better part of the year on the road, sharing stages with the likes of BRAIDS, HAERTS, and Ava Luna. They’re currently on an extensive jaunt with Born Ruffians and are making a stop at Johnny Brenda’s this 4/20, which, coincidentally, will serve as an album release party for their sophomore 12”, Obsession II, which drops that very same day on One Big Silence (Mike Haliechuk of Fucked Up’s very own label.)
The man behind Moon King would be Daniel Benjamin, along with friend and collaborator Maddy Wilde. The band’s current sound embodies the warmest, fuzziest, and most poignant shoegaze, punctuated by epic moments of rocking the fuck out… but never losing an ounce of cred… but also profound, spiritualistic whimsy. Their latest has drawn comparisons to the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Jane’s Addiction, and Cocteau Twins. I recently got a chance to talk to Daniel Benjamin about all of this… and basement shows… and fictional bands… and pot…
Izzy Cihak: I have to ask, what is it that inspired your moniker? It’s quite cool and interesting.
Daniel Benjamin: Well, I wanted to be the king of something… The moon seemed like a reasonable goal. Also, the moon kept coming up in song lyrics – originally this was gonna be a fictional band called Miyu & the Moon, with an imaginary Japanese girl as the lead singer. But reality kept calling us out.
IC: What are your biggest influences and inspirations in general, whether musical or otherwise?
DB: A few friends of mine who were just on the Reality Lite tour with my brother Airick’s band, Doldrums – Steven Foster, Kyle Jukka, Alex Cowan, Sean Nicholas Savage, Angus Borsos, Marilis Cardinal, Raphaelle Standell-Preston – they are all huge inspirations to me.
IC: You’re currently on tour and you’re going to be playing Philadelphia on 4/20. What can be expected of the live experience?
DB: Oh man! It comes out on 4/20, that’s fantastic. I hadn’t really thought about that. I don’t really smoke weed anymore, but that’s still great. A celebratory day. What can be expected from the show that night?? Well, I probably won’t be really stoned. But maybe you will be.
IC: We’re honored that you’re playing Philly on the day that your new EP drops. What can be expected of the release and future sounds?
DB: The new release is called Obsession II, the sequel to our first 12″ last summer, which was Obsession I. Most of the songs were written around the same time. We just decided to release them in two parts. I wanted them to sound really big, like we’re playing stadium shows in people’s basements. Well, we’re not actually playing basements much on tour anymore, but you get the idea. Big sound. I think the newer stuff I’ve been working on since then is a little more minimal and raw, more wormlike.
IC: This year has seen you on the road with a number of really cool artists. Are there any contemporary acts that you find to be especially exciting, intriguing, or inspiring?
DB: Some of the people who play live with me and Maddy have solo projects that are really amazing… Steven Foster’s band, Omhouse, our drummer, Sexy Merlin, my brother’s band, Doldrums… also Dorian from Austra and Mike from Fucked Up play on the new record, and it’s been great getting to know those bands better. I think Fucked Up are one of the most interesting bands Canada has ever produced.
IC: What are your hopes and plans for the rest of 2013, whether musical or leisurely?
DB: I really just want to tour my ass off. If we tour the rest of the year, that would be lovely.