Interview: MoonBee – “Run Run Run”

As foggy autumn is starting it’s time for some mystery – and what could be more mysterious than a distant, sparkling galaxy far away? How does the wide infinite universe go together with us, the tiny little creatures on earth? Aarhus based MoonBee shares her view on it with us via her songs – wrapped in beautiful galactic metaphors and playful arrangements. Her latest track “Run Run Run” has just come out and we wanted to know more about her thoughts on the universe, so we sat down and asked her a few questions:

Good because Danish: On October 4th, your first single “Run Run Run” was released. Of course, we’re interested in the story behind the song – can you tell us more?

MoonBee: The song was created in a dark period of my life where my mind had turned against me and where I needed to remind myself, that if the course was to change then I had to turn to the good things in my life – though it took a whole lot of willpower, that was hard to find at the given time.

“Run Run Run” subsequently became a form of life manifesto for me. The voice that speaks in the song repeatedly reminds me that I must remember to run headfirst into all that is beautiful – especially when desire has left the body and everything feels as if it has been absorbed into a black hole.

The track will be part your upcoming EP “Come Move In Another Dimension”. How can we expect a variety of songs there? Will they all match one theme or contain very different background stories?

“Come Move In Another Dimension” will be an experiment in pop-music working with contrasts, both emotional, compositional, production-wise and in the end also the physical shape of it.

The background stories more or less come from the idea of feeling small against infinity. Thoughts about being indescribably small and insignificant, of feeling invincible when overcoming one’s fears, of feeling alienated from oneself, or of the universal greatness of love. So, very different background stories but all born out of the same “philosophy”.

“Come Move In Another Dimension” will be released as a two-sided EP where all songs will appear in two different shapes which hopefully will give the listener the possibility to listen and explore the songs in two very different maybe even contrasting ways. On side A the songs will appear with my band “The Astronauts” and on the B side with the string ensemble “Who Killed Bambi”.

You told us, that your music is very much influenced by the major contrasts in the universe and the feeling of being left with a lot of unanswered questions. How did you get interested in this exciting topic?

I guess it has always been a very present question to me because it is all so unknown, exciting and dangerous. As a youngster, I felt very attached to songs like “Tomorrow Never Dies” by Swan Lee because of the description of celestial objects and the need to seek hidden adventures. I felt a profound connection to astronauts and their adventurous lives and their lust and need to explore. I felt, and still feel, overwhelmed, happy and very sad at the same time when thinking about floating weightlessly around in the black starry universe.  When I look back at this I, however, think it comes from something very human. For a lot of years, I searched for answers in religion and existentialism because life can be so overwhelming and hard to understand. Exploring the universe through my music seems somehow soothing in the same way reading about existentialism does. It puts everything into perspective.

The magic of creating music is very important for you. What would you say, is most magical for you when you are composing or writing lyrics?

The part where something is born out of nothing. The moment where an idea, a sensation, a lyric or a melody manifests is so magical, because it feels like you are just reaching out in the back of your mind to find something that has been processed subconsciously. I have to be very attentive and present while writing music, and love that I have to be that to be able to write music. It creates a flow in time that is so different from everything else in my life and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced the same contemplation in anything else- it’s very addictive. It’s quite wonderful to write music- not to mention the boost of self-worth after having created something I’m proud of :-D

Nevertheless, music also means fun and playfulness to you. What would you see as the most fun part of your life as a musician?

Arranging the music with my wonderful band “The Astronauts” and my producer Anders Boll is quite a wonderful thing. Spending time with The Astronauts- whether it be in rehearsal rooms, in studios and especially on stages- is a gift that just keeps on giving. We have so much fun and I think we’ve found a synergy on stage that is quite something extraordinary. I feel so blessed when I perform and get to share it with my band and the audience.

I also have a lot of fun creating all the artwork and stories for the visual side of this many-layered project. I’ve made headpieces, band costumes, cover art, a MoonBee logo and created stories about each and every Astronaut. Every time I get a new idea for the MoonBee + The Astronauts story it feels as if our Universe expands and that the story becomes stronger and stronger. I love that there is this kind of a synergy between the music and everything I’ve created around it so far.

Let’s get to some facts – you mentioned your music is also about: energy, imagination, spontaneity, honesty, strength and fragility. Therefore, what would you say is your:
…Biggest energy driver?

My curiosity, without a doubt. There are very few things I find boring in life and on top of that I think I have a very Pippi Longstocking kind’a mind, – meaning that I rarely think that there is something I can’t do which sometimes backlashes but more often leaves me in the middle of little adventures.

…Trigger for imagination?

Travelling, exploring and being outside my comfort zone.
I also like seeking inspiration in other art forms- especially in visual arts because it usually gives me a lot of beautiful metaphors to work with.

…most spontaneous adventure you ever did?

Going to Salvador, Brazil, with a one-way ticket and the belief that I had to live there for at least half a year so that I could dive into Brazilian music, culture and the beautiful Portuguese language.

…most difficult situation where you needed to be honest?

When I found out that I had to return to Denmark because the travel to Brazil left me distressed and homesick in every fibre of my body. My expectations about this travel weren’t met at all and I’ve never felt so alienated and wrong before. It took a lot of courage for me to tell myself that I didn’t fail just because I had to go home before planned.

…biggest strength?

My big-ass-MoonBee-heart that leads me to do things I love and work with people I love. It leaves me passionate and with a lot of gratitude in life in general. I love that big-ass-heart even though I feel everything very strongly in my mind and body.

…most fragile side?

I’m my worst enemy which often shows in a giant lack of self-esteem. I think that a lot of artists struggle with these thoughts and I am no exception at all. But I’ve come to terms with that this is a part of the whole package. It is because I care A LOT (and maybe too much) about the final product that it sometimes devastates me if I can’t live up to all these self-made expectations. I don’t strive for perfection but if I can’t feel the intention in something we’ve recorded or arranged I can really beat myself up for it and think that I am less of a musician because of it. It’s an on-going game, but I think I’m getting older and wiser and in general more happy about just being in the process of it all.

You mentioned your music is not only inspired by these emotions, but also by ‘60s beats, 70’s bass, ‘80s synths and ‘90s guitar riffs. Who are your favourite artists of these times?

Aaaagh I stand on the shoulders of massive artists. This is so hard but I have some songs I’ve heard over and over again.
60’s – The Beatles (Eleanor Rigby and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds) & Joni Mitchell (Both Sides Now and A Case Of You)
70’s – Kate Bush (Wuthering Heights, Running Up That Hill, A Woman’ss Work) & ABBA (Dancing Queen)
80’s – Madonna (Pappa Don’t Preach & Material Girl) & Whitney Huston (Wanna Dance With Somebody)
90’s – Radiohead (Motion Picture Soundtrack, Pyramid Song- I like it all they are my favourite band) Cocteau Twins (Cherry-coloured Funk), Björk (Venus As A Boy and It’s Oh So Quiet) and Air (Sexy Boy)

And one last question – most of the Danish artists live in Copenhagen, you live in Aarhus. What do you think makes this city so special as the second music hub in Denmark?

The stage is so small in Denmark in general and I’ve played a lot in both cities. I’m not sure that I feel that the stage in Aarhus is much different than Copenhagen. There is a good environment around voluntary associations presenting a lot of different music and I think that because of the very small stage we are good at using each other and supporting what comes out of the city. SPOT Festival also has a great part in cultivating a really good audience who likes taking chances on new music which is good for newbies like me.  In general, I like Aarhus for having a little bit of everything. It’s not overwhelming but it’s definitely not underwhelming either and the level of performers and bands that comes out of this city is quite good considering the size.

Stay tuned to hear more from MoonBee and her astronauts – we are sure her journey around the mysterious galaxy will bring us some more galactic music soon!

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