The singer-songwriter talks us through her inspirations, staying creative and making music from the heart.
If Lana Del Rey and BANKS had a love child, Norwegian-swiss artist Red Moon would be the result. Bursting on to the scene last year with her head-turning debut EP “Phase I:XI”, the singer is making her reappearance with ethereal new single “Thirsty”. Delivering an ode to personal connections and the intensity it can bring, the singer swoons over the cinematic guitar-led production, entering an indie-pop soundscape filled with heart-pounding drums and echoing vocals.
Opening up on the release, the singer said, “’Thirsty’ exudes passion, drive and freedom. It describes the feeling that anything is possible with this person you share an undeniable connection with; when your gut tells you that there is a future you will share together. So you just want to see where this spark will lead you to. To me, it’s a playful and curious song about queer expression, sensuality and a little psychedelic magic too.”
Hailing from the small rural town of Nittedal, Red Moon – also known as Joanna – was inspired by her mother and grandmother while growing up, who were both esteemed painters. Pushed to pursue all things creative, the singer experimented with her sound over the years, and soon became fascinated with melodrama and expressing emotions. Ready to start a new chapter this year, we caught up with Red Moon discussing inspiration in lockdown, staying creative and making music from the heart.
Check out the interview below…
We are halfway through 2021, how has this past year been for you?
It’s really strange that we’re already in June. I remember at the beginning of this year my creative team and I shot the artwork covers of my second phase. And now we’re here. 2020 and this half of the year of 2021 has passed by both super fast and super slow. To be honest it’s been a really challenging year and also a year where I’ve learned a lot about myself. I feel I’ve grown to know how to set healthier boundaries, listen and communicate better in conflicts.
With everything that has happened last year, has your creativity been affected?
It for sure has. The pace I was used to when working in the studio with other artists or producers has changed. But it has also made me work more independently from home. I’ve started doing some zoom writing sessions. Some didn’t work out and some were really amazing. I think it’s great to be able to have both options, and the “know how” to be able to make your own sound and send your own files. But I love working with people in the room, so even though it’s extremely practical to be able to have a zoom session from Norway with someone from LA, nothing can come close to being in the studio in the flesh.
How did you first get into music, what is your earliest memory?
It was a natural process for me that was encouraged by my family and my surroundings. There has been a lot of love for music and creativity in general from my family. My mom, grandma and great-grandfather are painters. I was lucky to feel they understood my drive for art and music. There are some moments I can’t remember because I was too young, but there are some pictures of me playing with a cassette machine where I am singing into a microphone. And another one where I am playing the organ with my great-grandfather who was an organist. I must have been between 3 or 4 years old in both the photos. Later there was an opportunity in my primary school in Norway where each student was assigned an instrument, which in my case was the tenor horn. I switched to the trumpet later as it felt lighter and had a different range. I realised I was really bad at reading notes, but had a good memory for melodies.
You’ve moved between Norway and Switzerland growing up, do you think living here impacted your sound?
To have been able to live in two different countries, speak different languages and also understand other cultures has had a big influence on me for sure. There are some similarities, but both places feel very different. I associate Basel and Oslo with the people I had in my life and probably the art or music scene. Basel is the place where I played my first open-mic show. It’s been the town to play gigs with some jazz musician friends and I have been surrounded by very creative people from art school.
I moved back to Norway about seven years ago and I found a safe haven living here. I’m only surrounded by nature and the people I choose to have in my life.
You released your debut EP last year, what is it like releasing music during these difficult times?
It was a strange year and a year that has impacted us all. Some of the songs felt like they came at the right time as well. To me “Phase I:XI” is an EP that I associate with beginning and endings, the “larger questions” in life. So I hope that it will grow over the years and be found by the people who it might speak to. All of these songs mean a lot to me and I’m really proud of them.
And now your back with new single “Thirsty”, talk us through the production process!
The feel and tone was set by the guitar riff Odd Martin was playing, everything else just came along naturally. The drive in the production and the cheeky raw feel to the lyrics makes me feel empowered for so many reasons. “Thirsty” exudes passion, drive and freedom. It describes the feeling that anything is possible with this person you share an undeniable connection with; when your gut tells you that there is a future you will share together. So you just want to see where this spark will lead you to. For me it’s a playful and curious song about queer expression, sensuality and a little psychedelic magic too. In the song, I’ve taken inspiration from a few rare connections I’ve made over the last few years. And you know, once you’ve felt that mutual spark with the person in the room, nothing else matters. It’s this ride or die, you met your person who speaks “the same language” in all sorts of ways. You can’t explain the connection, you just know it. “Thirsty” was written in a time before the pandemic, so now it gives a new meaning for all the things we are thirsting for.
Your music is very much from the heart, how do you go about pouring out your emotions into music? Do you find it easy?
Thank you. It’s easier to express myself through music and melodies then to talk about them I guess. I think it’s been a process, where I’ve pushed myself to become more vulnerable and open in the way I write lyrics. I’ve grown to understand more and more the importance and power of each word.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
I’d love it if my music can become a part of peoples unique experience. If some can feel or identify themselves in any of my songs they can claim their own meaning to it.
What are you most excited for in the future?
I can’t wait to be able to travel and play shows again. Enjoy and celebrate being with people.