Based in Bristol, Sugarmoon is a pop-folk act with some seriously funky vibes. Formed in December 2019, they have gained a loyal following and good reputation in only a few months. We spoke with vocalist and guitarist Ryan McMurtry about their single ‘The Only One’ off their upcoming debut EP, discovering new music and more.
Why did you decide to enter the music industry?
Like many musicians it feels like you end up doing it by accident, but when you’re passionate about something you gravitate to it naturally. We all come from different parts of the UK/Ireland and so we all have our own musical journeys that have brought us to this point in time.
Can you tell us about ‘The Only One’?
It*s our first single and is out now. The song is generally about opening up, sharing your feelings and sharing your love. It’s also the title track of our first EP which is out on 7th August on all digital platforms.
The video for the single was edited entirely by our vocalist Sophie Jones who found all the footage on old film reels in her grandparents’ attic. There was over six hours of footage!
What was the recording and writing process like?
Our writing process is usually that one of the band will come to rehearsal with a song idea, it’s normally 80% finished or a full song. We play it and collaboratively make changes until we all feel good about it. All five of us have contributed songs at some point and ‘The Only One’ was created in the same way.
We recorded about 80% of the EP ourselves at home, then we took to the studio to record drums, mixing and mastering.
Does the single have any significant meaning for you?
It’s significant because it’s our debut, but for Sophie, the video is particularly significant as it features so many of her family and friends! We feel good about being able to release something uplifting in such a scary time. As a response to adversity, it sums up the band pretty well.
What do you hope people take from your music?
We just hope it makes people chill out, feel a little bit less worried, and sending them off with some positive energy!
What is more challenging for you – melody or lyrics?
Probably lyrics. We all play music every day and when you*re doing that melodies can often come really naturally. It often feels like the right lyric will evade you furiously until you have an epiphany in the queue at the shop or as you’re falling asleep.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
In normal times we rehearse regularly and try to book in gigs as often as possible, so having those things in the schedule is a motivator because we know they’re going to be a lot of fun!
At the moment, we have a band WhatsApp group and we’re in touch pretty much every day on there sending little phone recordings with ideas for songs or videos. It’s motivating because you want to be a part of the creative momentum.
How would you describe your sound?
Describing our sound is always a challenge. We try to give off a vibe of slightly vintage, fun and carefree music that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Our biggest influences are acts like The Beatles, The Doors, The Mamas and The Papas, and many other acts that are some variation of pop, folk, rock, blues or jazz. Most recently we have been going with indie pop-folk – that’ll do for now.
What do you think is the best way to discover new music?
In normal times there’s nothing quite like going to your local music venues and discovering local and touring acts in intimate settings. We’ve discovered lots of great acts and friends that way.
What does the future hold for you?
We’re looking forward to a couple more releases this year that we’ve already recorded. Hopefully, things get back to normal and we can get back to performing live as soon as possible as this is what we really love doing!
Do you have a message for our readers?
Thanks for taking the time to find out about us! Keep an eye out for The Only One EP on 7th August. Hopefully, we’ll play live for you some day.