This time last year, English-based quartet Moose Blood spent their summer traveling across the sea as a supporting group on the Vans Warped Tour. Gaining initial momentum from their No Sleep Records debut, I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time, in 2014, the band delivers serene musicianship that bears the simplicity of seminal emo acts like Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids and American Football. While their brief run on the Vans Warped Tour proved to be a rewarding experience, it was only a matter of time until they made their triumphant return to the United States in an intimate club setting.
To begin their summer on a high note, Moose Blood announced their first proper North American headlining tour to support the release of their forthcoming studio follow-up, Blush. With leading singles like “Honey” and “Knuckles” to provide fans with a sneak peek of this highly-anticipated release, the band received an overwhelming amount support from the very get-go. Considering the immediate response for Blush to be released this August, there’s no question that this North American run will be one of the band’s most anticipated tours of their musical careers.
Not too long before Moose Blood started their first official run of United States-based shows, I had the opportunity to speak with bassist Kyle Todd, who reflected back on their experiences from last year’s Vans Warped Tour, discussed the band’s upcoming tour, along with the excitement surrounding their forthcoming sophomore effort, Blush.
A few weeks from now, you’ll be starting your first proper United States-based headlining tour. What are you looking forward to the most about this small run of shows coming up?
I think we’re all really excited about this run because we did Warped Tour last year. I think Warped Tour was a brilliant way to make your way across all of the states, but you actually didn’t get to really experience anything outside of a parking lot, or a field, or things like that. So, it’s definitely real. I’m really excited to explore, and things like that.
Around this time last year, Moose Blood was on the Vans Warped Tour. How do you think that your return to the United States will be different in comparison since this will be your first opportunity to play as a headlining act?
I think any club show is definitely a more intimate experience because you paid for the band that you’re going to see, whereas Warped Tour, or any other festival really, it’s like literal chaos (laughs). The lead up to any kind of festival is always brilliant. You can plan all you’d like, but when you get there, from a flyer, you find out that two of your favorite band’s sets clash or something, and sometimes you miss everything and you have a fun story for that as well.
But yeah, I definitely think a club show is more intimate. You get to meet the audience as well from the band’s perspective. So, it’s kind of nice to see that people are really excited to see your band.
After conquering the Vans Warped Tour last year, did you feel that the next immediate goal was to embark on a headlining tour upon your return to the United States?
Straight away! Yeah, I think Warped Tour was a brilliant experience, and it was probably the hardest thing that we’ve ever done as a band, because it was a really long way from home. The time differences were really hard, but with contact with family and friends. Sometimes, it felt a bit rough—like you wanted to spend some free time going around the East Coast, or going around the West Coast or Texas, but you never really got the opportunity, so I think we definitely wanted to get back out. It kind of adds a whole new level of dimensions of how much we could do, so we really wanted to see how much we could do of America in one go. Realistically, if felt like a right time for us.
From my understanding, some dates on the tour have either sold out, or have been upgraded to bigger venues due to popular demand. Was this something that you were personally anticipating to happen, considering the response from this tour announcement?
It’s absolutely overwhelming. It’s incredible to get any sort of response to play so far from home. It’s almost halfway around the world from where you are, and to have people who are as receptive as they are at home and in some areas even greater, you really can’t sum up with words the feeling you get when someone from home seems so far away.
What has the reception been like thus far for the new album, Blush?
The reception we’ve had for the singles that have come out for the record so far has been incredible, really. It’s always kind of a scary feeling I think with anything new. It comes more scary when people are telling you because you already have a preconceived concept of a band. That’s always in the back of your head—like, as a musician, you always want to play something different. You kind want to stay true to yourself, and not force too much of the same. I think some progression is natural.
But yeah, the reception that we had for the whole record so far has been really positive, so that’s quite nice. I can’t wait to get it out now because we had it on the backburner for so long that I think we’re ready to start playing these tracks now. I just hope that they get well received as the older songs.
Tell me a little bit about the writing process for Blush. What was the transition like working on this record this time around in comparison to I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time?
Well, when we decided that this time we were going to write a full-length, everything kind of fell together all at the same time; it was quite a natural feeling. The first time around, we had as long as we wanted—we had backing from No Sleep Records, and we had backing from our friends from home, so they were aware of us.
I think with a record too, it becomes very apparent to talk about a timeframe, and we were touring a lot last year. Within the back of everyone’s mind, we had to have an album out at some point, and we weren’t quite sure what the deadline was or anything like that.
I think once we had a deadline written out, we were out on the road, and we gave that a go, and it’s very hard to fit that in amongst a lot of other things. Even with like lyrical content, it wasn’t as easy as it was as I think this time was, than it was the last time for the old record.
This time, it came together rather quickly through a bit of hard work, high spirits, and a bit of pressure, where we knew we had to write it, we gave ourselves a bit of a deadline, and we came into the studio some of the tracks written, but not all of them were put together. When we got into the studio, we decided to develop the ideas a bit more, and kind of push ourselves as far as we can go. We definitely developed song structures, and a way to play a song as a whole a little bit better compared to the first record, where it was a free-for-all.
We’ve written like, sections of songs and we put them together until we made it work. Hopefully this concept of the song structure is more refined considering the amount of time that we’ve played together for a band.
Interesting. It seems like with that kind of timeframe in mind, you definitely have a lot more structure set in place to help accommodate the goals you wanted to accomplish with this record.
Oh, absolutely. It’s kind of like a fun idea to come up with different ways of writing an album. Sometimes, you can read into people that come up with an entire concept for the record before they’ve even written the record. Now, it’s kind of interesting to play around with it before we even started it—even with things like imagery, and how you want things to look and things like that. It was quite an interesting process for this one.
What do you think should fans expect to hear live considering that this will be the start of your supporting album cycle for Blush? Will you try to incorporate as much older songs as you can, while playing a lot of new material throughout?
It’s a funny one, being in a band and having a new album. We just want to play the whole album all the time. But obviously as a fan of the band, you want to hear older stuff, and we’ve never played some songs in America so far. So, all of our old material could be the first time that somebody sees it. It’s definitely something where we got to think about on the upcoming week, as to how we want to fit old songs around the new songs. You want to kind of please as many people as you can with things like playing every song that everyone wants to hear. So I really don’t know how we’re going to structure this. It’s always like a timeless, old question that we kind of ask together in a couple practices. Whatever feels right, it feels right.
Definitely! Now, I am sure you have a lot of friends in the UK-based music scene who have also had their rite of passage experiences with touring the United States for the first time as well. Now that it’s your turn to finally travel fully into America, what are you looking forward to most about the kinds of opportunities that might come from this tour?
One of the great things about touring somewhere new for the first time is definitely making friends with bands, fans and people that are kind to you in certain areas. We got age-old friends from places, and if you compare to the UK, we got more friends, and we got people that we are friends with throughout the whole country, and then, you then upscale that into Europe. We made friends with people in Germany that we would have never had contact with if we weren’t in a band. So, it’s like we made friends for life just through making connections, and being kind, and helping a band out with getting a surrounding show in the area.
I’m really excited to try to make friends, and kind of hang out. I think that’s a fundamental, and cool thing for a band—where you feel the same kind of wavelength as the people who go to the shows because we all grew up going to shows. I don’t know, that’s the whole vibe we get from being surrounded by positive people who are just doing the same thing.
I couldn’t agree more. In the end, we’ve all found our way into this community through the love of the music, and the friends that we’ve connected with along the way.
Yeah, I think it works. One of our first tours we did was with I Am The Avalanche, and as a support act we had Turnover and Major League. We toured on Warped Tour last summer, and when we saw Major League there, it was like we literally never had left. We haven’t seen each other in a few years, and the same with Turnover.
We met with [guitarist and vocalist] Cameron Boucher from Sorority Noise, and he was too kind, and he drove us around on the East Coast, and helped us get things like strings and just showed us cool places to eat. With things like that, it’s only one step away because everyone is that kid that goes to shows.
Definitely. Now on one final note, with the new record on its way in August, you’re going to be heading back to the UK and to Europe throughout the fall. Could you break down what the rest of the year has in store for Moose Blood? What are you looking forward to the most about starting this new touring cycle in support of Blush moving forward?
Man, we’ve been busy behind the scenes with things. We seemed to be touring forever now, and from next month; it feels like forever. We’re doing a UK and European headline run—the European side has Pup, and I am really excited to watch Pup play the new record over and over because I think The Dream Is Over is an absolute great record. Then we go back to the UK in early October and we are brining Turnover, and I am really excited to hear anything new that Turnover has to bring as well. I think Peripheral Vision is brilliant as well. I think it’s a cool thing where you have one step away from bands that you really enjoy to meeting them and hanging out with them and playing shows with them.
Then, we have a support run in Australia, which is incredible because we’ve never seen that part of the world. We have some more exciting news that I don’t think will be out for the end of the year, or even next year. It seems like everything is picking up again, and it’s pretty fun. We’ve been quiet for a while, and I think it’s time for us to come back and play again.
Moose Blood will be playing at the Studio at Webster Hall in Manhattan on July 22, GameChangerWorld in Howell on July 23, and The Foundry in Philadelphia on July 24. They’ll also be stopping by Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ on July 23. Their forthcoming studio effort, Blush, will be available on Aug. 5 through Hopeless Records. For more information, go to mooseblooduk.com.