After releasing a fledgling demo last year, North East band The Moonlight Crusade has completed their line-up and settled into their new sound so Lee Allcock caught up with Jonny Noble (Bernaccia) to find out more about the new band, working with your family, and what gig-goers expect when they head to Think Tank? Underground this month.
Why did you decide to team up with your brother to put The Moonlight Crusade (MLC) together? And what’s, therefore, happening with Bernaccia and Kobadelta?
We’d talked about it for ages but there never seemed to be the right time to do it. After our (Bernaccia’s) debut album, we went on a sort of self-imposed hiatus which, unfortunately, we are yet to emerge from. Obviously, this meant that an opportunity presented itself so we started throwing ideas around and eventually stumbled upon a drummer which made it more of an actual ‘thing’.
Working with your brother in a band is infamously difficult, so what issues have you come across so far? And how have you pushed past those problems?
We both love making music so that has us on a creative even playing field. That being said, working together has been somewhat ‘emotional’ at times. We don’t agree with each other all the time and have absolutely no concerns about telling each other when that happens; this often involves very creative language choices but thankfully it never slows down the creative process. From his perspective, he doesn’t like being bossed about by his grumpy older brother while from my side it’s been like trying to keep hold of a huge balloon of enthusiasm before it floats away into the sky. At the end of the day, we were brothers before the MLC and we will be brothers after the MLC.
Your debut single, ‘Disco UFO’, is obviously heavily influenced by the grooves and beats of soul, R&B and hip-hop and it also has an additional dream psych-wave element to it too. That’s a lot different than your previous material with Bernaccia…
Yeah, we all wanted a change of sound (Michael, Jordan and Jack included) and to explore other avenues of our interests. The MLC is definitely more about a sound with a groove and funk as well as our established psych, post-punk influences. It’s a departure that reflects our interests and enjoyment in playing something new and challenging…a welcomed fork in the road.
Your debut headline show will take place at Think Tank? Underground on Friday 22nd June, so how are you preparing for that? And what can gig-goers expect?
The short answer is lots of rehearsals. We have always wanted our sound to be tight and measured so that’s our main focus at the minute. Apart from a blistering live set with never before heard music, people can expect disco-themed surprises and stellar merchandise.
You must be excited to be back out and playing live again?
Absolutely! Personally, I’ve missed it hugely and the whole band is itching to gig bigger and better shows as often as possible. There’s no lack of enthusiasm from the band.
If you could bring back any musicians from the grave, who would you bring back and why?
Charles Bradley. I’ve been a huge fan of his for the past few years and he was a great loss. Even though he was an older artist, it felt like he still had so much positive work to do. I spoke to him after his show at the Sage and I was lucky enough to tell him how blown away I was. His response: “I feel your love, brother”.
To find out more about The Moonlight Crusade and their upcoming gig in Newcastle, head to Facebook.com/themoonlightcrusade.