SXSW Interviews: Willy Moon

When Willy Moon’s video for ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ and his song, ‘Yeah Yeah,’ both went viral, he got people interested. No one knew who this guy was, but they wanted to. Yet, as a person, I don’t think Willy Moon is the kind to lure an audience into his world at all. When I first sat down with Willy during SXSW, in the unbelievably elegant and cultured Driskill hotel, I could tell that he is really just in it for the art – and that he really isn’t in it for the interviews. Sitting down in his fine-fitted polka dot suit, sipping on a cocktail, and clutching his iPhone in his lap, Willy talked about throwback music making a return, Myspace, and why he can’t wear jeans.

So, how is SXSW so far?

It has been great. All of our shows have been packed, we’ve been well received. It’s been fun, man! It’s nice to be in some festival that’s not in some shitty field somewhere. It’s nice to be on concrete.

Is that your favorite part about it?

Yes. It’s my favorite festival I’ve ever been to.

What’s the difference between Texas crowds and crowds from other places like Europe?

I don’t know, I can’t really answer that. It’s a weird circumstance to be playing in the first place. I’ve never played at this festival. I would say from my experience everywhere that I’ve played, it’s not like country to country or state to state. It’s more from town to town that it’s difference. In the UK, you play in London, and it’s always the same. In Manchester, it’s always wicked. So, I can’t really say.

You started on Myspace. How important is the internet to all aspects of your career?

I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now without the internet. The internet was how I discovered and fell in love with music as a kid – illegally downloading songs, file sharing and stuff like that. It’s how I found so much music that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. In terms of Myspace, when I was putting up demos around 2011, it was still kind of a way to have your music online, but now there’s so many different avenues. I grew up on Myspace. We used to do all that shit with the “top friends” and see whether they’d get upset. But them it just became spam.

What inspires your style?

Just not wanting to be the same as every other motherfucker, man – just wanting to have my own thing. I feel comfortable wearing a suit, I like it. I would feel really weird wearing jeans like you. Just like you’d feel uncomfortable dress like me. I think it’s just always important to be yourself, and that’s what I try and do.

You’ve released a lot of promos – promo songs, etc. How do you plan to move forward with the debut album?

Well there are lots of songs on my record that I haven’t released. I think there are a lot of tracks on there that add to what I’m doing as an artist, but it’s not my record anymore. I’m finished with it.

Lots of male artists a doing a “throwback” kind of thing now.  What do you think sets you apart from all the other artists doing it, and why do you think that kind of artistry is coming back? 

People have always been doing throwback music. They’ve always been connecting with different genres from the past in order to find new ways forward. I think maybe the reason everyone is doing that at the moment is because everything is so stagnant. People are looking at ways to develop. I look back to try and look forward. I try and look to the past to find a future that makes sense to me, but I think it’s just natural. Any art form is always a conversation with the past – it’s inevitable.

Your song, “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” was featured in an Apple ad. How did that help you?

Million of people around the world are hearing my record – it’s pretty much an ad for my song. What could be more brilliant than that?

I remember when your first video came out and a lot of bloggers were talking about how they didn’t even know who this random guy was. Is being sort of mysterious intentional or do you just not like being in the media?

I make music. I’m a musician. I’m a record producer, I’m a songwriter. That’s what I do. So it makes sense that that is the way I present myself. I like making music videos. It’s a passion of mine. I am lucky enough that I have the freedom to indulge in through my music. I love cinema. It’s like a holiday for me to go do it, it’s a hobby of mine. I just want people to listen to music and forget about all the other crap.

Since we are Indie Houston, who are some of your favorite indie artists we can check out? 

I don’t even know what ‘indie’ means anymore – it doesn’t even make sense to me. I think the whole idea of ‘indie’ is something I never really got. If you’re talking about artists that are independent record labels – I can talk about artists that are on Exile records, but is it an independent record? It’s part of Beggars group. If you’re talking about indie as a style of music, I think it has so many mainstream and pop sounds, so I don’t really know if I can answer that question. Sorry.

Willy’s debut album, Here’s Willy Moon, comes out April 3rd everywhere.

Watch the video for ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ below.



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