Interview: Josie Moon on her new single + upcoming album.

Interview: Josie Moon on her new single + upcoming album.

"I want people to be able to recognise the coming-of-age situations everyone experiences: the insecurities, the doubts, the fear," Josie Moon shares about her upcoming debut album - a project she began work on back in 2018 when her EP 'Rose Tinted' was released. Since then, the Wellington-based artist has been taking her time putting the final touches on the album, set for release in 2022.

Having just shared the first taster of the album with 'Más Que Nada', Moon describes the single as a "quiet love song to someone I fell for over the internet," while acknowledging the uncertainty, singing, "Even if we keep our word, our paths aren’t so simple like that."

We spoke with Josie Moon about her new song 'Más Que Nada', what to expect from the upcoming album, and much more...

COUP DE MAIN: What is it about 'Más Que Nada' that you wanted to release it as the first thing people are hearing from the new Josie Moon project?
JOSIE MOON: I think sonically 'Más Que Nada' is the closest to my 'Rose Tinted' EP, so for previous listeners it will be a soft lead into the rest of the album tracks to come. Everything that I am releasing after it will be so different, so I think it’s best to have a familiar face at the front of the line-up.

CDM: In the second verse you sing, "What if I can’t be enough? And the distance cuts us both off?" Why do you think the concept of being 'enough' for someone else is something that people are often contemplating?
JOSIE: In past situations I used to fill another person's disinterest with my own over-compensation. I think that’s something you can’t help but do. You want to be with someone so much that you’d change parts of yourself to fit their vision; that’s incredibly unhealthy. Humans are such social creatures that we can’t help but want to resolve elements of ourselves that don’t fit in with the people they care about. As I get older though, I am caring less and less about fitting directly into other people’s moulds. It’s a fruitless pursuit and it only ends up damaging your relationship with yourself. It’s a topic that I cover on a couple of tracks in the album.

CDM: Do you think that one person is ever enough for another person? I was reading recently about the idea that relying on one person for everything in life (emotional reliance) can be so dangerous, but is a really perpetuated myth from pop culture.
JOSIE: I think if you’re demanding a single person to fulfil all of your needs you’re not only going to damage the relationship with that person, but it’s also going to make you an unsatisfied and unhappy person. Your parents are going to give you as much as they can, but eventually you need to learn independence or you won’t grow. If you demand everything from a romantic partner, you’re going to suffocate them and isolate yourself. All of my friends have different needs and interests and I find great joy in experiencing different activities and going on different journeys with them. Being secure in myself means I can establish healthier boundaries in my romantic life, and it allows trust to be built. Don’t look for other people to save you; build yourself up. Being reliant on other things to fulfil you allows pop culture to sell cures to you more easily, I think that’s why it’s so heavily perpetuated.

CDM: What are the main things that you've learnt about yourself during the creation of this album?
JOSIE: Instead of being the person who goes all in on one thing and surrounds themselves with only that, I need a balance of many things. I've learnt that I romanticise others too much (I’m getting better at chilling out on that). Writing really helps me process a lot of my painful emotions like grief and anger and insecurity. Building boundaries for yourself is really healthy and beneficial for becoming a more confident and secure person. I can actually do so much when I don’t let others get under my skin.

CDM: What are you most excited for people to hear in this upcoming album?
JOSIE: Really just the growth. I want people to be able to recognise the coming-of-age situations everyone experiences: the insecurities, the doubts, the fear. We all go through it and if anyone feels like they can identify with those topics in the tracks, I’ll feel seen.

CDM: How do you think you would compare it to your last EP 'Rose Tinted'? It's been three years!
JOSIE: It’s really felt like a lifetime bringing it all together. Covid delayed things, every member of my writing team had personal things pop up, and we were all just trying to push through all this shit to get things/songs we cared about out into the world. I spent 2020 saving as much money as I could to help release the album. I’m just so glad we’re finally able to do it.

CDM: What time period was the album written in?
JOSIE: The first song I wrote for the album was started during 'Rose Tinted' promotions back in 2018, then the majority of the songs were written in 2019. At that time I was writing for a 7-track EP, but at the end of 2019 I had people asking why I didn’t just extend it into an album by adding a few more. I think we wrote the remainder over that summer before Covid hit. I’m so glad we extended it too, because it brought some of my favourite songs to the album, including 'Más Que Nada'.

CDM: Were there any books / movies / albums you were listening to a lot during the writing of this upcoming album?
JOSIE: Funnily enough a few of the tracks I wrote really felt like they should be paired with films. 'Mad Max', 'Cowboy Bebop', 'Akira', I suppose many are quite dystopian, but I find dystopias really exaggerate misfortune, and when you’re hurting and struggling, you also exaggerate your own pain. You feel like things won’t ever get better, you feel like you have to be this main character achieving these great accomplishments to overcome adversity. The films are so visual and incredible that the colours always suck me in. Some songs from the album like 'Just Fumez' and 'Deep Space' are these huge red and orange and smokey colours that make me think of the terrain on 'Mad Max', or the atmosphere on Mars. Some books I read that pushed into the psychology of self-analysis were 'Acts Of Meaning' by Jerome Bruner and 'Tibetan Book Of The Dead'.

CDM: If J.O.S.I.E. M.O.O.N. was an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
Just gunna go feed my neighbour’s alpacas
Oil pastels
I miss my cat
Music :)
O is such a hard letter to write for
Oh god I’ve eaten pizza every day this week

CDM: Are there any NZ artists that you're loving at the moment?
JOSIE: Recently I got to go to an APRA Songhubs down in Ōtautahi and it was such a gift. Working with other incredible musicians from other music scenes outside of Wellington was so wonderful. I got really close with Ashy and Harry Parsons; we all said we would love to do a show together one day. Other artists I love currently are Lévyne; I adore all of her music, she’s so gifted in her writing, and Sam Cullen who played some guitar on my album, he’s wickedly talented, especially live. I could go on for ages about how much talent there is in this country.

Josie Moon's new single 'Más Que Nada' is out now - listen to it below: