PopBreak Interview and EP Preview

Above the Moon is set to release their new EP, Patterns You Create tomorrow! They are celebrating with an EP release show at Arlene’s Grocery in NYC. There, fans will experience the ferocity with which this band performs and hear songs that speak of the unpredictability of life.

Hailing from Madison, New Jersey, this four-piece alternative indie rock band captures pure emotion in their songs. Contrary to their band name, these songs are incredibly down-to-earth and listeners are bound to find lyrics that they identify with on Patterns You Create.

The EP starts off on a bittersweet yet sentimental note with “The Grey.” This song is about struggling to accept that sometimes, “silver linings turn to grey” and we have to confront the unimaginable in life.

“San Junipero” echoes these feelings and also touches on the idea of trusting someone with your love. To me, this song is basically letting the person you love know that you’ll always be there for them. There’s also a sense that you’re putting the ball in that person’s court, as these lyrics suggest: “meet me in San Junipero/ I’ll be waiting in the undertow for you/ for life / my love.”

Track 3, “Underneath Alice” has more of a somber, nostalgic feel to it. There’s a slight story-telling quality to the lyrics, and they remind us that nothing great can last forever.

“Fight the Sea” brings about a state of conflict into the mix, as this is a song about confronting someone in your life whose behavioral patterns are negatively impacting you. By this point, the only option is cutting ties with this person.

The final track on the song, “Never Been Enough” may be emotional to listen to for those who struggle with self-esteem and self-criticism. I think we all encounter this at some points during our lives, which makes this song very relatable. The EP leaves listeners feeling introspective, yet ready to press replay to hear it all again.

By reading The Pop Break’s interview with Above the Moon, you’ll come to understand just how much these songs mean to the band.

To start, the album art for Patterns You Create is really intriguing and very appealing to the eyes. What are we seeing in the image? How does it reflect what the EP is about?
For this EP we wanted a cohesive visual and colorscheme, and decided to reach out to Shawn’s friend Sarah Carolan after seeing her work.  Usually Sarah’s pieces are colorful graphics often including a female figure.  Before we’d decided on a title, we sent her our top choices and she created a few variations of the image we chose, so it was largely based on her interpretation of the titles we sent.  We really love the rhythmic repetition in the background, and the pose and position of the female figure - people have asked if she’s sinking, or floating, and we think it depends on which track you’re listening to.

How was the recording process of Patterns You Create? What was it like working with producer Joe Reinhart?
Working with Joe was really fun!  We’re all big fans of his band, Hop Along, and had discussed working with him on our second EP but unfortunately the timing didn’t align.  This time around we were very excited to head to Philly to work with him at The Headroom.  From the first day, Joe was super meticulous about getting the right sound - I think we tried three our four different snare drums, same goes for the rhythm guitars and vocal mics.  He knew how to use his gear to craft sounds that felt authentic and “us.” He had a lot of great ideas for individual tracks - ways to emphasize certain parts or where we should play less so it sounded better.  We also got to work with Kyle Pulley, who stepped in to help us track all of our vocals on the last day of recording, and he was really great, too.

On Patterns You Create, is there any song that encapsulates the overall meaning of the EP? If so, what song is it and how does it capture the meaning of the EP?
We’re not really sure if there’s one song that captures the overall meaning of the EP, or even if there is one, but when we were coming up with a title for it we reduced each song to one word and came up with: fear, hope, regret, relief and persistence.  Like we did with our last EP, The Distance Is the Same, we decided to title this one by pulling a lyric from one of the tracks.  We chose Patterns You Create from Fight the Sea after the word “pattern” kept coming up during the recording process, but the concept of patterns has a lot to do with the overall meaning of the songs.  There’s a quote that reads, “Life forms illogical patterns” - it is unpredictable, and yet we all experience the same things over and over. I think this EP as a whole is about just experiencing the ups and downs of life as they come, and that no matter how much you try to prepare for or control things, you can’t.

I really like “The Grey” and all of its honesty. There’s something very bittersweet yet sentimental about this song that sticks with me. The words “no one should ever feel this way” keep replaying in my mind. I often have that thought when I’m experiencing overwhelming negative feelings, as I’d never wish them on anyone else. So I’m wondering: what inspired this song and these words?
Kate: Thank you!  I’ve heard people describe songwriting as a cathartic experience, and in small ways I have felt that with other songs, but never as much as I did when we wrote The Grey.  The song was inspired by the end of my father’s battle with brain cancer. On our first EP we have a song called Out of the Woods, which was about his diagnosis and how as a family we’d stay positive and get through it together, but The Grey is about the last few months of his illness when we realized he wasn’t going to get better.  The song title is in reference to the color for Brain Cancer Awareness, which is grey, but it’s also about being in a grey area, where you’re unsure of everything and you just don’t know what to think anymore. Toward the end of his life, my father’s memory was severely affected, and he was very confused, but he also opened up in a way he’d never done before. I found that I was comfortable asking him very personal questions, he’d answer them so honestly, and it was kind of beautiful, but it made me so sad it was happening in that way, hence the chorus, “The silver lining’s turned to grey, no one should ever feel this way.” I felt guilty that some of our most meaningful conversations were happening just before he passed, and that he may not have even been aware of them, but I’m still so glad that they happened.

If I had to describe it more generally, The Grey is about that moment where you realize whatever you were holding out hope for just isn’t going to happen.  It’s about being afraid of something, and feeling helpless in your situation, and having to sit in that fear and helplessness, and just survive it, because at some point we all have to.

To me, your song “Fight the Sea" is about staying afloat as you face the onslaught of anxiety, brought on by a toxic relationship (or friendship) where someone keeps blaming the other person instead of taking responsibility for his or her actions. The entire relationship/situation has just caused all these negative thought patterns and has been a bad influence on the other person’s life. Even if it’s true meaning is not this specific, I think the song is very relatable for anyone dealing with anxiety or a bad relationship/friendship. With that said, how would you describe what "Fight the Sea” is about and what it means to you?
You hit the nail on the head!  Fight the Sea is about being in a relationship (platonic, romantic, professional, etc.) with someone who just can’t get out of their own way.  This person might mean well, or maybe you have a soft-spot for them for some reason, but they aren’t seeing or working toward the larger picture.  The pattern of their behavior is either making your life more difficult or creating a negativity that you don’t want to be part of anymore, and so you have to cut ties.

While you may have already answered this by now, what is the overall idea or theme of the EP?What message do you want listeners to take away from these songs?
We’re hoping that when people listen to the EP they can find a few songs they really connect with. We tend to write about specific people or situations in our own lives, but try to approach them in a way that allows listeners to empathize with the overall message or feeling of the song.  While we were recording vocals for Underneath Alice with Kyle, he made a comment about how those lyrics were really “hitting him” and that’s probably the biggest compliment we can get.

How does the Patterns You Create EP track your evolution as a band? As far as the collaborative process, what has changed? What’s stayed the same?
We started as a band in 2015 and by 2016 had put out two EP’s.  With all the writing and recording and performing in that time, we were still trying to find “our sound.”  We had a lineup change in early 2017 where Shawn, who had been playing bass for us, moved to lead guitar (he’d always been a guitarist first) and we brought in Chris on bass.  Chris was in Kate’s first band way back in high school, so across the board the changes felt really natural and familiar. This had a huge impact on the way we approach songwriting and it has created a much more welcoming environment for collaboration and experimentation.  It’s easier to make better music when everyone is happy in their role and also feels comfortable contributing.

Thinking back on the whole writing and recording process and how the songs came out, what are you most proud of with this EP?
We’re all really proud of the overall sound on this EP as it’s very close to our live sound.  There’s a grit and realness to these songs, which is why we chose to work with Joe. We also worked really hard at crafting and refining each of these tracks, making conscious decisions about certain notes or changes, and asking what they add to the song.  We took our time and made decisions based on what was best for the song as a whole, and not for an individual person or instrument, which takes a lot of patience and sometimes restraint.

Is there anything else that you want your listeners to know about Patterns You Create?
The EP will be available everywhere on April 27th! We’ll be celebrating with a release party at Arlene’s Grocery in New York City on the same day with our friends The Skullers, The Vaughns and The Dirty Mops.

More information about Above the Moon is available at abovethemoonmusic.com

 

 Photo by Mike Scicolone 

Photo by Mike Scicolone