Ellie D Chats with The Peasant Moon

How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard it?

Peasant Moon is intimate, acoustic alt-country.  We write songs about darkness and disappointment - from obsession to rejection, revenge, gambling, love lost and the apocalypse. There's a tension between these stories and the lightness of our sound, which can be spare and melodic, grounded by acoustic guitar then lifted by glockenspiel, mandolin, and melodica. Harvey's vocals are reminiscent of Jay Farrar and even Levon Helm, while Josie adds delicate, sweet harmonies.  

Josie:  I remember when we were recording our debut EP, there were times I was singing so gently and close to the microphone it was as if I was whisper-singing straight into the listener's ears.  That's the level of intimacy we're talking about.

Harvey:  Our studio recordings also give us the opportunity to move beyond the duo format. Our most frequent collaborator is Aaron Langman on pedal steel – twang heaven - and we bring in a rhythm section for some songs too. 

Where do you write your songs and music?

Inspiration comes in different ways and at different times.  

Harvey:  For me, it’s often about seizing the moment when it comes along and effectively taming a busy mind.  That might mean remembering a melody which emerges while I’m out running or walking, or jotting down lyrics that come to mind on the train on the way to work…or even getting up in the middle of the night to capture an idea that appears out of the blue.  On (very!) rare occasions I’ll just be mucking around on guitar and lyrical melodies form naturally around a riff.  Sometimes they even work as a song!

I'm also a big people observer.  Sometimes it just takes a glance to imagine someone's backstory, other times the story falls in your lap! A few years ago I was sitting alone in a bar in the Lower East Side of NYC eating a meal before a gig (minding my own business of course) and the couple sitting next to me had a 'break up' conversation right there and then.  It wasn't heated, just a matter of fact acknowledgement of the need to part. 

That was the inspiration for the title track to our first EP Fading in the Light.

Where would you like your music heard?

We're trying to embrace the digital age of music.  While we love vinyl and live shows, to share our music with more people we also have to think about playlists and YouTube hits. 

So, we'd like our music heard on Spotify!  Follow us and listen up here. The dream is that people find our music online through a range of channels then seek out our shows when they can also enjoy the live experience.


When did you first realise you had an interest in becoming a singer songwriter?

Harvey:  As an early teenager I heard Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side on the radio one morning and was transfixed by the dark and beautiful character portrayals he was able to achieve so simply in a rock song: an amazing statement of art.  I quickly sought out the Velvet Underground and devoured what I could get my hands on (Sweet Jane blew my mind!) and…that was that.  I had zero songwriting ability. But I had a Fender Strat copy and was on my way to forming a band.  At the same time I was getting more and more inspired by Dylan’s early work.  That was great because even a novice can follow along to some of those folk songs and get their head around the chord structures.

Where do you see yourself in 2 years?

Great question as Peasant Moon is entering a new era where we aren't going to be based in the same city - we'll be split between Sydney and Chicago. 

Josie:  In two years, we will hopefully be physically closer again, but I think the distance is helping us be more deliberate and sharpen our focus. We're talking a lot about how to make the most of this time.  I'd also like to have improved my mandolin skills!

Harvey:  We'll be writing more songs and playing more shows in North America. In two years I'd like to have our debut album out, as well as expanded our audience from Australia to Canada and the USA.  I’d also hope to hone my songwriting and performing skills further.

Which would be your dream venue to perform at, and why?

Harvey: Probably the Ryman Theater in Nashville.  Feeling the history in the room and seeing some amazing performances at the Americana Music Awards there in 2015 left a real impression.  I also love the Mercury Lounge in New York City and have seen some incredibly intimate and energetic shows there – notably American Aquarium in 2014.

Josie:  Last year I saw Marlon Williams support Love Letters for Fire at Thalia Hall in Chicago. It is a glorious, decrepit old theatre.  There is literally paint peeling from the walls and opera boxes where you can peer down onto the stage and have your drinks delivered.  It has an amazing feel, so either there or a similarly crumbling building in Havana- like where Amanda Palmer shot this video:  https://youtu.be/jDr4pUDBTec

I think there is unexpected beauty in age and neglect and our music would be right at home.