Can you see the future? We can, and we think Island Moons debut single is going to make the band a name we'll all be knowing soon. Their indie folk, acoustic rock tune "Can You See The Future" features soothing vocals, beautiful guitar licks, infectious melodies, and memorable lyrics. The Music-News team got to sit down with Brandon Harwood, lead singer/songwriter, to discuss the band and their first single.
Hey Brandon! Tell us more about Island Moons and how it came to be? I had been writing songs and performing for 20+ years, but never made a professional leap. After moving to New York City in 2019, it took about 1.5 years of trial and error to land the right connections and get into a studio with a producer whom I trusted and saw as a mentor.
We had planned a 3-day recording session at his home studio upstate for a debut single. The first day was for backing tracks, then overdubs, then vocals on day 3. Everything went super smooth with the live backing tracks, and the session musicians took off by mid-afternoon. As we found some downtime, I told my producer around his kitchen table that I wasn’t set on an artist’s name yet. He looked at me totally puzzled. He was perplexed that I had committed to recording but still without a name? He assumed I would use my real name since it was easy to pronounce and straight-forward. The truth is that I had a hankering to choose a name that was androgynous, more incognito, and had a mysterious element of identity like some of my favorite indie artists. I had drafted somewhere around 20 names, but none felt exactly right. He made no bones about giving me a deadline. He said I had to have an artist’s name by the end of the 3-day session or else I would have to use my own name.
What happened that evening was an entirely mystical experience. I retired to the guest room in his house and perused a shelf of books which happened to be there. One in particular spoke to me and it was a collection of poems by William Blake which I grabbed instantly. As I started to leaf through its pages, I came across one of his unpublished manuscripts included in the volume. The title jumped out at me and seemed to hover above the page. I immediately found a slight variation for my artistic name and wrote it down in pencil. I said it outloud, and felt its spirit: Romantic, natural, mystical. In the morning I told him and his wife over coffee. Island Moons was born.
What are some of your musical influences? Lennon, Dylan, and Marley are as important to my existence as oxygen, gravity and water. That may seem like an overly important statement, but I believe it’s true. They have kept me alive at times and given me direction and desire. In my own time, Kurt Cobain had a profound effect on me. He’s the reason I first picked up a guitar.
How would you describe your sound? A combination of the 60s golden-era and a modern element of indie.
Congrats on your debut single "Can You See The Future?" We love it. What inspired this song? While some may think it’s a closed-case of just having a baby, the truth is that it’s not so simple or linear. Some backstory is that I first wrote the song in 2020 and it was a protest song with other lyrics and I found that it was dripping with pessimism and despair. But, I couldn’t get the chorus to gel - and in general I don’t want to be a doomsdayer. So in the end I put it down for over a year and nearly forgot about it. There’s a great Tom Petty line about songwriting which is sometimes you need to leave your line in the water and just wait.
After I became a father in 2021 and things calmed down, I started to dust off some old songs before starting to work on an EP and go back into the studio. I sat down again and looked at the song through fresh eyes. The first lines came to me in a flash. From there, my pen didn’t stop moving. I still remember the color of the ink. It spoke to me anew as being both a hidden protest song while also humming with an optimistic undercurrent. Love flows. And it nearly completed itself right then and there. By the end of the song I also started to wonder who the speaker is singing to? Is this the child in all of us?
What's something you enjoy doing when you're not playing music? I’d say getting in the ocean tops the list.
What's next for Island Moons? I’m filming my first music video at the end of the month for the next Island Moons single. It will be released in April, and the video May 1. After that, there will be another single released in May, followed by another music video in June and an EP. Come September, my debut full-length album will be released. All the while, I’ll be rehearsing with a band to play live when the weather warms up.
How can our readers keep up with you going forward? I tend to express the most raw current of my artistic status on Instagram (@islandmoons). I also share brief updates via Twitter (@IslandMoons). And, I have a YouTube channel (@islandmoons). I’m working on a landing page for anyone interested in joining a mailing list but it’s not ready yet.