Silver Moth was hatched after a Twitter exchange between several musicians about the Isle of Lewis. This led to them convening at Great Bernera’s Black Bay Studios on the Outer Hebrides island.
Some of the players knew each previously; others met each other for the first time on the island. Furthermore, none of the album had been written before they reached the Isle of Lewis. Remarkably, it was tracked, mixed, and overdubbed in just over a week.
The band consists of several awesome musicians (left to right in the photo below):
- Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai/Minor Victories)
- Evi Vine (singer/songwriter/bassist/guitarist)
- Steven Hill (guitars/keyboards [Evi Vine])
- Ash Babb (drummer [Burning House/Academy of Sun])
- Elisabeth Elektra (singer/producer/songwriter)
- Matthew Rochford (guitarist/songwriter [Abrasive Trees])
- Ben Roberts (cellist/bassist/multi-instrumentalist [Evi Vine/Prosthetic Head/Abrasive Trees])
The spirit of collaboration
It really was a step into the unknown. The album cannot be classified easily and dips into indie rock, post-rock, indie folk, folk pop, and poetry. Black Bay is a remarkable testament to artists stepping away from their norm and pitching headlong into the spirit of spontaneous musical collaboration.
Ash (AB) kindly took time to answer a few questions ahead of the group’s first tour.
What’s in a name?
Seems an obvious question, but people will want to know! Why Silver Moth as a band name?
AB: We had a variety of ideas for the project name, one of which was Black Bay, which became the album title. I forget who suggested Silver Moth, but the consensus was that it worked because it was quite free of association. There’s a nice image there that gelled with the album’s conception and everything that inspired it.
LP released by Bella Union
How did it come to be that Bella Union released the band’s debut LP Black Bay?
AB: Originally, we hadn’t planned on leaving the island with a fully fledged piece of work. We’d only gone there to see what would happen. Once the album congealed, our plan was self self-release and perhaps to throw over to a few labels for consideration. Bella Union was by far top of the list, and, to our surprise, they listened and thought it was great. We’re big admirers of the label and Simon is a stellar guy.
Your Supersonic appearance was the band’s debut, correct? How did that pan out? Did you catch any notable acts over that weekend? I ask because I recently promoted a duo called Blacks’ Myths who played at the festival too.
It was superb, we couldn’t have asked for a better bill to be a part of. A few of us are long-time Supersonic attendees and Stuart and Elisabeth are good friends of the organisers. It was my first time, but I was stoked at how well-organised it is, along the quality of the lineup. I didn’t catch Blacks’ Myths, but my personal highlights were Godflesh, Big Brave, and Lankum. Would like to be back next year for sure. I need more of the samosas.
Aspects of collaboration that help create great music
What was the dynamic of so many, relative strangers, collaborating on your debut album? I read about a ‘policy of trust’ being in place and ‘ego-free chemistry’. I’d be interested to discover who first put their hand up, saying ‘This is a great idea’!
AB: It was as strange as you’d expect… going to a Hebridean island with a bunch of strangers just post-lockdown. There’s a touch of The Wicker Man there. Some of us knew each other but mostly we were in unknown territory, so there was a lot of inhibition that I think worked its way into the album as restraint and tension, which thankfully paid off.
It all felt very instinctual, at least for me, and once we’d initially got in a room with instruments and realised ‘Okay, this is going to work,’ it just seemed to flow. Weirdly, I have very few memories of actually recording. Pete Fletcher, the producer and owner of the studio, played a huge part in the cohesion and focus of the project and really pulled it all together.
Are there plans to record a follow-up LP? Perhaps you should request to record in Hawaii next time?
AB: I think we’re all up for seeing what could happen next, but we have no concrete plans. The reception to the album has been fantastic, so we’ll see. If it was up to me, I’d like to go to Timbuktu or Itilleq.
First Silver Moth tour
Silver Moth embarks on a short tour in November. Do you know who the support band will be?
AB: We have this great duo Samana joining us which we’re really excited about. It’ll be a pleasure.
Thank you so much for answering my questions. Really appreciated. I look forward to seeing you in Colchester!
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