By: Dauphine Sizer and Emily Gibson
The Vancouver-based Supermoon’s albums sound like an appropriate backing for a long drive through a beachy town – the meeting of surfy, light-hearted pop music and fuzzy melodies give their sound a sense of consistency without repetition. And on top of the music, their lyrics are contemplative and questioning.
The band’s unexpected sound comes from a joining of the member’s different styles. The first incarnation of what would become Supermoon was a garage-pop outfit called Movieland which now-Supermooners Adrienne LaBelle, Selina Crammond and Alie Lynch played in together. When that project started to fizzle out, guitarist Katie Gravestock joined the trio to create Supermoon, and brought with her a more intentionally uneven style that helped sculpt their mood.
SMEAR talked to Alie Lynch over the phone as the band prepared to head south for South by Southwest.
SMEAR: Did you grow up musical? Is Vancouver a musical town?
Alie Lynch: I started guitar lessons around 14, I didn’t start from an early age on piano or anything like that. I always liked music. I had an uncle that babysat me who was very musical – that’s probably where I started to like it.
The people in Vancouver are very musical. We have a great music scene with a ton of cool people and a ton of great bands, but it’s more difficult to be musically minded, due to lack of venues. We’re losing more and more venues. It’s an expensive city; it’s difficult to thrive. There are about four regular venues. The infrastructure is definitely flawed.
S: You put out your first two Supermoon albums, Comet Lovejoy and Playland, less than a year apart – were you just feeling super inspired?
L: It’s funny, it actually felt so long between albums. For Comet Lovejoy, we had the songs written a long time before we recorded them. By the time it came out, we already had written a lot of Playland. So by the time we recorded Playland, we had been playing most of the songs for a while.
Our second label, Mint Records, basically wanted us to record something and release it by certain date. We had a firm recording date, and we scheduled all of that without the songs fully written. So it kinda came out to half of the songs we’d played for a long time and the other half we wrote within two weeks or so of recording. I definitely work better under pressure. I need a firm date. If I’m left to my own devices, I’ll spend months agonizing over one song.
S: Your Twitter bio is, “moody pop for a messed up world.” Do you consider yourselves political?
L: I do. I think we’re all very politically minded. Katie just graduated with political science degree. I think music, even the act of being an all-woman band and being a part of a community where we want to subvert the status quo and not agree with how things are being done is how we send a message. The music has a collaborative vibe within the community. We feel unified together against whatever we feel is actively working against us.
S: I think that something SMEAR has dealt with, both as a woman-run publication and a young publication, is being taken seriously. Did you ever feel that way when you were just starting out; do you feel that way now?
L: Totally. It was constantly a struggle to be taken seriously and listened to and not written off. There were a lot of sexist reviews in the beginning, using words they would never use if we were an all guy band. I’ve experienced the difference between an all girl band versus a band with guys in it – we’re obviously treated differently. It’s a constant struggle. I like being part of an all-woman band, I don’t mind being labeled that way, just the problem is we aren’t taken seriously because of it.
Vancouver is same as all major cities, more progressive and liberal. We have a lot of well-run women publications and collectives, but it’s the same thing, there’s a very niche audience for it. It’s a commodity. So I enjoy it, but still, it’s like, ‘how can having a band composed of all women still be a talking point?’ I want visibility, but how come this still needs to be the focus?