What are your names?
Lauren Tracy & Indy Laville
What is the band’s name?
Moon Rise City
How did you come up with the band’s name?
The inspiration behind our band name was a combination between place and concept. Place: Moon Rise City was born by the Saigon night. We met and started playing music together in Ho Chi Minh City. At night, it comes to life with music. Pouring out of alleyways, cocktail bars and music venues. Concept: The moon is a symbol of the feminine. It has that air of soul and mystery that resonates with our music. It’s a rare slice of nature when you’re living in a big city like this. Because most of my songwriting is introspective and inspired by difficult times, “rise” signifies being uplifted. I wanted an obscure name that does not include our personal names because I hope to grow the band as we travel.
What is your genre of music?
Indie Pop with a fusion Jazz / Folk / Electronica / Psychedelia
Some people call us Alt-Pop.
Give us a little bio about you.
Moon Rise City ~ born by the Saigon night. South African Singer-Songwriter Lauren Tracy, and French Guitarist Indy Laville, met from opposite sides of the world in Vietnam. A collaboration project across countries and cultures. They produce Indie Pop with an eclectic range of influences. From Folk, Jazz, Soul, and Rock. With a touch of electronic elements & psychedelia. Poetic introspective lyrics inspiring deep thought & inner growth. A universal theme in Laurens songwriting. Music with a message, wrapped in Indys richly layered instrumentals and minted guitars. Moon Rise City is fiercely independent – writing, performing & producing their songs. Moon Rise City’s debut single, Shadows of the Trees, featured on Spotify New Music Friday SA. The duo has also gained support from the likes of Sofar Sounds, Lefuturewave, and Women of Substance Podcast, among others in the Indie Music Scene. In September 2021, Moon Rise City finally unleashed their first EP Album “Relics of a Bygone”.
What made you go into music?
We both had our separate journeys but interestingly enough neither of us came from musical families. Although, my dad listened to a lot of music and it hugely influenced me. I remember when I first fell in love with music. As a child going on family road trips in South Africa, my dad would play old cassettes of Golden Oldies. I liked the warmth of the sound, and I followed the lyrics like stories. I lay head to toe on the back seat of the car with my brother, with my pillow propped up against the speaker absorbing it. I started making up lyrics & melodies from those childhood days. At 10, I had a “When I grow up” theme party and I went as a “Rockstar”. At that stage I still sang in the choir though! As a teen, I moved to Cape Town and had quite a lot of personal struggles through my adolescence. Songwriting was always my therapy. I got into music because I had written so many songs throughout my life and I hadn’t really shared them with anyone. I felt a kind of calling towards it my whole life.
Indy actually fell in love with guitar before anything and anyone else. He took piano lessons as a kid but gravitated to the guitar. His family owned a restaurant in Thailand which had a spot set up for live music. Eventually, Indy was left with a drum set in his bedroom in Vietnam. His friends (also taking music lessons) would come over and they would all play together. Basically, the perfect recipe for creating the music obsessed human being that he still is today. He’s in music because he couldn’t possibly be in anything else. It’s his life.
Who are your influences?
The Beatles, Cat Stevens, Queen, and Rodriguez are probably my biggest oldies influences in terms of my writing (and outlook on life). But I like to blend those old influences with influences from modern artists like Arlo Parks, Lianne La Havas and Khruangbin.
I’m also IN LOVE with Peter Cat & Recording Co! If you don’t know them, you just must!
On the guitar side it’s Jimi Hendrix, John Frusciante, Django Reinhardt & John Fahey that influence Indys playing.
Scott Bradley and his PostModern Jukebox definitely influenced the way we rework jazz in our music too.
Your new EP ‘ Relics Of A Bygone’ is out now, tell us more about the EP.
‘Relics of a Bygone’ is a collection of existential stories, written and recorded from a perspective of hindsight. I wrote most of these songs during the trials of my adolescence and we’ve sort of brought these “relics” of my former self to life. Introspective lyrics wrapped in richly layered instrumentals and embellished guitars. It’s intended to be dreamy and take you on a bit of a trip.
What is the meaning behind the EP?
Reminiscent of this famous quote “Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forwards.” (Soren Kierkegaard)
These songs have been mulling in my mind for almost a century. A bitter-sweet nostalgia of the struggles of growing up, discovering your truth, and finding freedom. I wrote songs and poetry since as early as I remember. But it took me so long to overcome the fear of being vulnerable enough to sing and record them. To me, songwriting is a way to turn even the darkest encounter into something beautiful. Because there is beauty in truth, knowing yourself, and connecting with the revelations of others. Relics of a Bygone follows eye-opening stories of my own life and the tales that others have shared with me along my journey. A collection of sultry, mysterious, nostalgic, comforting, and uplifting songs.
Who did you work with on the EP?
We recorded most of the instrumental tracks in our little home studio. Then we worked with British Producer Benjamin James from InQ International in Vietnam.
Describe each track in two words.
Crawling Slowly: Seductive. Chill
Shadows of the Trees: Mysterious. Downtempo
Relics of a Bygone: Nostalgic. Castaway
Suspicious Creature: circus-esque . swing
Unbound Yourself: Uplifting . Trippy
Ain’t it Strange: Comforting. Warm
Will we see a Music Video for any of the tracks and if so what can we expect?
YES! We just released our Official Music Video for our opening track ‘Crawling Slowly’. It’s a conceptual performance type video where we played a lot with lighting. We shot it in this charismatic dilapidated building at a Speakeasy bar. I wanted to evoke a sense of love that can profoundly move you and also hurt you. It’s a seductive love song turned breakaway story. I choreographed some dancing in there, styled, co-edited and directed the whole thing. And we hired a great film crew to work with. So you can expect to see our best Music Video yet! We released DIY Music Videos for Suspicious Creature, which we recorded on Phu Quoc Island during isolation. And you can also check out our Indie Music Video for ‘Shadows of the Trees’ which we shot in Hoi An Ancient Town and Ba Na Hills.
We’ll definitely make videos for Unbound & Relics of a Bygone too!
What else can we expect in 2021?
An acoustic version of “Shadows of the Trees”. A Remix. And, a Fun and Groovy little EP, hopefully by December. We’re also going to be sharing a lot more video content on our socials – behind the scenes, behind the lyrics, and cover jams of inspiring songs.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
In 5 years I see myself happy that I’ve honoured my calling. Living between South Africa, Europe, and Vietnam. Chasing Summer. We’ve put out a couple albums. We’ve created, connected with some amazing people and grown more than we could have imagined.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Be kind. Be wise. Be better
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
A flask…of liquorice root or rooibos tea
Our FX units
Extra Guitar Strings