The flitttering, the fluttering, they’re coming, they’re coming…
Three minute warning.
The guy you occasionally saw in the bar always seemed amiable enough. You know, funny. Could talk football and politics and tell a joke—someone you’d perhaps say “hello” to and have a beer with. But sometimes you thought there was a hint of something more. You got the feeling, he knew his own mind and knew his own worth and had plans he wasn’t going to share with you yet—if at all. He supposedly had a good voice. Thinking maybe karaoke, belting out a few Smiths tunes or “Karma Chameleon,” that kind of thing—good for parties, bar mitzvahs, and weddings. But what you didn’t understand was this guy could do more than sing, he hadn’t just any voice, he had the voice of a fucking rock god.
Two minute warning.
The Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai said his talents as an artist became better with age. He was struck by lightning at the age of fifty in 1810 and once said “Until the age of seventy, nothing that I drew was worthy of notice.”
It doesn’t necessarily follow that being young makes you good—age teaches you how best to use your talents, how to make better art. How to make great art.
One minute warning.
This is your invite to be in at the start of the career of a truly great band—to have something to tell the grandkids about in those far-off years. To be among that handful of people who were there at say, the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall in 1976, or among those who elbowed their way through the crowd down some dank cellar steps to hear a band play at lunchtime in Liverpool.
Army of Moths are a three-piece band consisting of David Sheridon, Debz Joy, and JP Coyle. Their talents spread across the map between Glasgow, Scotland, and Bristol, England and everywhere in between. The band formed in January 2018, after a brief run-out with an EP as the Polymorphic Love Orchestra late last year. All being over the age of thirty means just like Hokusai they have honed their talents over the years to produce better music, better art. This month, Army of Moths released their debut album, Sorry To Disturb You, which to be frank is one of the best debut records ever released by any band. While the music industry pumps out the same dull crap week in, week out, Army of Moths have stolen their jewels, taken top prize, dropped an A-bomb of brilliance on their on merits, on their own terms, with very little publicity, hardly any promotion, just their talents as collateral.
Sheridon, Joy and Coyle know their stuff. Sorry To Disturb You a DIY, lo-fi classic that mixes pop, rock, ambient, and indie, with nods to Bowie, the Damned, Gong, the Stranglers, Adam and the Ants, Syd Barrett, and the Cardiacs. I’ve had it stuck on repeat play since I got it on Monday, and know many of you will be doing the very same soon.
In an exclusive interview with Dangerous Minds, David Sheridon fills you in on what you need to know about the band you should be listening to right now.
How did Army of Moths come about?
David Sheridon: The band formed at the beginning of 2018. The idea had quite literally sprung from sitting messing around with the track ‘Little Moth’ that I’d written several years ago at about one in the morning. It was the first time that it seemed to actually sound like the noises I’d heard in my head and for some reason felt like it should be something more than just revisiting a song.
There was something really quite romantic about sitting in the corner of the room, with the small glow from the light in the early hours of the morning, creating this little story about a moth having it’s own ‘lightbulb’ moment which inspired me to have my own.
What brought you together?
DS: The band centres around myself (David Sheridon), Debz Joy and JP Coyle. We had all written and played together prior to AoM but were taking a break from the other noises we were making. We’d always thought about doing something else together and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so.
It was pretty much an instant thing, putting the ideas together, and actually having fun creating a little world where we exist in rather than just writing tunes. We were all on the same wavelength immediately. Actually making music that we ‘felt’ rather than just tried to convey via conventional writing. The whole point of AoM being that it’s a little world we live in not just three people making music for the sake of it.
Some of it is very personal and we’d all shared that in different ways.
When did you start recording ‘Sorry To Disturb You’?
DS: We started recording pretty much straight away, albeit the idea of putting together an actual album didn’t happen until about May 2018. We did it all at home on a little twelve-track recorder. We genuinely don’t have a clue how to use technology so rather than try attempt to use software and recording programmes, we just set about trying to make all the stuff we were trying to do on that machine.
Obviously there are limitations but it was also really good fun trying to write bigger ideas with fewer means. We’re aware that the production is very lo-fi at times even though the ideas aren’t but hoped this would add to the informal feel of what we were doing.
I guess it also harks back to the whole idea of punk, whereby anyone can do what they want and do it themselves. Even though it isn’t a punk album, it does have a lot of the DIY sentiment.
Where did the name Army of Moths come from?
DS: The name itself came from the song “Little Moth” and the story of him seeking out the light alongside the thousands upon thousands of other little moths…...it just came out of the blue as the song happened. It makes perfect sense to me in a romantic way…...all of these beautiful little creatures, all taking flight, heading towards something that draws them in, not knowing if their fate shall be the end or the beginning. I’m aware it’s very pretentious at times hahaha, but I guess we’re in love with the romanticisms of these ideas and the narratives and theatre.
There’s a fair amount of escapism in what we do, but it’s also very grounded in terms of emotion and it’s all about making people feel something. That is essentially the ultimate goal….to make people feel not just hear what we’re doing. There’s a huge amount of optimism in the songs, although sometimes you’re never sure where. The duality is always present.
What bands do you like and what are AoM’s influences?
DS: There’s bands we absolutely love and as fans, we will always love. We’re generally more inspired by bands than influenced. Bands that make us feel incredible, sad, joyous, optimistic, sane, insane…..something Cardiacs do perfectly. We adore them.
However, we deliberately stay clear of trying to sound like that….first of all because no one sounds or feels like Cardiacs but also because if I want to hear and feel that way, I go straight to the source of Cardiacs for it.
We also love things like Major Parkinson (a revelation live), The Damned, Bowie, Adam and the Ants, Gong, The Stranglers, Madness, Syd Barrett, Blur, ABBA (pop genius in my opinion), Iggy Pop, The Dowling Poole etc etc….there are so many…and we don’t try to or want to sound like that because we love and respect these people. They do however make us want to make music…..and we do use a pallete of sound we’re familiar with, as any band does.
With liking different artists, it gives us an inspiration of different sounds we can experiment with.
When is AoM going to tour?
DS: We’re currently getting the band together for live work and that’ll be kinda a priority from now as we’d love to get out and play for people.
Five gold stars from this reviewer. Now you can hear the brilliance of Army of Moths too. Better still, buy it.