Justin Giles is productive even when he’s wasting time. Only a few days after the front man of the noise-pop collective Moonlight Bride determined the name of the band’s self-released EP “Twin Lakes,” he Googled it to see if the project bore a resemblance to anything.
At the top of the search items was a Florida beach resort, which was a remarkably affirming. “I feel like that’s really appropriate because the whole EP, to me, is about being bored in the summer, wasting time and feeling over it all,” says Giles. “That was a very true representation of what I was feeling at the time.”
Perhaps the reason Giles felt that way was because the Chattanooga, Tennessee, based band recorded “Twin Lakes” last summer. The five-track offering, released last month, is a delightful assortment of quality tracks with different identities ranging from the noise-pop ditty “Diego” to the ultra smooth single “Lemonade.”
EP vs. Full Length
Even though the band spent a long two years writing songs and recording their rehearsals -- yes, they are one of virtually no bands that do that -- they believed the music was more suited as an EP instead of a full-length.
“We just didn’t see it as a natural progression for an album,” explains Giles. “It was sort of an experiment for us because I’ve never really seen us as a pre-dominantly guitar band. When we were making ‘Twin Lakes,’ all the songs were revolving around guitars. As an EP -- an experimental EP -- it works perfectly. But as an album, it wasn’t really the step we were ready to take.”
Giles (who previously went by Justin Wilcox) founded Moonlight Bride with Tyke Calfee, who is no longer in the band, in 2007. Two years later, they self-released their debut album “Myths,” a synthesizer-based delight that earned praise from critics alike.
The band -- which now includes Justin Grasham on guitar, Dave Maki on bass and Matt Livingston on drums -- decided to self-release the full-length instead of going through a label because they were still young and gaining awareness, and did not have any industry connections. Though Chattanooga has a blossoming music scene, it isn’t considered a prime destination for record executives.
A fan, however, sent a copy of “Myths” to an entertainment lawyer in California who liked enough of what he heard to introduce Moonlight Bride to a couple of industry bigwigs. Despite the good fortune, the band still believes that remaining independent is the best business decision for the time being.
“Right now, we’re not really actively pursuing a label,” says Giles. “We’re just sort of working on fan relations and building up our following so when the time comes to sign to a label, it will be mutually beneficial.”
Giles is also wary of signing too early, explaining that “if you get signed at such a small level, basically labels can walk all over you because you don’t have anything except creativity in your corner. So if we can boost our numbers, that’ll help us a lot -- if we boost those numbers independently, that is.”
The group plans to unveil some more independent projects soon. As it stands, the group will drop an acoustic EP later this spring and begin recording their sophomore album in the summer.
But for now, Moonlight Bride are focusing on the task at hand -- that being to support “Twin Lakes” on the road. With a busy tour schedule in place for the next few months, the band won’t have time to be bored. If for some reason they are, however, it will only inspire them just like it did with the EP.
“We were always having a good time with it,” Giles states. “For me, the most fun times I ever have is when I have nothing to do. I’m just wasting time. There can be some magic in that and I feel like ‘Twin Lakes’ really captures that.”
- Justin Giles – Lead Vocals, Guitar and Keyboard
- Justin Grasham – Guitar
- Dave Maki – Bass
- Matt Livingston - Drums
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