For almost four years, since the release of his first EP, fans around the world have laid patiently in wait for Mmoths’ first full body of work to arrive, and last Saturday, ‘Luneworks’ was released on Because Music sub-label, OYAE. Eoghan Barra caught up with Jack Colleran to talk about his debut album ahead of it’s official launch at District 8
It’s been a long time in the works but Jack Colleran’s debut LP is finally with us. Finding a perfect balance between ambiance and intensity, minimalism and complexity, Mmoths presents us with an absorbingly mystical and ethereal piece of artistic work.
The album is rich and diverse in the sounds and emotion it draws upon, yet it’s ultimately wrapped together in a coherent package that warrants listening from start to finish.
With many of the tracks blending into each other seamlessly, it reaches new climaxes and depths at every turn, leading the listener on a path of discovery into the ardour of the artist’s sentiment.
So is there a narrative to correspond with the journey that Mmoths debut LP takes us on?
“The whole album is a kind of comment on my head space at that time,” Colleran explains. “There’s different moments of intensity, different moments of ups and downs and stuff. I guess it starts in a pretty dark place and then as you go through it and you reach the end it feels a bit brighter.”
The title itself – ‘Luneworks’ – makes direct reference to that juxtaposition between brightness and shade.
“It’s a nod to the geometric meaning behind lune, which is the duality of how the dark and light of the moon react. I find that really interesting. But I guess it is also obviously going to be pulled about the fact that it was written entirely at night time as well, yeah.”
The album was written during a two month stint in LA, where Colleran worked tirelessly through small hours to complete the project.
“I slept on my friends floor for 2 months and just finished the album there. I just work at night by default I kind of go nocturnal when I have lots of work to do and or when I’m writing. Not for any reason – it kind of just happens. I guess it is the peace and quiet and no distractions that you have at night time, and that led to it being kind of a very solitary experience – not being awake when everyone else is.”
Colleran addresses the introspective essence of making the album as something he expects to translate to the audience.
“The way in which it was written – I was by myself – and I think it makes sense for it to be listened to like that. For us playing live we’re trying to make it make sense in that regard but when I play it off the record I think it needs to be a kind of solo experience. But I dunno, I think it’s down to each individual person who’s listening to it.”
Piano is a prominent feature of Luneworks, with tracks such as ‘Verbena’ and ‘Lucid’ emphasising the cinematic feeling conveyed by the album, and introducing an elegance that will surely expand Mmoths’ listenership to a wider audience.
“I played piano from when I was four – I kind of did that for a few years when I was small, yeah. Most of the piano on it is recorded at home in my parents house because I don’t actually have a piano in my studio, and I knew I wouldn’t have a piano when I was over in LA, so I sampled that and some of the pianos were then added later or redone in studio”.
This time around though he has taken it upon himself to lead the vocals, with the aim of maintaining the integral personal emotion felt throughout the album.
“I had a list of people that I wanted to work with at the beginning but it became too personal of a project to have anyone else on it, so I just started. I always kind of do it anyway, where I record vocal takes and hide them in the mix – but I guess I wanted to be a bit more vulnerable on this and I didn’t want to go back and listen to it and always regret not being so honest and and open and just… vulnerable really.”
Colleran has noted My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields as somewhat of an influence on the creation of this record – a statement that has led some people to draw parallels between the chaotic textures and raw emotion of ‘Luneworks’ with that of the early 90s shoegaze movement.
“I do listen to that music I guess, yeah. I was listening to the MBV records when I was over there. I wasn’t really listening to much else and I guess that just found it’s way into it a bit.
“I also wanted to build up those walls of sound and those dense textures where after listening to the track four or five times, you might find something new hidden deep somewhere in there and I really like that idea.”
The visual aesthetic is a component that has played into Collerans work throughout everything he’s done so far. From his fitting selection of a scene from ‘Zabriskie Point’ on the debut music video for Heart, to his own photographs that accompany the second EP, Diaries – there’s evidently a concentrated effort to make sure that any accompanying visuals are of the highest artistic standard.
“There’s a video coming out soon that that I shot myself on an old mini DV recorder I found in my house, but it’s nice to work with other people sometimes,” Colleran says. “It’s nice to take a backseat and see things happen. Just to be able to collaborate with other people is special. So yeah, I’ve been doing that quite a bit with this release.
“The next video is for Lucid,” he reveals.
"I guess I wanted to be a bit more vulnerable on this and I didn’t want to go back and listen to it and always regret not being so honest"
Since its completion, Colleran has been working on developing ‘Luneworks’ as something that he’ll be able to bring to the stage.
“The live show is me and Josh (Marshall), so I play piano and vocals and stuff and Josh does guitars. We’ve been working on that for the past few weeks for this show on Saturday. We’re trying to figure out how the album is going to played in that kind of environment but it’s been interesting, it’s been good.”
He keeps silent about any upcoming shows after the launch.
“We’ll be doing a bunch of festivals. The dates are still under wraps so I don’t think we’re allowed to announce the festivals yet but we’ll all know soon enough.”
The album not only verifies consistent quality in Colleran’s work, but also a sense of evolution and growth of knowledge that leads one to wonder how long we’ll have to wait to experience the next step of his musical career.
“It’s a little while away yet but we’ve definitely started discussing it,” he concludes with an optimistic note.