Half Moon Run

S&S Presents

Half Moon Run

Tim Baker

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

8:00 pm


This event is 21 and over

Half Moon Run
Half Moon Run
“If we had one real stroke of luck with this group, it was meeting each other,” says Half Moon Run’s Conner Molander. Now going on ten years together, the Montreal indie band is deep in the final push of their third album, and the temptation to look forward is as risky as the lure of looking back. Molander seems sanguine. He pauses, then adds, “But if you have a bit of luck it’s your responsibility to put in the work. It would be impossible to live with ourselves if we weren’t devoted to it, to working on it.”

Half Moon Run’s had their share of lightning-strike luck to live up to. The band came together in 2009 in Montreal’s Mile End, when Molander and Dylan Phillips—students and recent transplants from Vancouver Island—connected with Devon Portielje, who was fresh out of Ottawa. (In mid- 2012 they tapped a third Comox-born musician, Isaac Symonds, to intensify their live show.)

From the outset, the group’s lingua franca was music: practicing, composing, jamming. All four members are multi-instrumentalists and all four are vocalists: Portielje sings lead, but he also plays guitar, piano, and percussion; Molander sings and plays guitar, keyboard, piano, pedal steel, bass, and harmonica; Phillips sings and plays drums, piano and keyboard; and Symonds sings and plays drums, mandolin, synth, and bass.

Whether they’re billed as dreamy alt-pop, bucolic alt-folk, or psychedelic indie rock, the word critics and fans alike come back to when describing the band’s music is “complex” (The Guardian, Exclaim, et al.) With classical training and omnivorous influences, they’ve built their name on cerebral, acrobatic arrangements and harmonies that lilt prettily till they turn feral.

Jamming out their earliest songs in their dingy Mile End practice space—the band describes jamming as, among other things, a kind of a subcortical collaborative experiment in interpersonal trust and tension—quickly compelled them to bigger risks. Variously, they dropped out of school, took on debt, and abandoned efforts towards safer careers.

“It must’ve been by sheer force of desperation that something came across,” Molander says. “Because we hardly knew what we were doing. I hardly knew how to string a guitar in those days.” The result earned them a contract with Montreal indie label Indica Records, who put out their album Dark Eyes in Australia and Canada in March, 2012.

Less than a year later, Half Moon Run was playing their first show in London, England. BBC Radio 1 had been buzzing about them, and Ben Lovett, of Mumford and Sons, was in attendance. Over whiskeys backstage he asked the band to fill the opening slot on Mumford’s European spring arena tour. He also signed them to his label, Communion, calling them “potentially one of the most important bands debuting an album this year.”

Dark Eyes was re-recorded, re-mastered and re-released worldwide in 2013. Rolling Stone noted Half Moon Run as “a band to watch,” and NME called the album “quietly stunning.” Dark Eyes placed two A-list singles on BBC Radio 1, and went platinum in Canada.

Two years of furious worldwide touring followed—opening for not just Mumford and Sons, but other international acts like City and Colour, and Of Monsters and Men, and making waves at major festivals all over North America and Europe. By the time the band came home to Montreal, they were stunned and saturated. “It felt a little bit like being underwater,” says Phillips.

They received an International Achievement Award from Quebec’s SOCAN, but despite the momentum of their success, writing a second album didn’t come easily. The personal sacrifices they’d made for the success of the project—sacrifices that might look tiny from the distance of a bunk in a tour bus overseas—were suddenly very large and very present, back at their kitchen

tables with estranged friends and mystified roommates. Home wasn’t home. Jamming wasn’t jamming. They packed up their tour van and let the sun pull them west to California.

Sun Leads Me On, produced by Jim Abbiss (Adele, Arctic Monkeys) dropped in late 2015. Hailed as a departure from the moody melancholia of Dark Eyes, AllMusic praised the album’s “more cosmopolitan approach,” while Mojo acknowledged that “the scenery is damned fine.” Lead single “Turn Your Love” became the band’s first Top Ten hit at Canadian Alt-Rock Radio, made the A- list at BBC Radio 1, and was #1 at Triple-J in Australia. The album turned Gold in Canada in 2017.

After blowing out four back-to-back hometown shows and selling around 9,000 tickets in under 45 minutes, Half Moon Run was back to worldwide touring for another two years. They hit fourteen European festivals in fourteen weeks and sold out rooms in Canada, America, Australia, and Europe. They also earned a 2016 Juno nod for Breakthrough Group of the Year.

Now, with their third LP anticipated this year, everything has changed, but also—not that much. Music continues to be the band’s first language with each other. All four members have spent the time off since Sun Leads Me On studying: that is, putting in the work that earns the luck. They’ve been practicing their instruments, reading, listening, focusing on their technical skills. “Basically just re-examining everything we know about how to be a band. It’s a little bit like starting over,” says Molander. “Of course, jamming has changed. But there’s something that’s really the same about it. It reminds me of a relationship, people really change and relationships that last are relationships that evolve. The records are like checkpoints, more than autonomous identities of their own. Whatever we’ve gained as individuals is in service of the band, and of the music.”

Their third album drops in 2019.
Tim Baker
Tim Baker
Tim Baker, a highly respected international DJ and producer emits a striking devotion to the music he produces, plays and remixes. This native Detroiter has a creative style of Djing, which fuses the funk with menacing percussion for a dramatic and emotional experience. His insight and passion for Detroit techno and house music began advancing 17 years ago in 1984 when he received his first turntables. The music which motivated his early phase of Djing included Cameo, Parliament, the B-52's, Bauhaus, Tangerine Dream, and Brian Eno. In the city of Detroit , the creative energy of the times was just beginning to manifest itself into the musical phenomena of ‘techno'.

Tim Baker's frequent visits to several Detroit underground clubs such as, the Majestic Theater and the Music Institute to hear Derrick May left a lasting musical impression on Baker. The uninhibited presence of new music fueled his eagerness to DJ. As a result, Baker acquired his first residency at the famous Nectarine Club in 1987-1988, where Jeff Mills was also a resident.

In 1990, Tim Baker graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a business degree in marketing. He started his Elephanthaus clothing line in 1993 and began manufacturing ‘club wear'. The Detroit nightlife was his inspiration for his first T-shirt designs. After much success with his Elephanthaus line, he decided to open a clothing store. Over the next six years, he continued to DJ parties while he was designing fashion.

In 1994, Tim Baker played in Europe for the first time at Berlin 's Tresor club. His Djing gigs began to accumulate, so he stopped making clothes and focused on the music. In 1997, he started Elephanthaus Records and Baker released his first EP, Black Machines . His musical career has since then evolved and taken him to the likes of the UK , Germany , France and more. He has spun at world famous clubs such as the Tresor Club in Berlin , Florida135 in Spain , The Rex Club in Paris , and he has performed at festivals around the world including The Love Parade held annually in Berlin , the Detroit Music Festival, and the Sonar Festival in Spain .

While constantly striving for a better understanding for the future of his music, Tim moved his home base from Detroit to Chicago in 1998. The move motivated Tim to launch his house label, Real Estate Records . This label combines the forward thinking future funk of Detroit with the soulful edge of Chicago . This combination brings out the purest form of house music, and has lead to the great success of their “Future House Society” series. Tim Baker has also diversified his discography with releases on Spain 's Minifunk Label, Ovum in the U.S. , BML in the U.S. , and several others. In spring 2003 the release of Tim Baker's first single on Nova Mute entitled “Addicted”.

For the 21st century, Tim Baker will continue to uphold the repertoire of his labels by discovering innovative and creative talent. Tim extends his music capacity to new territories acquainting the world with his unique sound and vision. Tim's undeniable propelling force is to provide World Class DJ performances, incredible production and quality entertainment for the masses.

(Taken from the Elephanthaus Records website.)
Venue Information:
Urban Lounge
241 South 500 East
Salt Lake City, UT, 84102