Moth Effect is the band name for Andy Le Gresley, who according to his label Sunstone Records, is “on a one-man mission to give the drone a home”. He comes from leafy Sussex, but is heading into deep space with his first full-length album, the hugely impressive Crocodilians. Last year in New Tunes #35 we described the music as psychedelic electro rock, but read on to get a much more intergalactic description, as well as to find out what strangely-shaped vegetables and epic sax guys have to do with space rock?
~ How would you describe your music for those who may not have come across it?
Crocodilians is instrumental and varies between chuggy space rock, frazzled fuzz-disco and spookier soundtrack-style tunes. It may even get a little bit ambient at points.
There are chunks of drone, noise and other pieces of discord mixed into the tunes, but I always try to make sure there are melodies in there too.
I like music that you can either choose to listen to in the background, or if you want, really pay attention to and pick up lots of detail. I hope that Crocodilians manages that. If you’re a snoozer, groover or just want to hoover, I think it’ll fit in.
~ Where did the band name come from?
I remember reading about something called the Moth Effect. It’s a theory that flashing lights which are meant to warn of a danger actually end up attracting you. The phrase stuck in my head and eventually, when I was trying to come up with a band name, it seemed to fit.
If someone made me stare at a flashing light for long enough, I’d probably confess that the repetitive bits of my tunes, some of which feature a slightly spooky/sinister undertone, also kind of fit in with the band name…at least in my mind!
I’m also a big fan of moths and flashing lights, either both at once or individually.
~ Given that Moth Effect is just you, how many different instruments do you play?
My main instrument is guitar and I can play some bass, although I really ought to practice that a bit more. I also play keys badly one finger at a time. Luckily, you can buy mono-phonic synths.
You might be able to tell from the tunes that I make, but I’m also prone to stringing together long chains of guitar pedals. Even if you’re working with some really clean digital sounds, you can get things pretty warped with a few delays and filters. (Does a guitar pedal count as an instrument?)
Oh, let’s not forget that I can also play the shaky egg.
~ What other instrument would you love to learn to play and why?
Definitely drums. I imagine that playing the drums would be a lot quicker than spending hours programming them and fiddling around with loops.
~ With no lyrics with which to influence track names, how did you come up with the ten song titles on the album?
Anything that sticks really. I get the titles from things people say, looking through the newspaper, spotting phrases in books…if I see something that might make a good title, I usually write it down somewhere and, when a track comes along that fits, give it the name.
~ How did you hook up with Sunstone Records?
Once I’d finished the album, I spent a while trying to find labels that might like what I’d made. I dropped Sunstone a line and, luckily for me, they were interested. The artists on Sunstone are almost like a microcosm of some of my influences too, so I think the Moth fits in.
As well as that, Sunstone are really into their vinyl, so it’ll be great to have the album in that format, especially because of the artwork which spreads across both sides of the cover.
~ Are there any other great new bands from the Sussex area at the moment that you recommend we check out?
Sadly, I’m pretty out of touch with what’s happening in Sussex at the moment…I’ve been holed up in front of a laptop for the last year making tracks. However, I did visit Jersey in the Summer and came across a gig by The Cryptics. They play some great garagey rock’n’roll. Their EP’s also well worth getting – Gold’s my favourite track at the moment.
Actually, I think some of Fumaca Preta are from Brighton. They’ve just put out an excellent album too.
~ If you could borrow a well-known musician from another band for a day who would it be and why?
Can I borrow a drummer please? Someone like Kid Millions from Oneida or whoever drummed on Broadcast’s Man Is Not A Bird. The drums on the Broadcast track are really mesmeric; I like the way they start off simple, then develop into something pretty complex but still groovy by the end of the tune.
~ If you could claim one song as your own – wiping the original from all memory – what would it be?
I’m pretty fickle, so I can’t say I’ve got a consistent all-time favourite song or track – it’s probably the tune I’ve just listened to at any one time. At the moment, it could be Space Junk by Devo, I’m A Living Sickness by The Calico Wall or Two Lone Swordmen’s The Big Clapper.
I’m not going to get rich with any of those am I? At least I wouldn’t have to erase too many memories before claiming them!
~ Who are your musical Guilty Pleasures?
I don’t really believe in the idea of Guilty Pleasures – if you like a tune, then it’s good. If someone else doesn’t agree, who cares?
I went through a pretty big ELO phase a while back – they’re usually a ‘Guilty Pleasure,’ aren’t they? But, then again, you can’t go too far wrong with an orchestra, several phasers and a vocoder, can you?
I’ve also got a bit of a thing for weird, slightly twisted novelty songs like Adriano Celetano’s Prisencolinensinainciusol – it’s a Krautrock-stomp with gibberish on top or Boom Babba Do Ba Dabba by Powersolo which has been a recent favourite. Both songs have got some great but odd bits of production too, which I may try to rip-off in the future.
I also went through a brief Marc Riley and The Creepers phase…I feel much more guilty about that…
~ Do you have any hidden talents?
Ha ha. No. I’m fully stretched at the moment…there are no special moves left in the tank!
~ What makes you laugh?
I’m not very sophisticated. Strangely-shaped vegetables, low-level schadenfreude and Daily Mail articles about climate change usually hit the spot.
~ What would it take for you to do Eurovision!?
Well, there’s always been an Epic Sax Guy influence to my music. I’d do it, but am worried that political voting amongst the Balkan states might scupper my chances.
~ We’re in a pub. Do I get you a lager, bitter, stout, cider, or something else?
Umm, if it’s a fancy pub, a wheat beer, cheers. Failing that, lager. If I end up drinking rum and coke, then it’s time for me to go home.