Half Moon Run’s Festival CV: “The press in North America is dead”

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Half Moon Run 2019
Photo: Yani Clarke

After four years of touring and writing Half Moon Run is ready to release a new album. We discuss the album and the upcoming season with leadsinger Devon Portielje in his Festival CV. What adventures did he had on tour? Which colleagues will he be checking out at the festivals?

Who is Devon Portielje?

  • Born in Ottawa, Canada
  • Founded Half Moon Run in 2010 with Dylan Phillips, Conner Molander and Isaac Symonds
  • Had a hit with ‘Full Circle’ in 2012
  • Released their third album A Blemish In The Great Light today
  • 14th of november in Paradiso, Amsterdam
    < ?xpacket begin="" id="W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d"?> < ?xpacket end="w"?> Less Rules

    “I am not much of a festival visitor. There are just too many people and I don’t like being in a crowd. Maybe I would visit something as big as Glastonbury once, I don’t know. But I love to play at festivals, especially in Europe. There are so many nice people there and the vibe is really open, there are less rules. People don’t really care about where you go or eat your beverage or anything. It just feels really open and save.”

    “I have good memories about Down The Rabbit Hole, that is the festial at the lake right? Beautiful place and very nice people. I have met a lot of fans over there. The backstage is not very different than festivals in the USA, that really differs from time to time. At one festival all we got were boiled hotdogs, and at other places the catering is really good. It comes and it goes.”

    < ?xpacket begin="" id="W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d"?> < ?xpacket end="w"?> Mumford And Sons

    “We did a lot of our best shows when we were supporting Mumford and Sons on tour. Our first album was only a year old and we were not used to playing such huge crowds. It was also really good for us. We made a lot of new fans and learned a lot. Sometimes we speak to people who have first seen us during that tour and are still following us and what we do.”

    “But the guys (Mumford and Sons, red.) were the ones that made is special. There was a close connection between us all. At the end of every night they would get us on stage to play one or two songs with them, most of the time a cover, it made us really feel part of the tour.”

    < ?xpacket begin="" id="W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d"?> < ?xpacket end="w"?> Nothing Lasts

    “We didn’t have a lot of reviews about the new album. But what I see and a lot of people tell me is that the written press in North America is dead. Much of the outlets once there are gone. It is a whole different ballgame now. It is mostly about Spotify, Social Media and radio nowadays. And even radio is getting less important.”

    “You have some websites or magazines that write about music, but there aren’t many. And even when they write an article about Half Moon Run, for example, it is gone within a day. It is only very short and quickly gone. Nothing lasts more than a day nowadays.”

    Foto: Kamiel Scholten
    < ?xpacket begin="" id="W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d"?> < ?xpacket end="w"?> Stuck at Hurricane

    “One festival memory I will never forget was when we were supposed to play Hurricane Festival in 2016. We drove all day to get there and we had two drivers with us who both did a full shift. When we got to the festival we heard it was cancelled, but we couldn’t leave because our drivers were not allowed to drive anymore because they already had a full shift. So we were kind off stuck out there.”

    “The festival was like a ghost town. It was really bad weather and everyone was gone or leaving and all the tents at the festival area were empty. Really spooky. But a couple of people who were also stuck or decided to stay were gathering to make the best out of it. They got the festival to open up one stage with a DJ and everyone was just partying in the rain and the mud. We had a great time that night. I believe we were out there till 4am.”

    < ?xpacket begin="" id="W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d"?> < ?xpacket end="w"?> New Album

    “There were four years between Sun Leads Me On and our new album A Blemish In The Great Light. But for us it doesn’t feel like there has been a long period between the two. We were on tour for two years, had one year to write and half a year to record it. So we never had any real time off or something. Maybe the year writing it was kind of long because we couldn’t write on tour. I mean of course you have ideas or passages and certain feelings you write down, but we can’t write whole songs when on tour. Writing an album is like planting and harvesting. The tour is a time for planting ideas and after that in the studio it is time for harvesting the songs.”

    “The songwriting on this album is better than before. Also the production is more high fidelity and more present. The sound is richer and more colourful and has more layers. Where our first album was more simple this one has a lot more going on. I am really looking forward to the reactions, but they recommended us to keep low expectations so I won’t lay the bar too high haha.”

    < ?xpacket begin="" id="W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d"?> < ?xpacket end="w"?> Interesting Acts

    “The new project of Thom Yorke is something I would definitely like to see this year. I heard that it is incredible. But I would also very much like to see Thom Hopkins. He is a very talented producer who I would love to work with someday.”

    “But I do not listen to a lot of music when we are on tour. If I listen to music it’s mostly Ambient or something like that. When I listen to a lot of different artists it is harder to focus on my own music. It is too much noise in the background.”

    < ?xpacket begin="" id="W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d"?> < ?xpacket end="w"?> Upcomming summer

    “This winter we are touring with our new album in the USA and Europe. But we will definitely add some festivals to this in the summer. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I guarantee that Half Moon Run will be in Europe this summer. If I know something about shows at Dutch festivals? Maybe… haha!”