Paul Autry from Ballbuster, Kentucky, talks to gilli moon - and gets the REAL STORY!
The reason I don't listen to the radio is simple, every time I happen to turn it on, I hear record label product slop like Britney Spears and I feel like I'm gonna lose my lunch. I've been under the impression that all radio cares about playing is garbage. But then, I had a vision. I heard a voice that came from the heavens to offer salvation to the masses. A talented voice that had music with soul, with emotion and that voice belonged to gilli moon. A woman who can actually write her own songs instead of depending on other people. A woman who could succeed on her own musical strengths instead of depending on someone in a suit and tie who would market her to the teeny bop market. This is what radio needs and, hopefully, they'll latch on to this release because, well, it has something that a lot of today's million sellers don't have...SUBSTANCE. I don't care how many gold records you have...if you're a "product," you suck and your albums will be found in the cheap section of your local record stores and you'll be working in the fast food market a few years from now. gilli moon is an artist with substance, that's for sure and ""temperamental angel"" has been one of the true rewards of my writing career this year. You know, writing reviews day after day tends to wear you out after awhile. But, every now and then an album comes along that makes it all worth doing and this is one of 'em. I haven't been this excited about an artist since I discovered the music of Tori Amos. Now, if I can play psychic here for a moment, I have a prediction...Britney Spears better learn to start flipping hamburgers and gilli moon should start working on her Grammy acceptance speech! - Paul Autry
The Other Side of Rock INTERVIEW
May / June 2001
http://www.ballbusterhardmusic.com/leftfield/2001-05.html#interviews gilli moon InterviewIntroducing gilli moonWarrior Girl Music
By: Paul Autry
It's very rare to find an artist that you can believe in these days. It's even harder when that artist is someone new. You have to wonder, are they in it for the fame and fortune or are they making music because it's something they believe in? For some people, these things do matter. I had a chance to speak with gilli moon and, after that conversation, it was plain to see that no matter what path her career may take, she will always remain true to herself and her music and, to me, that's important. She's an artist that has meaning and her music has a great deal to offer and the fact that her latest release, "Temperamental Angel," was done on her own terms, well, that fact alone already makes her a successful artist. It doesn't matter if she sells five albums or five million albums. This release is a pure, honest and meaningful...and if you can accept it for what it is, then, you'll get a great deal of pleasure from the material contained on this recording. With that said, I'd like to introduce you to the one and only...gilli moon!
Paul Autry: What's the music scene like in Australia? I mean, is there really more than AC/DC, Olivia Newton John and Kylie Minogue?
gilli moon: Yeah, there is. We've got a lot of awesome acts down there. I mean, obviously, there's Inxs as well, Midnight Oil, Silverchair.
Paul Autry: Your bio states that you've been a visual and musical artist since you were four. So, how did your musical life get started?
gilli moon: Well, I started off playing classical piano when I was four years old. I kind of gave up on that when I was about thirteen, I was already burned out from that. I starting writing my own songs when I was about sixteen or seventeen cause we moved to the bush, to the country. It was practically the middle of nowhere. So, I started writing there. I did music because I enjoyed it. I was in musicals and local bands and stuff. But, I didn't actually study music in school. I studied art....I studied to be an art teacher actually. So, I guess I know a lot more on the history of art than, say, the history of music. I do a lot of paintings now. Actually, I'm incorporating my paintings into my stage show.
Paul Autry: Yeah, that was one of the questions I was gonna ask you later. But, since you brought it up...I noticed that you were an artist. Now, I'm not really into art, so to speak, but, I saw some of the stuff you've done on your web page and it was different. I liked it. And I noticed that the famous "blue painting" is the one that's featured on your album cover. So, why is that called the famous "blue painting?"
gilli moon: Well, it's called the "blue painting" because, well, it's blue and it's very blue in so far as mood as well. But, I call it the famous one because everyone kept on asking me, "What's that painting behind you on the album cover?" So, I was like, "Well, it's this blue painting that I have on the wall in my house." So, I called it the famous one because everyone was asking about it...it became famous
Paul Autry: Do you have art shows or is this just something you do on the side? Which is more important, music, art or both?
gilli moon: As a career, I guess it's music. I've never really done an exhibition of my art work and it's always been a very, very private thing for me to paint. Ya know, music, I'm an exhibitionist. I'll get out there, I'll perform, I'll do everything. But, with art, it hasn't been something I wanted to show off until this album, when I realized that art was very much a part of me. So, I thought, well, I'll incorporate it into it and people would keep asking me more about my art. So, slowly, I'm bringing it out. I'll bring it out at my shows and stuff. I'll be adding paintings around the stage. But, ya know, people have been saying, "Why don't you sell posters of your art?" I haven't really gotten that far because it's been a very personal, private thing
Paul Autry: Selling posters would be a good idea.
gilli moon: Yeah, it would be. I guess the whole concept of the album is for people to get to know who I really, really am...the true me. And if that means that that's the paintings and the art side of me well, I'm gonna deliver that.
Paul Autry: Does the paint on your face symbolize anything or is that just to go with the painting on your album cover?
gilli moon: It sort of symbolizes something. What it means is that...I don't know if you noticed, but, I'm naked through out the whole album cover.
Paul Autry: Yeah, I did notice that.
gilli moon: And it's done...it's not really a sex sells sort of thing. Not at all. I've done it because I want people to see who I really am. Usually, when we're naked, we're totally ourselves, we're totally in the raw. So, basically, what I've done is I painted my face as a symbol saying, well, if I am going to dress myself, I'm going to dress myself the way I want to, that means something to me. This is my mark on my body that I'm showing you. It's also very tribal. It's not any significant tribal meaning, but, I am very connected to the tribal/spiritual side and I wanted to show that with what I did to my face.
Paul Autry: Does the two fingers you're holding to your lips mean anything? I kind of get this whole picture with just your album cover itself.
gilli moon: Wow...that's good. It just means silence. I wrote in my album cover "silence is solitude" and it means that when you're silent, it's the best time to be yourself because you don't have to tell anybody who you are. It can be very healing to not have to speak.
Paul Autry: Now, you've done theater work too. What were your experiences like with that?
gilli moon: I loved it. I was Dorthy in The Wizard Of Oz. Then I realized there was only one Judy Garland and I didn't want to compete. But, I basically love being on stage and where I grew up, this small town outside of Sydney, the only thing that I could do to really express myself was to be in musical theatre because that's what they do there. It's one of those towns where, if you're gonna do something, get involved in musical theatre. So, I did. I realized that that was one way I could do everything on stage. I could sing, dance, act and I wanted to be able to do it all.
Paul Autry: You've got people like Paul Stanley from Kiss and Sebastian Bach going from being musicians to being involved in the theatre and, here you are, doing the opposite. Do you feel that experience has helped you as far as your stage performance?
gilli moon: Oh, absolutely. I mean, we can be musicians and be good at what we do. We could be good singers, good instrument players. But, the thing is, when you're on stage, you become a performer, you become an entertainer. It's not just about the music anymore. You have to be able to deliver what you're playing to an audience and sell it to the audience and entertain them. If you have acting backround, it really helps. It helped me and the thing is, I don't define myself as having gone from something to do something else. I am all of that. I think a lot of artists will say that, that they can do a lot of things, they've just chosen one path.
Paul Autry: From what I've read, both Paul Stanley and Sebastian Bach have recieved nothing but praise for their stage work, which is a suprise to some people.
gilli moon: Yeah, it's very rare. For some reason, people are quick to judge and want to put you into a specific category and I don't like that at all. Let's take a look at Jennifer Lopez. I mean, you know, she's a pop artist but, the thing is, she's an actress as well as a singer. It's great that she's been able to cross both boundries. Madonna has had a lot of flack for trying to be an actress. It's really hard to break into it. I'm trying to be both from the start. Well, I am both. But, I've chosen my path which is to be an artist on stage.
Paul Autry: Now, you've had an album out, "Girl On The Moon," prior to this release. What can you tell us about that one and how would you say your music has developed from release to release?
gilli moon: "Girl On The Moon" was very much my debut. I was young and I've learned a lot from that. I worked with different producers for "Girl On The Moon" and I didn't feel like I had been able to communicate as to what was going on inside my head as a musician. "Temperamental Angel" is the first time I've been able to really get out what's inside my head into an album. I produced it myself with my co-producer, Evan J. Beigel, who's been a great listening board. But, "Girl On The Moon" was very much my opening, debut, calling card. I was very reluctant to release it. I only released it on the internet because I just didn't think it was me yet. It takes awhile for us to develop.
Paul Autry: Now, you were also in a band if I'm not mistaken. Can you tell us a little about that?
gilli moon: I co-formed Jessica Christ with a record company called Tribe Records. They were working on a concept, just an album concept called Jessica Christ. So, I did an album with Tribe and we took the band out and performed. It was a very conceptual band. It was a band tailored to promote the concept of the album, which was very unique.
Paul Autry: So, what's the difference between Jessica Christ and gilli moon?
gilli moon: Well, Jessica Christ is a concept, an album concept. gilli moon is me. It's me coming out. This is totally my vision, my concept, it's all about me, my art and my music.
Paul Autry: What exactly is a "Temperamental Angel?"
gilli moon: Well, it's all about that everyone has different, complex personalities. We're all not just one person. We have many personalities that we express to the world/different people. That's what I sent up in the opening, "Communication." We're all complex individuals...we can laugh, we can cry, we're happy, we're sad, we're angelic, we're demonic, meaning we've got edges, ya know? We're not just two dimensional. Then in the title track, it's all about how I want to be treated as a person. I want to be treated as an angel, but, I am emotional, sensitive, I have all these different feelings and I want you to take me as I am. Don't try to make me something else because I can't be. It was very much a reaction to past relationships and even past business relationships. Anything where I've dealt with the world and I felt like I've had to be in a certain box and I can't be. I'm all different people, I'm complex, like everyone is.
Paul Autry: In listening to your album, it's obviously the end result of a musical vision that you've had. So, my question would be, when did you realize what that vision was and what this album would be upon completion?
gilli moon: Oh, man, I didn't even know until...I went into the studio to record, not even thinking I was putting an album together. I was trying to move on from some past projects that weren't satisfying me. I'm a very frustrated artist up until recently. I wasn't able to do what I wanted to do mainly because I was listening to too many other people and not myself. When I decided to go into the studio with Evan, I started recording these songs and eventually this album came to be. Then I started thinking about the photography, I took all my own photos for the album cover. I started introducing my paintings. So, when I started doing the packaging and I started choosing the song titles, putting them in order, I started to realize there was this theme. It was very much me and I didn't have to try. I didn't have a concept before I started, it just evolved. Now that's it's done, it's amazing how I'm realizing that yes, this is a solid concept.
Paul Autry: So, it's safe to say that it was a natural progression?
gilli moon: Very, very much so. Yeah, I would say very natural and organic.
Paul Autry: What was your studio experience like?
gilli moon: It was great. Basically, I would go over to Evan Beigel's studio, my co-producer, he's a really good mate. He said, hey, come on over and we'll start recording. We did everything live. We'd get the musicians in on, say, a Sunday and record. We had an awesome time. It was a very easy album to do, it didn't take too long. It took three months, which is nothing really in so far as an album. It flowed so quickly, we had a great time.
Paul Autry: What are some of your favorite songs on the album?
gilli moon: Well, I think the song "Disgrace" is very much one of my favorite songs. It means, once again, it's hitting on the theme of take me as I am, don't put me in a box. It was a reaction to a past relationship where I gave a lot of myself and I felt like I didn't get anything in return. So, it's the first time where I've been able to lash out in anger. I've never been an angry person. It's kind of good that I've been able to be emotional about it and be outspoken about it. Another songs that's one of my favorites is "Naked." It talks about wanting to be naked with you which is meaning I want to be true, I want to be myself with you. There are a couple of songs there that are kind of remorseful about love like "Why Do You Love Me Still," questioning myself as to why someone would love me. In the song "Plenty," it's all about my dreams, where I wanna go, how to get there and will I get there.
Paul Autry: And that's an award winning song.
gilli moon: It is, yes. I won an award at the Song Expo, which is in the Netherlands, for best pop song. That song and "Feel For You" won.
Paul Autry: Yeah, I was gonna ask you about that. You won a couple of awards and the only one that was on your new album is "Plenty."
gilli moon: Yeah. Well, "Feel For You" was on the last album. It also won best pop song in Austrailia as well. Songwriting is very important to me, ya know, I am a songwriter as well as an artist. When I win awards like this, as a songwriter, it's always a plus. It makes me feel like I'm...ya know, it's nice to get something like that. I haven't won a Grammy, I haven't won an artist award...
Paul Autry: Not yet!
gilli moon: Not yet (laughs). It's nice to feel like I'm getting recognized as a songwriter. Also, I don't know if you know, but, I run a songwriters organization called Songs Alive. It's a non-profit organization that was set up in Sydney four years ago. I founded it, I'm the president of it. But, I have a team who works with me and it's now in Los Angeles as well. It's basically promoting and supporting songwriters. We conduct workshops and showcases, we put out a sampler, we have a newsletter. We do a lot of things that help songwriters. It's kind of my way of giving back to the community. So, the whole songwriting world is very important to me.
Paul Autry: In today's musical world, you turn on the radio and you hear garbage like Britney Spears. Now your album is a lot better than crap like that. But, do you feel you'll be able to rise above all of that and make a difference?
gilli moon: I think I've already made a difference by doing what I'm doing. I hope that more people will find out about what I'm doing. That's really what it is. I know that I'm making a difference by the music that I'm doing and I'm not doing it on purpose, to try to do something different. I'm really being myself. But, I've always known, since I was a kid, that I had something to say like, you know, any artist would say that. But, there is a lot of crap out there.
Paul Autry: The difference between that music and what you're doing is you're not a product.
gilli moon: Thank you for that comment. Yeah, I didn't want to be like a machine. I really avoided signing a major deal. I've had offers, development...I could even have stayed with Tribe Records. But, I decided to do it independently and set up my own record label, Warrior Girl Music, because I don't want to be a product of somebody's idea. I don't want to be manipulated and molded. I have, already, something to say and if that means that I have to go the long and hard way then so be it. I don't want to be classified. I absolutely want to be up there with Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears in so far as the market that they're reaching. Yeah, I would love that. I'm working really hard and I'll do anything to make that happen. But, I'm not going to sacrifice my artistry for that.
Paul Autry: Since you brought up doing things independently, I guess I should bring up one of your biggest role models, Ani DiFranco.
gilli moon: You know what, she is!
Paul Autry: Is it for her music or what she's accomplished in the business?
gilli moon: It's totally what she's accomplished in the business. Her music is great music. It's not necessarily my favorite because it's very folky, it's very left field, which is good. But, it's not the music which attracted me to her, it's mainly how she has been a business woman. I think it's really important to be an artist and a business person. I think that, in this day and age, we, as artists, can do that and be pretty much in control of our careers.
Paul Autry: She started when she was 19 if I'm not mistaken and every record label wants her and she more or less told them all to fuck off. She even wrote a song about it.
gilli moon: That's right. I don't agree totally that we don't need a major label. I wouldn't knock it back. A record company has its role. It's just learning to define the role. If I was with a major record company, I would celebrate the fact that my market could be opened up because of the money that they could put behind you. I don't think we should knock them that badly. The thing is though, I'm totally against the old artist contracts where record companies completely rip off artists copywrites and pay them nothing and basically exploit them. So, I want to be able to bridge the gap and say, okay, exploit me. But, don't steal my music and don't rip me off. I want a good, fair share of the profit. I think there needs to be a new way of doing business
Paul Autry: Courtney Love has been very vocal with the things that you just said.
gilli moon: I think she's wonderful. She needs be outspoken. I think she's biting the hand that feeds her a little bit though. I mean, she wouldn't be Courtney Love today if it wasn't for the major deal that she had. But, at the same time, what she's saying is right. You also need to respect the people that you work with.
Paul Autry: For the people who haven't seen you live yet, how would you describe your live show?
gilli moon: Energetic, full of action, it's full on. It's the same with the songs on the album. The songs go from full on rock to really quiet and that's when I get up on stage, on the piano , and I'll do one of the ballads then we'll go full on again. I'm trying to show the difference of emotion.
Paul Autry: Who would you say your influences are?
gilli moon: Well, I've had a lot of different influences. I used to sing to Anita Baker as a teenager, into my early 20's to learn how to sing. I love Austrailian rock...Inxs, Midnight Oil.
Paul Autry: AC/DC?
gilli moon: Not as much. I mean, they're great and God, their energy on stage is awesome. But, they didn't influence me as far as my music. A lot of people say that I sound like Kate Bush and, I'll tell you what, I never really listened to her much. I grew up with the pop artists of the 80's like Michael Jackson.
Paul Autry: What do you hope to accomplish with "Temperamental Angel?"
gilli moon: Just to create an awareness across the states, ya know, I'm a new artist for the United States. So, I just want people to know who I am. I'm not looking for the Grammy Award this year. I just want to crack a small dent in the market.
Paul Autry: You have a really great web page and there was something up there that I didn't have a chance to check out, but, I wanted to ask you about it, something pertaining to women's health.
gilli moon: God, that's a completely different topic altogether. Basically, I set up an area called Little Girl Research, I'm trying to find remedies and causes to various womens health problems. I had a few problems about a year ago that caused me to really think about my life and "Temperamental Angel" was a bi-product of that meaning, I ended up going and recording my album and doing what I really wanted to do because I sort of had a life threatning situation that made me think, Jesus, I've gotta do this now. So, that little area on the site is offering women to come and talk about their problems and issues and to try to find remedies for that in a natural way.
Paul Autry: Is it too early to start talking about your next release?
gilli moon: Well, yes, I will start recording towards the end of the year for the next album. I have like two hundred songs to choose from. It's funny, with "Temperamental Angel," even though I had a batch of songs, I wrote songs from scratch for that album. Even though that album included all songs I wrote myself, next album, I'm going to be co-writing because I want to bring other peoples influence into the album. I haven't really thought about the concept yet. But, once again, it will be another natural process...when the time is right. When I'm finished touring and seeing a bit of dessert from the current release.
Paul Autry: Well, I think I covered everything I wanted to cover. So, is there anything else you'd like to add?
gilli moon: I want everyone to share the music and tell everyone about it. If there's one message that I could say it would be that, ya know, I'm doing this myself, I'm doing it the hard way and I'm doing it. I just hope that if I'm gonna inspire anybody it is that you can do it on your own. You can get out there and do it and don't wait, just go ahead and do it. Don't wait for someone to come along who will pick you up and make you famous, that's a load of crap. Just do it, just get out there, get into the studio, record, do your music.