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20 Questions With Coral Moons

The Boston foursome talk moose songs, taco peeves, garage-sale synths & more.

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Coral Moons sound right at home on their brand-new album Fieldcrest. And no wonder — the up-and-coming Boston band’s debut long-player takes its title from the street that singer-songwriter and frontwoman Carly Kraft lived on as a child. Unsurprisingly, the sound of Fieldcrest is just as warmly personal and invitingly nostalgic. Over the course of nine gorgeously expansive and sonically diverse tracks, Kraft and her bandmates ease you into their vibrant, distinctive marriage of classic pop, indie rock, soul, blues, jazz, synth-fuelled psychedelia and much more. Those who have been paying attention may recall that the foursome premiered their superb single Like We Used To HERE in June. Today, Kraft and co. celebrate Fieldcrest‘s release by answering my silly questions. Undoubtedly, they probably wish they’d stayed home.

 


 

Introduce yourself: Name, age (feel free to lie), home base and any other details you’d care to share — height / weight / identifying marks / astrology sign / your choice.
We are Coral Moons, led by singer-songwriter Carly Kraft and accompanied by Justin Bartlett on guitar, Manuel Camacho on bass and Kevin O’Connell on drums. We’re a Boston-based band and have been together for almost three years now!

What is your musical origin story?
Carly: Our story began in a corporate office, actually. I met Manuel at our day jobs, where our boss was looking to incorporate more music in the office and wanted to do some open mics. Manuel and I started experimenting with ’70s rock covers where he would play guitar and I would sing. I always wanted to be in a band growing up but never played any instruments (other than the oboe in wind ensemble and orchestra) so Manuel taught me some basic chords and soon thereafter I wrote the songs from our first EP.

What’s your latest project?
Our new album Fieldcrest was released today. It’s our first full-length and second recording project as a group. Our single Like We Used To is also out now. It was recorded at a retreat recording studio in Parsonsfield, Maine with producer Sam Kassirer.

What truly sets you apart from other artists?
We’re a very interesting group of individuals and we all bring something really unique to the table. Carly brings her voice, which is already unique, and she writes melodies that flow out of her constantly. Manuel has a deep love for prog rock and unique sounds, constantly pushing us to make things sound less generic. Justin has these extremely special ambient sounds that we finish every track with that feel so core to our music. And Kevin is really good at complementing our main melodies with counter melodies and grounds us to a groove. We also all listen to completely different styles of music which really helps push the boundaries when it comes to instruments in the studio.

Tell us about the first song you wrote and / or the first gig you played.
Justin: The first song I wrote was a breakup song about moose. I like to think I’ve gotten a bit more adventurous over the years.

What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you have given?
Our most memorable show we’ve played was opening for Boston’s favorite Ripe. They have the most welcoming and energetic fans.

What living or dead artists would you like to collaborate with?
We’d love to collaborate with Aaron Dessner (of The National). A lot of the records he’s made in the past 10 years are where we can all meet in the middle for car rides.

What artist or style of music do you love that would surprise people?
Carly: I’ve always always always loved classical music. Ever since I started playing the oboe at a young age, playing those full-band songs created so many endorphins throughout my body. And now when I listen to full orchestras or wind ensembles live I get the same feeling.

What useful (or useless) skills do you have outside of music?
Three out of four people in the band are programmers for their day jobs. Our drummer Kevin is the only one who works as a sound engineer during the day.

What do you collect?
As a group, our biggest joy is collecting garage-sale synths. This was inspired by our producer Sam Kassirer, who plays keys for Josh Ritter and also produces for him and a ton of other bands like Lake Street Dive and David Ramirez. He brought a $4 Yamaha synth to our final session in the studio for this record and we added it to quite a few songs. On stage, each person in the band also has at least one synth along with our main instruments.

If money was no object, where would you live?
Justin: I think it would be sick to have a huge ranch in the middle of the desert in Arizona or New Mexico or something — a modern Santa Fe-style home with a ton of windows and plenty of space to play music to the cacti. I’m a sucker for the desert and cacti.

What would you like to be reincarnated as?
A dog. We all have dogs and their lives are just so much better than our own lives lol.

What are your pet peeves?
Manuel: Hard-shell and flour tortilla tacos. They’re just evil. Also, correlation does not imply causation. You can do better, people.

What’s your greatest regret?
Justin: My biggest regret was not getting on roller coasters sooner, cuz they are dope. Also not eating shrimp sooner! I just started eating seafood the past couple of years and I can’t believe I lived without it.

What are you afraid of?
Kevin: Spiders (OBVIOUSLY) and all of my references slowly just becoming dad jokes.

What’s your motto?
You can’t spell FART without ART. But seriously, find the beauty in the mundane.

What’s always in your refrigerator?
Kevin: Buffalo sauce, pickled everything, and takeout from one week too long ago.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Carly: I wish I started playing music sooner — once I graduated college and started my day job, that’s when I knew the 9-5 wasn’t for me. I felt like I was so behind for my age, just learning to play the guitar at 23.

If you had one day to spend as you please without any consequences, what would you do?
Carly: I would probably spend all day gardening or making things. I love to pickle things from the garden or make homemade jelly or hot sauce to give to all my friends. There’s something so special about giving or receiving handmade goods.

What’s the silliest thing you believed as a child?
Justin: I used to live in this sketchy house in Georgia and I was convinced there was a Charmander living in my closet because I would hear weird sounds all the time at night. Now looking back on it, I’m like 90% sure the place was haunted.

What world record would you like to break?
The most synths on a stage ever!

Listen to Fieldcrest and watch their videos above, and meet up with Coral Moons on their website, Facebook and Instagram.