Willy Moon is well aware that his vibrant single “Yeah Yeah” is currently being used to sell iPods, though he couldn’t tell you what the commercial in question actually looks like … mostly because he hasn’t seen it.
“I don’t really watch TV,” he says, a wry smile spreading across his face. “But I’m happy to have made a connection with Apple; I love what they do. I’m not sure I’d do another commercial though … I don’t really want my music advertising tampons, you know?”
The fact that he doesn’t watch a ton of television isn’t all that shocking to those who know Moon’s music … or anyone who’s laid eyes on any number of magazine spreads he’s been featured in recently. After all, the 23 year old New Zealander (who now calls London home) is about as anachronistic as they come: a sharp-dressed throwback to the R&B and Rockabilly stars of the 1950s who gleefully weaves retro-rock strut with hop hop’s sampling sensibilities, creating a sound that is both instantly identifiable and completely new … and undeniably his own.
“It’s my own fantasy of what I think music should sound like; it’s what’s exciting to me. I’ve always loved rock and roll music, and I’ve always felt it was sad that people didn’t find ways to re-contextualize it, or bring in different flavors,” he says, taking a draw off a cigarette. “If you’re not making music that has its own flavor and its own unique perspective, then you’re not an artist and you’re not doing anything that’s interesting. I never felt there was any point in making music if I wasn’t making something that was distinctively my own. So when I make music, I make it within my own genre.”
Already a sensation in the UK thanks to songs like “Yeah Yeah” (which borrows the “Underdog” sample made famous in “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F— Wit”) or “Railroad Track” (a ghostly gospel tune that glides over top of the ARC Choir’s “Walk With Me” … aka the song Kanye used to make “Jesus Walks”), Moon is now aiming to bring his success stateside. And if you think that’s a daunting proposition, well, he certainly doesn’t.
“That’s what we’re here for, you know? I just want to get my music out to people, that’s my job; so if I break through, that’s perfect,” he says. “You’ve got to work, life is about achieving, and if you’re passionate about something, you make it happen. I spend my life thinking about music, and when I’m not making music, I’m dreaming up ideas around music; it’s the obsession of my life.”
Moon’s just released an EP, and he’ll drop his debut album later this year through Interscope, and, having already played a handful of U.S. shows, he’s gearing up for even more to help promote it. But breaking through in the states is only part of his mission … Moon’s got much bigger plans for the future. And, no, they don’t involve iPods.
“I want to make music that fills people’s lives; music for me growing up was such an important part of me finding my identity as a person, and it really shapes you,” he says. “So, if I can be that for somebody, if I can help somebody shape their vision of themselves and the way they understand the world through music, that’s what I want to do man.”
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