Moonshine Oversight is taking the next step
Interview conducted on January 22, 2018
By Daniel Locke
MOONSHINE OVERSIGHT who just released their new album ‘Vanishing Lines’.
The band distinguishes itself by its progressive approach, borrowing the energy of rock, the power of metal, and even the delicacy of folk, creating a powerful, introspective and personal music.
In photography and painting, vanishing lines are there to guide the sight, to give some relief.
« Vanishing Lines », the first effort of Moonshine Oversight, sets the bottom line of their musical influences and the expression of their own sensitivity. Each track sums up a part of their inspiration, borrowing from alternative, folk, heavy metal and even progressive rock.
Yet it doesn’t sound as a compilation of various songs without a direction, but as a coherent globality where each track, distillate through their still, ends up sounding like the band itself, with its own color Thus each track represents a line which guides the spirit to where the musicians have decided to take us.
Julien Pivi: Guitare/chant
Julien Ventura: Guitare/choeur
Florent Bazzano: Basse
Julien Sorel: Batterie
Unratedmagazine: How did you get together? Tell me about the development of the band.
We (Ju Pivi and Ju Ventura) met at University. At the time, we played in separate bands as singer and guitarist. Our passion for music brought us closer and we decided to found a new band together, end 2014. The aim in this new band was to strike out in an ambitious project, focused on composition, and explore a wide range of music. We quickly recruited Flo with whom we had shared some stages in the past (with his band of the time). We were looking for a drummer so we posted an online ad which Ju (Sorel) replied. The band was finally complete!
How did you pick your name?
Initially, we were inspired by “Moonshine” word for both its rock’n roll side around smuggled alcohol distillation and his poetic side in its similarity with “Moonlight” (it can be used in this sense in some case). We found this ambivalence quite interesting and we drew an analogy to our music. We added “Oversight” because we wanted that our name to be unique and suggest the worked aspect of the music we wanted to produce.
Tell me about your backgrounds.
Julien Pivi: I Started playing guitar when I was 17 and I have taken lesson at the Toulon Conservatoire until I was 26. I even took some singing lessons to build on my voice.
Julien Ventura: I’m passionate about music since I was 13 and I have been playing guitar for the 15 past years. I Studied at Toulon Conservatoire and I played in several bands before funding Moonshine. With one of my past band, we won the Class’Eurock 2011 (a European musical springboard).
Florent Bazzano: Initially, I started music with playing guitar when I was 16. When I founded my first band with my high school friends, I finally take the bass player role, because there were already too many guitarists ^^. At that time, I was self-taught but when I joined Moonshine, I decided to take bass lesson to improve my skills.
Julien Sorel: I have been playing drums for the 17 past years. I began Conservatoire studies but I did not hooked. I have been part of several bands before, but Moonshine is my most serious project.
You are from La Garde. Can you tell me about the music scene there? And what your favorite club to play in La Garde and why is it?
Indeed, we rehearse in La Garde that is a neighboring city of Toulon (a major French town). The town is equipped with the Zénith Oméga, an indoor arena with a capacity of 9000, which has hosted concerts by world-renowned performers as Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses, Sting, David Bowie, and more… Unfortunately, it is not yet in our reach. However, the venue also has a nightclub called Oméga Live with a capacity of 800, in which we performed. This is a nice club because the light and sound installation are great, artists reception is pleasant (dressing room, catering), a good atmosphere. Other than that, the Toulon music scene develops especially on summer. The city is located on a seaside area and attracts many tourists. That is why many events as concerts or festivals held within this season.
If someone was visiting La Garde for the first time what would you tell them to check out?
Well, the city is located in the famous French Riviera so we would advise them to go to the beach and enjoy the coastal landscape ^^.
How do you describe your music?
It’s always difficult to self-define in a particular type. Moonshine Oversight is surfing between alternative rock and progressive music and use some parts of metal, stoner and even folk. We want our music to be both powerful and mysterious. We try to combine heavy riffs with hypnotic melodies.
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
Ju P : When I was a child, my dad made me listen to The Police, Van Halen and Genesis (Peter Gabriel period). Teenager, I was listen to Nirvana, The Offspring, Sum 41, and then I discovered Metallica thanks to a friend. At 20, I discovered Opeth and since then, I am constantly looking for progressive bands to listen.
Ju V : I grew up listening to British 70’s progressive rock as Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Yes, Genesis and also Led Zeppelin, Queen thanks to my parents. Then, I was listen to Nirvana and thrash metal (Metallica, Megadeth, Testament). Later I took interest in Big Rock bands as Extreme, Guns ‘N Roses, Van Halen, etc. Finally, I returned to my roots in progressive music when I discovered Tool, Porcupine Tree/ Steven Wilson and more…
Flo : I discovered music with bands as Blink 182, Sum 41, The Offspring, then I quickly drifted towards Slipknot, Korn, Soad.
Ju S : Mainly metal music.
Who influences you and why?
Each of us has his own influences. If we were to mention just the main ones those we have in common, it would be Tool, Pink Floyd, Gojira and Porcupine Tree. This bands share the same progressive approach in music, in their own style. This creative freedom is a role model for us.
Is French know for metal music?
In France, metal/rock culture is not take up by mainstream media. That gives it an underground side. Therefore, we cannot say that French is known for metal music. However, there are many awesome French metal bands (Gojira, Loudblast, Dagobah, Ultra Vomit, to mention just a few). The public is present and the demand is strong, as evidenced by festivals like the Download (Paris) or the Hellfest which completeness of tickets are sold just few minutes after box office opening.
What are your favorite metal bands?
Ju P : It is hard to say, that depends on my state of mind. These days I listen largely to Leprous and Thank You Scientist.
Ju V : Currently : Tool, Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson, Mastodon.
Flo : Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Fleshgod Apocalypse…
Ju S : : Gojira, Deftones, Mastodon, Necrophagist, Pantera, Animal as Leaders and more…
Where did you record your album? And why?
We recorded “Vanishing Lines” at Coxinhell Recorded Studio, Fréjus, a little town in French Riviera, a beautiful place, ideal to work on our album.
We were looking for a Studio located in the south of France with analog and vintage equipment and producing warm and organic mixes. That’s why we chose Coxinhell.
Then, songs were mastered at Sonics Mastering (Marseille), a renowned mastering studio.
We warmly thank Anthony BELGUISE (Engineering), Sébastien GROS (Mixing) and François FANELLI (Mastering) for their professionalism and their great job. We are very pleased with the final result.
Your album comes out last month. How is it doing so far?
The reactions so far are really good. The public feedback is awesome and most of the press reviews are rather flattering. It’s a real reward for us, regard to the work that this album requested.
Who designed your cover?
Thomas Ganet (Freelance designer) designed our cover. We asked him to exploit vanishing lines (linked to the album title) and give a mysterious atmosphere. At the vanishing point, you’ll find a moon that represent our music. We warmly thank him because he found the way to translate our ideas into realities.
I have listened to the cd and I enjoyed it.
Feel- An cross between Nickelback and Broken Benjamin.
Young Man– Like it. But once I saw the Acoustic Live at MosaiqueFM version I enjoyed it a lot better.
Moonrakers : Styx meet Triumph with an American Southern Rock feel.
Vultures- Very heavy. A lot of Metalheads would love it. And I feel that maybe should be your next video. But that is my opinion.
Why did you pick the title Vanishing Lines- In photography and painting, vanishing lines are there to guide the sight, to give some relief. Can you go more into the definition on what you are saying?
We try to compose immersive and evocative music, a sort of invitation to a trip, a scene, a landscape. In photography and painting, vanishing lines are there to guide the sight, to give some relief. In our album, it’s our music that play this role. Each track represents a line, which must guide the listener in the journey.
Is English your first language? No French accent?
English is not our first language. About French accent, we paid a lot of attention during recording to pronounce right. Since you are asking, we hope nothing shocked you as Anglophone.
Any endorsement deals yet?
No endorsement deals for now but we are open to this kind of proposals.
How did you get signed to the label?
Right now, we are not signed with any label but this is the next step to taken. We hope to find a deal with a record company soon to increase the band development.
What year, made and model of instruments do you play?
Ju P : I play a 2001 Gibson Flying V (Gothic edition) for D tune and a 1981 Aria Pro II RS-800 (equipped with a Young Signature Gibson bridge pickup and a P94 neck pickup). I own an Engl E656 head amp.
Ju V : 2016 Gibson Custom Les Paul Axcess and 2009 Gibson Explorer 76’ Reissue (D tune). I use a Mesa/Boogie Stiletto head amp.
Flo : Fender Jazz Bass Roscoe Beck IV. Ampeg Amp.
Ju S : 2001 Tama Rockstar and Meinl cymbals.
What type of clubs have you played in (size)?
We played in a wide variety of stages: These range from local bars to clubs with a capacity of 200/300. Moonshine Oversight most important stage for now is Oméga Live (800) that we played for the album release. However, some of us already played on festivals stage in front of 5000 people.
What music fests would you like to play in?
The main European festivals as Hellfest, Download, Sonisphere, Wacken, Rock Am Ring, etc.
Would you want to play Rock on the Range and why?
Absolutely yes! This year, Tool and Steven Wilson are in the line-ups. It would be an honor to share a stage with these bands!
Are you thinking about doing the nationwide US tour?
This is beyond our grasp for now, but if we have the opportunity, we’ll seize it. In a first time, we expect to do a French tour and possibly a European tour.
How would you explain your live performance?
On stage, we get carried away by our music to give a sincere and authentic performance. We want to create a bewitching atmosphere and that the whole dynamic of our music comes alive to set up a real exchange with the public.
If someone was listening to you for the first time, what 3 videos or songs would you tell them to look/listen to and why?
“Feel” because it is the most spontaneous song. Both intimate and aerial.
“Beyond the Stars” because it’s our most melodic and progressive song.
“Moonrakers” because it’s our most heavy and groovy song.
By this way, this new listener will have a global vision of our music.
How do you see your band in the next 5 years?
During the next 5 years, we hope to release two new album and continue to develop our band to be able to perform a worldwide tour.
Any guilty pleasures your fans would be surprise you listen to?
Ju P : I like Daft Punk and Eminem.
Ju V : Other than rock/metal music, I listen to Electro music (Carpenter Brut, Infected Mushroom, etc.). I think it will not surprise the readers because these bands adopt the same approach as metal music. Sometimes, I listen to classical music and even French chanson (Brassens, Renaud).
Flo : I have no guilty pleasures !
Ju S : Electro (Rhodz) and Hip-hop (Jermaine Cole).
What is on your bucket list?
Sign with a label and perform a worldwide tour !
What is on your phone for music now?
Ju P : “10 000 Days” Tool album.
Ju V : Carpenter Brut, Dire Straits, Gojira, Infected Mushroom, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Mastodon, Opeth, Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, Tool, to mention the only main ones. Also some Moonshine Oversight songs (I confess ^^).
Flo : “Labyrinth” Fleshgod Apocalypse album.
Ju S : None.
Anything in closing you would like to say?
We would take this opportunity to thank all the people who work with us in the band development:
Thibault (Estublier Production, Video),
Anthony (Slater Filmaker, Video),
Axel (Damax Prod, Video),
Léa Ricoh (Freelance, Photography),
Thomas Ganet (Freelance, Artwork),
Allan (Freelance, Live Sound Engineering),
Charlie (Tandem SMAC, Band Development),
Christophe and Sarah (Dooweet Agency, Press Relation),
And all people who support us by every day: family, friends, and especially our girlfriends!
In closing, thank you very much for this interview and your interest in our band!
Thank you very much for interviewing with Unratedmagazine.