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Captured: TeethMarx, Moonlight Bride’s Justin Giles on ‘Lemonade’ video

Moonlight Bride has taken me by surprise. They have two albums and the first track I heard, or watched, is the music video for “Lemonade” off of their latest release Twin Lakes. Although the track’s lyrics are full of cognitive dissonance (as is the drink — yes, let’s make a sweet beverage out of a harsh, sour fruit) and young energy that demands several listens to drink it all in, the music is the most benign song on Twin Lakes.

Diego” starts the album by jerking the listener in several directions before settling in (at least for a while). The song is a solid mixture of memorable melodies and aural jolts. It was a great choice to start the album. “Lemonade” is the second track and followed by a smack in the face with “Versinthe” (it’s a type of absinthe). “Versinthe” rocks back and forth in a bed of angsty, yet approachable, distortion for almost half of the track. Vocals enter, hidden and muffled under the receding guitar. Considering the title of the track, I’m pretty sure that’s the point.

The song “Drug Crimes” comes next. At first, it feels very similar to “Lemonade,” but it breaks away around the 2:30 mark and ends with the fading reside of the bridge-turned-climax-turned-outburst. I really like it. The album ends with “And The Death Ship Had A New Captain.” It is very clear that it is a call to arms and although I haven’t picked out all the lyrics yet, this song has me amped and I love it down to the grungy toy piano whatever at the 3:17 mark and the gorgeous low vocals around 3:40. The song is carried by textural variance as the melody and lyrics are simple — as a call to arms ought to be.

When asked about the songs chosen for this album, Justin Giles (lead vocals, guitar) said that the tracks were placed together for aesthetic reasons, which I think is as good as any, and were the best representation of the band at the time. They fit almost too well together, with “Diego” reminding me of some tunes on their debut album Myths and “Captain,” sending Twin Lakes out into the unknown.

The band members are wonderfully diverse in their backgrounds, and I’m trying to figure out how they have been able to find this cohesive sound so well. Giles is a lo-fi junkie (think Broken Social Scene) who also idolizes Andre 3000 and Outkast, Justin Grasham on guitar favors British rock and post-hardcore (think These Arms Are Snakes), Dave Maki on bass likes classic rock and post punk (think P-Funk), and Matt Livingston (drums) air drums to Beck and the Flaming Lips. They are hard workers, and their shining moments come when Moonlight Bride is “in our own world,” as Giles puts it. He goes on, “The more outside influence — whether it be touring, personal issues, or any number of things — effects our writing very negatively. We need space and time so that we can find that spot inside of ourselves where all of the good things lie.”

I highly recommend listening to Twin Lakes in one sitting. It’s 20 minutes — no excuses!

Watch the “Lemonade” music video below and read The Spec‘s interview with director TeethMarx and MB frontman Justin Giles…

The Spec: I loved the transition of crowded party to light, open rehearsal as the mix became more hazy over the course of the song. What was your intention with this?

TeethMarx: I wanted the performance scenes as a means to introduce viewers to the band, put faces to a name so-to-speak. The (main “voice”) was retreating, but more into his own head… That’s where the projections come into play: his anxiety leads to anticipation, leading to more anxiety, etc. The projections are his projections, playing themselves out both in the fantasy realm and in real time, hence a rear projection and silhouette projection. Now, which one is reality and which is fantasy? We haven’t decided yet. It’s up to you.

TS: Masks! Love them! Was this an aesthetic move or was it meant to represent a generic faceless crowd or something of that sort? It seems like the narrator’s voice is antsy and this may be how he perceives the people around him at the time… I don’t know. They’re cool, why’d you use them?

TM: The masks were used for dual reasons, aesthetic and motif. We wanted to make them far more elaborate but budget and time wouldn’t allow it, so we allowed the extras to decorate them as they pleased and I was quite happy with the results. The motif of a mask is also fascinating to me. At first I felt it may have been a bit heavy-handed, but I don’t think the audience focuses on it so much. The song and the characters are more present than what’s on their faces, in my opinion.

TS: How much input did the band have in this process?

TM: The band came to me with the general idea for the video, and it was my job to fill in all the details. They basically said, “we want a video of people being together and loving life” and I took it from there. I wanted to capture the mood of the song without being literal. If I had put even one palm tree in there, I’d never find work directing again! The challenge for me was, how do I capture a song about summer when I’m shooting in early January? But after good talks with Giles (frontman) about the song, I realized the actual season didn’t matter, it’s more about what it represents: enjoying the times when there is nothing to do and you are free to do anything.

Giles on the music video:

TS: I love the “Lemonade” video! What were some of the best/worst things that happened while making this video? Plans to work with TeethMarx again?

JG: Ha. We’ll definitely be working with Teeth again. He’s a great dude. He’s actually going to be filming us while we work on our upcoming record.

The thing that stuck out the most, I think to everyone, was interesting. We filmed the party scene up on the ninth floor of this abandoned building. We had free liquor and booze for everyone that attended. Needless to say, everyone was getting tanked. Including us. Anyway, one of the attendees found a pill on the floor and decided to pop it, which we didn’t find out until the next day. So this guy proceeds to try and pick fights with crew members, hit on the lead actress and ends up urinating on himself while barely conscious. Some of the crew and I escorted him out kindly. Instead of being thankful, he cussed us out the entire way. Luckily his band had a practice space in the building, so we took him there so he could sleep it off. Then we saw him a couple days later and he acted like nothing had ever happened.

Very bizarre.

Moonlight Bride is on a break from touring to rest after a run of shows that ended at SXSW. They are also taking time to work on their next album. Follow the band on Tumblr to keep up.

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