EMQ’s With Moonscape
Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Norwegian Progressive Metal project, Moonscape. Huge thanks to the project founder, Håvard Lunde, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Håvard Lunde, and I started the Moonscape project back in February 2015, when I began writing what would become the debut album “Entity”. I play bass, lead and rhythm guitars, keyboards and I do various programming. I guess it is fair to say that I basically do everything apart from vocals and lead guitars / keyboards, which are done by guest performers.
The debut came out in October 2017, and it was a conceptual record that consisted of one single forty-minute track. The single-track format was very much inspired by Edge of Sanity’s 1996 classic “Crimson”, which was also such an album, and since that album was quite influential to the musical direction I wanted to explore, it felt like a good starting point. “Entity” became a very atmospheric and personal album, and it has been very well received from both listeners and reviewers.
The follow up was released in November 2020, entitled “Entity, Chapter II: Echoes from a Cognitive Dystopia”, and while the music became slightly faster and more direct, more Power / Prog oriented, it continued and concluded the story from the debut.
How did you come up with your band name?
The name was just a word that occurred to me as I had begun writing and recording the first album. It had a kind of mysterious ring to it, so I decided on using that. Later on, it dawned on me that it must have been inspired from Dan Swanö’s Moontower and Witherscape projects. It wasn’t a deliberate thing, but later on it seemed pretty obvious, ha ha!
What Country / Region are you from and what is the Metal / Rock scene like there?
I am from the Innlandet region in the eastern Norway, and from what I have noticed there aren’t really too many local bands that are prominent. On a national basis we have bands like Dimmu Borgir, Immortal and all those really well-known ones, and on a more local basis we have Crest of Darkness and Conception, and I am sure there are a few other ones as well. Ronnie Le Tekrø (TNT) is from my area too.
What is your latest release?
Moonscape’s latest release is the digital single “If Heaven Knows my Name”, released on November 25th. It is a two track single where the title track is taken from the new album “The Continuum Synergy” that is coming out on January 20th 2023, and the “B-side” is an alternative version of another new album track entitled “A Rendezvous in Time?”. “If Heaven Knows my Name” is the first Moonscape song that I have made a lyric video for, well worth checking out.
Who have been your greatest influences?
With Moonscape my biggest influences have been Edge of Sanity / Dan Swanö, Ayreon, Opeth, Yes, Genesis, Transatlantic, Helloween and probably many more. The thing about this project is that it is a vehicle for me to express myself musically, and I guess that having such a variety of influences is the reason why the music sounds the way it does, ha ha!
What first got you into music?
My very first memory of having a fondness about music is when I discovered a local humour / show group when I was about 5 or 6. Their image was that they were a group of musicians that worked as car wreckers for a living, which of course sounded cool as hell for a 6-year-old, ha ha! That ignited an interest in being a drummer, but I didn’t start playing until I were in my early teens, when a buddy and I started our first band. That was the basis of what would later become a band called Fatal Impact.
My first real introduction to rock music was Guns ‘N’ Roses and their “Use Your Illusion II” album, and eventually we got into bands like Judas Priest, Helloween, Running Wild, Sepultura etc. I started moving into a different direction than the others when I started discovering Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull and all those prog acts. That, plus the fact that I was going to be a father led me to leave the band in 2006. I played in a more Progressive Hard Rock-oriented band from 1996 to 1999, which was called Ad Rubiconem, but it ceased to exist when studies and military service demanded our focus.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
I would love to have Dan Swanö’s vocals on a Moonscape record, as he is one of the main influences to the initial idea behind Moonscape. I wouldn’t mind having Jordan Rudess play keyboards either.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
I think Wacken seems like a cool place to play. Tons of people, many great bands and it just seems like an overall awesome place to be.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Nothing out of the ordinary, but a band I was in played at a venue that partially paid us in ecological foods, ha ha!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
It will have to be that I really appreciate their support, that they are buying physical albums and generally being awesome.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
There are far too many to choose from, but if I had to pick one… Neil Peart.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
What I enjoy the most is to be able to play and create music. The downside about it is when I am feeling uninspired and can’t seem to come up with new ideas.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I guess it would be somewhat predictable to say “the ridiculously low payments from certain streaming providers”, so I will go with vinyl pressing costs.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“Close to the Edge” by Yes.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
For different reasons, all four formats have their charm. Vinyl is great if you want a nostalgic feel, the big jacket cover and all that. Cassettes are pure nostalgia for me, and so are CD’s, but in terms of sound quality I think you can never top CD’s. A digital download might allow you to listen to a lossless file, but it still only gives you half of the listening experience without the physical album cover with lyrics etc.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
I haven’t really been that active when it comes to playing live, so there really aren’t any gigs that stand out, to be honest. Moonscape is merely just a studio project, so there are no gigs to mention, ha ha.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I think I probably would have been more into photography. After my son was born, I did some album and live reviews for a couple years, and I had my own blog running a couple years ago too (Subterranean Noise) so I guess I would have done more writing as well.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
David Gilmour, Frank Zappa, Neil Peart, Paul McCartney and Chris Squire.
What’s next for the band?
Right now, I am preparing the release of “The Continuum Synergy” and trying my best to promote it wherever I can. After that I might be doing another lyric video for one of the other songs on the album, and I have begun making video updates that I am posting on YouTube, to make sure the supporters are updated on what is going on in the Moonscape universe.
What Social Media / Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
I have both a Facebook group and page, a brand-new website, an Instagram account and I have a YouTube channel where I upload the abovementioned video updates, where I sit down and talk about what is going on. It seems like the subscribers and followers enjoy it, so I’ll probably keep doing those.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/moonscapenorway
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OfficialMoonscapeGroup
Time for a very British question now. As an alternative to the humble sandwich, is the correct name for a round piece of bread common in the UK either a Bap, a Barm (or Barm Cake), a Batch, a Bun, a Cob, a Muffin, a Roll or a Tea Cake?
I would say a “cob” sounds like an archetypical name for such a thing. The Americans have their rolls and buns, and anything with the word “cake” in it should perhaps have a frosting on it, thus it is not really a piece of bread anymore, is it? A “batch” doesn’t sound right, neither a “bap”… Bloody hell, I should be sleeping instead of trying to figure this out, ha ha!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Just that I really appreciate anyone who listens to Moonscape’s music, those who follow the project on social media, YouTube etc. If anyone wants to check out the Facebook page and group, hearing their feedback and thoughts are always very much appreciated. It means a lot knowing there are people out there who listen to the music we are making, so I would like to just leave a big THANK YOU to them all.
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