words by rheanne cruz
Like something straight out of a road trip daydream, Moonrise Nation - a musical trio consisting of Emma McCall, Arden Baldinger, and Eva Baldinger, deliver an addicting pop folk sound you can’t quite forget. Creating an emotional connection between artist and the listener, their lyrics are deeply felt and easy to appreciate, ranging from heartache and healing, to strength.
Their debut record, Glamour Child comes out July 28th, and we got the chance to get to know the band before they’re all over your radar! In the meantime, get your daily Moonrise fix from their singles Demo Day and Eye to Eye, all available on Spotify!
So, you’re releasing your first record. Were there any emotional obstacles trying to project the best version of your band?
Eva: Well emotionally, being in the studio and thinking, ‘Oh well, this is done!’ is a very hard thing to do, because you always feel like you can be better. You want the public to feel the same way you do about your music.
Emma: Emotionally, just hoping other people understand what we’re talking about. As women, we can get cast in a certain way and we hope that people would give it the attention that they would to a record they assume has a lot of depth and complexity.
Arden: There are some songs on the record that are very personal and vulnerable. I think as a listener you’re detached from it, but performing and playing a piece for someone, especially if you wrote it and it’s an insight to something you would never bring up in a conversation with someone, is so scary.
Do you have any favorite songs from the record?
Emma: Mine changes depending on what we’re talking about. As far as songs to perform, my favorite is Petty Games. It has a really fun bass part, and we play musical chairs and Eva gets to play on the keys. As far as recording value, my favorite song is Snow. We have a pump organ on that song, and it was recorded with live room vocals. It’s very stripped back.
Eva: Mine alternate, I love both of their songwriting.
Since you’ve been performing for a while, did you try anything new?
Arden: We were actually just talking about our producer Steven. He was so brilliant at pushing us outside the realms of our comfort zone with song writing, and making sure every single musical line has a purpose. With this one, we really had to workshop outside of the studio and challenge ourselves to really get our ducks in a row before heading in.
Emma: The EP was very acoustic; we recorded it live room. This record had grittier guitar lines, more bass, and synths. I think this one ripped a little harder.
Where did you get your start? Emotionally, what brought you to the conclusion that you should be a band?
Eva: Arden and I would fiddle around, she would play guitar, and we would sing mostly covers. I think it was when Arden and I would sing a harmony over something we were playing, and it was like ‘Oh my god guys, this is really cool!’. We realized each of us had started writing on our own time, and we were like, ‘Let’s bring someone’s song to the table and play it!’. When you’re a musician, it’s just a feeling; ‘This is good, I understand where I’m going with my melodies and lines.’ It was cohesive right off the bat.
Emma: I think it’s like a relationship, like when you see red flags in a relationship and think, ‘This isn’t going to work’. Like for us it was very cosmic; it felt right. Not to say we don’t have our differences, but like a relationship, we have such a good foundation.
Especially with touring, you can’t just hate each other the whole time.
Emma: It’s hard, it’s like family. It’s like a constant group project.
Eva: It’s like if you were in an office with coworkers, and you had to literally bring you coworkers home with you. But we chose our coworkers, so that’s a huge difference. Everyone’s like, ‘That’s so much fun, you get to party and stuff on tour!’; you don’t.
Emma: Everything is a group decision; it’s not just like bringing your coworkers everywhere. It’s bringing your coworkers home, not sleeping a lot, driving 15 hours, and doing things that are genuinely uncomfortable.
Eva: At the end of the day when we all reflect, especially a week or two after, it’s like, ‘well that was a really amazing experience’.
Do you have any favorite shows? Cities?
Arden: Asbury Park – it was the first time we’ve ever been to this town in New Jersey. The venue was called the Saint, and it was a very local gem kind of place. It has very much contributed to the art scene in the town and it was one of the first venues, I’ve personally come across, that really dedicated itself to its artists.
Eva: My favorite show was our album release show at Lincoln Hall in January 11, 2014. All our friends and family were there. So many people showed up and were so supportive and it was a really magical night.
Emma: My favorite show, in concept, was when we put on this show. Our friend, she’s a well-known videographer in Chicago, and she lives in a gymnasium in Pilsen. It was above a zoo, that’s above a barbeque restaurant, and we invited a mostly female bill and all our friends came out. It was like if I told my 17-year-old self that me and my band were doing this type of show in Chicago to make money to go on tour, I’d be like ‘You are awesome’.
Music is a tough, judgmental business - do you have any advice for young women aspiring to be artists or musicians?
Take full ownership. Literally financially own your things.
Eva: It’s necessary to grow a thicker skin, I have heard people say not to read comments, and remember who you are and take time for yourself to reroute. Let the chatter of everybody be secondary to who you know you are.
Emma: Surround yourself with people who are trying to do the same thing as you, but share the same values. You’ll get so lost in passing ideas around to all these opinions and perspectives, but if you have a solid group of artists or creatives that you trust, who have good values, that’s invaluable. We have a wonderful group of confidants and mentors who have been amazing to us.
Arden: We’ve been really blessed to have so many people in our life who are truly in our corner.