CMW 2012 Profile: Half Moon Run
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CMW 2012 Profile: Half Moon Run

Torontoist talks to some CMW 2012 performers. Here's Half Moon Run, a trio from Montreal about to debut their first album.

Conner Molander, Devon Portielje, and Dylan Phillips of Half Moon Run will give Toronto their flowers tonight at the El Mocambo. Photo by Tim Georgeson.

One of our favourite moments of Canadian Music Week 2011 was stepping into the Drake Underground for our very first show, not knowing anything about the band we were about to see besides the information in their CMW profile and three songs available on their MySpace page, and being blown away. A lot has happened to Half Moon Run since then. They’ve even made friends with Indica Records and Outside Music. Their first album, Dark Eyes, will be released on March 27, and Torontonians can catch the live version at two shows this during this year’s CMW—at the El Mocambo tonight at 10 p.m. and on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. While lead singer Devon Portielje rested a sore throat, Torontoist spoke with Dylan Phillips and Conner Molander as they prepped for their show.

Why should we see you at CMW?

Dylan Phillips: Ah, I don’t really know what to say. I guess we have to say we’re proud of the music we do.

Conner Molander: Yeah, why should people see any show? We want people to enjoy our music. Compared to the album, our shows have more energy, as our show progresses it really grows in energy. We want our audience to really get to know us through our music. It’s a mutual experience. We’re really interested in the connectivity in the room.

What’s your favourite Toronto venue, and why?

DP: We were really unfamiliar with the city, but we played CMW last year and we played the Drake Underground, and that was a really cool place. But it’s exciting being here and getting to know the city. We’re very new to Toronto, but it seems like a great city.

CM: We’re playing El Mocambo tonight, that will be a good place. There’s a great lineup so we’re excited for that.

What’s your preference: indoor or outdoor venues?

CM: A couple of our favourite shows have been indoors, when it’s really crowded and it’s really hot. It gets intense, and we love that intensity. But we’re playing Osheaga and Festival d’été in Montreal this summer and those are outdoors. It’s a bit of a fantasy to play outside to a large group of people, but we haven’t really done it yet.

What’s your preference: giant music festivals, or single shows?

CM: We were at SXSW last week, and we were talking about how we’ve only played about 40 shows as a band together. So we haven’t had too much experience in either.

DP: We’ll play a small show in a small place for a decent crowd, and everyone will be packed in there and people are sweating, and we’ll be like “Wow, we like this kind of thing.” But in Montreal, we played a showcase there and it blew our mind how fun it was to play showcase, because those aren’t usually our type of thing. It really does go show by show.

Any advice for CMW-goers?

CM: See as many shows as possible really…you don’t get really any opportunity like that to take in that much music at once. It’s impossible to recognize all the bands on the list, but the calibre of the music is good enough that you should enjoy whatever you go see if you do make the effort to go out.

Favourite memory of one of your concerts?

CM: We played in Lavaltrie, Quebec, and basically from start to finish it went really, really well. The audience was so energized, they responded so well, it was just one of those incredible shows.

DP: What was also interesting about that show was that we were having a few technical problems we had to fight through, Devon’s amp was dying throughout the whole show. Near the end of it, I think we had two or three songs left, it just died. But instead of saying “Sorry guys, our amp died,” and ending there, we busted out the acoustic guitar and figured something out. We just started playing blues, which the audience loved and was really into. The energy from that—it was nice to go from the despair from losing the amp to playing something on the fly and having a really positive response. It was a good feeling, a good moment in a show.

What’s happening for the band after CMW?

DP: Our album is released on March 27, and the launch is on April 2 at La Sala Rossa in Montreal.

CM: Then we’re in B.C. for a week, then Europe for five almost weeks between April and May. And steady touring follows after that, basically until the end of the year. We’ll be in Australia, we’re going back to Europe, and a lot of festivals in Quebec.