At first glance, Willy Moon demonstrates the finer qualities of a modern day gent-about-town. Despite having youth firmly on his side, his maturity in music and attitude to life in general is well beyond his 21 years.
Moon is a singer by profession but writes and produces all his own stuff from start to finish too. In doing so, he hopes to evade monotony and ensure his music stays true to himself and preserves personality. Whilst wanting a real person to emerge in his tracks, he remains reserved when it comes to revealing his own personal history. With a shadow cast over his real name, he takes his stage name from our planet’s natural orbiting satellite. “The moon is an important symbol of popular culture; something that controls our lives to a certain extent”. Moon has done his own fair share of travelling around the globe. Having grown up in Wellington, New Zealand, he decided to buy a one-way ticket to London where the bright lights seemed like the perfect opportunity to experience the world and all it had to offer.
Willy’s A side track ‘I wanna be your man’, was “the first piece on my journey down an unknown musical path”. Photographed by Alasdair McLellan for Fantastic Man last year, Moon is sartorially inspired by films from the 1930’s. Intrigued, i-D online caught up with moon walker and his photographer girlfriend, Sasha Rainbow, on set to find out what’s in store for 2012.
Willy Moon. Real name? Stage name? Real stage name.
How would you describe your sound? 3 words: like nothing else.
Tell us about your musical background… I grew up bumping the Prodigy and Wu-Tang records on the stereo and from there everything just blew up. I don’t really have a musical background anymore, my interests are diverse.
Which artists have had a major impact on you? Performers like James Brown or Cab Calloway or MJ have always intrigued me with the energy that they bring. In a modern context it’s mostly hip-hop producers that have had the greatest influence on me – guys like Kanye, Just Blaze, Salaam Remi, Rich Harrison, Neptunes.
You have travelled all over the world, living in a variety of places. What is it about East London that keeps you here and interested? You either use this city or it will use you. I’m just having a good time working it, I like to stay mobile!
What role does fashion play in your performances? Looking good has always been important to me; it’s about projecting an image. If I look good then I feel good, and feeling good feels great. Fashion is a tool for me in that sense.
Both you and your girlfriend, Sasha Rainbow, have worked on quite a few projects together now, including both your music videos… Sasha and I are kindred spirits in a way; we are inspired by and enjoy a lot of the same things but are just different enough for the right sparks to fly. Having that kind of connection is very helpful when conceptualising ideas.
Do you write your own lyrics? I write and produce all of my lyrics and music. I wouldn’t feel the same way about my songs if I hadn’t written them. That is the difference between an artist and a performer; they are two very different roles.
What can we expect from you in 2012? Live shows. Come see me.
Text: Michael Stephens
Photography and Styling: Sasha Rainbow
Film: Makda Iyasu
Hair: Akiko Kawasaki
Make Up: Nobuko Maekawa
Set Design: Kelly Angood
Photography Assistance: Nabeel Khan
Starring: Willy Moon and Sasha Rainbow