Catch up with Angela of Angela Perley & The Howlin' Moons and look for the band's sophomore album, Homemade Vision, available now.
What got you interested in songwriting and what brought the band together?
Angela Perley: I started writing songs in high school and probably my first inspiration was Bob Dylan as a songwriter; he definitely had a big influence on my early songwriting and I love listening to his records and his lyrics were like poetry.
The band started after I went to college at Ohio University. I was an English major and I was playing in different groups, doing some solo stuff, and my college roommate had some demos - I was recording my own solo demos just in my room, using my laptop and Pro Tools and making these little paper bag CDs - our senior year she started interning in Columbus over in Grandview at Vital Companies and she had one of my demos and gave it to Fred Blitzer, who's like the head guy over at Vital, and he listened to it and was really interested. He actually shared my demos to our guitar player and bass player and was like, 'I'd love to record this girl's music, would you guys be interested in being studio players on the recording?' and that's actually how the band started. I came down to Columbus and had a blind music date with Billy Zehnal (bass) and Chris Connor (guitar) and, at the time, we had Jesse Cooper from The Receiver and he was helping out on drums. It kind of started in 2009 and it's been going since and we've had a lot of different drummers throughout the years and, even now, we have four drummers in our band and it rotates in and out on our live shows. But, the three main members of the band, we've been together since 2009.
Do you remember the first song you wrote that you were happy with?
Oh my goodness. I think the first song I was really happy with kind of was the start of the band, it almost was a prelude to The Howlin' Moons and it was actually called, "Yellow Moon". I was just finding my voice with songwriting still and I wrote it in college at Athens and it was on our second EP - we ended up recording it - but it was one of the first songs that Howlin' Moons actually played together and I was really proud of it because it just fit really well with the whole band and even though I'd written it before the band was formed, it was kind of perfect for the band. That was my first one I was proud of because my songwriting has matured a little bit and it had a sound that definitely was more of our rootsier side of the band, so it was like the first chapter.
Other than Bob Dylan, who would you say you've been influenced by?
I love just rock and roll; I love The Rolling Stones. As far as new bands, it's definitely all over the place, I listen to a lot of music so it's hard to say. I think some musicians end up working their way into your subconscious of writing.
Is there an artist or song you've got on repeat now?
Oh, right now I've been listening a lot to Kurt Vile's new record, I really like his songwriting and his new record is great. I've actually liked his music for awhile, but I definitely got more into it recently. I also love Cage The Elephant, that's another band right now that I've been listening to a lot. They have a lot of '60s/'70s influences in their music yet they have a really modern sound and I just really like everything that they're doing.
Which words would you use to describe your own sound?
[Laughs] When people ask that it's hard to say. I usually just say, we're a rock and roll band with country and blues influences. That's kind of the easiest way to describe it.
Could you tell us more about your new album, Homemade Vision?
We just released Homemade Vision January 22nd and it's a lot different than our first album. Hey Kid was definitely very roots rock and this record is similar, but it's a lot different in that it's just very dreamy. The band has evolved a little bit more and there are more dreamy sounds on it and 'homemade vision' just made sense for the album; as an artist you're putting your vision out there, you're making your own little world with your music, and so that was the perfect way to describe the collection of songs that we put on there. And we got 'homemade vision' from a line in the first song on the CD that's called "White Dove"; it's a line that's like, 'hey you with your dark sunglasses on, you're like a homemade vision' so that was a line that stuck out to us and we were like, oh, that kind of is the vibe of the whole record [laughs].
What was the inspiration for this new video for "Your Love"?
Whenever we make videos I'll have these ideas and I'll send them to Vital and be like, 'what do you think about this?,' and it's funny because, with "Your Love", I had a whole list of all these ideas and then I think at 3 in the morning one of the nights before we were planning stuff, the idea of this love interest, this relationship with a wolfman, just popped in my head [laughs]. I don't know if I was really tired or something, but it was a random last minute idea and then I texted it to Fred over at Vital and he was like, 'I think that's a great idea!' so, out of all the ideas, that was this last minute one that everyone was like, 'yeah, that would be sweet, that sounds really funny'. It was cool because usually our videos are more straightforward, so this was one that we could be campy with and it's more funny and pretty lighthearted, yet we try to make it visually beautiful too. There was definitely some artistic elements to it [laughs] and at first we were like, 'oh, we want it to be almost like a wolf love story in a Wes Anderson film,' kind of thing. That was our inspiration that we went off of.
Now that the album's out and everyone's had a chance to listen to it, do you have one track that really stands out to you?
It's not necessarily the single of the album but because it has the theme of the album, I think we really like "White Dove". It seems that one has been connecting to people a lot and it combines what we do live, which is we definitely expand things out; our live version of the song is longer than the recorded version and we kind of jam out a little bit at the end and that's feeling really good right now. That's definitely our favorite play - but things always change on new albums too - but that one has been really fun to play live.
What do you want your listeners to take away from this new album and your music in general?
It was released in January but it's definitely also a Summer album, so we hope that when they're having a little pool party or driving this Summer with the windows down that they just slip in the CD and enjoy [laugh]. We just appreciate if anyone listens and gets something out of it; it means a lot to us.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
We're always running around playing shows and touring and doing all our regional stuff, so maybe just look at our website. We're always adding new dates for this Spring and Summer so we should have a lot more shows coming up, too.