Lonnie Trevino Jr: We are always most proud of the last piece of art you accomplish, right? That being said, I really do believe this album is more focused than any other album we’ve produced in the past. Our producer, Anders Osborne, made sure of that. In the past, we would record a record with many genres, moods, and/or vibes in mind; just like the bands and records we grew up with. We all write and sing, so in past albums we were all over the map, like say The Beatles’ White Album or The Kinks’ The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. We all agreed to surrender to the vision of Anders and [record label] Station House for this attempt, so what you hear on the record is totally Anders’ influence on this effort. Anders is a music lover and really focuses on being truthful in your delivery and in what you’re saying in a song. That to me was what sets this album apart from our other records and what sets Anders apart from all the other producers that we thought about working with.
Phil Hurley: I would say that folks should buy our new record because it will bring them some joy and light in these difficult days. It feels like every day we wake up to more polarizing and challenging news. Allow us to offer you something a bit more positive. What could be nicer than feeling more “at home” or being reminded to “travel light?” Grab some headphones, put on our record, close your eyes, and leave the world behind for a little while.
2) What else can you tell us about the making of this album? What kinds of magic did you see happening in the studio?
Phil: This album was a joy to make. We intentionally got out of Austin and headed to rural Louisiana to make it where we could avoid the distractions of daily life. There’s a bunk house above the world-class studio where we all stayed. Each morning would begin with coffee and then some group yoga out on the banks of a muddy river. From there, we were all starting out in a very connected space. Anders did a wonderful job of tearing our songs apart and then rebuilding them to make the whole collection more coherent. Most of the songs on the record are live performances from the studio floor, including the lead vocals. Anders would say “When you tell me the truth, we’re done,” and that’s pretty much how the whole recording process took place. Very honest, very raw, and not overthought.
Lonnie: Along with the support of our record label Station House and Anders’ amazing production prowess, Dockside Studio in Maurice, Louisiana, is a joy to record and create in. That’s really where the magic was at. Such an inviting space with very comfortable living quarters. Like Phil said, Anders insisted that we record in a destination studio so that we could focus on the task at hand, and not be interrupted by the day-to-day chores and responsibilities of our individual lives. Anders is very much aware of the magic of this studio and he was 100% correct. Because of Dockside, this album was a joy to make. We are already discussing going back to record our follow up to Travel Light!
3) You guys are touring pretty hard this summer, mostly in Texas and some border states. What do you guys like best about playing live?
Phil: We’re always on the road. In today’s musical landscape, the only way for a group to make a living is to be playing all of the time. Luckily, we get along and travel well together. I think we all love the exchange of energy with a great crowd. When we’re really on and the vocals are dialed in, we can make the whole room ring in tune. It’s a joy for us and the audience. I still love exploring new towns, finding great restaurants, searching through guitar stores, and meeting new friends.
Lonnie: Yeah, that give-and-take with artist and audience is really amazing. It’s unbelievably rewarding to be in the studio creating something out of nothing and hearing it back at you. That’s one thing. It’s another to perform that new material to a ready and willing audience. That dance between the audience and performer is so rewarding for both parties. It’s no wonder that live performance is still the best way to forge a bond between audience and performer. It’s a feeling like no other.
4) Y’all seem to really be hitting your stride. Obviously, the new album has just been released, but what’s next for The South Austin Moonlighters? Where do you see yourselves going from here?
Phil: Well, first of all, thank you! It’s taken eight years of doing this to find our sound. Working with Anders and the addition of our amazing drummer Daniel has really pushed us as a group. When our original drummer, Phil Bass, decided to leave, the remaining three had to take a serious look at what we were doing and decide if it was worth fighting through yet another member change. I think we made the right choice. As for future plans, we are really waiting to see how the new record is received. If it seems to be really catching fire in parts of the country that we haven’t visited yet, then we’ll find a way to get there. We are always working on expanding our touring territory, but it has to make financial sense. We’ve worked too hard to just give it away. Touring Europe is definitely one of our prime goals. We have wanted to get over there since this band began. If you’re a European promoter reading this, LET’S GO!!
Lonnie: Man, truthfully we’re really focused on the “now.” That’s really hard for a working musician because your whole career is based on planning for the future. You’re always looking three to four months, maybe even six months to a year, ahead to keep this music machine rolling. Like Phil said, we’re focusing on this record and doing it justice. Focusing on the radio stations that are playing our record, and trying to get to those markets as quickly as possible. We want to share this joy that is The South Austin Moonlighters. Focusing on getting our music to everyone who is willing to listen, open their minds, their ears, and their hearts to this music. As cliché as this may sound, it truly is an honor. We hope we can bring joy and/or comfort to anyone who is willing to listen. It’s the only thing we know how do truthfully!
5) If you guys weren’t musicians but all had to start some other business together, what would it be, and why?
Phil: Oh God, this feels like the outro of Spinal Tap! “I guess I could work at a haberdashery. What size do you wear, sir?” Honestly, I have no idea. Perhaps a vintage instrument store. I know how to find them and Chris knows how to fix them (he can fix anything!). Daniel is a damn good chef. Perhaps we could be his wait staff?
Lonnie: Ha ha ha, Spinal Tap, right?!?!? That all sounds good. Um … I really don’t know. This is really all we know. If you start thinking like that then you tend to not dive in fully. We are in over our heads in this music business. It’s sink or swim! And we are swimming the English Channel right now hoping to beat the odds. But I think Phil’s two ideas are great, too. Ha ha!