RENDEZVOUS: A Quick Catch Up With Romeo Moon
Melbourne artist Kevin Orr aka Romeo Moon creates delicate soundscapes that cut deep. There’s a meditative energy that drifts effortlessly above the beautifully layered textures - a subtle but strong invitation to be present. His latest EP It Unfolds spans five-tracks of pure bliss. The smooth vocals are delivered with heart and the instrumentals pulsate in all the right places. We had a quick catch up with Orr to chat about the recording of the EP and soon discovered that this sense of sweetness doesn’t just exist in his sound - he embodies it.
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Your sound is so lush, in fact it’s the perfect escape. Does creating such well-layered soundscapes take a long time?
Thank you Kylie, it’s great to hear it creates a nice escape. This particular record took me a while as I set to learn more about engineering and mixing. The experience was an escape for me also. I was mixing the record two doors down from heavy machinery digging up a four-storey basement carpark for some apartments being built. Pretty funny, the idea of creating a relaxing mix whilst being surrounded by chaos.
What does the general Romeo Moon creative process look like?
Most of my ideas will form from some form of feeling or discovery. Triggered by many influences I tend to be quick in recording voice memos and if something sticks with me beyond that initial thought I pursue it. Although, this is something I’m looking to challenge on the next release.
Can you tell us about the recording process for your new EP ‘It Unfolds’?
'It Unfolds' was recorded over a couple of years. The first track recorded was ‘It All Goes’ with the first demo recorded early 2016, the final was live-tracked in 2017 along with ‘Let Love In’. I had envisioned these songs being a part of a larger release. So I started slow cooking concepts with some friends made along the way. The recordings took place in numerous studios between Melbourne and Brisbane, houses in the bush, and by the ocean. As a listener, I love records that you can hear different environments and different times, 'It Unfolds' was my first attempt at creating such a record.
What was one of the weirdest instruments or recording techniques you used on the EP?
One thing I experimented with a lot was natural reverbs being mixed in with digital. Playing the tracks or different layers in different rooms and recording them back in with microphones placed at different distances, I would then mix it slightly, parallel to a digital reverb. Though, one of my favourite parts on the record actually came from Zach Degnan of Twin Haus and Quincy Raw. He had the concept of having two sine waves ever so slightly tweaked in frequency panned hard left and right to create the moving drone in ’Try Hold Time’. It creates this interesting moving pad throughout the song.
There’s a lot of space on your tracks - freedom for the instrumentals to do their thing. How do you know when to leave a track alone, how do you know it’s ‘done’?
Freedom vs deadlines. It may be cliche but the only way I could let this record be was by self-enforcing a deadline. On reflection, the record was a nice experience in moving forward.
What’s your favourite track on the EP? Why?
I enjoy them all for many different reasons.
‘It All Goes’ because it was such an amazing experience tracking it live with the ‘Twin Haus’ band. It really gets to a point where it seems to energise and lift.
‘Let Love In’ I have a happy memory attached to this song. I also find it interesting as the time signature in the track feels somewhat natural even though it isn’t. I could go deeper...
‘Our Energy’ for its simplicity, tapping into an emotive element more than anything else.
‘Try Hold Time’ as it was a real challenge. It was the song that I slowly penned. I couldn’t even finger pick the idea I had in my head at the beginning of its creation.
‘Circling’ as it doesn’t demand anything.
Do you prefer making music solo or collaborating? How does it compare?
There’s a balance in both. Solo, as I actually find it challenging and, collaborative for its spontaneity and perspective.
Often your music feels quite meditative. Would you say creating music is a means of therapy for you?
Definitely, the practice of music has been a great teacher for me. Although, I still have a lot to learn and apply.
Do you think your sound has shifted at all since your first release?
I’d like to think so. I work to learn and apply to new experiences. I practice to evolve these passions and inspire new creative thoughts.
What do you want people to feel when they walk away from a Romeo Moon show?
That everything will be ok.
Finally, you obviously have an ear for music. How do you go on the dance floor?
Like a wallflower that slowly blossoms.