James Cuvilier was mostly a guitar guy before a fateful trip to Australia.
The vocalist and guitarist for Edmonton duo MoonMuseum has played in bands most of his life. He played in punk and hardcore bands until a trip down under opened his eyes to electronic music.
“I got introduced to electronic music and visual production, I really got introduced to the different forms that could take across different genres,” Cuvilier said.
Slowly building synthesized sounds and loops into progressively complex sound scapes and bringing the guitar sound in was the result of the two worlds colliding for Cuvlier.
“Up until that point before going on that trip, I didn’t really know much about electronic music. I didn’t know the different forms digital production could take,” Cuvilier said. “It just seemed natural to me to say I wonder how this would mix with guitar and the approach to song writing I’m familiar with.”
He started embarking on a solo project at the time and eventually joined forces with drummer Kayleigh MacKay to form MoonMuseum.
Having worked in a band setting most of his life, with multiple contributors to writing and composing, working as a duo took some adjustment Cuvilier said.
“When you have two people, or when you’re working by yourself, the biggest challenge is you have a hard time deciding if things are good enough,” Cuvilier said. “I think ultimately it has been good, especially for our music. A lot of stuff when we were getting started were new angles to song writing I wasn’t familiar with.”
They decided to bring their album out to Penticton after playing two shows last September.
“Everyone was really excellent to us and we really felt the vibe there,” Cuvilier said.
It’s kicking off a short stint of B.C. shows introducing their sophomore album Eternal Return.
The latest album comes two years off the heels of 2014’s Present in the Haze.
“It represents a different time in our band. (With Present in the Haze) we were still figuring out the optimal balance for the digital stuff and then balancing that between acoustic instruments,” Cuvilier said.
He called the debut album “rough around the edges” compared to Eternal Return.
“We have it all a little bit more integrated with the digital stuff. It’s interesting to think back to that first release and see the progression that has happened in what feels like a short time,” Cuvilier said.
There is a lot of experimentation for the duo in finding the balance between digital production and live instruments.
“It’s almost like every new song is sort of like a different experience,” Cuvilier said. “The song writing has become a bit more fluid, but definitely in the beginning there was a lot of experimentation.”
MoonMuseum come to the 557 Artist Block on July 6 with pre-sale tickets available on Eventbrite for $10 and $15 tickets at the door.