Moonlover is the recording project of Quang Dinh, a DIY multi-instrumentalist from Melbourne (formerly the bassist of the band Little Red.) His debut album, Thou Shall Be Free, from last year was created over nine months of DIY rockin’ and rollin’ in Dinh’s bedroom studio. Dinh also produces delightfully wacky music videos for the band, like for “Wedding Day,” a song off Thou Shall Be Free.
When I asked Dinh about his plans for SXSW and thoughts on music, he talked about taxi drivers two separate times, offered some animation tips and tricks and talked about why he and the band are all the better for not having “a Beyonce budget.”
Is this your first year at SXSW? What are you most excited for?
We are excited to just be in the thick of it. Show people our wares. And rock out! It’s such a hustle to get over here and do the thing, so we’re getting used to that vibe. But I watched Taxi Driver before coming and think I may have a twisted understanding of what might go on here. Thanks, Martin Scorsese.
What sparks your creativity? Is it a place? A person? A specific type of sandwich? (Your answer is not limited to those options.)
Creativity is sparked from any place, anytime, any person or thing. It’s just a matter of being open to feeling and emotion. It’s like being on a yacht in a still wind and then all of a sudden the wind starts blowing and you do your best to get the yacht moving.
Where did you learn to make your cool music videos?
I learned from the internet. I loved making the Moonlover music videos. It was accessing another part of the creative mind. Animation and Final Cut and After Effects are all deep oceans and I just piddled my foot in there and got what I got. A damn good lot of hungry collaborators helped. There is no shortage of them in Melbourne town. I like DIY stuff. Limitations allow a lot of ideas and workarounds to happen that wouldn’t be possible with Beyonce’s budget.
What is your favorite song of yours, and why? What song of yours would you recommend people listen to first, and why? If these are different songs, why?
I think one of my faves is “On The Day That I Was Born.” I think I could play this song for the rest of my life and it’d still make sense. It’s one of those songs that really hit a nerve with me.
Do you have a day job? If you do, what is it and what drives you to do music as well?
My day job is as a taxi driver. I realized a few years ago music was my calling, and I am going to do it for the rest of my life. Music is an endless exploration and you can go as high or as low as you can possibly conceive. I enjoy most when songs and special things fall down from the ether. It feels amazing to not know what is happening and to look back and go ‘hey, that was alright!’
Moonlover’s official SXSW showcase is at 12 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13. They’re also playing shows at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13 at the Austin Taco Project, at 2:45 p.m. on the Aussie BBQ Front Yard Stage on Thursday, March 14, at 8:30 p.m. at Whip in on Friday, March 14 and at 4 p.m. at the ABGB and 7 p.m. at Hotel Indigo on Saturday, March 16.