GRAMMYs On The Road At SXSW With Poor Moon And Penguin Prison

Backstage with Poor Moon and Penguin Prison at the conference's 26th annual installment
  • Photo: Spencer Bray
    Poor Moon
  • Penguin Prison's Chris Glover
April 04, 2012 -- 4:05 pm PDT
GRAMMY.com

The Recording Academy Texas Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At South by Southwest during the conference's 26th annual installment from March 9–18 in Austin, Texas. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists participating during the music portion of the conference, including indie folk/rock group Poor Moon and electro pop trio Penguin Prison.

Poor Moon frontman Christian Wargo discussed the band's most recent EP release, Illusion, songwriting, musical influences, and their biggest career moments, among other topics.

"The past three years have been pretty insane," said Wargo. "[We'd] wake up in the morning and be like, 'Oh we're going to [the Beach Boys'] Al Jardine's studio and [we're going to] get to play Brian Wilson's grand piano. [Or] today we're going to Neil Young's house to have a barbeque.' And then you meet these people and they're just totally cool, humble, nice people. [They're] your heroes that you grew up listening to and wondering what their lives are really like and then when you actually meet them they're just regular people."

Formed in Seattle in 2008, Poor Moon is an indie rock super group of sorts featuring brothers Ian and Peter Murray, formerly of the Christmas Cards, and Casey Wescott and Wargo, formerly of Crystal Skulls and Fleet Foxes. After performing live locally under monikers such as Cookie Mask, Peppermint Majesty and Rabbit Kingdom, the band settled on Poor Moon, which is derived from a Canned Heat song. The quartet subsequently earned a record deal with Seattle's Sub Pop Records and in March released a five-song EP titled Illusion. Poor Moon are currently on tour throughout the United States, with select dates scheduled through June. Their debut full-length album is slated for release in 2012. 

Penguin Prison producer/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Chris Glover discussed filming the music video for "Don't F*** With My Money," remixing, musical influences, and songwriting, among other topics.

"The best way for me to write songs is to just have things come to me naturally," said Penguin Prison. "Sometimes I'll wake up in the middle of the night and have a melody in my head and I have a tape recorder next to my bed and I sing into it. Then I just fall back asleep and wake up the next day, listen to it and turn that into a song."

Hailing from New York, Penguin Prison's sound draws on influences by the likes of Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem and Miike Snow. Featuring Glover (vocals/guitar), Ernesto Karolys (drums) and Conrad Stern-Ascher (synthesizers), Penguin Prison released a debut EP, Animal Animal/A Funny Thing, in 2009, followed by 2010's The Worse It Gets/Something I'm Not. A self-titled release followed in 2011, featuring the Top 10 Billboard Dance Club Song "Don't F*** With My Money." Aside from his recordings with Penguin Prison, Glover has remixed tracks for artists such as Goldfrapp, Erik Hassle, Marina & The Diamonds, and Sébastien Tellier, among others.

Come back to GRAMMY.com tomorrow for more exclusive backstage interviews from GRAMMYs On The Road At SXSW.

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