Betty Moon: Shining Bright from Toronto to L.A.

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

It’s tough to top Betty Moon at the top of her game. Which is where the Toronto native’s at when she calls to find me dealing with weather-related plumbing probs. I mention the temp is zip 16 and she’s so lucky to be basking in L.A. While agreeing that’s so, she ices my cake by casually mentioning being shaken awake by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake that morning. It’s as hard to top that, as it’s easy to get why Betty Moon is blowing up bigger in L.A. than if she’d stayed in the T.Dot.

After four albums of a female empowered hard rock sound incorporating elements of garage, punk and the heaviest of metal, Moon dropped 2012’s Rollin Revolution as a kind of Viking burial to all that. Coming at a time when the singer was beleaguered by heavy personal matters like death, it was intended as a cathartic blowout. Instead, powered by the hooky single ‘My Stupid Dreams’ ears were drawn to the album by its sense of dark celebration, in the process raising Betty’s profile like the Moon over the Hollywood Hills.

“I guess it was kind of a summing up album, of my screamer style. At the same time, the things I was writing about were so heavy, I had to find a way of making them relatable, without softening them too much. The songs had to work on every level to me before I put them out.”

Rollin Revolution logged serious airtime on L.A. uber rock station KROQ and put Moon on the bill of the Sunset Strip Music festival alongside star attractions including Marilyn Manson, Black Label Society and Offspring. So while that album showcased Betty Moon at her hard rockin’ best, the seeds of things to come were already planted. Check ‘The Elegy’ on which Moon drops the vocal register down several notches in the service of a mournful slow grind.

Moon agrees that in a sense, current album Amourphous is the book ender to Rollin Revolution.  “ The songs which made the album had to mirror the changes I went through and the urge to break out, to do something different. I like the idea that if Rollin Revolution was lust then Amourphous is love.

“There are dark moments on there but it’s by far the happiest album I’ve ever put out. For a change, an album that’s very representative of my headspace at the moment. I’m in a relationship that’s going very well and I’m finding that feeling happy is a direction to a different kind of music.”

“There’s this enduring idea in pop music that only the dark, heartbroken stuff is any good but as I got into the album, I began to wonder about that and then outright, challenging that. If only because it encourages being stuck in a rut.”

Betty Moon LiveBetty Moon LiveThere’s nothing rut-like about Amourphous and Moon notes that a song like ‘Valentine’ simply would not have come about if she were coming from a darker place. A co-write with her go-to guitarist Justin Smolian, Moon, who usually arranges and produces her material, stepped outside and enlisted Grammy winner Chris Lord-Alge to engineer and mix “Valentine”. The resulting gorgeous, down tempo ballad showcasing Moon’s rich midrange helps enormously in getting the thing airplay. That it was picked as the first single is a signpost to the new direction.

“The goal is always to write entertaining songs. On Amourphous I’m writing entertaining songs from a new perspective, making them entertaining in different ways. I feel a good song takes you on a little trip. This time around, the trips are to places both challenging and secure, sometimes in the same song.”

“In the run up to recording, I decided that one of the differences would be less screaming, more singing. Mostly because this would put me outside my comfort zone. So while I was saving the vocal chords, I was having to rely on elements in my singing I was experimenting with along the way.”

Although her adopted home has been kind to her, Moon still isn’t sure where she fits on the L.A.scene. And likes it that way.

“I don’t know that I do fit in. What I do know is that I’m experiencing a greater degree of acceptance. My Facebook fan base is growing, I’m doing more shows in the L.A. area, I’ve been accepted into Pandora, so I’m doing things right I suppose.”

As to expectations for the album, the raven haired, statuesque shouter with the Rob Halfordian top end asserts it’s already reaching her personal goals. “The idea in putting out “Valentine” as the first single is to establish this is a different Betty Moon album right off. When I look at my body of work, I can see how I am evolving in my song-writing, my studio production and my performing, I can see the definite progression, I can see how I got to where I could jump off into ‘Amourphous”.

Rockier tracks like “Fresh Tendrils” and “Numb” provide a safety net of familiarity for the leap fans will need to take to latch onto “Time To Move On”, “Honeytrap” and “Ladder”. The videos will help and in the moment, this is the lady’s current major focus, sorting through video ideas and production styles before hitting the studio to film a whack of them.

Given that Betty Moon can always count on bringing home the Canadian bacon via her live shows, there will be tours on both sides of the border. While the dates are still TBA, Betty says you can bet she won’t be up here until the heart of summer 2014.

“In the summer there's no better place to be for live music than Toronto. The amazing players you can see in just a few blocks on Queen Street, and it’s like that all across the city. Toronto will always be a part of me and I’m already looking forward to getting up there and playing the new music.”

Then she’s out, the final chords of album closer ‘Honeytrap’ quiver out of the speakers and the plumber pops up to tell me it’s a miracle but the pipes are warming up.

Some album, this Amourphous.

For more on Betty Moon visit: www.bettymoon.com