Back in 2010, Quang Dinh was rocking it until the break of day and until the early dawn in Australian five piece indie band, Little Red. Now that those real good times are gone, Dinh has become a lover of the moon, and solo artist, Moonlover.
“I was in an indie rock band called Little Red for half a decade, playing bass, singing harmonies, writing a few tunes. Then I led a band, a darker, more Cohen, Cave-esque, for a number of years and we released an album. That dissolved and then I started on my solo thing as Moonlover. Been doing that since 2017 or so,” Quang Dinh explains.
The psychedelic solo project launched with Thou Shall Be Free in 2018, as recorded in Dinhs bedroom/personal oasis Pink Slime Studios in Footscray with the helping hand of John Lee. It sparked a pivotal change in Dinh’s career and exploration into his mad, romantic and dreamy sound.
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“Things were a lot more innocent then. I was in my early 30s, just a kid with a dream, and having worked with bands for a while, decided to make my first step solo as Moonlover. My intention was to make something great, get some good songs together, experiment, make a trip and in some respects I think I succeeded,” he says.
“I made the album basically alone and had some real sweet brotherly guidance and encouragement from my housemate at the time. John Lee was great to work with, a grounded and patient soul, a great listener. He was receptive to what I wanted and I really enjoyed our chats and the mixing process.”
This year saw Dinh relocate to the quieter setting of Bungaree – a place where the mystic reveller can see the moon with new eyes. The transition from busy city life to his now still surrounds was a challenge.
“I’d been talking about getting out of town for quite some time. I’ve lived in Melbourne my entire life and this was just a small step in hopefully a larger progression of change and growth. I wasn’t really prepared for the long, arduous, oppressive marathon of a winter that this part of the world provides,” he explains. “But the harder the cold slaps one around, the more one appreciates the warmth. My friend said there’s an ancient Chinese saying, ‘the one that chops the wood for the fire, warms himself twice.’ I started chopping wood for a few weeks when winter hit, then the hard Jack Nicholson, Shining chill came blowing in and I hid for most of winter.”
During those monotonous, wearisome nights, the now Bungaree resident did spend time penning new music inspired from his new bedroom/studio, the track ‘Shangri-la’. This song will be the subject of Moonlover’s first local performance as he joins the hyperlocal line-up of Be_Hear / Now Festival.
“I wrote a song called Shangri-la in Bungaree in the first few weeks of arriving here. And it’s one of the fresher songs I’ve got and the chorus goes ‘Shangri-la, like a shooting star’. The stars are just so brilliant out here in Bungaz and I’ve seen things in the sky I’ve never seen before. I can now understand why country folk see more UFO’s,” Dinh says.
Playing at the Ballarat Observatory, Moonlover will channel the moody moon energy for the live video recording, recruiting other local talent and drawing from Dinh’s Vietnamese heritage.
“We’ve got a few members of the Ballarat Brass Band participating so I wanted a song that might work with that…with some pedal steel, bass, drums, acoustic guitar and I’m playing this ancient Vietnamese instrument called the Dan Tranh and taking her out for her maiden spin.”
You’ll be hearing more from Moonlover at the start of next year with new music on the horizon, however for now be here, now at Be_Hear / Now Festival.