Moondog Matinee are a gritty rock’n’roll band from Reno who tour the international festival circuit and have performed alongside Beck, Alabama Shakes, The Kings of Leon and The Killers.
Lead singer, Pete Barnato speaks to us about life on the road and how to keep your voice intact whilst giving knock out performances.
Biggest challenge to breaking out and sharing your music with new people?
It’s difficult to culminate the wide array of musical influences amongst members of the band into a sound that is both refreshing as well as compelling enough to keep up with the constantly changing musical landscape.
A performance FAIL?
Taking it easy simply because you’re tired or just not that into the show. The separation between a professional and amateur is the ability to power through even the most difficult shows on tour, because those are the shows that end up meaning the most.
A performance SUCCESS?
Connecting with the audience. I can’t stress enough how important it is to acknowledge them and give them what they paid for.
A musical lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
I’ve learned over the years how important practice and education are. Every day I learn from reading on techniques and trying out different vocal ideas. If you get too comfortable, your music isn’t evolving.
A vocal lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
I’ve lost my voice a time or two on tour from over exertion and it’s embarrassing. I’ve learned that you don’t always have to over sing. You need to be confident enough in your own voice to overcome some of the obstacles you’ll face when performing on the road.
Most important lesson you have learned about vocal health?
Vocalists need to take care of themselves on the road. Though guitar players might be able to smoke and drink and still perform their instruments just fine, singers really need to rest and drink lots of water. I’m coming back as a drummer in my next life.
What’s your favourite live performance?
Queen – Live in Montreal. If that doesn’t teach you a few things about live performance and connecting on a spiritual level with your audience, then you can’t be helped.
Name a vocalist that has influenced you?
Tom waits, because his range, spectrum, and phrasing allows him to sing anything from a heartfelt Sinatra-esque croon, to a gravelly, dark number.
Favorite vocal gear?
Sennheiser 935 mic and a solid reverb. When I play small gigs I use my own reverb for consistency. If you practice with a certain reverb, I’m a firm believer you should use that one during the performance.
A few ingredients of a memorable vocal performance?
Movement. Honesty. Risk. Passion.
Most important lesson you have learned about social media?
It can be very fickle, but an important tool whether you like it or not!
What is the one thing that you have struggled to overcome for your love of music?
Before most shows, still to this day I dread getting up in front of people, and on many occasions get sick prior to stepping up on stage. I would close my eyes and pretend I was alone up there and for that hour of my life my anxiety and stress leave my body. It’s addictive – the high that comes to me after a good performance is greater than what any drug can give me.
Moondog Matinee is the epitome of blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Their forthcoming sophomore album, Carry Me Rosie, set to be released this summer, is an explosive fusion of drums, electric guitar, and powerhouse vocals.