Tom and Phil Goodwin are as close as brothers can be without being twins – they are so much on the same wavelength, you would think they are.
Cellar Door Moon Crow is the name of the two-man band composed of the Goodwin brothers of Sheffield and what’s really amazing is the music the duo creates. I wasn’t sure what to expect the first time I heard them, but I was blown away by their sound. I’ve never heard anything like them before.
Their debut EP is due to drop early next year with four songs — “Forgiveness,” “Tightrope,” “Backlash” and “The Whistler.”
“Forgiveness” is a wicked tour de force, with heavy guitar riffs, slamming drums and Phil’s snarly vocals.
“Tightrope” starts off a bit reserved, with marching guitars and slapping bass, until it gets to the chorus with a sing-song pattern and circular guitar lines.
“Backlash” has a Red Hot Chili Peppers kind of rapping going on, with a spare musical backdrop of drums and guitar. It is beyond cool.
The Led Zeppelin/Sia mashup is tres cool as the brothers take the classic “Bring It On Home” and then hit the chorus with “Chandelier.” It just works so well. They recently redid the song, mashing Zep and The Weeknd — soon to be released as a video.
I have been wanting to chat with the pair for a while. While in Leeds in October, I hoped to see them perform, but as fate would have it, there were so many acts double and triple booked that we didn’t get to see them play, just stop to say high. So it was with great pleasure that I got to do a texting chat with them recently, while they were hard at work in their second home, Fat Elephant Studio. It started off with knowing who was talking, but soon merged into the two talking as one – due to that bond they share.
Here is our conversation:
So I have both of you?
Yeah, we are both here in the studio.
Wonderful! You let me know who is answering then … I am so excited to be chatting with you — your sound is like nothing else I’ve heard. Where did your interest in music come from?
Phil – A strict father like Michael Jackson’s. Just a little break down for ya …. Our Father “Howlin’ Popa,” harp wizard, got us playing from an early age of 7 years old. We were ready to play the pub circuit in our early teens, travelling the country in our caravan, so I guess our interest is a way of life.
Wow, so you were playing at 7? Who is the older brother?
Tom – Phil is the elder.
I started piano and Phil on guitar at 7. Yeah, classically trained. Then came the Hammond organ and electric guitar in early teens. Various bands and line ups through our twenties, signing deals with Alan McGee’s label Poptones and Universal Records to then to having our recording studio, Fat Elephant, by our late twenties.
It was 18 months ago that we decided to go at it just the two of us as C.D.M.C.
Why and how did you decide to be a duo?
It happened naturally, just like the moon of the crow — no one tells the crows it’s dinner time once the ground has thawed — with having a studio. The drum kit was sat there waiting next to my keys … We started jamming stuff out as a pastime and the jams happened so naturally and organically we started to make mental notes, I guess. Only been the two of us. We found it just happened really easy and with always playing music together from an early age, we were able to read each other and lock in.
No one to worry about. Easy.
So you have always been very close as brothers?
Yeah. Always had different friends but as you know, through life they come and go. And When that happens in a band it can be a lot of wasted time.
Just the two of us. No one’s going anywhere. Strong.
OK, who has been commenting? Can you explain your name further? It’s very interesting …
Both, you decide who said what. We’re in tune!
Will do … So the name …
Cellar Door Moon Crow. When we decided I was gonna get chucked on drums, lots of hours needed to be spent behind the kit. So as well as jamming at the studio. A kit was set up in the cellar at home. All I seemed to be doing was going through the cellar door ever hour to bash the hell out of the kit. Never been this hungry for it in my life, haha. Hype was building and we needed a name.
The night we chose it we were sat on the steps outside our studio having a beer, spitting words and seeing what we could come up with. That was when we noticed how massive and picturesque the moon looked! I Googled it to see what was happening and we found that every full moon throughout the year has its own name, and that particular full moon was the Crow Moon.
Cellar Door Moon Crow was born.
That’s awesome! Do you write songs together or one gets something started and the other adds?
Do you plan out practice time to write?
One will have an idea, and with me, Tom, having the piano background, we both bring melodic ideas to the table. Like salt and pepper. But it’s just like laying brick for a building. We both come to the studio with a wheelbarrow.
We have different periods. Our last show was Dec. 3, and we are not playing live now until February, so time will be spent purely on writing. And the beauty of having a studio is that we can sling some mic’s up and record full sessions to then play back a listen to what’s steaming out.
How many songs do you have that you are working on that have not been heard yet?
We are about to release the fourth single for our debut EP. The album is written, but not recorded as yet.
I’ve heard — and love the first three — “Backlash,” “Tightrope” and “Forgiveness.” I’m excited to hear “The Whistler.” I also love the Zeppelin/Sia mashup — how did that come about?
It was kinda done as a bit of fun, we recently was invited to BBC Introducing to perform a “live lounge.”
We did two of our singles but wanted to add a cover as that’s how it works … We did the Zep but replaced Sia with The Weeknd’s “I Can’t Feel My Face.”
It was filmed and will be online before Christmas. Keep an eye out for it!
Oh, I’ll watch for it, I bet it’s just as good! Now tell me about the studio — when and how did you start it?
It’s been a long process, not something you can do over night.
So it’s call Fat Elephant. It’s set up for us. So we are ready to go for live rehearsal/ recording/filming/mixing, and then if any bands that stands out to us, we get them down.
It’s very much old school, like how they used to do it — analogue, tape-to-tape, all that jazz.
Well I’m writing this, Phil is answering between recording vocals, haha!
Wow, reel-to-reel … I like it! Do you have a release date on mind for the EP? Hahaha … You are multitasking, Tom!
No release date confirmed yet.
I gotta ask about the beards ….
What about them?
They really seem a big part of your image, and it fits — big, a bit unruly and really there — best beards since ZZ Top, I’d say!
There you go, I think you’ve got it there. Way of life. Grave before shave!
Hehe! Your music is definitely wild and untamed, tons of energy and very electric! Just like the beards.
I’ve also have to ask … Has becoming new fathers this year changed how you view things?
We come from a very close family. Family has always been the most important thing.
What goals have you set for 2017? Festivals plans, etc?
Take it as it comes … It’s good times right now. More shows more records.
This year has been very busy and we only intend to for it to increase. As you might say — we’re not taking our foot off the gas.
I will definitely see you play live on my next trip over!
Would be great that.
Most certainly! Oh, the new video! Tell me about this — when will it be out and it’s for “The Whistler?”
Out very soon, in the final stages.
No spoilers then?
You can find Cellar Door Moon Crow online at http://cellardoormooncrow.co.uk/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cellardoormooncrow/, on Twitter at @CDMCband and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVkTi8ULamfIFISUPMWTmiA.