AMBY recently had a fun video interview with Montréal based group Half Moon Run as they began their tour in Canada, so when we suddenly were invited to have a chat with them again a few weeks later on the European tour, then we got quite pleased and didn’t hesitate to stop by for a chat to follow up. We met multi-instrumentalist Isaac Symonds at Vega in Copenhagen, Denmark for an entertaining and honest talk about touring these days, sharing great books in the band, some impressive hidden talents, and how to curb the enthusiasm for it. Please, follow along as we catch up with the band.
AMBY: Hi Isaac. Nice to meet you today.
Isaac: Nice to meet you as well.
AMBY: Thanks for setting some time off for AMBY again now. It is only a few weeks ago that you spoke with Alicia at AMBY, so I thought we could just catch up with the talk you had then and see how you have been since.
Isaac: You are welcome. Sounds good.
AMBY: Alright. Then, how are you as we meet in Copenhagen today?
Isaac: Today is going well. Let me see here. I woke up pretty foggy. I had a very deep sleep last night and I toke some Melatonin. It’s like helping your sleep cycle get on the right track, and it is a key tool on the road, when you are always changing countries and taking flights.
AMBY: Yea, you just need a good sleep sometimes..
Isaac: Sometimes you just have to make sure you get a good night’s sleep and so last night was a good night’s sleep. Though I had a couple of nightmares. I have these recurring nightmares whenever I take the Melatonin, and it kind of make me panic in sleep [laughs]. It is supposedly one of the side effects. Anyway it was a good sleep. So had a good breakfast, walked down to the venue today. We did have a beautiful day off yesterday in Copenhagen as well.
AMBY: Oh, did you go to have a look on some special sights then?
Isaac: We went to Christiansborg castle, which is always an interesting view and we had a look on the architecture around the city. It’s really beautiful. We toke photos all day all of us. Then we went for a nice meal by a very fancy Indian restaurant across the street. So that brings me to here.
AMBY: Been out to see the city, try a bit and have a taste of it.
Isaac: Yea, a good recount.
AMBY: Then what have you been up to lately otherwise?
Isaac: Otherwise, I have put in a serious regiment of practicing specifically the drums and read this book called ”Stick Control”. It is for the rudiment drummer and also orchestral if you will and it is basically that every single day I make sure that I will have like an hour or an hour and a half time. Not only to get better at the drums, but it is a good habbit to have on the road when you change places everyday. This is something I can have that is staying, you know, when traveling in a suitcase.
AMBY: Yea, so you have your own time for what you would like to do then.
Isaac: Exactly. Something else, I have been up to then is like for 10 minutes ago I finished reading a book called ”The Revenant”, which there is also a new film about. I loved the film and then our lead singer Dev had finished the book and past it on. What a fantastic book! A very good read.
AMBY: I have to read it now.
Isaac: Yea. It got me hooked instantly. So that is what I have been doing lately.
AMBY: Sounds good. Then, what have been the best experience you have had while touring now?
Isaac: We have only been out for like a couple of shows now. I would say, the best experience is the feeling of finishing a book, which was like 10 minutes ago. That is probably the best feeling.
AMBY and Half Moon Run: [laughs]
AMBY: Some fresh updates there.
Isaac: And you know, when you get to the last page and are having the feeling of: ”Yes, another book!” The truth is – I don’t read many books, though I wish I could. You know, time is a very preciuos thing and so busy, but this book just grabbed me. I only had it like for a week. Just raced my way through it.
AMBY: That was quick while touring.
Isaac: Yea, very quick. I had like one big reading session on the flight from Montréal to Brussels. On the flight I didn’t sleep, because it was a ”red-eye flight” and I just read like half the book there. Then I just trickled in and finished the rest of the book in a couple of days.
AMBY: Well done. What is the next book then?
Isaac: I am still in the midst of maybe 15 pages left of a Neil Young book. I love Neil Young, so that is an interesting book with some good stories. Then the book after that will be the next recommendation I find. We just have to see.
AMBY: Sure. Next time we can catch up on that.
Isaac: Yea, exactly.
AMBY: Then, what kind of hidden talents do you have beside playing music?
Isaac: Ooh. Hidden talents, okay. I love to cook. Take pride in my cooking, but that is whatever to that. Hmm.. I love skateboarding.
Isaac: Skateboarding is something I have done since about the same time I started playing guitar, which was when I was about 9 years old. It originated at a time when I was living in California as my dad lived there. My high school had a skate park next to it. I was just skateboarding all the time to a point where, yea. I remember the moment where I basically decided to take it easy on skateboarding. I had moved to Montréal right after high school finished and I was skateboarding in the graveyard with these beautiful hills. So I was going very fast and drifting around corners…
AMBY: Okay, I am very curious now to know what happens then!
Isaac: So it is a graveyard with beautiful hills. You skate at night, because there is no one there. Of course respectfully, we’re not causing trouble. We just go there, do our skateboarding. So anyways, I go really fast and thought oh, I really need to slow down, but did a powerslide. Then my wheels got clogged and I went flyyyying forward like 10 feet and hurt my elbow sooo badly.
Isaac: Then I was like, I am okay. It is okay. I am going to try this again. I do it again and the exact same thing happened. Too much speed and then ”boom!” hit the elbow again at the same spot. I was like I need to go to work, but this is a gaping wound! From there on I decided to take it easy on skateboarding..
AMBY: Oh no.. It was too intense..
Isaac: It was too intense, yea.. So I still skateboard from time to time, but I sort of calmed it down from there.
AMBY: Yea, I see. Then, what have been another cool place you have skated besides that graveyard?
Isaac: I would say my hometown Comox Valley, at a mountain called Mt Washington. It is actually a snowboard mountain, so it is very high. I skateboarded down that. I had a friends that went like 107 km/hour on a longboard, which is the record he has. I couldn’t personally go that fast, but it was very fast. You know, going down a mountain on a highway is very, very scary.
AMBY: Oh, yea.. I am quite scared now just hearing this!
Isaac: And on the Gold Coast of the Vancouver Island there is a longboard competition there, which is a very cool thing to skateboard. I didn’t personally compete, but I was riding it and it was a lot of fun.
AMBY: That is cool. So, I also read that you guys have surfed while recording the latest album ”Sun Leads Me On”. I was wondering, who caught the best waves?
Isaac: Yea, yea. Probably Dylan. He had the most experience with surfing, and he is sort of fearless in that matter. Going up there and really takes some risks riding those waves.. and then Dev, he is very keen.. and I am probably just below that. where I have just started.. I love boarding sports and I know how to skateboard, longboard, snowboard, skimboard, but specifically surfing is like a whole new game.. I was catching a lot of waves, but nothing like the locals where doing.
AMBY: It can also be quite brutal. Didn’t you get a bit bruised there as well, when you are not used to it?..
Isaac: For sure. There is no mercy from the ocean. It is really relentless. Getting tossed around..
AMBY: It is a part of the experience though.
Isaac: Yea, a part of the experience being destroyed by the ocean.
AMBY and Half Moon Run: [laughs]
AMBY: Well, then for the last question. I am wondering, what are your Top 3 things to do now in 2016?
Isaac: Phew.. This Top 3 might not be appealing to most people on this Earth, but the thing I look most forward to is probably just being home and living a fairly normal schedule. Being able to clean my own house, make meals with my own kitchenware and not have to go to restaurants. Just get into a routine. I miss that a lot. It is funny, because it is the exact opposite of what a lot of other people would like. I am very privileged to be in this band and all that for sure. I am very lucky. That being said, then it is all relative and I certainly do miss being home. That is what I look forward to the most. All the time. Next is that my girlfriend will fly in and join us in Zurich and she is gonna be there for 10 days. Then there is the summer festivals. That is gonna be great. We also have 4 shows at a place called Métropolis and it is at our homebase Montréal with all fans and it is going to be so crazy.
AMBY: Like a homecoming for you, yea?
Isaac: Like a sort of homecoming and for 4 days. It is gonna be so crazy. My mom is coming to those too. It will be the first time she sees a Half Moon Run show out of Vancouver Islands, so yea it is gonna be good.
AMBY: That is very sweet. Good things. Well, then thank you so much for this chat.
For all features and interviews with Half Moon Run, click here.
Interview and Photos by Jules Faurschou | @rockonpoets