HALF MOON RUN
Thursday, January 3
Yours and Owls
Half Moon Run's Dylan Phillips can't hide the fact that music is his life.
Firstly, he admits he dropped out of school as he found it impossible to juggle studies with his commitments to the band.
But the dead giveaway is what he describes his other "hobby" outside of music.
"I've tried to make efforts to do other things and I've pulled out a Rubik's Cube that I'm madly trying to solve," he says while travelling to the Peats Ridge Festival to perform on New Year's Eve following a few days at the Woodford Folk Festival.
It's the Canadian band's first time to Australia and the southern hemisphere, and Phillips says they are loving every minute of it, mostly because they're avoiding the subzero temperatures in Montreal.
"It's been hot and we've been sleeping in tents - it's a bit scary," he says of the Woodford festival.
"We were blown away by the heat, but by the end of the first day we were in love with the weather and the people.
"We had the chance to wander around slowly in the sun - it's kind of like a working holiday."
The trio blend indie, pop and roots with electronica. They have attracted attention with the single Full Circle from their recently released first album Dark Eyes.
Mumford and Sons' Ben Lovett has praised Half Moon Run, saying they are "potentially one of the most important bands debuting an album this year".
But Phillips, whose father also played piano, says he never saw musical success in his future.
"It didn't even cross my mind [to be in a band] ... I was at school for classical piano," he says.
"I didn't have any expectations."
But after meeting Devon Portielje and Conner Molander in Montreal there was no going back.
The band members come from different musical backgrounds and are skilled multi-instrumentalists, switching between guitar, keys, samplers and percussion. Phillips can even play the drums and keys simultaneously.
"It makes it interesting and it's also good because it places limitations on ourselves," he says.
They have recently toured the US and UK, briefly returning to Canada to have an early Christmas with family before coming to Australia.
"We've been kind of highly strung lately," he says, adding that the Australian tour has given them a chance to wind down.
In their early 20s, the trio are still adapting to the routine of recording and touring.
"We had to learn a lot on both [US and UK] tours - we learned not to waste energy by stressing out," Phillips says.
"And we don't thrive too well in a studio environment where you have to cut and paste to a grid."
After the Australian tour the lads are back to Quebec to "play in the heart of winter, at minus 15 degrees in a small town 12 hours north of Montreal on a small highway."
"Whenever we're back it's a toss-up between making time for work, writing more songs, or to play, because we love to play for the Quebec audience," Phillips says.