Interview with Moonrise Nation

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Friends Eva Bee and Emma McCall enjoyed playing music together at local coffee shops and pubs in the Chicago area. Eva’s younger sister Arden Bee soon joined and in 2011 the trio became known as Moonrise Nation on the Chicago music circuit and headlined at the Hard Rock Café in 2013.

With Eva on cello, Arden on violin and piano, and Emma on guitar, these girls perform together like seasoned musicians crafting catchy, alternative folk tunes with heartfelt lyrics. Combining their musical talents with their soulful voices, Moonrise Nation showcases compelling performances that leave fans wanting for more.

So talented and refreshing, this young trio caught the attention of music veterans The Z Brothers – David Z (Prince and Etta James) and Bobby Z (Prince and The Revolution) and David Z knew immediately he wanted to work with the girls on the releave of their self-titled EP, Moonrise Nation. According to Bobby Z, “With their moving harmonies, incredible song writing and inspired performances, you know right away – Moonrise Nation is something special.” David Z said, “They don’t sound like anyone else. These girls are making new music.”

Read on to learn more about how these young girls embarked on their career with Moonrise Nation, what instruments they play, signing with Zinc Records, and what’s next on their agenda.

GGM:  Congrats on being signed to Bobby Z’s Zinc Records.  How did that come about?

MN:  We met Bobby through working with his brother David Z who produced our self titled EP “Moonrise Nation.” Bobby came to Winterland Studios where we recorded this past summer, and contacted our manager David Liberman who set up an appointment to meet and connect with Bobby and Zinc Records. It was really a dream getting to meet and possibly work with such a great mind and musician… And we love Prince, so…

GGM:  What are you looking to most in working with the team at Zinc Records?

MN:  I think what is most exciting is how closely we get to work with the people who believe in our music and what we are doing. It’s a smaller label so we feel like we still have a lot of control and hands on learning in the entire process.

GGM:  What instruments do each of you play and how long have you been playing?

MN:  Arden has been playing violin since she was four, and piano since she was five. Eva has been playing cello since she was nine, piano since she was five, and has dabbled with bass and guitar. Both started choir when they were real young and continue to be involved in local music productions. Emma started playing drums and Latin percussion when she was 10, but then picked up guitar at the age of 17.

GGM:  Emma, what is your guitar of choice?

MN:  My acoustic is an all black Gibson J-45 with a great gritty tone, and as far as electrics go, I alternate between an American Telecaster I inherited from my dad, and a 1981 Guild SF-4 with original pickups and hardware. I also have a 1950’s Splendor that is super inexpensive, but i fixed up the original pickups on it to achieve a really fuzzy tone that those low end guitars had. All of the guitars are coming out of an Orange Dual Terror tube amp.

GGM:  Do any of you come from families with a musical background?

MN:  Arden and Eva started taking classical lessons in piano, violin, and cello since they were roughly five years old. Our mother (Eva and Arden Bee) used to sing jazz down at Kingston Mines in Chicago and she played with numerous world renowned musicians. Our father drummed in the band she toured with. Emma grew up admiring the fantastical stories her parents would tell her from their concert experiences, ranging from stories about sneaking out to see Led Zeppelin to knowing Blue Oyster Cult “before they were cool,” and started taking drum lessons at the age of 10 which evolved into an interest to learn guitar at age 17.

GGM:  How was Moonrise Nation formed?

MN:  It felt somewhat organic. Emma and Eva were mutual friends in high school and would spend their free time playing music at local pubs and coffee shops. Soon enough Eva’s younger sister Arden joined in on vocals and piano, and then it felt like we couldn’t not pursue music together.

GGM:  Describe for our readers your style of music and the inspiration behind your songs?

MN:  As cliche as it sounds we try to keep it original. We don’t really concern ourselves with what genre we fall into, we leave that to the people who listen to our music. We like to keep things simple and strategic, allowing the music to mature into its own thing over time. We constantly find ourselves making changes before heading into the studio for the final cuts. More than anything, we feel that what we love most is that Moonrise Nation is a work in progress and our sound will continue to evolve with the tides of our careers and lives.

Our songs are inspired by those around us and a lot of the things we are witnessing as teenagers and young adults out exploring independence and pushing our boundaries.

GGM:  Do you work as a team in the writing process?

MN:  For the most part we work separately, composing the songs on our respective instruments. However, when we get together and practice we bring our collective sound into the mix and contribute parts that we see fit and that will enhance the overall feel of the song.

GGM:  You’re heading out on tour in a few weeks and will be performing some shows with Yuna. How exciting! What can fans expect to hear?

MN:  RIGHT?!!  She is such an inspiring musician and artist, it is overwhelming to think we will be sharing a stage with her. Fans can expect to hear music off our debut EP “Moonrise Nation” and a full set list of poppy, yet gritty songs that get toes tapping and people thinking. We love performing our song “Sticks and Stones” live because our guitarist and drummer (Ben Levin) both rock out on the same drum kit while Arden and Eva harmonize on vocals. It’s a song that requires a lot of energy and gets the crowd moving.

To learn more about Moonrise Nation and connect with them on social media, visit their Facebook site HERE.


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