I am so excited to have the opportunity to interview Molly Venter of Goodnight Moonshine, a band she and her husband, Eben Pariser, started together. Of course I had heard Molly sing with Red Molly, but Goodnight Moonshine was new to me and it was time to sit down and listen to some inspirational new music. I got a chance to listen to their latest album at work during my lunch break and had to use headphones to not disturb others in the room. That’s the best way to listen to new music, everything drowned out and completely encapsulated. I was thrilled to discover some new songwriters who tell great stories (my favorite kind of songs) through their music. Both Molly and Eben having great vocals that blend seamlessly together didn’t hurt.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Goodnight Moonshine and hope you do too! I can’t wait to see them perform at The Bright Box in Winchester, VA on November 4th and as part of this blog post I’m giving away a pair of tickets to the show, make sure you find out how to enter at the end.
Below Molly answers some questions about traveling as a family, songwriting, and her dreams as a musician. Hope to see you all on November 4th!
The Whole (S)tory (TWS): Do you have any messages you hope people take away from listening to your music?
Molly Venter (MV): I hope people hear something that resonates with them and hearing the songs makes them feel less alone with those feelings. I hope it makes them think about certain things (familial and romantic relationships, dreams, work, getting older etc.) differently, and they feel more compassion for themselves.
TWS: Who is your songwriting inspiration? If you could write with one person who would it be? (Other than Eben of course)?
MV: Rather than coming from a specific idea I have on what to write about, songs almost always stem from a place of feeling inside me – melody and rhythm and certain sounds come out first. But once I get into the meat of the song ideas that have been kicking around in my head (about life or personal experiences or something I’ve read about or witnessed) find a new kind of expression.
Hmm, none of these people are currently living but I’d love to be in a room putting words on paper with poet John O’Donahue or theologian Joseph Campbell or writer David Foster Wallace (I’m embarrassed at how pretentious that
sounds but there you go… )
TWS: A lot of your songs tell quit detailed stories, are these drawn from real life experiences?
MV: Most of the details (my first songwriting teacher called the details “furniture”) come from things I’ve seen first hand, but the actual story doesn’t have to have happened, or at least it doesn’t have to have happened to me.
TWS: What different styles / musical influences do each of you bring to the table? The styles really complement each other well.
MV: Thank you! Eben’s background is in classic American styles like rhythm & blues, jazz, folk, bluegrass. I grew up listening to my parents record album, 60’s folk, and when I came of age in the 90’s I took to the new-folk musicians like Ani Difranco, Tracy Chapman, Patty Griffin, and alternative music like REM. Goodnight Moonshine is indie-folk flavored Americana.
TWS: What’s it like out on the road as a couple verses out with your band?
MV: Going out as a couple always felt like an adventurous vacation. Going on tour with a 1 year old baby feels significantly less care-free, though it’s still adventurous and exciting.
I think it’s healthy for couples to have time apart, so that’s where having our separate bands is really fun too. It’s a different kind of release, then we appreciate each other more when we get back together.
TWS: When do you do the majority of your writing? Do you have to have a certain working environment or is it just a go with the flow whenever it comes type of process?
MV: I like to make a habit of it, it keeps my momentum up. I sit down to work (write) 5 days a week, several hours each morning. It’s very difficult to do on tour, but at home I just do it regardless of whether I’m inspired or not. The saying goes “you can sit around and fish all day without catching anything, but you certainly won’t catch a fish if you don’t sit out there.”
TWS: If you could play anywhere in the world where would be your dream location?
MV: We both love traveling so getting to play in any of our bucket list locations (Peru, Italy, Vietnam) would be absolutely incredible. Closer to home though, I’d love to perform at Folk’s Fest in Colorado, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco & Sisters Folk Fest in Oregon. All festivals in gorgeous spots!
TWS: How long have you been touring as a couple? How has expanding your family changed tour life?
MV: We’ve been touring for four years as a couple. Like all new parents, having a kid has turned us into cliche-spouters: it’s at once the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the most heart-explodingly beautiful thing I’ve ever done. We stress less about our “career” now and in a way our approach has gotten simpler; the only important things are to make great art and to pay our bills. A lot of the superficial “shoulds” have dropped away and at the same time it feels more important than ever to keep doing what fulfills us…it’s now heart-achingly clear how fast it all goes by!
TWS: Is there anything coming up with Goodnight Moonshine readers should know about?
MV: We’re recording our next album! We’ll play a lot of shows this spring to promote the album, on the East & West Coast and in Texas. goodnightmoonshine.com
November 4, 2016
The Bright Box
Click here to buy tickets
Win a pair of tickets to see Goodnight Moonshine at The Bright Box
Steps to enter the Goodnight Moonshine Concert Tickets Giveaway: (Enter By October 28th)
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject “Goodnight Moonshine Tickets” and include your name and email.
For Additional entries:
- Subscribe to The Whole (S)tory via email (on the top left side of this page or the bottom of this page)
- Like The Whole (S)tory on Facebook (click here)
- Follow Visual Victoria on Twitter and send a tweet with the hashtag #goodnightmoonshinegiveaway and a link to this blog post (click here)
- Follow Visual Victoria on Instagram (click here)
- Follow Visual Victoria on Pinterest (click here)
- Re-post The giveaway pic above on social media with the hashtag #goodnightmoonshinegiveaway with a link to this blog post (http://visualvictoria.com/molly-venter/)
Rules: You must complete the email step to enter. Each additional step will earn you one extra entry. If you do other steps please include your username for that platform so we know who you are and can count your entries. I will email the winner by October 29th. Good luck!