Q & A with Moonsocket (Chris Thompson)

Eric's Trip musician releases Eurydice on Noyes Records today, his first album in 18 years

Today, Noyes Records releases Moonsocket's Eurydice, the first album by Chris Thompson (Eric's Trip, The Memories Attack) in 18 years. The eleven tracks were inspired by his wife's illness some years ago, and the songs venture there, equally "intimate, heartbreaking and brilliant." Prompted by Chad Peck, Thompson put together this collection in the period after his wife's death in 2011. Eurydice is available on clear and black vinyl via Noyes. 

We here at The Coast are glad to see Thompson back in action, and it's been a busy year: Moonsocket played both Sappy Fest and Pop Montreal, Sub Pop repressed 1993 Eric's Trip classic, Love Tara, and in September, Moonsocket released a video for "The Future Isn't a We," the second track from Eurydice. I talked to Thompson about what's up on this bittersweet day.

Congrats on the record. 18 years! Why now? 

Originally Chad Peck from Noyes Records asked me to do a seven-inch. That was in 2008 or 2009, I think? But in 2009 my wife, Dawn, who had had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, got sick again and even though she tried to get me to work on it, I couldn't. When Dawn died in 2011, I didn't think I'd be able to do anything, let alone music, again. A few months after her death, I picked up my guitar again and did a couple of covers with my built-in laptop mic. And then songs started coming. All about Dawn, death and sadness. Kind of felt like she was helping them flow in a weird way. And then I met Kate O'Neill that fall and more happier songs appeared and Chad still wanted to release a record. Unfortunately, he told me to take my time. And I'm super lazy so that's why it took another couple of years to get my ass in gear. 

"The Future Isn't a We" is one of the saddest, good songs I've heard in quite awhile. 

Well it's basically about Dawn's death. Watching someone who you thought you'd grow old with being taken away from you and realizing all the things you were planning on doing together over the decades would never happen. It's pretty hard to describe. It really does feel like your heart was shredded and a cold you never imagined is put it in it's place.

Why is the video set in Halifax? 

My friend Heather Harkins came up with idea for it. This is what she told me tonight when I asked her:  "Because Moncton had Chris Thompson for a long long while, and when Halifax had you as a local, the city needed to shout it out from the top of Citadel Hill."

Eurydice was the wife of Orpheus, and he tried to bring her back to life with music ... it's quite a metaphor. 

My partner Kate, who plays drums in Moonsocket, came up with it. The songs on the Moonsocket record are the type that Dawn always wanted me to get back to. Doing them for myself and not worrying about what other people would think. These songs are for Dawn and are somehow reaching her wherever she is, letting her know things are okay 

Do you ever feel like you have to live up to the Eric's Trip legacy? 

I used to think that, which I think is partially why it took me so long to do anything after the last Moonsocket record. I always felt like Rick (White) and Julie (Doiron), with their records, were doing the most amazing things. And whenever I tried to do anything, it felt like a huge struggle. And then, to me, the results were terrible. I never felt like I was progressing at playing, or writing so what was the point of doing anything?

But is it a nice legacy, as well? 

It's an amazing legacy to belong to for sure. Making records with your friends that people still love and new people discover and love is a great feeling. I miss those guys.

What's it been like playing a bunch again this year? 

I have a love/hate relationship with playing shows. It always seems like a good idea right up until the couple of days before the show. Then I start panicking because I think I suck (not the rest of the band) and why would anyone want to see me play these songs when they could be watching any number of amazing local bands. I do think our Sappy Fest show in August was probably our best show ever. It felt amazing and I was proud that people got to see that show.

Who do you consider full timers in the band now, — or does it kinda ebb and flow?

The band is Kate O'Neill on drums, Kristina Parlee on bass and Ron Bates on second guitar. It will probably ebb and flow over the next year since I'd like to do some touring and those guys all have real jobs. We'll see what happens for sure. People are always saying I should hire some young hot shots to tour with. I don't think any young hot shots would want to, but you never know!

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