Blood Moon Wedding – the opera punk duo who have created their own parallel universe where timeless truths are unveiled and love always wins through – are an intriguing prospect. We here at Sentinel Daily certainly think so, and their debut, self-titled album underlines the fact. So when the chance came up for a chat with one half – the punk part – of the duo, Steve Lake, best known for his work with UK agit-punks Zounds, then of course we snapped it up…

First off, congratulations on the album – it’s a hell of a record. In my experience, records like this don’t just happen – they evolve from the initial idea, sometimes over years and often swamping their creators in the process – how did the pair of you go about putting the flesh on the bones of that original spark of inspiration? “You are right, it was a long process. Originally we were just going to work on a song together. I like to collaborate with people. It’s one of the joys of playing music. Mia (Dean, vocalist extraordinaire and Steve’s ‘Other Half’ in BMW) sent me a fragment of the song Looking For Us and I found it quite easy to fit in with her vision. I wrote some parts for the song and it really seemed to work well. We decided to take it all a bit further and the idea for doing a long narrative piece evolved. You have to be quite careful with these types of stories though. They tend to conform to quite a standard set of narrative conventions. You know, a couple on the run, outside the law, alienated and in love, go down in a blaze of bloodletting and glory. You want to use those conventions but you don’t want to lapse into cliché. It’s a fine line that you have to tread cautiously. For me the USA is quite a mythological place. Like ancient Greece or something. There are stock characters and situations and moral dilemmas that exist outside the real America. Everybody is familiar with them from Hollywood. So we took that and then we added this whole fantasy element to it, which for me is a metaphor for trauma and neural diversity. But beyond all that I wanted it all to work well as independent songs. We had a lot of discussions on the phone and video. Then we worked separately for months sending parts to each other. You have to remember a lot of this was done through the lockdown. So it was a weird science-fiction time anyway”.

Can you tell us a little about the personnel on this album? “After Mia and I had recorded the basic parts, her husband Tom arranged and played all the keyboard parts and essentially orchestrated it. He is a phenomenal talent who has composed and directed many operas. God knows what he makes of my rather primitive approach to singing and playing. The drums were played by Jason Willer, the drummer from Jello Biafra’s band. I’d played with him and Dave Ed from Neurosis when I did some solo gigs in San Francisco. Jason is not only a virtuoso but also very soulful and imaginative. David Coulter from The Pogues put musical saw and other bits and bobs on. He has played with Tom Waits and Yoko Ono and a whole load of people we really like. He offered to put some stuff on the album and did some beautiful work”.

Touring seems to be getting back to some sort of ‘normal’, gradually – will you be able to spend much time this year touring the album? And do you think the pandemic-enforced layoff seems to have made fans hungrier for live music or are people feeling their way back into things? “I’ve been playing with my band Zounds a bit and people are starting to come out again. Blood Moon Wedding will definitely be playing in England and Europe over the summer. There is a lot of interest in the USA but I am not liked by the US Government. I wish they would forgive my past indiscretions but sadly they seem to have other things on their mind. I like the USA a lot, and I like the American people on the whole. I love their art, books, music and landscapes. I don’t know why they can’t embrace me. All I did was smoke a bit of pot. They built a society on genocide, slavery and corruption. God knows how they think they have the right to judge me. But cést la vie”.

Are you pleased with the reaction the album has garnered so far? “I’m overjoyed. We put so much work into it. It became quite obsessive, so the fact people like it has been very gratifying. When something becomes all-consuming like this album has, you can lose yourself in it and you’re no longer sure if other people are going to get it. You can go so far into your own trip that you lose people. We like to be imaginative and adventurous but we don’t want to be willfully obscure or alienating. But so far people seem to have really responded well to the record. I actually think that has a lot to do with Mia’s extraordinary singing. I can’t believe she is not better known really. You know, everyone in the San Francisco Bay area knows about her, but at the moment she is a secret to the wider world”.

Well, we hope we can help change that! For someone as yet unversed in Blood Moon Wedding, how would you describe the record? And is there a track on the album that you might consider as the most representative of your sound overall? “The music is dark but with the light desperately trying to burst in round the edges. It’s as dramatic as hell, for which we are totally unapologetic. Because Mia and Tom have a background in opera, there is that magnificent aspect of Italian tragedy combined with a deep Germanic obsession with philosophic enquiry. I know that sounds a bit hifalutin but remember, I am an uneducated factory boy from Reading. So if I can handle it, I’m sure everyone else can. The central track for me is Murder Ballad. It is the most unusual track on the album in that it is a long spoken word piece with Mia providing incredible vocal soundscapes based on a Latin Requiem. It’s kind of like Wagner crossed with Raymond Chandler played out in a decaying, mining city where people have been neglected and left to die. But from the perspective of a working class English boy, scared and a long way from home”.

I love your use of the word ‘gravitas’ on that track! We touched on touring earlier, but what else might 2023 have in store for you and the band? Will we see another album this year? Or at all? Where might the storyline of Steve and Mia take us next do you think? “As I said, we are playing in Europe, and we are trying to raise money for a film. I’ve written an initial script but it can take ten years just to get a meeting with a studio. And then the meeting is usually with a security guard who throws you out on your arse”.

You’re a busy man – do you have any non-Blood Moon Wedding Projects lined up for the near future? “I do a lot of solo performances, which can be anything from me reciting poetry to full on electronic, experimental nonsense. But for the foreseeable future I’m focusing on Blood Moon Wedding”.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers of Sentinel Daily? “Brush your teeth twice a day, always carry a piece of string and work tirelessly for peace and a kinder world”.

Cheers and thanks again for giving us such a great record!

You can read our review of Blood Moon Wedding’s new album HERE