Woking indie-rock outfit ‘First To The Moon’ composed of Alex Pegg (on bass,) Christian Stefanetti (on drums,) Ash Prince (on lead guitar) & Anthony Cugulliere (on guitar & vocals) play songs like “Routine Love” with impeccable beats, shimmering guitars, clever layering and heartfelt vocals. They admit to finding inspiration from the likes of ‘Bloc Party’ and ‘Foals’ and are well-known throughout Surrey for their finely crafted recordings and upbeat live shows.
I had the opportunity to speak with the band about their experiences of making music in Surrey:
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO MAKE MUSIC TOGETHER?
The first time we played together was encouraged by the music department at our old school with someone else covering vocals. We then were asked by a friend if we wanted to play a gig that evening at a music based youth centre down the road. The vocalist couldn’t make it so from then the band stuck as a four piece.
HOW DID YOU GET TOGETHER – I.E. CONNECT – AS A BAND?
We were already friends before we were in a band together… so we have always gotten on with each other. Our music tastes have never been identical with influences ranging from indie to metal which was obviously reflected in our music at the start. The varying tastes made for an interesting start and has really helped shape the sound we have now. Three of us live within a five minute walk of each other (in the Woking area) – Peggy (Alex- Bass) lives about 15 minutes away. We’re quite lucky in that respect.
WOUD YOU SAY SURREY HAS A HEALTHY LIVE MUSIC SCENE?
Woking is a great place for music, as you can get a load of bands from all the surrounding areas come here to play. To be honest though, the music scene in Woking has died down quite a bit, we used to go to gigs at Christ Church and you’d easily get around 50-200 people there every time. The music scene was booming right up until it was our turn. People used to get into the music and bands would be able increase their influence. There has only really been one opportunity for us in Woking in the last six months and though still a wholly worthwhile event – it wasn’t quite ‘like the old days’. We have ended up having Guildford as our ‘home-town show’ which is only down the road.
HOW HELPFUL HAVE SURREY BASED RADIO STATIONS BEEN ?
In the early days, we contacted Eagle Radio (96.4) and shortly after we were [offered] a live session, which was a really thrilling experience, it seemed like we were a band with promise. We probably sounded awful but the feeling of being played to strangers who had no idea or necessarily desire to listen to us was amazing. We have now been played in BBC introducing for the second time which has helped us keep relevant for lack of a better word.
HAVE YOU PLAYED – OR BEEN INVITED TO PLAY – AT ANY MUSIC FESTIVAL BASED IN SURREY?
No, but what kind of band would we be if we didn’t accept the invite!? We have in previous years attempted to play Redfest (Redhill) but the bill was already fully booked (at least that’s what we were told). We will just have to keep trying for that slot. We were pencilled in for a slot high on the bill for the Surrey Advertiser tent at Guilfest 2012 but the conditions were… unfavourable… so that fell through, unfortunately. We have always had to ask for the opportunity, but the day we are offered a festival slot will be a good day.
WHERE IS YOUR NEAREST LOCAL LIVE MUSIC VENUE?
The nearest live venue would probably be at the Guildford Community Centre run by a group called Theory Project Revolution, who really are pushing the music scene in the area more than most others. They work to get high numbers at each show and offer a band a platform to feel like a real band. Also – they are the only local promoter we have worked with who offer payment to bands.
DO YOU HAVE RECORDING STUDIOS IN WOKING THAT YOU CAN USE? HAVE YOU USED THEM?
The only recording studios we really know are Insound Studios based in Knaphill. We went there once and were so pleased with the work they we haven’t needed to look or go anywhere else, though we have heard of other studios. Some large bands such as Deaf Havana and You me at Six have recorded drum parts in the studio.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS STUDIO?
We [chose to record] ‘Prime Time’ with Insound Studios at the WYAC in Knaphill [..] because we’ve known Jack, who owns Insound, for a couple of years; as there used to be evening sessions run by some youth workers where bands could practice in each of the rooms … and we just kept in contact after that. He has also always done a spot on job and gone beyond what you would expect from a recording deal.
DO YOU THINK OF WOKING AS A “MUSIC TOWN”?
It was … and has [the] potential to be again, but at the moment it is sad to say that not really.
DO YOU VENTURE TO TAKE YOUR SOUNDS OUT OF SURREY – TO REACH A WIDER AUDIENCE?
We play whatever gigs possible outside of what we’d call our local range, so we’ve played in London a couple of times where there is no chance of anyone knowing us. Being dropped in the deep end really helps us find a wider audience. The most recent time we all fitted in one car with all of our gear (minus most of the drum kit thankfully). It really is a case of doing anything you can to be able to take an opportunity.
DO YOU FEEL PROUD THAT YOU ARE A BAND BASED IN SURREY?
We have had some excellent opportunities here and geographically Surrey isn’t a bad location to travel from for shows further afield. We’re very lucky to be from the area and do count ourselves as proud. The posh stereotype is only there to be disproved.
THANK YOU FIRST TO THE MOON
– © Neil_Mach January 20134 –