As Cincinnati heads into a cold, COVID winter, Moonbeau offers up a much-needed dose of warm, fun-loving pop music with their sophomore album, Up All Night. The duo, made up of husband and wife Christian and Claire Gough, combines dreamy synths and starry-eyed love songs that transport the listener to a time of carefree, pre-pandemic bliss.
“It was all recorded before COVID hit and when we were about to get it finally mastered and mixed, everything shut down,” Christian tells Audiofemme. “I feel like it’s kind of escapist pop music, and right now, people want to escape more than anything.”
“COVID and everything made it a little bit difficult for us to finish in the timeline that we imagined we would, but we’re happy to be able to put it out now,” Claire adds.
The 12-track effort was fronted by two easygoing singles, “All Summer” and “Radio,” the latter of which arrived with an equally fun music video that sees the pair sneaking into Central Ohio’s CD102.5 (recently relocated on the dial to 92.9) to get their single on the airwaves.
“I thought it would be kind of a funny thing to do,” Claire says of the clip. “The thing that I thought of first was us showing up on the security camera; we wanted to look like we were trying to not get caught. And when [director] Jack [Campise] reached out to us he had the idea to bring in the janitor – who was really the star of the whole video, just because he was such a great dancer.”
“I wish he would’ve been in the video more,” Christian laughs.
The couple first met in 2014, while Christian was playing in a band called The Yugos with his brother. “Christian got the opportunity to play in Arizona, and he wanted me to go,” says Claire. “We had already toyed around with the idea of playing music together – we were dating at the time. So, we got to go to Arizona for our first trip to play this festival. And then from there I was like, ‘Ok, I think I’ll do this from now on!’”
Moonbeau released their debut singles, “Are We In Love Yet?” and “In Your Lifetime,” in 2017. Their self-titled debut followed the next year. “Christian wrote our first album, Moonbeau, and most of the ideas were his,” Claire says. “But with this album, it was super collaborative, which I’m really excited about.”
Although they aren’t able to celebrate Up All Night with an in-person performance, Moonbeau will play a live-streamed set on December 4 from the Woodward Theater. Not only is it one of their favorite venues, it’s where they got married.
“It will be very different from any other live-stream that we’ve done, just because we’re gonna go all out with the lights and the background,” says Claire.
Looking ahead, Moonbeau fans can keep an eye out for remixes and acoustic versions from the album, as well.
The couple jokes that they’re often asked how being a married duo affects their band chemistry, especially one that capitalizes on lyrical sweet nothings. Besides some laugh-filled banter about the foreseeable challenges, like having to massage the truth rather than bluntly reject ideas (“He’s never told me he doesn’t like my idea – I guess he’s afraid!”), or deciphering whose love song is about who (“Sometimes she’ll be like, ‘That’s not about me!’”), the band operates pretty much like any other.
“You hope for a certain level of respect and genuine care from anyone that you’re in a band with, so it really helps me feel like I can be open about certain ideas that I have and know that he won’t shut them down,” says Claire. “There’s a lot of confidence that comes with making music with someone you really care about.”
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