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Lo Moon’s Sam Stewart: “I do session work in LA for producers and artists, and they always want me to bring my Gretsch”

Sam Stewart
(Image credit: Laura Harvey)

Lo Moon’s sound is a wide, cinematic, layered soundscape that’s drawing comparisons with Talk Talk, Coldplay and Sigur Rós. 

With their latest album, A Modern Life, they’ve honed it into a unique balance of acoustic and electric guitars, drums, bass and synth. “It’s more of a collaborative record,” says guitarist Sam Stewart. “And more of a guitar record as well.”

The range of Stewart’s playing is masterful – one moment counterpointing melodies with delicate, spacey arpeggios, the next propelling a chorus with stadium-sized lead lines. 

“When what we’re working on has made me think of a song or a band I like, I’ll grab two or three pedals that will get me in that zone,” he says. “Oftentimes it doesn’t sound like whoever I was trying to emulate, but it yields something interesting.”

Sam relies on a range of effects to get his sound. “Like every guitar player that’s come after The Edge, I’m a big fan of delay and reverb,” he explains.

“I found my way to the Edge much later on; my guitar heroes were Graham Coxon and Jonny Greenwood, people like that. Later on I was like, ‘If everyone else likes U2, then I should probably listen to them.’ And I realised, ‘Oh he invented all this stuff.’ So, I really like delays, reverbs, choruses and weird modulation.”

Sam’s favourite guitars include a unique 1962 Gretsch given to him by his father Dave Stewart, who became famous in 80s pop duo Eurythmics. 

“I think it’s a Country Club,” Sam says, “and the colour, Cadillac Green, is really cool. I used to play that live with my old band, but then I realised that it was a bit risky to keep bringing it to clubs and stuff, because it might get lost or stolen. 

“I actually did damage it once, that was horrific. It’s a studio guitar now. I do session work in LA for producers and artists, and they’re always like, ‘Bring your Gretsch.’”

For Lo Moon’s forthcoming tour opening for The War On Drugs, Sam has found a new obsession. “It’s a ’73 Fender Tele Deluxe, with two humbuckers, and it sounds awesome. 

“I don’t really know the differences between pickups, but any time I’d watch a live video and there was guitar tone that sounded great going through loads of effects, it tended to be a guitar with humbuckers. So I went into a guitar shop and there was this Tele that looked particularly cool, kind of coffee-coloured, and it just sounded completely different to the other Teles – like, beefy! So that’s what I’m using on this tour.”

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