The Cranberry Merchants– Going From Strength To Strength
Interview by Duzzy Clayton
The Cranberry Merchants are a band I have been a fan of for a number of years. I first met Dianne and Steve Moore, the duo who make up the band The Cranberry Merchants, when I was a radio DJ for SME Fusion Radio and received one of their tracks for playing on air on my show. I have been a fan ever since, and have watched them grow from strength to strength with each new track they have released.
The band has just released their new single ‘Radio Active’ and in my opinion this is their best work yet. I chatted to Dianne and Steve to discuss their new single and everything else about the band.
Enjoy The Read
Hi guys, welcome back to Fanbase Music Magazine. Before we start, how are you doing with Covid still around; have you both still been safe?
Yes, thanks for asking! We’ve both been very lucky these past couple of years in that neither of us has got sick. In fact, we’ve not even caught colds in a long time.
Could you give our readers a brief background about where you are from and where you grew up; and where are you currently living?
Steve was born and grew up in Indiana, in a suburb of Indianapolis. Dianne was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in one of its suburbs in Maryland. It happened that we both chose to go to the same art college in Atlanta, Georgia (The Art Institute of Atlanta) to study Music Business Management. We met as classmates, started dating shortly thereafter, and married within a couple of years. Although we bounced around a bit for a short time, the music scene here in Atlanta is why we came to settle in this area; and we still live here now.
What got you into music; do you come from a musical family background?
While we both have a handful of musicians in our extended family, and Steve’s mother used to play the church organ, we were both actually more influenced by friends during our teen years. We both also grew up with having just a deep love of Rock & Pop music; collecting lots of records and going to many live concerts.
How would you describe your sound to anyone who hasn’t heard your music?
Eclectic. While we consider ourselves to be primarily Rock musicians, we have been influenced by a wide variety of sub-genres within that. We’ve never really liked the idea of having a particular “sound” as such, but we’re a mix of Hard Rock, New Wave, and a little bit of Punk… but you don’t necessarily get all three of those sounds in every song.
What music did you grow up listening to as teens and what music do you listen to now?
Steve grew up listening to mostly Classic Rock like Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bad Company, Aerosmith, etc. Dianne spent her teens listening to more New Wave music like Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, and Tears for Fears; as well as a lot of the 80’s Hair bands like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Queensryche. While we both still listen to the music of our youth, these days we’ve actually got more into listening to the great music that our Indie peers are putting out.
Do you feel that the music you grew up on forms how you write music today, are you influenced by the bands you listen to?
Definitely, but not in the sense that we’re necessarily trying to sound like them. We tend to be more influenced by the mechanics of how our favorite bands write and arrange. We’ve always gravitated towards artists who write simplistic, yet very hooky types of riffs to be the main engines of their music, which is how we like to construct our own songs.
When you’re writing a song, do you start with lyrics or the music; and a riff first or how do you put a song idea together?
It almost always starts with a hook riff of some sort, which can come from any instrument. Then we try to build a groove around that. We often try variations of that groove to start dividing an arrangement into verses, choruses, etc. Most of the time, the lyrics will come last to fit the vibe of the music.
As a band and also as husband and wife, could you tell us about the experience of being in a band with your spouse; and how do you get through creative difficulties and not let it affect your relationship as well?
It helps that music itself is what brought us together in our personal relationship, to begin with. We met while each was pursuing the same dream and found that we had a great deal in common, both musically and from a business perspective. It is this built-in chemistry that carries us through most creative differences. We’ve also come to learn that if we aren’t both fully on the same page and enthusiastic about a piece of music, then it’s definitely not ready to pursue for completion. That’s not to say that we won’t circle back around to an old song idea, but it’s worth putting it on the back burner until we both “get it.”
Okay let’s talk about the exciting news: I was very happy to see that you’ve been working on new music, can you tell us what the song is called?
Our latest single is called ‘Radioactive” and we’re super-excited about this release too!
What is the song about?
Lyrically, the song is about being in a toxic relationship; but because the physical chemistry is so hot, you just cannot bring yourself to walk away from it, even though you know it’s not going to end well.
Where was it recorded? Do you go into a studio or do you have your own home studio?
Like all of our recordings, this was recorded in our home studio. We’ve really come to prefer it, not only for the money it saves, but also for the luxury of being able to take as much time as we want to get everything sounding the way we envision it.
You are known to sometimes share vocals on certain songs, can you tell us who sings on this track?
Dianne is the lead vocal on this track, though Steve does a couple of different sound-effect type voices on the song as well.
How would you say this track is different compared to what you have released before; and how would you say you have grown as musicians?
It seems like each song we release tends to be different from the others, though not by conscious design. We just happen to have a very eclectic taste in music, which has us drawing on a vast array of influences at any given time. In ‘Radioactive” we’ve definitely leaned heavily on the New Wave influences from the 80’s, but have also maintained a solid Rock & Punk edge to it. In terms of growth, I guess it would perhaps be that we’ve become better at learning how to blend these different genres into a sound that has evolved into becoming “The Cranberry Merchants.”
Will you be releasing an album or are you only releasing singles at the moment?
We are actually currently planning to release a second EP over the Summer, which will comprise our latest single compiled with the previous 5 releases into a CD collection. While we are doing it for the sake of having a physical product to sell to fans, it will also be available as a download-compilation.
Being a radio DJ, I also find you both to be awesome people and very professional in what you do. How important is it to make good connections in this line of work?
Thank you, you’re pretty awesome yourself! We find it extremely important to build good, solid connections with those who have similar goals since there is always an opportunity to help build one another up. While the mainstream music business seems to thrive on being cut-throat, Indie music is the opposite since it’s really very dependent on the kindness of others. In trying to sell or promote any type of creative art, you’re really just selling yourself. And when people act overly competitive, rude, petty, or arrogant, it makes people not even wanting to listen to them, much less support you. So it really pays to treat others as you want to be treated.
Being in a band, especially if you also do all the PR work, what other jobs do you do and how do you cope with separating band work from normal work; and stay on top of it all?
Being in the same household with one’s bandmate, there isn’t a lot of separation of those things.
What can you tell us about the future of the band, what do you have in the pipeline?
We’ve got a few projects for over the Summer, actually. First is the EP compilation of our last 6 singles that we mentioned earlier. We have also been working on some music videos as well. The long-awaited video for our last single, “Brand New Day” is complete and will be released later this month (May). And we’ve also just begun pre-production on a music video for “Radioactive,” which will come out a bit later in the Summer. So we’re very excited for a busy season!
Thank you for doing this interview, do you have any last words for the fans and our readers?
We’d just like to thank everyone for all their kind and generous support and hope that you will continue to enjoy our music and videos. Please come visit us on social media to say hi and keep up with our latest projects. We love making personal connections with fans and fellow musicians!
To Read Our Review On The Band’s New Single Click Here