05/28/2013 02:11 EDT

Willy Moon 'Yeah Yeah': iPod Touch Star Getting To See The World

Willy Moon

If you haven't heard Willy Moon's "Yeah Yeah" chances are you don't own a television. The catchy tune has been blaring across the globe as part of the latest iPod Touch commercial. Yet Moon tells Huffpost the song was simply a “musical experiment.”

Born William Sinclair, the New Zealander grew up in Wellington (a.k.a. the movie-making mecca of Wellywood) with little money. When his relief teacher parents moved the family to London, they slept on YMCA floors, and after returning to Wellington they often stole to get by.

Moving back to London at 18, Moon gave up the drug habit that shadowed him throughout his teens and started recording music.

These days life in London couldn't be more different to those nights at the YMCA, with Moon having just dropped his first record "Here's Willy Moon," playing for the likes of Jay Leno and embarking on a tour which brings him to Canada for the first time this month.

HuffPost caught up with the London-based Kiwi:

How does it feel to finally have the album out?

It's weird to spend a couple of years of my life working on, nurturing and learning about something then suddenly it's out. I guess it's like a woman after pregnancy!

It's one thing to get "Yeah Yeah" on a global campaign, but you also got your face and record cover on there. How did you manage that?

They wanted to show the functionality of the iPod so we said, "Why not put my record cover on there?" The weird thing was that I made that song six months beforehand, never expecting it'd be heard by millions of people. If I'd known I would've made it differently.


I might have taken an approach in the making of the song rather than just experimenting. That song was me learning about music production and how to put sounds together. It was a strange experiment that ended up on a massive commercial!

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Who were your biggest songwriting influences on the record?

Buddy Holly, The Ramones. I love rock 'n' roll, hip-hop, jazz, punk… all these things came together in the melting pot of my mind and I tried to present them in unfamiliar ways.

You've toured with Jack White. How would you describe him?

He's a very friendly, inclusive, intelligent person. He's also the best guitarist of this generation and an immensely-gifted songwriter.

What did you learn from him?

What he's done extremely well is taken music that he's obsessed with — blues, rock 'n' roll, garage punk — and found a way to interpret it in a way that's fresh and exciting. It's very similar to where I'm coming from so I appreciate him being able to do that in such an adventurous way.

How would you sum up your childhood in New Zealand?

Confusing! But something I'm very fortunate for because I was exposed to so many different sides of life that I wouldn't have otherwise experienced. It gave me a very open outlook on the world and different people.

Were you into music back then?

I started playing guitar when I was a kid but stopped after my mother died because she used to sit with me while I practised. At 16, 17 a friend suggested we start a band, so I rediscovered my love for it.

Losing your mother at 12. How does one even begin to deal with that?

She had breast cancer when I was eight then she got better, but it came back. She was in a hospice for nine months so I knew I had to come to terms with the fact she was going to die. I always feel more sorry for people whose parents die suddenly. But it was definitely difficult because I was closer to my mother than anybody else.

And you got into drugs after her death?

I started smoking weed when I was 13 then went from there. I've done every drug I can think of and spent a year just taking psychedelic drugs. It was more out of enjoyment and curiosity than addiction.

Now that you're immersed in the celebrity world, have those temptations resurfaced?

It's no longer an issue for me. I don't judge people for what they do and I'm not against drugs… it's just not for me right now. I'm more interested in exploring my reality sober. I like having fun without artificial stimulation — it's more powerful.

You've become known for your style. Were you always into clothes?

Yes, since I was little. I was always jealous of other kids who had cool clothes, because I never had any. I just had weird things from the charity store. I think style is a way to express how you want other people to perceive you. It should be a very instinctive thing. It's only the last four years that I've found something that feels right for me.

You're playing your first shows in Canada this month. Have you visited before?

No, but when my girlfriend's mother left Israel she had two choices of places to go — New Zealand and Canada. She chose New Zealand because she hated the snow. But Neil Young's from Canada so it must be great. I've always wanted to go to Montreal. I like that they speak French.

Your Canadian fans have been commenting on your website asking for you to tour there for awhile. Are you surprised at how global your fan base is?

It's always strange when people get in touch from parts of the world I've never thought about going to. Someone sent me a video from Pakistan of their kid dancing to my song. It's the perfect example of what the Internet has given us — this little child can have an amazing experience listening to my song through thousands of miles and different cultures away. I've always wanted to live in a world where there are no divisions between us and the Internet is the most powerful tool to get us closer to achieving that.

Willy Moon plays May 28 at The Media Club in Vancouver, British Columbia and June 9 at L'Astral in Montreal, Quebec.

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