Alberni Valley inspires Half Moon Run

Half Moon Run’s Conner Molander is still inspired by summers spent at Sproat Lake as a child.

Half Moon Run’s Conner Molander

It’s been quite the journey for Half Moon Run’s Conner Molander. From Vancouver Island to Montreal to all over the world, the past five years have flown by.

Molander, now on tour with the indie-rock band, Europe, spent many of his formative years at Sproat Lake.

“I actually spent a fair bit of my childhood here in Port Alberni because my great-grandfather came over from Sweden in the 1940s and built a cabin that served—and still does serve—as our family vacation home,” he said.

“So I’ve been coming here since I was little.”

The Alberni Valley helped make him who he was and inspired him when Half Moon Run was just getting off the ground in Montreal.

“A lot of the things that make me who I am came from here and when I think about my memories and my childhood a lot of them are based here,” he said.

“But the band itself was formed in Montreal.”

Molander was in Montreal in 2010 to study psychology at McGill University—or to pursue whatever opportunities came his way.

“I was always a musician as a child and always wanted to be a musician but I think it’s fairly well known now that it’s a hard way to make a living and its very hard to become a professional musician,” he said. These days, Molander does vocals and plays  the guitar and keyboard in the band.

“So I was going to McGill and I was studying psychology, not really as a backup plan but just because I had a bit of a interest in psychology, but I always had my eye open for projects that might have had some potential. “

When he met his soon-to-be band mates, he knew this had the potential to help him achieve his childhood dreams.

“I knew it was a great thing and so I told myself that if we got any sort of momentum I would drop out of school—which I did.”

The band took off from there.

“‘Eventually we got enough songs together to record an album and we got a record deal and things sort of took off from there. We started doing better and better in Montreal and now in parts of Europe and all over the place.”

But Molander remembered the summers spent in the Valley when he and his band mates needed a location to film an independent project with the aid of locals John Kenchenten and Dennis See in December.

“I’m on Christmas vacation and I’m out here with some of my band members, some of my friends, and we’re just out here working on filming some stuff because it’s so beautiful out here.”

It was a brief moment of calm before Half Moon Run took off on a months-long tour.

“After the Christmas break we’re going to tour the United States and all through Europe because we just released our second album, Sun Leads Me On, in October and now it’s going to be a matter of touring that all over the world right through the summer festivals and all that.”

Though Molander prefers being in the studio to stage, the band’s tours have been full of highlights for him

“We went to Iceland and that was spectacular. With Mumford and Sons we played in front of some really large crowds which is a really big rush—stadiums and that kind of thing.”

He also met one of his idols.

“One of my idols is Lou Reed from The Velvet Underground and we were able to perform on stage with him in New York one time.”

But whatever the next few years might bring, Molander’s grateful to have made it this far.

“It’s wonderful, I feel so lucky to be able to be able to make my living as a musician. It’s a dream.”

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