Things work best if Willy Moon isn’t told what to do

On the road promoting his introductory, self-titled EP, 23-year-old Willy Moon has been meeting immature folks who puzzle him — “people who are supposedly adults, who still haven’t really allowed themselves to grow up and become responsible for themselves as individuals,” says the New Zealand-born, London-based techno-rockabilly cat whose song “Yeah Yeah” was snapped up by Apple for its new iPod commercial. Then again, maybe it’s just him, he adds, “because I became responsible for myself as an individual at a very early age.” The sharp-suited kid has a full-length album on the way.

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Your mother died and your father moved out of the country for work, leaving you and your older sister in Wellington when you were only 12.

It was a conflation of circumstances whereby I ended up living with my sister, and at the time, it was very stressful. But we managed. My sister worked at a restaurant for a while, and my dad did send us some money. Occasionally. And my mother had some savings that we lived off of until they ran out. But we scraped by somehow.

Did anyone notice that there were no parents around?

Yeah. Especially at school. I would get into trouble at school, and I’d be sent to the headmaster’s office. And they’d say, “We have to get your parents in for a meeting to discuss your bad behavior.” And I’d say, “Uh … they’re away at the moment!”

You were constantly getting kicked out of school?

Yeah. I wasn’t really showing up to class that much, and I never passed any of my exams, never did any of the work they were asking. I used to just sit in the back of class and read books. If I was in class.

Then you spent all your money on a one-way ticket to London?

Yep. I thought I had to do something with my life, I had to make some drastic change. So I decided to do the most drastic thing that I could possibly do at the time — catch a plane to the other side of the world.

That’s where you met your girlfriend and eventually found your cool retro sound. But even when you were broke, did you ever consider going home to New Zealand?

That was just never an option. I mean, never. Now my sister moved over here quite recently, too. It’s strange because she’s my sister, but she’s also like my parent, even though she never really succeeded at being an authority figure for me. People telling me what to do has never really worked.

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