Byren (they/them) from Photo of the Moon sat down with me to chat all about the band, inspirations, winning UON’s 2023 Band Comp and their plans for the future! 

Nicole: How did you get your start in music? 

Byren: The first thing musically that happened for me was in primary school at our school talent show. I had zero interest in entering, then I found out that my friend signed me up. I sang to a backing track of “Eye of Tiger” that my Dad made for me and I ended up winning!

What’s the story behind the band name? 

Well, back in the day, I used to play just using my name when I was a singer/songwriter. Then, after having a bit of a break from music, I got back into it and created a song called “Photo of the Moon”. The song was representative of everything I wanted in a band, so I decided to start a band named after it. 

What is your original song, “Photo of the Moon” about? 

It’s about transmuting pain and hardship into something beautiful, which has now become the ethos of the band.

What genre of music would you classify Photo of the Moon? 

Look it’s not really a succinct answer! Lately I’ve been feeling indie folk/post-rock/ experimental/art/pop with a hint of jazz. So yeah, it’s a bit undefined.

Who are the members of the band?
Byren Sawell – Guitar
Tim Evans – Drums/Backing Vocals
Emi Day – Backing Vocals
Brandon Yarnold – Bass/Keys

How long has the band been together? 

Tim and I have been playing together for over 5 years, then Emi and Brandon recently joined the band about 1 month ago. So not very long, but we’re going strong! 

Which artists do you draw the most inspiration from? 

I listen to all kinds of music. If I had to narrow it down, the most impactful artists for me would be Kate Bush, Bon Iver and Jeff Buckley.

What do you hope people take away from your music? 

I hope people can feel connected and that they’re not alone with what they’re going through in life. We can all often feel isolated at times with what we’re going through and I hope I can provide a sense of community and comfort through my music.

Do you have any upcoming shows or tours? 

We’re playing on the foreshore at the Coal Port Blockade, which is coming up in late November.  


What’s been your favourite moment or achievement as a band?
My favourite moment so far is just the fact that we’re a four-piece band now, and it feels so great to play together. Also, winning Band Comp was really unexpected and cool! 


After winning the 2023 UON Band Comp, what’s next for Photo of the Moon? 

We need to spend time doing more rehearsals, then we’re going to the studio to record some tracks. Early next year, we aim to release a live EP of the tracks we end up recording in the studio.

To stay tuned on Photo of the Moon’s upcoming EP, you can follow their Instagram here – @photoofthemoon 

Nicole Creen

Nicole Creen

Hi, I’m Nicole! As a current student and also a part of the Student and Campus Engagement team here at the Uni, I’ll be your 2023 reporter for campus events and any NTEU policy updates. Continue reading below for all my latest articles.