Spoonbill began, as is often the case with birds of play, in the bush. Back then, though, he hadn’t grown his plumage. Back then he was simply known as Jim Moynihan and he had no feathers to speak of. What he did have, however, was a natural ear for rhythm, sound and vibe, playing kit to audiences in pubs some time before the law recognised him as a legal punter.
What started as a love of the drums progressively shifted to percussion, and finally settled into a love of electronic production. He may have had his first kit at 12, but in1998 he obtained his first sampler and a new direction in sonic creation begun.
After completing a degree in Industrial design, he began freelancing as a product and sound designer on a broad spectrum of commercial and art-based projects that saw him exhibit his conceptual ideas in museums around the world. He won a wide range of audio production awards including the First Place and People’s Choice Award, Electrovision 2004, and Best Sound Design, 2003 in the 15/15 International Film Festival.
His sound installations toured both nationally and internationally, from Melbourne’s renowned Hosier Lane (Nextwave 2006) and Federation Square (Sate of Design Festival 2004) to Tokyo Designers Block 2002 and 100 Percent Design (London, 2003).
In 2004 funding was procured to create the Mobile Broadcasting Unit (MBU), a van equipped with live audio-visual performance gear, created to bust-out into spontaneous public installations in community areas, utilising the urban environment as their concrete canvas (www.stembase.com.au/mbu).
In 2005-06 ABC’s Radio National commissioned Jim to produce the half hour sound piece ‘Clean’, (www.stembase.com.au/clean), which bought the dirty side of Melbourne to life in the midst of the 2006 Commonwealth Games urban polish.
As well as the design work, over the years he was busily honing his sonic craft and laying birth to new tracks unannounced to the outside world. In 2005 he decided to let his sonic persona take flight in the form of Spoonbill, with the debut album: Megafauna. Spoony’s iconic mix of improvised electronica, antiquated Australiana and live instrumental recordings was warmly welcomed to the flock, the underground scene taking to this new Aussie direction in electronica like the collective duck to water.
As the demand for spoonytunes grew, Spoonbill minimized his attention on design and decided to focus solidly on sound. After receiving 2 government grants for the creation of his follow up record, he got to work and, after 6 months, he produced his second, lushly aural LP Nestegg (released in early 2007).
Since the Spoon conception, he has played countless live shows (and birds have a lot of feathers to count with) in Australia to abroad, from San Francisco’s Symbiosis to Nevada’s Burningman Festival. In that time he has enjoyed sharing the stage with some of the best: Amon Tobin, Tipper, Kid Koala and OTT.
It’s the sort of plucky success that only comes from someone truly in love with the genre they roost in. When one indulges in repeated listening to Spoonbill’s creations, like an aural illusion, more and more becomes apparent. It’s his level of devotion to the craft that means anyone from the casual listener to the fully-fledged sound boffin can find something to satisfy their desire for original, intricate and highly listenable material.
Spoonbill’s first 2 albums may be done already, but this is one bird set to fill several cartons yet.