Moon Safari formed in 2003. The first line-up was formed of keyboardist and singer Simon Åkesson, guitarist and singer Petter Sandström, bassist Johan Westerlund, guitarist Anthon Johansson, and drummer Tobias Lundgren, lasting until 2005. They released four studio albums, recorded and mixed by the group and released on their own label, Blomljud Records. Their first, A Doorway to Summer (2005) was produced by Tomas Bodin, the keyboardist of fellow Swedish progressive rock band The Flower Kings. It evokes themes of summer, the sun, and light in general as a comforting and hopeful concept. In their double album Blomljud (2008), Swedish for “Flower Sound”, themes of flowers and nature prevail throughout, with science fiction themes also playing a key role.
Lover’s End (2010) juxtaposes the story of a painful breakup with themes of nascent love, illustrating and accentuating emotions commonly associated with the stages before, during, and after a romantic relationship. Their EP Lover’s End Pt. III: Skellefteå Serenade (2012) functions as a continuation of the breakup story described in Lover’s End, with an additional emphasis on the powerful feelings associated with one’s hometown. It also develops and reprises themes from the songs Lover’s End Pt. I and Lover’s End Pt. II.
Their first live album The Gettysburg Address (2012) was recorded at a performance in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and features songs from their first three studio albums. Their fourth studio album, Himlabacken Vol. 1 (2013), Swedish for “Heaven Hill”, is about the band’s childhoods, growing up, and responsibilities of adulthood.
The musical style of Moon Safari is characterised by a symphonic rock sound with five-part vocal harmonies, something that the group struggled with at first until Simon taught the band how to perform them as each one could sing. Rundgren later said the harmonies soon became second nature. Simon Åkesson and Petter Sandström each perform lead vocals, with both of their voices often providing solo vocal melodies. However, all six members contribute to the vocal aspect of their music. Many of their melodies are sung as full vocal harmonies, and a number of their songs feature a capella sections. Major keys comprise the majority of their music, with minor keys often featured only in specific sections of their songs. They list their influences as The Beatles, and notable progressive rock bands Genesis, Marillion, IQ, and Yes, among others.
Petter Sandström – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica (2003–present)
Johan Westerlund – bass, backing vocals (2003–present)
Pontus Åkesson – guitars, backing vocals (2005–present)
Sebastian Åkesson – keyboards, guitars, backing vocals (2008–present)
Mikael Israelsson – drums, percussion, backing vocals (2015–present)
Tomas Bodin – lead keyboards, backing vocals (2017–present)