This April saw the rise of a new artist in the melodic genre – LUUNAR, who released his debut EP “Just Feeling” on 4th April 2019.
LUUNAR (Samuel) is a Gold Coast based music producer who dabbles mainly in Future Melodic, Synthwave & Nu-Disco and believes in pushing boundaries across genres.
Last week I was lucky enough to get him on our Discord server, where we talked about his latest album and it’s oh-so-beautiful album art.
Below is a transcript of what went down –
Interview with LUUNAR
Thanks a lot for joining us here! I’d like to start by pointing out that the artwork is extremely beautiful! Who did that?
Thank you for having me! It was made by an artist I met through some friends here on the Gold Coast, she goes by the tag @hamzilla15. She does a lot of League and Overwatch pieces, loved how she used her colours and thought who better to reach out to for my first release.
Alright man so when I first heard the EP, I was instantly reminded of 2014 for some reason. The sound design, the composition, everything is so purposefully nostalgic. Who would you call your biggest influences for this style?
That year was what really changed my interest in EDM into a passion for electronic music. Porter and Madeon would definitely be my biggest influences. Even Zedd from his Clarity era has played a huge part in how I started producing.
A lot of the foundations for my music are definitely rooted in that 2013-2015 scene where we were getting a massive influx of this new wave of electronic music. There was a huge transition from EDM bangers to writing music with less “DJ-sensibility’ and more meaning. Something in me just resonated with that more than anything that had come previously.
In recent years I’ve branched out to more artists like The Midnight, Jai Wolf, Chrome Sparks, Flume and Giraffage.
Those are some solid influences, and some of this (Discord) server’s favourite artists as well. So moving on, what’s your favourite track from the EP? Mine is ‘Something Sentimental’.
Something Sentimental seems to be the crowd favourite, which is good news. It’s the last track I wrote on the EP so that’s definitely a more accurate indicator of where my music is headed.
My personal favourite is ‘Detach’. That track took me the longest to write, a whole year actually. I personally love the journey it takes you on, and how each of the 4 sections are all very distinct, yet compliment each other very nicely.
Incidentally, The Midnight was how I discovered your music and I immediately hit replay. My question is, how much does the synthwave aesthetic, particularly the visual part of it, influences your music and the sounds you create, if at all?
I think that the theme of nostalgia has a really strong link to my identity as an artist. I was a visual artist before I got into music, so I really value the link between the two. I always try to imagine what my song represents visually when I’m writing it; it helps me keep a clear vision on where the track is headed. Aesthetically, synthwave always has strong purples, neon colours and vast cityscapes, all of which are a massive influence on what I envision when writing my music.
That’s a great description! You mentioned that you used to be a visual artist. What medium did you work with?
I did a lot of video work, but was still always super interested in digital paintings etc. I often made visuals to go alongside music, then edited them together. Never released any of it – it was always either for church or personal enjoyment.
Visual art was my best subject in school, was super into it up until I left. Funny how things switched for me, now I’m making music 😂
We are really glad you’re making music! But why’d you leave visual art?
My passion always lied closer with music rather than visual art When I finally had enough courage to start music back in 2016, I took the plunge. There are other people out there 1000 times more talented than me at all of that, I love working with someone more capable than me at the vision I have set.
Thanks for that elaborate insight! Talking about your music, It’s interesting that you have a visual palate of the song that you’re writing. Do you think of your songs as a story, or something that has a narrative as opposed to just an amalgam of instruments?
I definitely want to take my listeners on a journey. The whole EP was intentionally instrumental, I wanted people to interpret the songs and the stories for themselves rather than what a singer is singing about. I think a song is at it’s most powerful when it holds meaning to you.
Are you more inclined towards instrumentals or would you be willing to employ vocals in the future? Do you feel limited by the lack of lyrics? The reason I bring this up is because lately I’ve been hearing a lot of the same stuff in vapor wave and synthwave tracks and I’m starting to be more critical of the genre.
Definitely implementing vocals in the future. I feel as though they equally hold power in storytelling and nostalgia, just as an instrumental track does. They just both go about it in very different ways. One of my goals as an artist is to create music that is equally engaging with or without lyrics. I find a lot of people switch off when you tell them, “oh this song has no vocals.” I would love to play a part in breaking that stigma.
Also feeling pretty tired of the whole synthwave genre at the moment. Definitely a key influence on my music, but don’t want to limit myself solely to it. There’s a lot of very talented artists that have trapped themselves in a set genre; I think that’s a very quick way to lose your own passion to write. Getter’s latest album is a great example of this.
I totally get what you mean. What genres are you into these days?
My biggest 3 genres would be Synthwave/Synthpop, Nu-Disco, and Future Melodic. Also obsessed with Future Soul, but I’m still working out how to squeeze that into my tracks.
Talking about the EP artwork, was the creative process under your control? And what was the vision behind it?
Hamzilla15 was a dream to work with. The creative process was completely under my control, and she was excellent at executing what I envisioned. As I said before, I really value a tie between the album artwork and the music itself. I definitely enjoyed the process of creating something that fit my music.
I first envisioned an album cover that captured the dreamy nature of the EP. I really want someone to look at my album covers and feel what the music leads you to feel before you’ve even started listening. I love purple clouds and vast night skies, both a huge visual inspiration on the writing process. That feeling you get when you look at a pretty sunset or look up on a clear night, that’s how I want you to feel.
Dude. I totally get what you mean. The vastness is really apparent in the image! A total existential vibe. Does the character in the artwork represent you?
The character depicts YOU, the listener. You’re the one that I want to be in that scenario, my music is just meant to accompany you on that experience. So I guess you could put me in there, but no more than anyone else.
Oh, man, it makes a lot more sense. The EP is the listener’s journey, the one that you’re taking us on with your music. And the album art depicts the grandness of the journey. Is that right?
Thank you! I’ve just got a last few questions. This one is a question I ask every artist I interview and is for the beginner storytelling musicians who unfortunately can’t afford to get an equally storytelling visual made. What would you suggest them? Save up, learn to make them on your own, or something else?
Would definitely say don’t underestimate the power of photography. You could take a killer shot on your phone and edit it on VSCO, hey presto you’ve got yourself a cover. There’s also a lot of cheap visual artists all over social media looking to make a start with their craft, just as I’m sure you are with your music. Reach out to these people!
(You might like: How to color correct photographs using Photoshop )
What’s next for you? A vacation? A LP? A gig in India?
What’s next for me hey? Definitely more and more music. The vision for my music is set, now I’m just going to continue with elaborating on those things in my music that stand out. Also looking at preparing a live show, I’ve always wanted to do live performance, really creating a fully fledged audio-visual experience. I think that they are a great way to connect with your audience too. That’s a bit further in the future though.
I would love to find ways to connect with my audience, seriously value everyone that has decided to join me on this journey. I love hearing peoples stories and how music has influenced them on the way.
I have to say it’s great to hear an artist who is all about his music and it’s vibe than selling themselves to fandom and corp green. It’s been great having you here man. All the best to you and hope to find myself in one of your stories in the future. Cheers!
It’s been an absolute privilege to chat with you guys. I’d love to chat again when I release next!
LUUNAR is an amazing Melodic producer and has only started to make waves in the industry. His nostalgic sound is very unique, yet manages to be extremely personal and familiar to anyone that listens. Samuel is extremely promising and we can expect more such music from him in the future.
Thank you for reading this review! What did you think about the artwork?
Discord link: https://discord.gg/F6TVZAc
Special Thanks: @anmolmathias from the Discord server