Introducing: Luna Blue

Band photo

Brighton’s latest musical sensation has emerged in the form of recent University of Chichester graduates, Luna Blue, and they’re making their mark on the scene with their unique brand of funky indie-pop. Here’s what they had to say:

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

Ryan: I first fell in love with music at about the age of 5/6 where I would listen to a huge amount of AC/DC and Guns n Roses, when I got to about 15 I discovered Jimi Hendrix and this man alone gave me a huge drive to become a guitarist.

Seb: My brother got me really into music when he came home with CDs from the likes of Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Korn. I was always fascinated with the powerful drumming in these tracks after I picked up the drums at a young age. But my real inspiration came from two albums in particular. The first was Dream Theater’s Train of Thought. Some of Mike Portnoy’s drumming in songs like Honor Thy Father opened me up to what real powerful, fast and complex drumming sounded like, whereas Danny Carey’s drumming throughout Tool’s Lateralus made me realise just how creative and musical you could really be behind a drum kit.

Tom: I was classically trained on the piano from the young age of seven, being inspired by artists such as Ludovico Einaudi and Chopin with a deep-rooted passion for composing film scores. Later on in my youth I began to self teach guitar which led me onto songwriting taking influences from Ben Howard, Newton Faulkner and the Frey. Towards the end of my first year at the University of Chichester, after meeting the band, my motivation to bring out the best in my voice picked up and I trained my voice for several hours a day with a minimum of 1 hour vocal coaching a week. I continue to keep up the daily practise as I am constantly looking for ways to push my voice and so that I can maintain it for the duration of my musical career.

Nick: My dad is a music teacher so I’ve been playing music from a very young age on the trumpet and piano, so I have a strong background in classical and jazz. I took up the guitar when I was 12, the drums at 13 and I first picked up a bass guitar when I was 15 after being asked to play in a wind band. My dad has always been my biggest inspiration, making me aspire to be the greatest musician I can possibly be. But Progressive Metal band Tool were the first band I started listening to that wasn’t my dads music, and that was what inspired me to pick up and learn to play the guitar.

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

Ryan: AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin. These where the big bands that I used to listen to all the time. These days I listen to more Jazz Fusion such as the Aristocrats, Greg Howe, Allan Holdsworth.

Seb: I grew up listening to Rock and Metal primarily, before shifting more towards Prog Metal and more recently into the quirky realms of Jazz Fusion. Personally, I like to try and put in a little bit of the complexities of Prog Metal and Jazz Fusion into my playing. I get bored if I’m not spicing up my drum grooves just a little. We’re always trying to toe the line between keeping our music accessible to everyone, but also keeping a hint of subtle complexity…mainly for our own amusement!

Tom: I grew up listening to a wide range of genres from classical and jazz to pop punk and rock. A major inspiration of mine is Jeff Buckley this is due to his effortless vocals and emotive language which is something that I aim to achieve through dedication and practise. My inspiration to pick up guitar comes from the funk rock and indie sounds of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Foals.

I use a lot of metaphors in my music as I love songs which don’t go straight to the point. Every individual who listens to the music can interpret it totally differently, which for me, makes the music timeless due to its endless possibilities. This realisation came to me from listening to Jeff Buckley and the Arctic Monkeys vocalist, Alex Turner.

Nick: I spent the first decade of my life listening to my dad’s music (Chuck Mangione, Tower of Power, Haydn, Shostakovich) which has had a massive impact on the range of music styles I listen to today as most of it is a mixture of classical, jazz and funk. But after I started listening to Tool, I started listening to more and various contemporary styles of pop, rock and metal such as Muse, Bullet for my Valentine, Toto, Megadeth and Avenged Sevenfold. Later in my teenage years I got more into the progressive side of music such as Pink Floyd, TesseracT, Periphery, Animals As Leaders and Karnivool. All of these bands and styles have had a huge impact on my playing and musicianship. The Classical side helping me to read music and gain skills such as arranging and composing, and the Contemporary and Jazz for my feel, memory and technical side to my playing.

Ryan Guitar photo

How long have you been playing/writing?

Ryan: I first started playing at the age of 5 and ever since then I’ve had guitar lessons where I learnt classical and rock guitar. As for writing I was in a band with the same name (Luna Blue) in college where I met our drummer, Seb. This is where I properly started to write my own music.

Seb: I’ve been playing for far too long now. I think I started at the age of 10? Since then my taste in music has grown and changed. I’ve gone from AC/DC covers to playing along to Prog Metal artists like Meshuggah and Tool. During that time, I’ve been in countless bands, from terrible Nirvana tribute bands who played exclusively in the local village hall, to jazz and function bands playing in bars and pubs. I started writing music with my brother (who plays guitar) when I was very young, and joined a few rock and metal bands in my teenage years. But when I met Ryan and formed (an albeit quite different) Luna Blue, I wanted to stick with it and continue writing more seriously.

Tom: I have been playing piano since the age of seven but prior to that music was still a huge part of my life. I can recall always singing along to 70’s and 80’s hits that I would often hear in the house or on car journeys.
I have been improvising and composing music for piano since I was around the age of 12. This then led me to want to compose and improvise on my dad’s 12 string guitar which is what lead me to learn the standard 6 string guitar. After knowing how to play chords and messing around with different sounds, the vocal melodies came naturally to me and the lyrics were my internal thoughts and emotions.

Nick: I have been playing for as long as I can remember, and I have been writing and arranging since I was 15 in terms of Classical and Jazz. I wrote a lot of contemporary music back then as well but the first time I started writing more accessible contemporary music was when I joined Luna Blue on Bass. Before then I experimented more with Heavy Metal and Prog.

How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

We try to gig as regularly as we possibly can. Whenever there is an opportunity to play, we will always try to take it! Below are some of our upcoming dates, but this is always being updated and filled, so check our website for a more extensive list!

Jul 29

Lambs Steyne

Bognor Regis, United Kingdom

 

Aug 10

Watson’s General Telegraph

London, United Kingdom

 

Aug 12

The London Stone

Staines, United Kingdom

 

Aug 25

Hope & Ruin

Brighton, United Kingdom

 

Sep 09

Fishstock

Brixham, United Kingdom

 

Sep 29

The Buff Club

Glasgow, United Kingdom

 

Sep 30

Pi Bar

Leicester, United Kingdom

 

Oct 04

New Cross Inn

London, United Kingdom

 

Oct 28

Pavlov’s Dog

Reading, United Kingdom

Seb photo

 

What has been your favorite moment in music?

In March of 2017 we held our own two-hour long concert back by a 30 piece orchestra on the University of Chichester’s Bishop Otter Campus. This concert took months of hard work, practice, composing and endless rehearsals and organization, but came together to become the favorite moment in our musical career for all four of us. The venue reached full capacity and over £120 for Nordoff-Robbins, a charity chosen to commemorate one of Nick’s closest friends who was hit and killed by a drunk driver the year prior. Bryony aspired to work for the charity, so we dedicated the night to her memory. Luna Blue will be repeating the event with a bigger and better orchestra, new songs and further orchestration in the hopes of raising even more money for Nordoff-Robbins. For more info and updates, please visit our website!

Where is the best place to find you online?

You can find us pretty much everywhere online! Our social media links can be found below:

Youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVkV54sLs9_A9tc93CzIx9A

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/weareLunaBlue/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/weareLunaBlue

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/lunablueofficial/

Itunes & Spotify – (Just search for Luna Blue!)

Websitehttps://www.lunablueofficial.com/

An interview with: Gulf

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Liverpool has spawned many a quality bands over the years, the latest of which comes in the form of psychedelic dream-pop duo Gulf. We had a chat with them about their latest material and their influences in music.

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

Disco has been a staple from as far back as we can remember, some jazz, some psych and some hip-hop influences blended together and that’s us. We were both born into families with great vinyl collections and when there’s a copy of MJ’s Thriller lying around, everyone’s having a good time and we’re getting an understanding of what great music sounds like.

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

We grew up listening to Michael Jackson, Chic, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire. Then we discovered bands like Daft Punk, the Wu-Tang Clan, Jamiroquai and Dungen. They definitely have an effect on our songwriting approach.

How long have you been playing/writing?

We’ve been writing together for around six years now.

How often do you play live?

After playing a gig every other week last year, we took some time off to record our album. Over the next few months we’ll be back at it again with some new material and we’re really excited about that.

What has been your favourite moment in music?

We’ve got a few of these, sharing a stage with The Flaming Lips at Liverpool Sound City, supporting Echo and the Bunnymen and TOPS, who we’re huge fans of. Our Maida Vale live session for Radio 1 with Huw Stephens was pretty special too.

Where is the best place to find you online?

You can find us on Soundcloud and Spotify, just search for ‘Gulfmusic’

Links:

https://en-gb.facebook.com/gulfmusicuk/

https://twitter.com/gulfmusicuk

In conversation with: John Dylan

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Unsigned Interviews were lucky enough to be in conversation with dream-pop artist, John Dylan, who talks about his influences, his earliest memories of music and his song writing. Check out the the new video for ‘Get Beyond’ at the bottom!

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

I don’t remember when I first got into music. I have tapes from when I was 4 or so where I am hosting a “radio show” (i.e. recording into a tape deck). I play records from the likes of The Police, Michael Jackson, The Specials, The Ramones, Marshall Crenshaw, and Sesame Street. I also go from there to playing songs I made up this portable little harmonium, and playing my toy drum set along to the records. My parents both play a little guitar and liked to put on Austin City Limits and VHS tapes of concerts and play records around the house. I just don’t remember it not being that way. 

 

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

I was too young to enjoy the grunge explosion in person, really… I was in 6th grade or so when Nevermind came out and was underage for the entire 90s. And where I was, which was Tulsa, Oklahoma, was pretty musically desolate. But that kicked things off, I suppose. From there I fell into this rabbit hole as a teenager… Starting with the cooler music blocks on MTV (Alternative Nation, 120 Minutes, Yo! MTV Raps), then into music press (Spin, Alternative Press, Flipside, Maximumrockandroll), then writing for music press (reviewing records for Foxy Digitalis and Punk Planet) and getting into the tape labels (like Shrimper, Catsup Plate, Union Pole, Sing Eunuchs, and Cactus Gum, which I helped out at). At that low of a level, getting a compilation from one of those labels was like MTV — a great sampler of what that label was about. Then you’d send concealed cash and a note and get a handmade tape and a note back. It was wonderful, and personal, and interactive.

I suppose when you vacillate between writing about music and putting other people’s music out, conversing and working with musicians, and then making your own music, it all seems very accessible and like the artifice of pop and the barriers between performer and audience are really stifling and silly. I had very good exposure to people who both took music seriously and took the music industry very unseriously, and who weren’t afraid to do it themselves. I really want to live in that space; in my heart of hearts the democratization of music is really my goal. My hope is that by recording the album at home with me playing all the instruments, self-releasing it, and making the multi-track stems open source, that I am living up to the ethos of DIY and the conversation between artist and listener being 2-way. I want so much to connect with people through this music. In part because in other parts of my life I feel sort of isolated, but also because I genuinely believe that personal contact with the musician makes the healing power of music much more effective. 

 

How long have you been playing/writing?

As “b-sides” for my first single, I made this 60-track montage of my entire life in recordings. I count that time, which starts in 1993, as the beginning. At the beginning of the montage my guitar playing is very feeble and it progresses from there. Since I got started with drums much earlier, that was always more solid. But whatever might have been going on beforehand, I wasn’t writing any songs until ’93, ’94.  

 

How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

I actually just finished assembling the lineup for our live band so you’ll have to stay tuned. Shows will always be on the front page of john.audio.

 

What has been your favourite moment in music?

I like the beginnings of new ideas. The birth of Rock N’ Roll with Chuck Berry. The British invasion and The Beatles. Early reggae tracks, early punk tracks, early new wave, early alternative, early g-funk rap, the ascendance of instrumental post-rock. If you grow up with music at a young age you start to get a little numb to ideas that you’ve heard before. I can’t really choose a favourite from all of these, but if we want to talk “formative,” I can say that if you watch the documentary 1991 the Year Punk Broke, try to imagine a 12-year-old me taking all that in and having my mind blown.

I am also very attracted to heavily political music, particularly when that music is offering higher critiques than some contemporary statement on a current event. With something like Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding,” I feel like the better nature of man is being revealed — that a moral universe can exist where we have moved on from our cynical political leadership and we care about getting things right. Also John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and Operation Ivy’s “Here We Go Again.” Not accidentally, I am working with Klaus Voormann, who played bass on “Imagine,” and Jesse Michaels, who was the singer/lyricist of Operation Ivy, on my project as well (they are contributing album and single artwork). I was honored when they agreed. I really see them as complete packages — multimedia talents who worked on music that had the clearest vision of the human condition that I know about — people that are heroes to me. I’m trying to do this all in the best and most meaningful way I know how. I can’t pinpoint that to a moment so much as people through which the right ideals shined.

 

Where is the best place to find you online?

john.audio is my site and links to all my social media. Look for John Dylan on IndabaMusic.com and start remixing my music. Or John Dylan on pretty much anything (Bandcamp, YouTube, etc). 

Links

https://www.facebook.com/johndylanaudio/

https://twitter.com/johndylanaudio

https://www.instagram.com/johndylanaudio/

https://johndylanaudio.tumblr.com/

http://john.audio/