When it comes to creating an atmosphere, Manchester’s own New Luna are in their element. Their music has a dream-like quality to it that is perfect for enveloping any audience in a hazy, almost suspended ambience under which a powerful undercurrent runs which has its roots in the latest developments of the post-punk scene. These two threads might not immediately seem simple to reconcile among themselves, but New Luna have stood to the challenge, and the result is personal and intimate, powerful and oddly soothing. With a new single released recently showcasing a further step deeper into their musical exploration, New Luna are without a doubt going to find new ways to show their audiences something new.
Q. Tell us something about what inspires your creative process, and the mood you try to create with your music.
A. The mood is definitely dark and seems to be getting darker with each release, occasionally there might be a lighter track but if there is it’s probably ironic! We’ve always written very naturally about our real life experiences and things that affect us and make us think, more like trying to present or make sense of a situation rather than actively going for something trying to be clever or quirky.
Q. How would you describe your sound in one sentence?
A. Introspective post-punk with pretty guitars sometimes very heavy and sometimes very light, always with a groove.
Q. You have a background in the Manchester scene, which is particularly well known for its grassroots venues. Did the local scene have an influence on your sound and development as a band?
A. The scene in Fallowfield especially really helped us define our live identity and find that intense energy that connects with the people there on a deep level. Fallow Cafe and Koh Tao were key for us and it’s a massive shame those places are gone now (way before Covid) because it’s important for emerging bands to have that experience playing to packed rooms as it’s not something you can rehearse. Having had those experiences it’s much easier for us to get in the zone playing at much bigger places and ultimately be a better band.
Q. Have you been working on something new recently, and what are your plans for the second half of the year?
A. We’re working on loads of new music and have a load of tracks pretty much finished that we’ve been slowly recording and putting together over the last six months. The plan is to finish and release them steadily with a load of immersive content like videos and sessions for each. They might end up in a retrospective EP depending on how we feel in a few months’ time. Our main focus is reaching as many new people as we can and the new songs are a great way to do that, as well as give back to everyone that’s supported us already.
Q. If you could choose your dream venue to play after reopening, what would it be?
A. The Albert Hall in Manchester has always been a dream but I’ve got to say The Deaf Institute now – we had a headline show booked there for the end of October but the venue’s just gone under. It’s our favourite venue in the city so we’re doubly devastated, and the loss of Deaf and Gorilla too is a massive blow for Manchester music. We’d just like them to be back.
Q. What do you think about the music community’s response to the lockdown? Have you been taking part in any projects?
A. The almost immediate adaptation to online live streams being the main live output has been really impressive, especially considering how devastating Covid has been to the industry’s day jobs and supporting jobs in hospitality and retail. Reaching people in their homes over the internet must have had a vitally positive impact on much of the public’s general mental health over the last few months. We’ve been focusing on making new music and promoting our latest single release so this is our first lockdown session!
Q. The lockdown has been an occasion to reflect collectively on mental health, especially for those who drew strength and support from live music. Have these themes been part of your reflections and songwriting recently?
A. It’s been hard speaking to people who enjoy our music and hearing how gutted they are about shows being cancelled – it’s probably made us work even harder on our next releases to give them something they’ll really love and try and fill that void as much as we can. My songwriting’s probably got a lot emotionally lighter and fun lately to try and create a positive contrast. Collectively the band’s music has always been very introspective anyway so it’s probably pushed us even further in that direction.
Q. Tell us about your latest single. What is it about, and how did you come up with it?
A. It was a song we jammed in practice steadily over time. Tommy’s lyrics are really open and visceral and we built the music around that. Masculinity is obviously a really complicated topic and the song is a communication of free-flowing thoughts and feelings about it. The music video is out next week too and that adds a powerful visual element to the themes it covers. A friend of ours Ché Deedigan produced it and we were really stunned the first time we saw the final cut.
Q. What have grassroots venues meant for you in your personal experience? Can you tell us something about a grassroots music venue that is particularly dear to you, or that helped shape your love of music?
A. Grassroots is key because it enables musicians starting out to develop a positive relationship with performing and sharing music and just generally being around other people, both like-minded and different. My first live show was at a youth music project in Northwich called Amplify, a community-funded social club. It gave a creative focus to literally hundreds of kids in the few years that it ran and a lot of the acts that went through there are now playing in big venues around the UK and internationally. We’ve a lot of small venues in the years since then and being able to see the effect your music is having on someone from the stage, and being able to have a conversation with them about it after, is probably the most emotionally fulfilling thing I’ve got from my musical career so far. It’s a vitally refreshing reminder that music is more than just money, PR, brand management and all that.
Q. What is, to you, the most exciting thing about playing in a digital festival?
A. No tents or mud! Shocking joke. Traditional festival sets are usually a rush to set up, and even though the energy is there you can feel a lot of the time like you haven’t been able to communicate what you’re about in as real a way as you would like. With digital festivals you can literally bring the crowd into your home and make that emotional connection because it’s genuinely the real environment you spend a lot of time in. It’s also a great opportunity to be creative and think about the setting, filming, song arrangement and generally how you can think outside of the box.
New Luna are playing on Saturday, July 25th at 6:00 PM.