Luna Shadows has no fear when it comes to expressing her love for California. She left NYC a few years back with her sights set on LA despite her ever visiting the Golden State. Moving coast to coast is no easy task and definitely proves her passion and drive to live life to the fullest. Releasing multiple singles and an EP these past years, Luna Shadows is ready to release her debut LP Digital Pacific (created with Bradley Hale of Now, Now and Thom Powers of The Naked And Famous) on 2/12.
There’s no doubt Luna Shadows understands the words dedication and hard work. I was able to track her down for a short Q&A and a sneak peak at her new single “trash tv” which can be heard below the interview!
What drove you to pursue a career in music? Do you come from a family of creative artists?
LS; It was music itself that made me want to be a musician. I would describe it as a similar feeling to seeing a beautiful flower and wanting to pluck it out of the ground, put it in a vase, water it, and keep it near your window. There was just something about hearing music that made me want to participate it in. My deepest and earliest connection to music is to singing – I had no natural singing talent whatsoever, but I have always had the desire to train my voice. From a very young age, I felt like vocalists were magic… the ability to take something that everyone has (a voice) but to use it in masterful ways has always been so fascinating to me.
I do not come from a family of professional musicians – quite the opposite! Entrepreneurs, lawyers, business people, and social workers. However, my family has a strong appreciation for the arts. My parents bought a piano for my siblings and I before anyone played, just so we always had a means to explore and express. Though our parents aren’t musicians, my siblings are musically inclined as well – my sister sings (she sounds a lot like me actually!) and my brother absolutely shreds guitar.
What inspired the concept of there being a roadmap style, musical journey through California with this release?
LS; I’ve been living in California for over a decade now, and it’s like this other character in my life. This place means so much to me – it would’ve been wild to me to not include it in my opening statement. There are so many famous California songs and albums and pieces of pop culture, but I felt like none of them really immortalized the LA that I live in right now. So I really wanted to share a snapshot of my life here. I’ve spent the last few years living in Echo Park, DTLA, Silver Lake, and surrounding areas. I feel like the picture of LA that I see in pop culture is very Hollywood/Beverly Hills/West Side – so my offering is one less glamorous but full of heart, authenticity, and imperfection.
You worked with Bradley Hale of Now,Now and Thom Powers of The Naked and Famous on this record. How did this come about and what influence/direction did they have on the songs?
LS; I met Bradley because I used to host his band (Now Now) at my apartment when they needed a place to stay in LA on tour. Brad introduced me to Thomas (The Naked And Famous) at a taco night in 2014. I was a fan of both of their bands before I was a collaborator. In fact, right before I met Thom, I saw him play main stage Coachella in 2014. Both of them took interest in my project but both of them also initially rejected my requests to collaboate because they were too busy – but I was very focused, patient, and motivated – and eventually they found time!
Both Brad and Thom are indie/alternative legends – they’ve had a huge impact on me. They have been not only collaborators but mentors. They’ve answered all my stupid questions (“what does that button do?” – no joke), listened to all my bad demos, and so forth. I’ve learned so much from them. That being said, I think they would both say that I have graduated from student to equal in this process – and the voice that you are hearing on my album is most genuinely mine. But of course, they are both so talented they are basically indie myths – and naturally, you can hear some of their musical footprints in my songs.
Looking back at your early releases in 2016, what has changed musically for you? Would you say your writing has evolved and your direction more clear?
LS; My writing has definitely evolved, but I think my production is the main evolution here. When I started working on this project in 2014, I had been producing for only a year or two. Now I’m a much more adept engineer and producer – I know how to use the tools in my toolbox much more efficiently. Sonically, I think I’m heading somewhere more minimal, creative, warm, and direct. Lyrically, I think I’ve moved on from “big concept” to poetic, conversational, vulnerable, and honest – so that’s what I would expect from me in the future.
What was the inspiration for the visual journey of Digital Pacific?
It was really important to me to illustrate this record with visuals — there are videos for seven songs: lowercase, god.drugs.u, Waves, practice, Palm Springs, The Nineties, and trash tv. All of these videos incorporate/represent either “Digital” (my online life) or “Pacific” (my life in California) — “lowercase” showcases some of my favorite east LA spots, “god.drugs.u” represents LA skate culture/Venice Beach, “Waves” takes us from the beach to Hollywood to Chinatown to Silver Lake, “Palm Springs” takes us on a desert detour, and finally “practice” & “The Nineties” both explore obsessions with technology, past and present. The newest video “trash tv” combines east LA sights with technological undertones – the obsession with the television could be perceived as literal tv binging (I watch a lot of reality TV when I feel depressed), or you could view it as a nod to a unhealthy relationships with social media (staring, refreshing, seeing only the best version of yourself/others, obsessing over it, etc.)