Please introduce your band
Hey, we’re Luna Blue, a four-piece indie rock band from (the musical mecca that is) Brighton! We're often likened to Foals, Don Broco and Two Door Cinema Club - but we also have a unique 'Luna Blue' sound that derives from our four very diverse influences...
Tell us about your lineup
Tom (vocalist - originally a pianist!) had his sights on writing for film. As his degree progressed, he began getting more and more into the vocal world and cites Jeff Buckley as his vocal idol.
Ryan (lead guitarist) came to us as a blues/funk guitarist and - since Luna Blue’s inception in 2015 - his guitar style has gathered many other contemporary genres such as fusion, indie, pop, metal and jazz.
Nick (bass guitarist) originally went to uni to study classical and jazz trumpet whilst harbouring a driving passion for pop, rock and metal music, and with guitar being a secondary instrument. After being asked to join the band as a bassist, his monstrous slap became one of the key features of the band’s music.
Seb (drums) started as a rock and metal drummer. He dedicated his time at university to becoming slicker and more diverse at his craft, which shows in Luna Blue - the pocket his grooves fall into are the driving force of the band’s music.
How did the band meet?
We all studied music together at the University of Chichester. Seb and Ryan already knew each other from college and started the first line-up of the band there. Meeting Tom at uni, they brought him on board as the vocalist, and in the early months of 2015 discovered Nick! It was clear that the mix worked incredibly well together, and the jumble of very different musical influences created a really fresh sound, which led Luna Blue to pursue becoming a band as a serious project.
What's the story behind your band name?
In the original line up (back from when Ryan and Seb were at college together) the other guitarist in the band at the time, Max McLeod (still a good friend of ours to this day) said the name came to him in a dream - then it just stuck, and we’ve carried it on (sorry - and thanks - Max!).
Tell us about your influences!
If Foals, Two Door Cinema Club, Don Broco and Nothing but Thieves all blended into one band, that would make a Luna Blue smoothie! Maybe with some Chilli Peppers and Chiq sprinkled on top for good measure ... but we're all variously into a lot of different stuff outside of music too, including films, gaming, programming, getting outdoors for walks, yoga, marine diving ... quite a bit really, as diverse as our musical tastes!
Could you describe your approach to songwriting?
It’s changed a lot over the years. We used to sit in a practice room and just play together, try different ideas, develop them and argue until we got a song that we were all happy with. Now we all have recording technology in our own homes (especially during restrictions), it tends to be recording a basic idea and sending it to each other, developing it that way. Inspiration can come from anywhere - a bass riff, guitar riff, drum groove; if something clicks, we’ll pursue it! Recording demos and sending each other ideas has made writing incredibly easy over lockdown.
Describe your band's first big break
The first time we were invited to perform a live set for our local BBC Introducing studio (big up Melita Dennett <3) was pretty special! At that time, it felt like “wow, other people actually like what we’re doing enough to risk putting us on the radio? - OK, we’re in!” I guess it must have gone well, 'cos they invited us back with a small orchestra the following year 🥰. Looking further back to uni days, an early break was winning Chichester University Ensemble of the Year (competing with 80+ groups including jazz, classical, rock and many other different genres) - that felt fantastic and encouraged us to believe in our abilities.
Tell us about some of your most memorable gigs - both good and bad!
Wow - there are a few! Playing live sets on the radio, or playing our original music with an orchestra have to be 'up there'. There have been several occasions when we’ve done this - it’s become a bit of a Luna Blue trademark, made possible because of all the different musicians we met at Uni (and Nick's cool arranging skills). It’s a pretty unique feeling standing on stage playing music you’ve written with a 30-piece orchestra behind you - the atmosphere is incredible! We played a last pre-Christmas show for BBC Introducing like this, which was definitely a highlight, and something we'd relish again when lockdown ends.
Best and worst gigs … our launch gig for single Tropical (January 2019) is very special to us, as the first-ever gig we sold out. It was an incredible feeling to look out at over a room packed with people there to see us; it was a wicked night, and we all had a fantastic time. Sold-out hometown shows have a special magic.
Worst gig - hmmm, probably Halloween 2015 when we were still trying to find our sound … we were in a rough pub and had people heckling us to get off stage (which looking back is quite funny, but at the time wasn't quite as entertaining!). In their defence, we possibly sucked … 😂
What advice do you have to those who want to start a band?
Be honest with each other! Don’t be afraid to hurt another band member’s feelings when they bring an idea to the table and you don’t like it. And in the same vein, learn to take criticism; if an idea doesn’t work for everyone, move on - It’s important to write music you all enjoy! And when you do get a song that every single band member agrees on, it feels superb! There’s nothing like jamming with your buddies on stage and every single one of you is SUPER into it …we miss gigs in case you couldn’t tell …
Another vital aspect (these days) is social media: it’s incredibly important, but can also be incredibly tedious - researching algorithms, keeping it consistent, making sure you’re uploading the right content etc. It’s the bit that - in many ways - can help make your band, but can also be the most difficult part!
The worst thing about being in a band - it's like each of us having three annoying extra brothers. Best bit? - like each of us having three brilliantly supportive extra brothers!
What are some of the challenges you face being in a band?
Taking the band seriously is basically having a second full-time job. Time management is something that has to be mastered to keep on top of everything, juggling band commitments, our day jobs and our personal lives - no mean feat! Lockdown presented its own challenges, with the band members in different geographical locations - but we've worked around it, like everyone in the industry.
What does it take to be successful as a band?
In a nutshell: a combination of time management, respect for your bandmates - oh, and being able to perform, and play your instruments really well! Add to that mix: commitment, creativity, and an open mind to explore unconventional ideas. And working with everything the 'system' demands - social media, streaming etc. Quite a bit of hard work - but fun.
How important is music theory?
Not as important as people make it out to be! Dave Grohl for example - one of the greatest rock stars of our time - didn't study music theory, but is an incredibly instinctive songwriter. But … when it comes to things like arranging the orchestral music we mentioned, you have to know how different instruments and tones work to write parts which suit the music you’re playing, so that IS trickier … luckily this was something we learned at Uni!
Tell us about the releases you've put out to date
We’ve released a fair bit over the years, including Nightjar EP and plenty of singles - maybe we'll post our back-catalogue some time (there are some banging tunes on there) but we underwent a full re-brand about 2 years ago, releasing a further 5 singles since then. We currently have another EP in the pipeline, with three tracks for imminent release (spring/summer 2021). We aim for an indie summer party vibe with a lot of our music, which we enjoy and fans also seem to love. For the new tracks and EP, we’re taking a slight return to Luna Blue’s original more indie-rock vibe … next up will be How Does It Feel (April 2021) - you can always check out our new releases from our website or socials, or sign up to our online news.
What has been your band's biggest achievement?
As mentioned, selling out the Tropical launch gig and also playing live with an orchestra for BBC Sussex would be two big achievements so far, without a doubt … but then there's supporting Glass Caves at a sold-out home town gig, and now it looks as though lockdown may FINALLY be over this summer, we're pretty stoked to finally be announcing our late summer UK tour soon, which already includes a couple of awesome headline gigs (including Komedia Brighton) - and a very exciting festival slot alongside McFly! We're lining them up!
How do you view the current state of the music industry?
The entertainment industry in general has had a complete hammering over the last year - it's been so tough. We've tried to do our bit with several lockdown virtual fundraising gigs, and Seb's 24-hour non-stop Drumathon (playing Nirvana's Nevermind album end to end for 24 hours - raising £1375 for #SaveOurVenues). We also live-recorded a charity set for Animals Asia during the pandemic (Over The Moon Festival on YouTube). It’s difficult to tell how everything will shakedown: it’s become easier to advertise yourself with social media, but also harder because everyone is doing the same, and there’s a lot of noise to raise your voice above and get heard. For sure there’s a massive demand for live gigs to return when safe, and we have some pretty cool stuff lined up so … bring it on! We have huge faith in the industry to bounce back, given the chance - the appetite's out there.
What are you working on right now?
We have three exciting single releases scheduled (April, June and August 2021) and an EP, we're currently getting our late summer UK tour booked, and engaging with our fans as much as possible via our socials until we can see them up close again at gigs...did we mention we miss gigging? We've been further perfecting our 'sound' during lockdown, and we're very excited about where our new tracks will lead …
What is your focus for the year ahead?
We're busy writing, recording and REALLY looking forward to finally being able to gig again. We have big plans for Luna Blue, which the pandemic delayed but didn't stop - and we're fully ready to get back out there! We've got so many banging indie rock demos in the mix, and some great tracks in final mix with our producer, the awesome (and award-nominated) Matt Parisi. Coupled with fresh artwork and great music videos coming down the line - come and join us, and watch this space!
Nick, Seb, Tom & Ryan : Luna Blue x
Thank you so much for dropping by the WeJam studio! Where can we follow your progress?