In anticipation of the next instalment of #NothingMajor we chat to LUMA to discuss progress on their EP, the meaning behind LUMA and what to expect from their performance
A dictionary listing reveals luma to be a monetary unit or Armenia. What does Luma mean to you and how did the name come about?
If you google search it a little more you will find many meanings for it in different languages. One is that it is the name of a plant or small tree native of Chile, South America. The meaning that really resonated with me the most was that it means “light” or to illuminate something. I wanted the name of this project to be simple, easy to say and for it to convey a strong meaning; although, people continue to get it wrong and call it LUNA. Many bands are affected by this torment. The songs often play on the theme of “light”. Thematically the songs often have a metaphorical nature, the use of light, illuminating, night and day comes up in many songs. Whether it be the direct mention of light, “don’t be afraid of the light, you have nothing to hide”…a line from the song ‘See you again’, or something more subtle, it has great significance to the project.
What was the driving force behind you wanting to start this project?
This project actually started years ago, when I was still in Bye Beneco in fact.
I made the decision to leave the band to pursue a more “solo” endeavour. It was really difficult for me to leave. I loved the music we made together and I am still a huge fan. The driving force behind the motivation of this project was a raging desire to push myself out of my comfort zone and embrace my musicality.
I was really stuck in a negative headspace as I would be really tough on myself and my musical abilities. My musical confidence is still a struggle sometimes. I wanted to challenge myself to be courageous. I am still learning to fully embrace what I’m doing, to really go for it. There were no more excuses for me to neglect this path. This is a seminal project in my life. Every emotion in me is propelling it forward.
There really isn’t a single term which describes your wide-reaching sound and the closest we could muster is psychedelic electronica. How would you describe your sound?
That is a pretty accurate description. It has so many different influences though. At the core of it, there are definitely electronic, dream-pop, instrumental, psychedelic and dancey elements. I don’t think I am going for a specific sound. Whatever sounds make me feel a strong emotion are added to the mix.
Luma thrives on collaboration and you’ve worked with the likes of Thor Rixon, Tshepang Ramoba, Card On Spokes, Jazzuelle, Leeu and Stru Stru of Sol Gems. How do you ensure authenticity and sticking to the Luma mission when collaborating with people from a different field?
This is a really good question.
I think every song that is a collaboration of some sort always has a definitive narrative of mine in the lyrics as I strive to play instruments, sing and write. I have been very hands-on with this project steering a lot of the creative direction. Everyone I have worked with has given space to my sound. Alex is amazing in that way. In addition to being incredibly talented, he creates a very approachable environment when we produce songs together. Alex Leeu has been my partner in this for a while and his influences are also pretty fierce as he adds a lot of the unconventional electronic sounds.
Who do you dream of collaborating with both locally and internationally and why?
I would love to work with Manthe Ribane. We have discussed it before but never got around to doing it. She is an incredible performer and artist. Her music resonates with me as she has a distinctive and organic electronic sound.
I feel like I could write a really eccentric piece of music with Connan Mockasin. I have no idea what would come of it. Our sounds are poles apart in a way, which would make the match intriguing. He is also one of my favourite musicians. It would be a dream.
The haunting ‘All The While’ was created using predominantly sounds you sampled organically. Tell us more about this and the process of creating the track?
Thor Rixon has a fresh attitude towards producing music which attracted me to working with him. He encouraged us to take a more organic approach to the instrumentation. Thor took field recordings of water, wind and birds. The drums were created by hitting cups, glasses, chairs with different household items. We also used things like Chinese baoding balls to create some of the sounds. They are usually used for meditation. The only conventional instrument that Ying-Poi De Lacy and I played was an old detuned piano. This created the basis of the track.
What are you currently working on and when can we expect the next release from Luma?
After the next few shows, I will be heading back into studio to finish off my EP. The next release is going to have a more trip-hop, slowed down feel to it. It is obviously going to be different from the rest of the tracks as we have noted the ever changing sound. But this will be all LUMA. Just myself and Alex Leeu.
What can be expected of your performance at #NothingMajor?
You can expect some surprises and maybe one or two special guests. The show will be different from previous ones and that’s all I’m saying.
Catch LUMA performing at #NothingMajor on the 29th of June at Kitcheners in Braam. RSVP.