Simon talks being in a band with his brother, playing The London city showcase festival and meeting John Kennedy from XFM
Simon (Guitar and Vocals)
The London city showcase festival is a great way to discover new live music, in fact its how I found you guys. Tell us about your experience of it? We really enjoyed the show. It was a real pleasure to meet the host – the esteemed John Kennedy of XFM whose show X-posure has been a band favourite for years.
So how did Lunar Youth get started? We started writing and performing last year with The Cure and Tom Petty as two strong touchstones. Since then we’ve been listening to myriad different artists and finding inspiration in different places – Adam our drummer has been studying the Tabla and gamelan and Peter our bassist has been experimenting with analogue synths. We have always paid great attention to song structure and lyrics, but more recently rhythmic elements have come to the fore.
What are the advantages and disadvantages to having three members, two of which siblings? It’s great having my brother in the band. Not only are we co-workers, but we also live together and we share many of the same friends. We are together most of the time, but it’s out of choice. We’re pretty chilled out guys – so not sibling bust ups – at least not yet. Peter has known us since we were teenagers, so the dynamic is very relaxed.
How much do you think the internet music revolution has advanced or hindered your progress in the industry? I like that with YouTube, MySpace, and Spotify, as soon as you want to hear a track, be it a lost classic, a number 1 hit or unreleased, you can. The danger is that it makes music more and more disposable and our attention spans shorter and shorter. I don’t think checking a band out on a computer is the best way to digest music – however convenient it is. But we modern consumers love convenience! I love to listen to records while driving ,which is considered old-fashioned these days.
‘Soma’ appears to be about youthful moments where sex is disguised as love and love is disguised as sex, is this an inaccurate interpretation?
The song Soma was written after I read ‘A Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley. The book is about a futuristic society where morality is turned on its head –love and
monogamy are discouraged and promiscuity and hedonism are promoted by the government. Everybody takes a drug called Soma, which brings about a state of complete bliss and has no side effects. In the novel a girl meets a young ‘savage’ who has been brought into the metropolis from a Mexican reservation where primitive life has been preserved. She falls in love and the only way she can describe her feeling is by comparing it to Soma – I loved the idea that human emotion can only be related in view of something artificial. The song is sung from the point of view of the ‘savage’, who is in fact highly intelligent and well read. Huxley’s foresight is amazing. Many of the things that he predicts will dominate low-culture we have today – including the Imax cinema and the synthesizer which we use a great deal in LY!
This is an awkward question as no band wants to be based on small merits of genres but are you afraid of being eaten up by the 80’s Post Punk Revival? I love the Cure and the Psychedelic Furs – two of the leading lights of that time. Whereas many of our peers draw on the jerky, jagged sound of that period we distinguish ourselves by looking to the lush textures and driving rhythms found on those records. We are really into high fidelity.
A cute girl is somewhere right now discovering Lunar Youth, what impact would you like to have on her through the magic of headphones (a) Turn a her on (b) Make her dance (c) Relax on the nightbus home All the great bands should be able to do all three – and on the same album.
What are you looking forward between now and the end of the year, touring, E.Ps? We are heading to New York and LA in June to play some gigs and record some new material which will be our strongest batch yet.
Where would you be if you weren’t making music with each other? I would be living on a ranch, leading a more tranquil, thoughtful life. Adam would be a fighter pilot and Peter would be a detective.