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Interview: Lunar Woods
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Music has been always naturally present in my life. I have been listening to lots of music, finding something interesting in what I heard, trying to understand why I like something, and why I don’t like something else. At some point I realized that I do not just want to listen to music, I want to create mine, want to express my feelings through music. Now I get special pleasure in process of creating new music. I can depict states of mind, create hues of sentiments and emotions, expand my inner emotional boundaries while interacting with the instrument. Playing an instrument is like driving a car. It seems like the car is running on its own, but there are lots of things going on under its hood. Music makes you feel and see everything differently, makes your brain work at 100%.
It is hard for me to imagine what would my life be without music. However, I know that the best way to understand the world is to interact with it. I have always loved working with various materials: wood, metal, plastic, etc... I think I could be doing some design engineering. There is something in it.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I get great pleasure meeting new people. People who are in the state of search, just like me, creating something too. I like spontaneous meetings when you can share your thoughts and hear something sincere and interesting in response. We do not always realize how much other people influence our life. Even short encounters can make a difference in our life, our further creative work.
How long has your band been around?
Lunar Woods has been around for more than 5 years. Initially, the band consisted of two people: Alexey Trefilov and me. We were more a studio band with a sessional drummer. The permanent drummer arrived later. Together we recorded the album “Let’s Get Loud”. A couple of years ago our drummer changed, and we decided that it was time to proceed to a new album: a large-scale and a long play one. Now, this album is recorded and waiting to be released in autumn 2021. Besides, a second guitar, Andrey Kutyavin, recently joined our band. With him, we feel much more confident when performing, and our sound became more dimensional and richer.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are located in Izhevsk, Russia. This is where we record the greatest part of our material. In general, Izhevsk is a rather musical city. A lot of events happen here. Though I would not say that our sound is directly influenced by living in this city. The point is that our radar was more looking to the west, and we’ve been always listening more to foreign music. Although I am sure some people may argue this because the environment in any case has a significant influence on who you are.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
It seems to me it took us more than a year to invent the name of our band. And actually, it was a real challenge for us. We were looking for something as weird as possible, but comprehensible at the same time. Eventually, we had to take a rather uncommon approach to this matter: we were creating associative lines out of things we like, going over various combinations, throwing out what did not get on, and finally, a good variant appeared: still today we find it as best as it could be possible, reflecting the nature of the material we are composing.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
There are gigs where the audience simply does not dig into what is going on. It happens when you find yourself at a festival with a big number of bands playing in various styles. This way sometimes you simply don’t fit the mood of the audience that could have expected something different. The stars just don’t align. However, next time, your listener is there on another gig, the audience knows the lyrics, and moving along the rhythm of the music, you realize the gig is a success. All in all, it seems to us that the best performances are solo performances.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
We like small venues with a capacity of 500 to 1000 people. It’s a comfort zone for us. At such shows, we feel the audience better, and the party atmosphere is cozier. But festivals always mean new horizons and new experience. Some day we would like to play at such festivals as “Hellfest”, “Grasspop”, “Wacken” and on other large European venues.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
It would be a great honor for us to play on the same stage with “Deftones”, “Tool”, “Alice in Chains”, “Sleep” and “Queens of the Stone Age”.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
I would advise listening to your own inner world, and from the very beginning to try to compose your own material. Composing music reflecting your inner world – no matter how trivial it may sound. I think if you dig deep inside, you can find a lot. I believe everyone has something to say to this world. And the audience is always waiting for something sincere and unique. You cannot deceive it.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
The best advice for anyone is not to afraid. Not to be afraid of new opportunities. Life is constantly changing; one must keep looking for something new and be alive. Fears often stop moving forward. I like the quote from the movie “Back To The Future” when professor Emmett Brown tells Marty McFly “put your mind to it and you can accomplish anything”. Sometimes you need not just dreaming, but moving towards your goals, taking particular actions.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I would recommend listening to the song we always play at our performances. This is “Welcome”. It is simple but catching each time for some odd reason. It has got its vibe and drive. Everyone may find something of their own in it.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
We are now studying the material from the new album for further performances and the presentation of the new album. The album really contains a lot of exciting material played with great pleasure. These are songs “In the Clouds”, “Dead End”, “Pain No More”, “Never Mind”, and others. We always play such songs as “Wait It Out”, “Welcome” and “Crazy Day” at our concerts. This is old material, but we love these songs and the audience likes them too.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
The main author of songs in Lunar Woods is me. However, the latest album is a product of tight interaction between all team members. A great contribution is made by our new drummer, Ravil Nizametdinov. We were working through each part of a song together, sharing ideas, and introducing some changes to the arrangement of songs again and again. Some songs were literally reworked from scratch by changing the speed, structure, lyrics, melodic lines. The main goal was to make them so that the material of the album 100% satisfies all band members. This inspired us in our work on the album, although the process often turned to be hard on a moral level.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We are just sharing our personal thoughts and emotional experience while creating the right vibe for them represented by the musical palette. We do not put any special message. This way, everyone may find what they like in our music. I would say the focus is first of all given to music and rhythm. Lyrics are completing the picture.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Of course, just like any other band, we have disagreements, but eventually, we have a common goal: making good material and sharing it with the listener. We are just trying to listen to each other’s opinions and move forward. Writing new material is not always smooth, but we take it as a challenge and try to get pleasure from the process.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
The key upcoming event for our band is the release of a new album, “Pain No More”. We are very encouraged and long for sharing it with the audience. We are preparing for a presentation of the album at concert venues and planning to film videos to support the album and currently looking for a director to work on the video.