Alt. Rock band Lunacre have really started making waves with their new single Schtum (an English slang word for ‘be quiet’), but quiet they are not! Since forming they have carefully honed their sound – a hybrid of the Doves vs an acoustic Radiohead – and are now ready for greatness.
Ste Knight sat down with the band recently to find out a little more.
Hi, guys. Thanks for taking the time out to have a chat with us, and also record us a brilliant mix. So, first things first. Lunacre – go ahead and introduce yourselves and tell us what role each of you plays in the band?
Hello. It’s a pleasure, we really enjoyed making the mix! I’m Ben de Vries, Lunacre’s main songwriter and singer, Jacob Harrison is our bassist, JP Thwaites is our drummer, Ben Goodall [hereinafter referred to as ‘BenJee’] is our saxophone, melodica, guitar, keys, sampler, (whatever else) player, and the newest member, Scott Nelson, is our lead guitarist.
Are you able to tell us a bit about where it all began for Lunacre?
Jacob and I (and our old guitarist Sam) had been jamming/making tunes since school. But a couple of years ago we decided to try and get something with a bit of momentum together. So we rounded up all the people we’d vaguely talked to about collaborating and moved into a house together. Looking back on it, it’s amazing and lucky that everyone was willing and able to take that leap of faith (BenJee and JP had only met a handful of times at this point); it was a crucial time for Lunacre.
We made it a concentrated period of jamming/writing/doing long distance road trips to play gigs in far away places; the trip up to Newcastle to play the Head Of Steam for Charlie Dancer of Beyond the Wall remains one of my high points of the band. Anyway, after some ‘downtime’ at the start of 2016, Sam moved to Berlin, we got Scott on board, and we’re in London promoting our new EP and working on a third.
You’re definitely geared towards a more alternative rock edge. Where do you draw your influences from? Do you have any particular artists that have inspired you to start recording?
As a group, we’d cite Massive Attack, Bjork, Radiohead and all of Damon Albarn’s projects as influences. But between the 5 of us we’ve got a broad spectrum of tastes which all come out in the tunes one way or another. Usually, the lyrics are my biggest priority (and making sure the music serves them well). Our newest member Scott is a great asset, he’s got a lot of experience both on stage and in the studio, and in a lot of different styles; which has added some new dimensions to Lunacre.
JP is into everything from Pink Floyd to Bonobo, and it all comes out in his drumming. Jacob and I share a lot of the same influences, and when we were teenagers we spent a lot of time sharing music. BenJee can usually be found in his room surrounded by an accumulation of empty bowls making clickety clackety beats.
Your latest single, Schtum, dropped recently, as did your latest EP (also called Schtum – how’d that happen?!!). What was the recording process like when you were putting the single together? Do you have any particular rituals you follow while in the studio?
Rituals… Well, JP can only drum in time if his whole kit is facing north! We tend to get all the tracking done first then experiment with production stuff once the basic track is down. The most ritualistic thing I guess is that we usually make a studio demo of a song and also a decent live arrangement of it before we start the ‘master’ studio version.
It’s important, especially with intricately produced tracks, to make sure the live ‘heart’ of the song is engaging and exciting underneath all the cerebral sound design stuff. The EP was always going to be named after the track ‘Schtum.’. For me, it sums up something which all the other tracks point to, so it seemed like the only choice, and in the end, it felt the right choice for the single too.
Recording a track is obviously a bit different to recording a mix. Tell us about what your intentions were with the mix you recorded for us. How do you feel the creative process differs between the two?
We talked about this while we were making it! It’s the difference between creating and curating. The biggest difference is that the music already exists when you’re making a mix, you’re just responsible for the listener’s journey. We brainstormed a massive list of tracks and then last Sunday I stayed up late figuring out which tracks work best with each other and cool ways to cut between them. I did that linearly and in one sitting so that my experience making it was as close as possible to the experience someone might have listening to it.
What does the future hold for Lunacre? Anything exciting we should keep an eye out for?
We’ve got a music video for ‘Schtum.’ on the way which we’re excited to share. Apart from that, you should try and make one of our upcoming gigs (www.lunacre.com/live) and stay tuned for our next release. We ended up in a really exciting place after ‘Schtum EP’, so hopefully the next release will be a good ‘un.
01// INTRO Apple Computer Startup Noise
02// Kraftwerk – Europe Endless Vs. BBFC VSC Warner Bros Home Video UK VHS Warning [PG]
03// Travis Corwin & Denley – Regret It
04// Portishead – It Could Be Sweet
05// Berkwin Jersey – Sixes & Nines
06// LA Priest – Lorry Park (Edit.)
07// Robert Fripp – Bringing Down The Light V F.T.A. 16
08// Lunacre – Sleeptalk
09// Massive Attack – Weather Storm
10// Bronze Thesaurus – Is This The Way You Love (Edit)
11// Alice Coltrane – Journey in Satchidananda (Edit)
12// Dee C’rell – Berlin (Edit)
[Playstation One Startup.]
13// Channel Island Sound – The Precaution Illusion
14// Ryuichi Sakamoto – Forbidden Colours
15// Jon Hopkins – Immunity
16// Primal Scream – Inner Flight
17// Spencer Nilsen – Ecco Theme
18// Eco Virtual 大気研究音楽 – Nimbostratus
19// Air – Alone In Kyoto
20// Lunacre – Troupe
21// Richard Hawley – Sheffield On Sea
22// Glynis Jones – Veils & Mirrors
23// Brian Eno – The Big Ship
24// John Martyn – Small Hours