I first heard Luna Webster play at a house party late last year (writes Andy Wood) and I have to say I was pretty mesmerised by her songs. Presented simply in a crowded bedroom, just voice, acoustic guitar and no amplification or stage, the performance and songs hushed the room in an instant.
Although they can sound delicate, almost fragile even, there is a strength to them that held everyone rapt for the duration of the set. While Luna’s songs are gorgeous and melodic there is a dark edge to them, an almost haunted feel that really appeals to me.
Luna appears to be a pretty prolific writer as a trip to her Soundcloud page shows and now she has recorded and self-released her debut E.P. Hollywood May Be Dead But Let’s Dance On The Gravestones. The recordings on the E.P. reveal a fuller sound than the demos but this only adds to the charm of the songs rather than smother them in layers of production. At times the songs sound as if they could be from another era but they aren’t nostalgic, more yearning for some glamour or adventure in a world that seems hell-bent on the quick, cheap thrill at the expense of something equally thrilling but with more depth. I can listen to these songs over and over without ever getting bored, sometimes it’s just an individual line or image or hook that grab me. To say I’m happy to have Luna play at The Cool Cat Club is an understatement. Anyway, I’ve done enough blethering so without further ado I should hand over to luna.
Could you introduce yourself please? Who are you and how did you get into playing and performing music?
I’m Luna Webster, a singer/songwriter from Fife. I started writing music in the winter of 2011 after I found my old guitar in the attic and it all just lead from there really. I taught myself how to write and play guitar and in 2012 I started doing gigs – it all seems to have happened very quickly!
What are your influences, musical or otherwise?
I’m influenced by a huge range of musical genres, but I really adore 60s girl group pop, especially The Shangri-las, and I feel really inspired by them. I have a massive girl crush on Marina Diamandis, I think the whole alternative pop thing she’s doing at the moment is fantastic, same with Lana Del Rey. I’m also a big fan of bands like The Horrors and Toy and Tame Impala, and in the title track of my EP you can really hear that. I love so many different types of music and I’d like to think that they all come through a little bit in my music.
Film really inspires me to write as well, old Hollywood movies mostly, but my favourite film of all time is Amelie and I’ve felt my lyrics have been quite inspired by that at times. I absolutely adore the French language and culture and I wish I was Parisian – Anna Karina is one of my favourite people ever, just the way she phrased things and her beauty, she was so astounding.
You’ve just released your debut E.P. Can you tell me a bit about the recording of that and how it feels to have released it?
I feel really relieved that an incredible amount of hard work from just me and Ronan (my sound recorder and mixer) is all finished and I have something that I am really proud of. It’s been a great experience and I loved it but it was bloody knackering-travelling with my guitars to Glasgow for two and a half hours was probably the most exhausting part. It’s all been really worth it though and I am very proud of what I’ve accomplished by working mostly alone, although Ronan was an absolute star and he mixed everything exactly how I had it in my head, so he deserves a hell of a lot of credit too.
What has been the best moment or moments of being a performer so far?
I guess it is probably meeting really cool people who are interested in the same things as you. I live in a relatively small village where there is hardly very much diversity so I love getting to travel and meet new people. I’m always desperate to go places so my music is a great excuse to hop on a train to go somewhere either to perform or get inspiration to write or whatever.
And the worst / strangest?
At my very first gig at Studio 24 in Edinburgh I was first on the lineup out of 6 bands, and when I arrived at the venue they turned out to be proper heavy head banging metal bands! As I was already a bit jumpy about performing for the first time that was a pretty nervous moment – turning up ready for a sound check and being the only person that doesn’t look like a member of a Metallica tribute band can be a pretty scary experience. However they were all really lovely and the gig went well and, although I was terrified at the time, I’m still performing now so I clearly haven’t been too traumatised by it.
Is Hollywood really dead?
I think the glamour of it certainly is. Hollywood used to really influence what the public wore on a day to day basis, people were absolutely mesmerised by the elegance and beauty of it all, but nowadays I don’t think that really happens. ‘A’ List actors and actresses like Angelina Jolie or Daniel Day Lewis could never fascinate the public the way Marilyn Monroe or James Dean did. They were revolutionary and I don’t think that Hollywood will ever have that kind of effect ever again, because something can only be totally new and exciting once. I see Ryan Gosling as a sort of James Dean type, rebellious and handsome, but it feels unoriginal and like he’s trying too hard to be that way. 1950s Hollywood fascinates me just because it was so incredibly new and fresh and influential to normal people in a time of such worldwide fear. I love the dark glamour to it all. It may be dead but at least we have the memories to look back on rather than hundreds of modern day wannabee Grace Kellys filling our screens.
What are the qualifications required to be a rock ‘n’ roll girl or boy?
I don’t think there are set qualifications – if you love rock and roll, whether it’s 1960s rock and roll love songs or modern day dirty rock and roll, I think people should be whoever the hell they want to be and dress however the hell they want to dress. I hate the concept of ‘oh, you like this genre of music; you have to act a certain way or dress a certain way to fit in’. It’s bullshit. Enjoy music, go to gigs, act however you bloody want to, and ignore the people who say that you’re a “poser” or whatever. If you love music you love music. That should be it.
What would your ideal gig be if there were no limits?
I’d love to perform at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, out by the pool. That place is so dreamlike and strangely dark. Everybody would be drinking peach tea cocktails and falling in love with their surroundings. I’d resurrect James Dean just so he could watch the show. Or maybe I’d go back to 1960’s Paris and invite Francoise Hardy and Serge Gainsbourg and Anna Karina and then just stay there forever and become Parisian.
How would you describe your music to someone who hadn’t yet heard it?
Bittersweet, dark, nostalgic acoustic songs about desperation to go places, self loathing and lust.
What have you got planned for the forthcoming months?
Try to perform as much as possible, write some more material on my lovely new electric guitar, unfortunately my exams are in the next few months so my rock and roll lifestyle may have to be put on hold for a wee bit. I’m being interviewed by Kingdom Cuts on Sunday 17th March so that should be fun, but I really want to get some airplay of Hollywood May Be Dead seeing as I have worked so hard on it for so long.
Anything else that you would like to add?
My EP is available to download or buy on CD here!
More info online
Bandcamp – http://lunawebster.bandcamp.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/LunaWebsterMusic
Twitter – @LunaWebster
Luna Webster will be opening the show at the Cool Cat Club on Saturday 16th March. Also on the bill are Kid Canaveral, Man Without Machines and Randolph’s Leap. Advance tickets at £6 each are on sale online here (stbf) and from Groucho’s whilst the show is on Facebook here.