Tag Archives: Anna Maria Lopez

Luna Shadows (Interview)

luna-shadows-12
Luna Shadows is a dark popstress obsessed with The Golden State and its infinite inspirations.
Photog Anna Maria Lopez recently hung out with her at the Santa Monica Pier to ask some questions and shoot some pics.
luna-shadows-1
What’s the story behind the title of your recently released debut EP Summertime?

“I went through a number of titles but Summertime was always the one that I came back to for a number of reasons. The project started in Summer 2014 and it was released in Summer 2016. The word ‘summertime’ appears as a lyric in a few different songs and the entire EP revolves around endless summer and Californian imagery. In a broader sense, Summertime represents nostalgia, longing, hopefulness, readiness, love, loss, youth, and freedom. Growing up in New York City, I would wait all year for the sun and the freedom that summer implied. It is both literally the season and also metaphorically what it represents: the arrival of something long anticipated. It is a simple word that means so much to me and so perfectly encapsulates how I felt during the writing of this record.”

luna-shadows-3
Some of your lyrics mention life in Los Angeles and California. How has living here influenced your music?

“Speaking of summer, it was always a dream of mine to live in California from the time I was a small child. I moved out here as soon as I was old enough to come on my own. I knew no one at all when I got here and now I can’t imagine ever leaving. It was both lonely and liberating at the same time which has also been my lasting impression of L.A. I was drawn here for the same reasons as most: the palm trees, the weather, the beach, the blue skies. But I’ve come to love the small underappreciated details about L.A. too. Being here has heavily influenced my music. It feels like the summer I would always wait for except it’s all the time.”

luna-shadows-7
How did you recruit Brad Hale to be your co-producer?

“I met Brad back in 2012 at one of his shows because I was a big fan of his band Now, Now. I approached him and his bandmates after the gig –we had lots of mutual friends– and offered them a place to stay next time they returned to L.A. Thinking they’d never take me up on it, I was wrong. Next time they came back they stayed with me. I baked them strawberry cupcakes before we all bonded over our love of cats and our collective social anxiety. We’ve been best friends ever since. At some point, I asked Brad if he would try working on a song with me. We sat down in Summer of 2014 and wrote most of ‘Waves’ in about fifteen minutes.”

luna-shadows-16
How about Thom Powers?

“In the summer of 2014, Brad was staying with me in L.A. –he’s from Minneapolis– and working on his music. He invited me out to tacos with his friend Thom of the band The Naked and Famous –of whom I was also a big fan. I almost didn’t go because I was too tired but I pulled it together. The three of us sat and ate tacos and drank margaritas for hours. It was a right-place right-time situation. Thom had just returned home from a tour and was interested in producing a project outside of his band. So we started working together. Sometimes it would be all three of us [‘Cry Wolf’], sometimes just Brad and I [‘Waves’], and sometimes just Thom and I [‘Hallelujah California’]. We all checked in with each other and bounced ideas around regardless. The two of them are my dream team.”

luna-shadows-10
Where all was the EP recorded?

“Every instrument on my EP is digital. The entire thing was created on a computer with the exception being guitar. We worked in Thom’s home studio in Echo Park for most of the demo process. I record and edit my own vocals either in my bedroom or in my friend’s closet in Mount Washington. This involves me standing in a soundproof closet in the heat of L.A. summer, with no AC or a fan –because it makes too much noise, for four to eight hours at a time. My computer would overheat and start making electrical noises so I would occasionally run into the kitchen and put it in the fridge to cool it down quickly. The things you do for love.”

luna-shadows-14
What can you tell us about your collaborations with Kamtin Mohager of The Chain Gang of 1974?

“Kam was a co-writer on ‘Cherry.’ We have written a few songs together but so far this is the only one we finished. Thom is also producing Kam’s record which comes out very soon so the three of us thought it would be fun to try something together one day. The day we wrote this song I walked in and started dancing to a few trap songs that I brought in for reference. I suggested that we write something with a dark hip-hop or trap beat juxtaposed with a melancholy chord progression that would tug at the heart strings. I had written the word ‘cherry’ in my iPhone notes around that time and I didn’t yet know what I meant yet but it all came together as the melody fell into place. Kam improvised the initial idea for the verse melody. Then I reorganized that idea, wrote the chorus, added my lyrics and harmonies, structured it out, and ran home to demo vocals for what is now ‘Cherry’ –my favorite track on the EP.”

luna-shadows-9
You just released a stunning music video for “Hallelujah California.” Where all was it shot?

“We shot all around L.A. but primarily in Silver Lake and Echo Park because that’s where I spend most of my time and where the EP was created. I also wanted to do something at the beach but present it in a darker fashion which most people don’t usually imagine when they think of L.A. So it was my idea to shoot a sequence at the beach where I wear all black and walk into the water at the very end.”

luna-shadows-11
Who are the tattooed twins featured in the video?

“The twins are Adam and Keith Brierley. In real life, they are two amazing guys who run a thrift store and have the coolest Instagrams ever. Morgan Freed, the video’s director, found them on Facebook. We saw a picture of them and we refused to even consider anyone else. They were so perfect. In the video, their role is supposed to be left open to interpretation. I want fans to interpret for themselves who they are and what they represent. I may never tell!”

luna-shadows-15
Why did you choose to shoot it in black and white? California is so sunny!

“For that exact reason. Everyone typically captures L.A.’s dreaminess and all its colors so I wanted to counter that classic image with something more modern and raw that exposed the darker parts. You can still tell it’s sunny and we’ve incorporated these prisms of paradise but then there’s this other element present where you can tell there’s something darker. It is the mission statement of my art as a whole to place dark and light things side by side.”

Anna Maria Lopez: Website, Facebook, Instagram

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Molly Marlette (Interview)


Molly Marlette is a former “show-biz kid” who is now a vibrant popster with a captivating new single: “Do Me A Favor.” Photog Anna Maria Lopez recently hung out with her to ask some questions and shoot some fun pics.

You’ve lived in Hollywood your whole life. How has the neighborhood changed over the years?

“I have a somewhat delusional view of Los Angeles so it’s hard for me to say. I pretend the sign on the hill still says ‘Hollywoodland.’ It’s like, to me L.A. is still the place where people go to dream. You know? Where stars are born. I’ll walk past the Chase Bank parking lot across from Chateau Marmont and picture the old Garden of Allah Hotel that used to be there with Charlie Chaplin and William Faulkner hanging out.”

You’ve been a trained tap dancer since childhood. Do you ever incorporate this into your live shows?

“I have actually! We put a mic in a box that I stood on and I looped some things. I also did for the intro of ‘Cause for Concern’ on my last album.”

You have a very fun aesthetic filled with color. Where does your inspiration for this come from?

“My inspiration comes from old MGM musicals, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and also David Bowie. I would love to work with someone who aspires to be the next Edith Head.”

Your pet Pomeranian, Theodore, is rather famous for his aqua blue fur. How did he end up this way?

“Theodore is groomed by the fabulous Jess Rona. I had seen her work before and told her to do whatever inspired her. He’s actually pink now! It’s completely organic, non-toxic, vegan, and pet-friendly.”

Your latest single, “Do Me A Favor,” is a synth-laden pop blast and a departure from your debut album The Robber and the Boy. What inspired your new sound?

“I’ve always wanted to do something like that and it felt right at the time. I grew up listening to [George] Gershwin and [Henry] Mancini and those are my biggest influences in terms of writing. But I remember when I was twelve getting a Happy Meal from McDonald’s that had a little MP3 player with ‘Stronger’ by Britney Spears. I think they were called HitClips. My twelve-year-old mind was blown. I remember being really confused because I wanted to do something like that but it didn’t fit in my Judy Garland box of goals. More recently I decided to mix them.”

Your music video for “Do Me A Favor” shot scenes at Vincent Lamouroux’s “Projection” installation, the “Bates Motel,” in Silver Lake. How did this come about?

“I was driving by on Sunset [Boulevard] and I saw this completely whitewashed motel –the palm trees and the sign and everything– and I knew that had to be the location. It was perfect. We got permission from the artist and the gallery but I still had to climb the fence in a white mini skirt to get in.”

What can you tell us about your forthcoming album?

“I’m working on more music. It won’t be too long this time.”

Anna Maria Lopez: Website, Facebook, Instagram

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Madeline Spooner (Interview)

3D7A7699
Madeline Spooner is a young songstress who just released her new EP, NAUTILUS, which conjures a swirl of ravishing mood pop within every track. Photog Anna Maria Lopez recently caught up with the singer to shoot some portraits and ask some questions.

You’re a native of the Midwest. How did you come to move to Los Angeles?

“I romanticized living on the West Coast all throughout my high school years. So many great bands that I was influenced by, like The Doors, came out of L.A. and I just knew this was where I needed to be. My parents insisted I go to college and with very little thought or research I set my sights on CalArts and got in. I came out in 2009 to study music and was shell-shocked when I realized The Valley was not the beach and 2009 was not 1969. There are so many redeeming qualities to the city but I do miss thunderstorms and that simple Midwestern lifestyle.”

3D7A7869

How did you choose the title of your new EP NAUTILUS?

“The name chose itself. I saw a spiral shape in a bunched up blanket on my couch in a sort of subconscious flash. I knew it was the title of the EP at the moment I saw it. The nautilus and its divine proportions is the mathematical formula that makes up creation. NAUTILUS revolves around themes of life, death, rebirth and transformation. At the time I was writing it I was having dreams in which I was dying of a terminal illness and was also present with my friend and CalArts music mentor who was dying of cancer. And all of that influenced the music. I also finished the record with the song that I started with before meeting my producer, Ethan Allen, which is titled ‘Into The Womb.’ So it really came full circle, just like a spiral.”

3D7A7761

Was there a catalyst which made you decide to incorporate electronic production into your acoustic songwriting?

“Yes. Absolutely, there was a catalyst. For most of my life I only listened to classic rock and then in my early teens I listened to various female folk-pop artists. When I discovered CocoRosie’s electronic freak folk album Grey Oceans, it turned my world upside down in a good way. I started hearing electronic music in my head before going to sleep at night. It was totally clairaudient because the sounds I was hearing were so visceral. It was as if I was an antenna picking up radio waves from some distant place or time. There is no way I could ever record or notate what I was hearing because it is far too complex. But from then on, I knew I wanted to incorporate more in my music.”

3D7A7851

How did you come to work with your producer Ethan Allen?

“I was working at a coffee shop in Silver Lake called Mornings Nights and Ethan was a customer. A coworker told me he was someone very special that I should know. It turned out to be very true. At that time I was still self-producing and about a year later I sought Ethan’s help. After just one meeting I knew he was the guy to work. NAUTILUS was a true collaboration and co-production. When I brought the songs to him it was as if he had been there from the beginning of the original idea. That’s when you know you’ve got a true collaborator because it feels like you don’t need to verbalize much.”

3D7A7853

What is the overall lyrical theme of this EP?

“There are a lot of deep, heady philosophical ideas but there is a fair amount of playfully facetious and provocative naïvete to the lyrics. Words like ‘let’s make a porn out in the corn’ and ‘I am the whore, lucky you are’ are covertly executed in the way they are sung and snuck into the rhythm of the melodies. They are lyrics that aren’t necessarily the focus of those songs but flavors of the human experience that can’t be ignored. I mean, you can’t have life or death without sex in the mix.”

3D7A7702-Edit

You use projections in your live shows. How do you curate the images?

“I have been leaning towards a more modern look with clean lines and shapes where the function of the projections should serve to heighten the experience and enhance a trans-like state. The projections are there to support the experience. I want people to get a feeling like they are lifting off the ground.”

Have you gotten your nautilus tattoo yet?

“Who said I was getting a nautilus tattoo?”

Anna Maria Lopez: Website, Facebook, Instagram

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,