Brighton’s latest musical sensation has emerged in the form of recent University of Chichester graduates, Luna Blue, and they’re making their mark on the scene with their unique brand of funky indie-pop. Here’s what they had to say:
When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?
Ryan: I first fell in love with music at about the age of 5/6 where I would listen to a huge amount of AC/DC and Guns n Roses, when I got to about 15 I discovered Jimi Hendrix and this man alone gave me a huge drive to become a guitarist.
Seb: My brother got me really into music when he came home with CDs from the likes of Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Korn. I was always fascinated with the powerful drumming in these tracks after I picked up the drums at a young age. But my real inspiration came from two albums in particular. The first was Dream Theater’s Train of Thought. Some of Mike Portnoy’s drumming in songs like Honor Thy Father opened me up to what real powerful, fast and complex drumming sounded like, whereas Danny Carey’s drumming throughout Tool’s Lateralus made me realise just how creative and musical you could really be behind a drum kit.
Tom: I was classically trained on the piano from the young age of seven, being inspired by artists such as Ludovico Einaudi and Chopin with a deep-rooted passion for composing film scores. Later on in my youth I began to self teach guitar which led me onto songwriting taking influences from Ben Howard, Newton Faulkner and the Frey. Towards the end of my first year at the University of Chichester, after meeting the band, my motivation to bring out the best in my voice picked up and I trained my voice for several hours a day with a minimum of 1 hour vocal coaching a week. I continue to keep up the daily practise as I am constantly looking for ways to push my voice and so that I can maintain it for the duration of my musical career.
Nick: My dad is a music teacher so I’ve been playing music from a very young age on the trumpet and piano, so I have a strong background in classical and jazz. I took up the guitar when I was 12, the drums at 13 and I first picked up a bass guitar when I was 15 after being asked to play in a wind band. My dad has always been my biggest inspiration, making me aspire to be the greatest musician I can possibly be. But Progressive Metal band Tool were the first band I started listening to that wasn’t my dads music, and that was what inspired me to pick up and learn to play the guitar.
Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?
Ryan: AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin. These where the big bands that I used to listen to all the time. These days I listen to more Jazz Fusion such as the Aristocrats, Greg Howe, Allan Holdsworth.
Seb: I grew up listening to Rock and Metal primarily, before shifting more towards Prog Metal and more recently into the quirky realms of Jazz Fusion. Personally, I like to try and put in a little bit of the complexities of Prog Metal and Jazz Fusion into my playing. I get bored if I’m not spicing up my drum grooves just a little. We’re always trying to toe the line between keeping our music accessible to everyone, but also keeping a hint of subtle complexity…mainly for our own amusement!
Tom: I grew up listening to a wide range of genres from classical and jazz to pop punk and rock. A major inspiration of mine is Jeff Buckley this is due to his effortless vocals and emotive language which is something that I aim to achieve through dedication and practise. My inspiration to pick up guitar comes from the funk rock and indie sounds of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Foals.
I use a lot of metaphors in my music as I love songs which don’t go straight to the point. Every individual who listens to the music can interpret it totally differently, which for me, makes the music timeless due to its endless possibilities. This realisation came to me from listening to Jeff Buckley and the Arctic Monkeys vocalist, Alex Turner.
Nick: I spent the first decade of my life listening to my dad’s music (Chuck Mangione, Tower of Power, Haydn, Shostakovich) which has had a massive impact on the range of music styles I listen to today as most of it is a mixture of classical, jazz and funk. But after I started listening to Tool, I started listening to more and various contemporary styles of pop, rock and metal such as Muse, Bullet for my Valentine, Toto, Megadeth and Avenged Sevenfold. Later in my teenage years I got more into the progressive side of music such as Pink Floyd, TesseracT, Periphery, Animals As Leaders and Karnivool. All of these bands and styles have had a huge impact on my playing and musicianship. The Classical side helping me to read music and gain skills such as arranging and composing, and the Contemporary and Jazz for my feel, memory and technical side to my playing.
How long have you been playing/writing?
Ryan: I first started playing at the age of 5 and ever since then I’ve had guitar lessons where I learnt classical and rock guitar. As for writing I was in a band with the same name (Luna Blue) in college where I met our drummer, Seb. This is where I properly started to write my own music.
Seb: I’ve been playing for far too long now. I think I started at the age of 10? Since then my taste in music has grown and changed. I’ve gone from AC/DC covers to playing along to Prog Metal artists like Meshuggah and Tool. During that time, I’ve been in countless bands, from terrible Nirvana tribute bands who played exclusively in the local village hall, to jazz and function bands playing in bars and pubs. I started writing music with my brother (who plays guitar) when I was very young, and joined a few rock and metal bands in my teenage years. But when I met Ryan and formed (an albeit quite different) Luna Blue, I wanted to stick with it and continue writing more seriously.
Tom: I have been playing piano since the age of seven but prior to that music was still a huge part of my life. I can recall always singing along to 70’s and 80’s hits that I would often hear in the house or on car journeys.
I have been improvising and composing music for piano since I was around the age of 12. This then led me to want to compose and improvise on my dad’s 12 string guitar which is what lead me to learn the standard 6 string guitar. After knowing how to play chords and messing around with different sounds, the vocal melodies came naturally to me and the lyrics were my internal thoughts and emotions.
Nick: I have been playing for as long as I can remember, and I have been writing and arranging since I was 15 in terms of Classical and Jazz. I wrote a lot of contemporary music back then as well but the first time I started writing more accessible contemporary music was when I joined Luna Blue on Bass. Before then I experimented more with Heavy Metal and Prog.
How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?
We try to gig as regularly as we possibly can. Whenever there is an opportunity to play, we will always try to take it! Below are some of our upcoming dates, but this is always being updated and filled, so check our website for a more extensive list!
The London Stone
Staines, United Kingdom
What has been your favorite moment in music?
In March of 2017 we held our own two-hour long concert back by a 30 piece orchestra on the University of Chichester’s Bishop Otter Campus. This concert took months of hard work, practice, composing and endless rehearsals and organization, but came together to become the favorite moment in our musical career for all four of us. The venue reached full capacity and over £120 for Nordoff-Robbins, a charity chosen to commemorate one of Nick’s closest friends who was hit and killed by a drunk driver the year prior. Bryony aspired to work for the charity, so we dedicated the night to her memory. Luna Blue will be repeating the event with a bigger and better orchestra, new songs and further orchestration in the hopes of raising even more money for Nordoff-Robbins. For more info and updates, please visit our website!
Where is the best place to find you online?
You can find us pretty much everywhere online! Our social media links can be found below:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/weareLunaBlue/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/weareLunaBlue
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/lunablueofficial/
Itunes & Spotify – (Just search for Luna Blue!)
Website – https://www.lunablueofficial.com/