Manchester post-punks New Luna have today unleashed their new single, 'Prunus'. Following on from their well-timed debut trip to the US for New Colossus Festival earlier this year, it's a dark, foreboding song that takes its cues from the likes of noodly pop giants Radiohead. "I think sometimes people find it difficult to hear men being openly vulnerable, like it's almost the opposite of what's expected of them in lad culture or just in friendships and relationships at times," says frontman Tommy Deedigan. "In some ways, I just wanted to be openly vulnerable and make those people feel uncomfortable to challenge that stigma." Guitarist Zack Bamber tells us more.
Hello Zack! How's it going? Are you having a fun day?
It's good! Sun's almost out, having a productive day working on music and trying to exercise and eat well, simple things.
What first sparked your interest in music?
For me, it was growing up around my parents' music. Age 2 I was obsessively picking Urban Hymns off the shelf for them to put on, still one of my all-time favourites. I also loved early video game music, Sonic on the Mega Drive and Crash Bandicoot, and would hum level themes tunelessly for hours in the car. In terms of playing music, I have to credit my parents again as my dad played guitar pretty regularly at home, and it felt like an inevitability that I would start at some point.
And how did you get together? Have you known each other long?
Me and Tommy met studying music at uni in Manchester a few years ago and had formed an early incarnation of the bad after a couple of months knowing each other. Tommy had a gig and the day before while we were out getting pizza told me he needed a lead guitarist - we jammed for an hour, and I met the rest of the founding line-up on stage the next day. Our bass player Tom was actually in our class as well but only joined the band in the last year, a nice bonus getting another mate to come along.
What've been your highlights from band life so far?
Our recent trip to New York for The New Colossus Festival has to sit way above anything else so far. Everything about the trip was insane and the amount we got done and the number of great people we met, despite to impending doom of Corona threatening to shut everything down at any moment, was pretty miraculous. Very full on but these are the risks you have to take having grafted from the ground up for so long. Other highlights would have to be certain gigs where everything's clicked, and the energy becomes something special - playing to a full tent our first time at YNOT?, supporting October Drift in a packed YES in Manchester and a load of mental nights back in the days of Fallow Cafe come to mind.
Tell us about your new track 'Prunus' then - what's it about? Where did it come from?
It came about pretty slowly compared to other songs, written over time bit by bit in rehearsals. Tommy's lyrics are some of the most open he's ever written, talking about masculinity and the complex and sometimes unhealthy relationship between mental health and creativity. The music works to serve the vocals and lyrics really closely, more so than in a lot of our songs where the music takes the lead, even though the song has a wordless chorus!
Is it typical of the kind of music you enjoy making? How does it compare to the rest of your tracks?
It's definitely darker than a lot of the music we've made, with a floaty vibe that sits somewhere between the slower and more in-your-face tunes we've put out before. It's also full of dissonance and kinda ugly harmony in places which is something we haven't played with so much in the past. The ending has loads of vocal effects and pitch-shifted choirs on it which is something we're really getting into at the moment.
Do you have much material done and ready to go?
A lot. We produce everything ourselves, and luckily we'd recorded the majority of the parts to our next few releases before lockdown, with the rest being able to be recorded at home. We were also jamming maybe four new songs at the start of the year that we haven't played live yet, and have been writing a couple more recently sending each other ideas. Having multiple songwriters in the band we've never been short of new material, so the real challenge is getting songs boxed off before we start getting distracted by shiny new ideas.
How has lockdown impacted your plans, have you had to cancel much?
We had some gigs we were really looking forward to that we had to cancel before they were even announced, which is a massive shame, but it is what it is. Our show at The Deaf Institute in Manchester in October is still on as of yet so here's to hoping everything comes together for that. Outside of playing live, it was a blessing we got so much recorded and filmed earlier in the year to give us enough to be getting on with. The band haven't been able to get together, so we've had to adapt how we work and write, but we've been pretty on it to be fair.
What are you up to over summer?
Releasing more music and putting out more content is the plan, basically cashing in on all the work we've put in recording, filming and planning over the last twelve months. I think music's been an important focus for all of us at this time so we want to keep being productive and doing what we can instead of feeling down about the festival season we could have had.
Who do you think is the most exciting band or musician around right now?
I love Lost Under Heaven and think they're just all-round raw power who deserve so much more attention from the mainstream music media. The band are massive on Grimes, Crack Cloud and Squid too, while waiting less-than-patiently for Frank Ocean's new album.
New Luna's single 'Prunus' is out now.