Interview: Ava Luna

The most original and successful blend of erratic instrumentation and genre fusion Brooklyn is yet to fully appreciate or understand: Ava Luna feed off a mix of anxiety and heightened nerves, and their music proves it. Their latest full length, one of the few releases from the band since their formation in 2009, fuses fractured soul and R&B alongside a restless string section, often straying into a confused and excited genre of rock I’m yet to make up a name for. I caught up with Carlos, the Vocalist and guitarist of Ava Luna, to talk about the unusual band he makes noise for. 

So how did you come to make music together?

I started off just making bedroom recordings, long ago. Eventually that evolved into a full band with some college friends and old high school friends. People have come and gone from the band, but the 6 of us have been playing together for a while now.

What kind of approach is taken when making music? Do each of you take on specific roles or is it more of a creative free-for-all?

Each song is different. There are times when it’s very particular, very composed and arranged, where each instrument has its own place. But more and more lately, we’re trying to make it more open, more collaborative.

You describe your music as nervous, was that intentional?

It’s intentional because I would like to hope that our songs are honest. If I could pick one pervasive characteristic of mine that I have yet to overcome, it would be anxiety, in all its glorious forms. I’m trying to work on that.

Are there any instruments which you think are missing from the band that perhaps might work really well?

Not really. We really started off by stripping everything away, to the point where the only instruments were a single synth, plus drums. Carefully, we’ve added other sounds back in — guitar, bass, noise samples — to the point where it’s almost too much. For instance, I’ve never had any guitar pedals, because I could never figure out which distortion pedal to buy. If anything, I’d get rid of sounds before I tried to add more new ones.

How did you find the transition into touring? Was it something which became easier over time or did you feed off the energy of a crowd immediately?

I love touring. I feel more at peace while touring than I ever do when I’m stationary. There are ups and downs, sometimes the shows and crowds are incredible and other times it’s too terrifying to bear — but at the very least, those feelings are tangible, rather than the dullness that permeates a space if I linger too long.

Are there any specific goals for Ava Luna or are you just seeing where making great music takes you?

I would love to continue to tour, and visit new places… and if we can keep making music we’re proud of, then hopefully we’ll have that opportunity. But for now I’m really energized, and ready to focus just on music, and push these ideas to new places.

We want to see you in the UK soon; do you have any plans of a Europe tour?

We toured Europe once, back in 2010. It was a wonderful experience and I would go back in a second. We’ve never been to the UK. Bring us!

Words: Charlie Wood.