Photo: Quincey Sablan
Luna Aura is cutting as she is cunning. A woman dedicated to living life unapologetically, Luna Aura has gone through a wide variety of life experiences, both euphoric and painful. The result is an artist who exited the other side with a deeper understanding of herself and the world around her.
Yet, at times this world can be unforgiving to some of its most poignant inhabitants. Growing up amongst the Mormon community, Luna Aura became well versed in the flagrant injustices and inconsistencies that plague women in our society today. Thousands of years of mass accepted oppression does a number on the psyche of all those involved. Therefore, to truly combat this we must question how we as a community have internalized and personify this discrimination, women included.
Luna Aura's latest single, "English Boys," takes the ironies of self-inflicted oppressive behaviors and, in Luna Aura and her gang of female choristers' own words, "burn(s) it down." Synth-driven and visceral in nature from the get-go, JT Daly’s (K.Flay, PVRIS) production chops shine effervescently, getting that head banging violently before the finish of the first bar. About 20-seconds in Luna Aura enters with prowess, setting the stage that she intends to destroy.
"My English boy / He calls my name / He breaks my heart / But I'm to blame," Luna Aura sings as she transitions into an explosive chorus, reminiscent of the children's choir present on Pink Floyd’s "Another Brick In The Wall," a fitting comparison considering both artist's fervent penchant for social justice.
It is this feminist-focused fight for equality that encapsulates the themes of Luna Aura's highly-anticipated debut EP Three Cheers For The American Beauty, due 2020. From her previous single "Crash Dive" which explores freeing women's sexuality, focusing on the fact that women masturbate too and shocker, they like it. Now onto "English Boys," each song on the EP champions a different feminist theme in punk-rock fashion, holding nothing back and grinning widely at the face of disapproval.
Luna Aura's grin is defiant in nature, incorrigible if you are so inclined, and how could it not be? We had the chance to catch up with the rising rockstar on everything from transitioning out of the Mormon church peacefully, how the loss of her younger brother has affected her relationship with music, and her continual riposte to those who attempt to silence her.
OTW: Can you share the birthing story of the artist persona Luna Aura?
Luna Aura: The name Luna Aura comes from a Marvel comic book character named Luna Maximoff. I was inspired by her power, which is the ability to see and feel what others are feeling and manipulate those emotions. It really spoke to me as an artist and stuck.
OTW: What made you decide to move from Arizona to LA to pursue music as your career?
Luna Aura: I chose to move to LA for the opportunity to grow as a songwriter and creative mind. I love Arizona, I go back frequently, but there is a level of community and opportunity that exists in Los Angeles that you really can't get anywhere else. I also just wanted to be challenged.
OTW: Tell us about growing up Mormon. What elements of that part of your life do you hold onto and what have you relinquished?
Luna Aura: The Mormon faith has beautiful teachings. Forgiveness, family, love. It was never the teachings that turned me off of the Church. The Mormon community consists of some of the best people I've met to this day, but I'm not someone who does well with organized religion. There were things I was being exposed to as a young woman that didn't align with the person I wanted to be. Some practices and teachings felt archaic, especially as a woman.
OTW: In January 2015 your brother passed away from a tragic accident. How does his spirit inspire you in your music and how you live your life?
Luna Aura: My brother taught me the greatest lessons I will ever learn. Life is not promised to you, and every day spent breathing is a gift. As my little brother and friend, he taught me what it meant to love and care for somebody, and his passing taught me to never let a day go by without doing what I love. My music is a direct reflection of that.
OTW: You are a well-versed and accomplished performer, having shared the stage with the likes of The Killers, K. Flay, Chance the Rapper, P!nk, Run the Jewels, and more. How did you develop your performance style? How do you prepare for your performances?
Luna Aura: I'm working really hard on building a solid health routine! These shows we've been playing are no joke, and your girl loves to Netflix and chill with a saucy burrito from time to time. I've been getting better about respecting my body and making sure I'm in the best shape possible, so I can deliver the high-energy show that people deserve. I used to be trash when I first started performing, but I got better by learning from my mistakes and never giving up.
Photo: Sam Katz
OTW: Can you expand on your recent sonic transition? What made you decide to move from pop to a more rock-based sound?
Luna Aura: I LOVE a good pop song, and I truly had an affinity for it growing up. I got into pop because I enjoyed it but, as an artist, I didn't know who I was yet. My voice, my sound, what I wanted to say. None of that was figured out when I started this whole music journey. You build your identity off of your experiences, and it took me a while to figure that out. But here I am, and I'm proud as hell of it.
OTW: You've been working very closely with the producer JT Daly, best known for his work with K.Flay and PVRIS. How has working with JT shaped the sound of the new EP?
Luna Aura: JT was incredibly instrumental in shaping my new sound. He heard a song I wrote called "Baby Be Cool" and wanted to work with me to my disbelief. I couldn't find a single producer that understood my vision, and/or wanted to be a part of what I was trying to create. He just let me be who I was, and didn't stand in the way. He completely elevated this project to something I never thought it could be.
OTW: We know there is some ironic symbolism present in your latest single. What does "English Boys" represent?
Luna Aura: I was going on a trip to London a couple years ago, and I remember having conversations about how excited I was to meet and marry an English Boy. There I was, about to travel out of the country for the first time and I was talking about meeting a guy. I sounded brainwashed, kind of made me sick. I realized it was stemming from the whole white picket fence fraudulent dream that gets put in every little girl's head at one point or another. This song is my recognition of that in myself and choosing to let it go, even if that means setting it on fire I guess.
OTW: Is that a choir we hear on the track? Can you tell us about the creative process of this single in particular?
Luna Aura: My friend Matt Keller was able to find and record a group of young female singers who work with an amazing vocal coach named Satyam in Phoenix. That element was extremely important to me and it added a lot of dimension to the song sonically.
OTW: We know that your upcoming EP Three Cheers for the American Beauty is based on various feminist themes. Were there any specific events that inspired the project?
Luna Aura: I just got to thinking what it meant to be an American woman. I researched the societal pressures of young women in American culture and realized I was looking into a mirror. I hated that. I want to create a world where all that conditioning gets thrown out the window, and women take back the life that belongs to them. In my world, it's not just about fighting against those who stand in the way of female advancement in American culture, but also the war we fight within ourselves.
OTW: Who are your Ones to Watch?
Luna Aura: I've been listening to girl in red, Slaves, and Fidlar a ton lately!
Thirsty for more Luna Aura? Quench your thirst with her performance of "Crash Dive" for our sister site The Noise.