Posted On 12 Dec 2017
“Transcendent themes and subterranean imagery are paired with ebbing synths that swell to an epic crescendo.” – Billboard
“Iris Lune don’t really sound like anything you’ve heard…every listen is fascinating.” – Line of Best Fit
“Dramatic and dynamic…rich in images and unusual in its sonic palate.” – Pigeons & Planes
“They specialize in expansive, far reaching music which touches slightly on folk.” – Kick Kick Snare
Brooklyn art-pop quartet Iris Lune recently released their sophomore EP “Lost In Chatter” via AWAL.
They previously put the title track, the whimsical electro-pop gem “Lost In Chatter.” It’s a burst of plush synths and ornately orchestrated percussion, anchored on front-woman Ella Joy Meir’s glittering alto, whose roots are in Middle Eastern and Israeli folk music (think Little Dragon meets Deerhoof). Equally as inspired by Bjork & by Salvador Dali, the alt-pop concoction is a potent one.
The etymology of their moniker draws from Greek mythology (Iris being a messenger goddess, from sea to sky she links the gods to humankind) and the celestial (with Lune symbolizing the moon, the solitary source of light in the dark space). This overworldy sensibility can also be traced in their lyrical inspiration, with their latest “Lost In Chatter” written as an ode to the final chapter of Lewis Carroll’s vivid & gloriously surreal Alice In Wonderland. “It’s about being drowned by all the noise around you, by all the peripherals,” says front-woman Ella Joy. “It’s about awakening and realizing that there is so much wrong around us.”
Iris Lune Socials:
Facebook / Twitter / Soundcloud / Instagram / Spotify
Learn more Iris Lune in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time for this All Access interview! Where does this interview you today? Is there music playing in the background? What is it? What is one song that you are loving right now? What is a song that you disagree about loving right now?
Asher: “Boys” by Will Graefe off his album North America has been a really important song to me lately, and really that whole album.
Aaron: Lyft driver currently has “Hips Don’t Lie” playing. I’m not mad.
Angelo: Currently listening to DMX’s “Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer” and I’m not sure what to think.
Ella: “Pills” by St. Vincent. I think the lyrics are genius.
How did this group first come to be? Can you recall the moment when you all thought you could be in a band together? Was it hard to come up with a name that you could all agree on? How did you come up with your band name?
Asher: 5 years ago, the band name was Isis Lune. We were shooting a music video for Berklee College of music and our friend and overseer of the operation Michael Borgida sent us a message saying, “you may need to change your name… have you guys seen the front page of The NY Times…” it was then that we decided we needed to make at least a subtle name adjustment. We cycled through several things but Iris Lune had a similar origin in mythology, had a nice ring to it, and was only one letter off from the original.
Aaron: Two names we really liked were Salvador (were are big Salvador Dali fans) and Moonchild (Ella wanted to have the moon incorporated in some way). I remember a conversation with Ella at one point- Ella: “Salvador’s already taken. They’re a Christian Rock band that have 10 albums so…” Me: “My friend’s band in LA is called Moonchild and they’re crushing it so…” And then the name “Isis Lune” just fell out of the sky, which had it’s own problems like Asher explained, but by the time we renamed ourselves Iris Lune, we had some creative momentum and didn’t really care.
Ella: I’m a very visual person, and to me music is like a single source of light shining through vast darkness. So it was really clear to me that I wanted to incorporate the word ‘moon’, or something that’s derived from it. I’m actually really glad we ended up with ‘Iris Lune’. It’s such a visual name, and it has a double meaning. I love double meanings. Iris is the Greek messenger of the gods, and also the pigmented part in the eye. So it ends up being this beautiful colorful aura around the moon.
How do you think this band has been influenced by the city you are from? How did that particular music scene affect you all?
Aaron: The fantastic thing about living in Brooklyn is being around so many incredible artists. It’s not only great to be able to hear inspiring live music almost every night of the week, but networking-wise it provides access to a plethora of creatives to tap into. We’ve had a lot of support from people we’ve met in passing or through friends here. It’s true that New York is competitive, but the same thing that can make it tough also makes it encouraging.
Angelo: I think being in NYC really challenges us and pushes us to constantly be trying new things with our music. Like Aaron said, there are so many amazing performers in this city, and I’ve found it to be a warm and welcoming community.
Ella: I’m originally from a small town in Northern Israel. Growing up there really influenced the way I sing, and think of melodies and harmony. ‘Israeli music’ is a very fluid term, as it’s roots come from so many places (Morocco, Russia, Ethiopia, Turkey and many more).
Asher: Dallas, Texas has given me a lot of insight on soul and feel within music. I went to the performing arts high school there Booker T. Washington and learned a ton about jazz, but my community there introduced me to tons of incredible music from Bebop, to Hardcore, to Neo soul. Going to see musicians like Bobby Sparks, Bernard Wright, Keith Anderson, Michael League, Erykah Badu, Zack Ordway, Clint Strong and Marcel Ivery as a kid helped me to push myself to be the best and most versatile musician I could be.
How does 2017 compare to last year? What all are you most excited about for 2018? Will any of you make New Year’s Resolutions?
Aaron: I’m excited to learn more about the industry and produce more music. I think the digital age has provided us with the fantastic ability to find information and educate ourselves on whatever it is we want to learn or change in the world, as well as connect with others who share a similar vision, not limited to musicians, but chefs, clothing designers,
Ella: I’m excited to keep pushing our boundaries and seeing what we can create together. I also agree with Aaron, we’re all very much into collaboration, and I’d love to find new ways to connect with other artists and creative minds and see how we can expand our world.
Let’s talk about your sophomore EP, “Lost In Chatter” that you recently released. What was the inspiration for this collection?
Asher: So many things have inspired this EP both in life and through the music we’ve shared with each other in the band. Musically, we were really into Rihanna, Susanne Sundfør, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Maggie Rogers, Bon Iver, Sylvan Esso and a bunch of other amazing artists.
Aaron: I just try and keep it spicy.
Ella: relationships, thoughts that itch my insides and never stop, the world around us becoming more and more chaotic… Maybe it’s mainly trying making sense of things, and trying to deal with the chaos that’s inside and outside.
Can you elaborate on the creation of a few songs found on this EP? Generally, how do you all go about writing music?
Ella: I wrote Fistful of Thorns a few years ago, back in college. It was actually part of a different project, and has gone through several cycles. The song at its core is very simple and intimate, and after trying out different arrangements and productions we decided to keep it simple. It’s funny how sometimes no matter how hard you try to dress it up, the song has its own compass and it’ll eventually lead you to where it wants to be. Lost in Chatter and Sewing Skylines to Shores started from riffs Asher came up with. The melody and words came afterwards. The first half of Paper Mache poured out of me in about 30 minutes. After that I spent some time adding a 2nd verse and editing the lyrics with my wife, who I co-write lyrics with sometimes. The bridge was the tricky part. It was clear that it needed one, but we also felt like there was nothing more to say. It took us a long time to figure it out, and eventually we decided to go with what we have right now, and to color the words from the first pre chorus in a different light.
How did you get involved with the new limited edition peach hot sauce? Why did you think that this unique merch collaboration fit so well with the band?
Aaron: My passion for spicy food/hot sauce got me in with the guys at fine hot sauce store Heatonist early on- through the store I met Brodie Dawson of Dawson’s Hot Sauces. I always wanted to have a custom hot sauce for the band, but meeting with Brodie and vibing with him right away pushed me to pursue the idea. I brought in a bunch of different hot sauces into rehearsal one day to taste-test, and we took notes on what flavor, color, and consistency profile we wanted to aim for. Brodie sent a few samples and after some revisions, we had our sauce! We wanted a yellow that could represent the moon, and in addition to having Scott Siskind (who designed our debut EP cover) make the label, it really felt personal and custom to the band.
Hot sauce happens to be a niche interest of mine within food, but there are so many parallels that can be zdrawn between music and food so it felt very natural to me. Foods definitely have personalities, as do songs/albums/bands, and the attention to detail that goes into the subtleties of both play a similar role in their effect on the end result. I find myself using food terms a lot in the music creation process (spicy distortion, creamy synth tone) and vice versa (garlic is too loud, seasoning is flat).
How do you think you all have grown through the years? How have you remained the same?
Aaron: We’re less of perfectionists because nothing used to get done. We’re still perfectionists because it needs to be done right!
Asher: To elaborate a little further on what Aaron is saying, we used to worry about every little detail to the point of things taking months, or even years longer than they should. We’ve been learning more recently to be less precious about the minutiae and to just always be creating.
Stevie Wonder was once asked how he had written so many great songs, he answered saying that if he wrote several every single day he was bound to have a few good ones.
The goal is to think less and do more.
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What would be a dream collaboration for this group?
Angelo: It would be amazing to work with Hundred Waters, Braids, Son Lux and St. Vincent, they’ve all consistently been some of my favorite people to listen to.
Aaron: Anderson .Paak, serpentwithfeet, and James Blake are all artists that I think we’d cook up some killer stuff with.
Ella: Justin Vernon, James Blake, Thom Yorke. I’d also love to collaborate with a 50 piece orchestra and work with multimedia artists.
While this may be difficult to answer, where do you think you are all happiest- on stage performing, in the studio recording or elsewhere?
Angelo: Personally I feel the most energy and excitement when performing in front of a crowd at a packed venue. Every show we play is consistently some of the most fun I’ve had playing music.
Asher: I feel like I need both performance time and studio time. I love performing with this band because of the energy we get to share both with each other, and the audience but it’s a completely different process being in the studio. I love the sonic worlds we can create in the studio and how there’s really no limit to any ideas we want to try.
Ella: I definitely need both. Creating music at the studio gives me space to think. Performing in front of an audience fills me with adrenaline and love, it’s about this exchange of trust and being in the moment.
Do you have any other touring plans to end the year with? Where can people see you perform live next?
Angelo: We just had our last show (EP Release show!) of 2017 at Baby’s Alright in Brooklyn, we have two shows coming up in January in NYC, on January 18th at C’mon Everybody and on January 27th at VR World in midtown.
Aaron: The VR World show is going to be really cool- It’s a collaboration with brand strategist agency The Music DA and Subpac, a company that makes wearable subwoofers. We’ll be playing on the upper level, and fans will be able to feel my basslines through their bones. Pretty stoked. There are a couple other artists of varying genres performing as well, and there will be competitions where fans can compete with us on the myriad virtual reality games!
What has been a favorite show of yours in the past? What do you think makes for an ideal performance for this band?
Angelo: Our two shows that we’ve done at Rough Trade NYC were my favorites, it’s nice playing for our hometown crowd and the venue always treats us really well. Also they have ping pong. I think that we would crush it on a larger stage and an ideal performance would be playing with Radiohead at Madison Square Garden!
Asher: What makes for an ideal performance in my mind is a crowd full of open ears and minds, a diverse line up, and a sound system that can deliver our delicate and intricate arrangements with clarity.
Aaron: We’ve had lots of fun shows; a moment that sticks out to me is when a dance party started going during the title track “Lost in Chatter”. There’s nothing like seeing in the audience’s faces that they are being transported to a different place- that’s when our presence transcends music and the energy exchange between the crowd and us is just fluent.
Ella: There’s one song where we always ask the audience to sing with us in the choruses. It’s called ‘Sparrows’ and it’s about reconnecting with a lost parent. It’s such an emotional song, but also super fun and groovy, and I always love that moment when all the instruments drop out you can see the audience sing their hearts out. It fills me with joy and gratitude.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being in this band gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect this difficult time?
Angelo: It is great being able to work with like minded people every day, I think we work really well together and all have a similar vision. I think that creative expression is often times a reflection of current events, and is a crucial outlet and form of resistance during tough times.
Aaron: New music today is definitely going to reflect the times. There’s no way it can’t- whether it’s empowering anthems or throwaway trends, it all speaks to the larger picture of humanity.
Asher: Since the beginning, this band has given me a consistent outlet for growth both as a musician and a person. I’m constantly learning with this brilliant crew and am always pushed to better myself. No matter the current state of my life, I can trust that as long as I put time into this project, I’ll be moving forward and happy.
Music is definitely reflecting the times already.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Ella: I hope to think that there’s a little bit for everyone in our music, and that every person that listens to it can find a piece of themselves in our songs. I feel like the older we get, and the more time we write together, the more vulnerable we allow ourselves to be.
Aaron: Songs that you can dance to, but also meditate to. Being on the creative side of this album has taught me that your access to what you want in life is never exactly how you expect it to be, and to view that with excitement. I hope fans get this sense from hearing our music, along with whatever and however they interpret it on their own.