In our fantastic, in-depth interview Luna Shadows discusses false memories, evolution and ‘Youth’
What was the initial spark of inspiration for writing ‘Youth’?
Songwriting is never a linear process for me, but this was an instance where the first line of the song was the first thing that came into my head: “I wish that I could reach out, steal all your feelings…” I wrote it down in my iPhone notepad several years ago, where it sat for a while before turning into something else. The initial idea behind the line was TFW you’re trying to reach someone but they appear to be emotionally unresponsive so you’re overcome with a physical need to get through to them. Being emotionally brickwalled, then wanting to mirror it back to the person in that moment at the same time.
The theme of time and false memory is a powerful one in the song, do you feel that memories are skewed depending on the context of when you remember them?
Absolutely. As you pointed out, that is one of the main ideas behind this song. I have a lot of memories that I once remembered fondly but that I now see with different eyes. I think a good comparison is that scene in 500 Days of Summer (one of my favorite movies) where they play the same scenes twice – earlier in the film as happy memories of falling in love, and later the same scene but with greater attention to the signs that maybe shouldn’t have been ignored.
There’s a brilliant lyric; “All my wasted youth’s not wasted if it’s on you”, yet the song sounds oddly melancholic, do you think regret and nostalgia can live together in memories of lost loves?
Definitely. And not just the memories of lost love but even love in the present. I think a lot of artists tend to present things as black or white – you’re so in love or you’re so out of love, you’re so happy or you’re so sad. A goal of my music is to really examine complicated emotions like love with a bit more nuance. Love in the present is often sad or difficult, it’s not just the past. Likewise, looking back at past love, one might experience conflicting emotions too.
Who or what was inspiring you at the time you wrote the track?
It’s hard to say because this was a song that both took place over years and also in one moment. A lot of the lyrics were thoughts I’d had over a period of time, but then one day when I actually sat down to do it, it pretty much came out in an hour.
I want to be careful with this next statement because I see depression being a bit romanticized in pop culture right now which is kind of strange to me – on the one hand, I think it’s amazing that there’s increased visibility for mental illness and that artists are helping people feel less alone. On the other hand, I always wanted to be “like” my favorite artists as a kid and I wouldn’t want anyone to think it was “cool” or “admiral” to suffer from a mental illness. (And I would encourage anyone reading this to ask for the support they need today from a loved one.)
With that said, for me, this song is very much about feeling like I’ve lost a lot of my life to depression and anxiety, only to feel even more sadness and regret looking back at that loss of time, causing debilitating sadness in the present. In the same moment, there’s a more reassuring part of me that is grateful for every experience and is able to see a tiny light in almost anything.
Do you feel like this song carries a message for your listeners to learn from?
I would say the song carries a question more than a message. In my case, it’s a question or rather a series of questions that I ask myself. I think we all wonder if our time is well spent, and we all feel a sense of regret when we consider that it isn’t. I think my friends and family would describe me as a very loyal person, perhaps to a fault where I care about people so much that they’re able to hurt me very easily. I’m reflecting on that in this song.
How do you think your music has evolved since you started making music as Luna Shadows?
I started with a blank slate and the aim of combining my influences without diluting any of them. I wanted to make popular music that was thoughtful or alternative. It took me a while to figure out what that meant to me but I think I understand it now. I think the biggest evolution would be me as a producer though – I’ve learned so much over the last few years with regards to production and I’m constantly incorporating new tricks into my songs.
You’ve released two brilliant EPs now, both to critical acclaim, but what can we expect from you next?
Thank you! A magician never reveals his secrets but I am most definitely working on scaling everything up – more music, more shows, more fun.
Her upcoming live dates are:
11/29 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo (PopShop West) bit.ly/popshopLxS
12/9 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge bit.ly/mercuryLxS