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Despite being born in the summer - hence the stage name - multifaceted singer-songwriter, producer, and arranger Lunar June, finds summer to be one of the more anxiety-driven seasons. This sentiment is reflected in 'heart scream summer,' a track that utilises upbeat pop production harmonised with introspective lyricism; a recurrent theme for this artist throughout her beautifully vulnerable latest EP 'an ode to the girl I once was.'

F Word had the chance to catch up with Lunar June as she openly discusses the struggles of being a female artist in a male-dominated industry, the process of making 'an ode to the girl I once was,' and shares insights about her exciting headline show taking place this Thursday, April 11th, at The Servant Jazz Quarters. Purchase tickets here.

Maisie Daniels: Hey Olivia, welcome to F Word Magazine! Let’s begin with how you came to form the stage name “Lunar June”?

LJ: Hey Maisie, thank you so much for having me! So I had a project before Lunar June which was called ‘la lune’. When I rebranded, I wanted to keep with the moon theme because I’ve always been fascinated by space since I was a kid, and I feel some kind of resonance and connection with the moon. And I was born in June! 

MD: You get stuck into your craft; writer, arranger, and producer! Do you have a favourite element and why?

LJ: I like different elements for different reasons. Songwriting is really my first love but sometimes it comes and sometimes it doesn’t, which can be frustrating. But when I come up with something that really excites me, nothing can beat that feeling! I love production because, for me, that’s where the vision really comes to life, and the song turns from a sketch to a full painting with colour and depth. Production has so much influence over a song and it can kind of become anything you want it to be - there are endless possibilities to explore which is so fun and exciting. 

MD: Your newest EP, ‘an ode to the girl I once was,’ is a provocative body of work where you have confronted inner feelings and exposed some of your life experiences. Did you find you had to dig deep to create this EP, or was it more of a natural flow?

LJ: It was definitely a natural flow. I don’t have any trouble digging deep [laughs], in fact I maybe spend a little too much time in my feels… But that’s ultimately what songwriting is for me - it’s a space to process and express intense and overpowering emotions, and have that catharsis. It’s funny, every time I came back to working on these songs, they’d take on a whole new meaning and relevance to my life, despite having written the tracks months or sometimes even years before. 

MD: Let’s talk about the visualiser for ‘l-o-v-e’. I l-o-v-e (sorry) how DIY and raw it is. It's a very personal and honest track, delving into some of the negative feelings that come with falling in love. Did you find making this to be healing in any way?

LJ: [Laughs], thank you so much! It definitely was healing because it was the first time I channelled some real anger into one of my songs. Anger is an emotion I really struggle to hold and process, and so being able to release it through the creation of this song felt so good and therapeutic and actually like quite a healthy way to express what I was experiencing! 

MD: Is there any advice that you would give to your younger self, and what would that be?

LJ: God, I feel like I’m still learning so much all the time and growing in all different ways, it can quite overwhelming. I’m still quite an anxious person who’s always worrying about a million different things, but I would try to encourage my younger self to not get so wrapped up in my head about everything and to stop spiralling with every little thought I have. You’re doing good! Everything’s ok! Even when it’s not, you’ll be ok. 

MD: I enjoy how upbeat and euphoric the melody is in ‘heart scream summer,’ mixed with lyrics of sadness and anxiety - is this a metaphor for how you feel about summer? And can you touch more on this?

LJ: Thank you! I do love mixing upbeat pop production with very sad lyrics [laughs]. I’ve always struggled with summers in the past, especially during university - I think because it’s typically the time when things have slowed down and there are more pauses, people go away and whatnot. Summer is busy in many ways but it has its quieter and slower moments and that’s when I start to freak out because I don’t have the constant distractions and I’m left with nothing but myself, which at times has felt completely and utterly terrifying. I find it so hard to relax! But I’ve done a lot of work on this over the past 6 months, and I’m determined that this summer will be different!

MD: Are there any struggles that you face as a female, independent artist, and do you have any specific examples?

LJ: I think it’s just kind of the general attitude of having to prove yourself all the time. When I turn up to a gig, the sound engineer (who is almost always a man) will look at my male band mates for information on our set up and tech spec, despite it being my project. When I’ve been in sessions with male writers and producers, their presence has often been quite overbearing and I didn’t feel there was much space for me in the room. Their ideas are always what’s loudest and the most listened to; my thoughts and opinions are more quickly dismissed and overlooked. I think it’s just hard to feel that you are allowed to take up space and that you belong, and that’s really stifling in what’s supposed to be a creative environment. 

MD: You’ve got your first London headline show coming up on the 11th April at The Servant Jazz Quarters - congratulations! How does that feel?

LJ: Thank you, yeah, I’m excited - I’ve barely played the new music live, so it’ll be really fun to finally have the opportunity to do that and connect with people. Music can sometimes feel quite removed as so much of the engagement with your audience is online these days, so it’ll be nice to actually see people’s faces!

MD: Is there a track from the EP that you’re most looking forward to performing, and why?

LJ: ‘heart scream summer’ is probably my favourite song on the EP - it’s a really special song to me, not only because of its meaning, but because it was the track that pushed me the most as a writer and producer, and there’s something so raw and real about it, maybe because it’s got more organic instruments on it than the other tracks. It’s the only song in the set that I play guitar on and it just scratches that itch of feeling like an angsty little pop star. I hope I can translate its energy in the live show!

MD: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

LJ: Just warming my voice up and trying to suppress how nervous I feel [laughs]. 

MD: What will you be asking for in your rider?

LJ: Maybe some beers, but I never drink before or during the show, only as a little celebration afterwards! 

MD: What’s bringing the most joy to your days lately?

LJ: Potentially a bit cringe to say but I’m really into my meditation practice. I’ve been consistently meditating every day for 4 months now, and it’s really helpful to anchor and ground myself when the anxiety takes over. I’m also loving walks, reading, and exercise. Not very rock and roll, but good for the brain!

MD: What are you hoping people will take from this EP?

LJ: I’m hoping that anyone - especially women - who feel that they have an ongoing battle with their brain like I do, can find some resonance and comfort in my songs. To know that they’re not alone in struggling with how they feel and what’s going on in their head, and that they’re not broken or wrong or need fixing somehow. Maybe even to try going inwards and turning to themselves more often. You shouldn’t be your own worst enemy, and you already have everything that you need. 

MD: And finally, what’s your favourite F-word?

LJ: Fuck, obviously. 


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