An Interview With Lunavela

Written by on 15 October 2021

Lunavela has been making a splash across Student Radio with his recent release ‘Six-out-of-ten-Friend’, including taking out the top spot on the SRN Top-Ten. Lunavela is the new musical project of Steve Mathieson, formerly the frontman of Collapsing Cities.

On ‘Six-out-of-ten-Friend’ Lunavela presents an exceptionally catchy track about the one friend we try to avoid at the supermarket.

We caught up with Lunavela to talk about how the song came together, his songwriting process and future plans.

Check out the interview below!

Kia Ora! Congrats on taking out the top spot on the SRN Top Ten, it’s a pretty wicked achievement. What’s that feeling like?

It feels awesome. I’m so grateful for the love I’ve got on this song. I’ve worked so hard on this album and at so many times I’ve nearly given up and it’s so awesome to get that result from the first song.

Can you tell us a bit more about who you are and what you do?

I used to sing in a band called Collapsing Cities. I’m finishing off my debut Lunavela album, ‘Imposter Syndrome’.

I guess, I’m kind of the underdog guy. I try my best to be as honest as possible with my songs. I’m not trying to be ‘cool’, I learnt that lesson in my previous band. I love not being in a band because it means no people-pleasing. The most important thing about this project for me is zero people-pleasing, learning from my mistakes and having fun.

‘Six-out-of-ten-Friend’ is quite a fun and relatable song. Can you tell me more about the meaning behind the track?

Yeh, sure. The song is something that everyone can relate to. I’m definitely a six-out-of-ten friend to a lot of people too, so it has a reciprocal value to it.

Basically, it’s about those awkward social encounters you have where you bump into an ex’s best friend, an ex-work colleague, a dude that you met but can’t remember how you know him. And I’m sure lots of people do it to me too. “Ah, it’s that guy Steve, I’ll put on my headphones and pretend I can’t see him or I’ll just linger in the frozen foods section a little longer so that I don’t have to say hi’.

It does seem like we all have that one friend who isn’t good for us. Is this track about a particular experience at all?

It’s more the concept. But I did once overhear a singer in a band who once said. “I can’t be friends with her as she doesn’t have a 1000 Followers”. That did create some sort of impetus for the line “Influencers bore me to death”. We live in crazy times. 

It’s more about a concept. I just really like the idea of a six-out-of-ten friend. It’s so mundane, they are not a bad person, you like them, but maybe something is missing in the relationship, a lack of rapport, conversation never getting beyond small talk etc. And of course, it’s a reciprocal thing, it’s nobody’s fault, sometimes you just don’t get each other. However, when I was in my twenties I used to subscribe to the whole confirmation bias thing. Gravitate towards people that liked the same stuff as me or the same music. These days, personally, I think rapport and effortlessness are what I gravitate to most, rather than having stuff in common.

‘Six-out-of-ten-Friend’ is your first release since your self titled EP in 2017, can you tell me a bit more about your journey up to releasing this song?

I recorded all the songs at The Lab in Mt Eden. My friend Alaister (Boycrush) drummed on the album and my friend Ben Lawson mixed the song and most of the album.

Another friend Bradley (NO, ex-Steriogram) played bass on Six-out-of-ten friend. Basically, this is the album I’ve always wanted to make and instead of waiting around for funding, I just sold all my Sharesies shares and paid for it. I have no idea how I’m going to market the album, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, next year.

Can you tell me more about your songwriting process? How do you go about putting a track together?

I always start with the song title first. I really like lyrics. So, I come up with a concept for a song and generally write around that. With the more emotional songs on the album they just kind of happen. But with the poppier songs, it starts with the song title. I realise this is an unconventional way of songwriting, but it’s just what works best for me. I like the idea of songs being catchy as possible and the lyrics to be ridiculous, but relatable.

Do you have any new music on the way?

I’m releasing my next single, ‘Pandering Meandering’ on November 26th. I’m going to roll out singles until there is a demand to play live basically.

I’m super excited about releasing this album and I can’t wait to play it live. Dave Iringa, who produces the Manic Street Preachers stuff, mixed two songs on the album, which I’m so grateful for, as I’m a massive Britpop fan.

What does the future hold for Lunavela? Are there any gigs in the works?

Hopefully, playing live next year and touring the album. I really miss playing live and connecting with people. It’s also good for me, because I’m an introvert and it forces me to be an extrovert. I guess social anxiety and fear had stopped me from doing it in the past. Hopefully, I’ll make it back to the U.K with this album or the next one. But, who knows, it’s just awesome to be writing songs again and be positive about music. Thanks for your time!

You can listen to ‘Six-out-of-ten-Friend’ below.

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