With the recent signing to Western Vinyl, the premiere of their new art-funk single Daydream, and a forthcoming record release ahead of them, 2014 is shaping out to be a pretty nice year for Ava Luna. The New York noise-pop group will release their new LP, Electric Balloon, on March 4th. Before it drops, AMBY caught up with Ava Luna’s Carlos Hernandez to discuss clusters of people at gigs, dream jam sessions, going outside, and what to expect from the album.
AMBY: Hello Ava Luna. Thanks for speaking with us and congratulations on your recent signing to Western Vinyl! How are you all doing today?
Ava Luna: Just Carlos for today, I’m doing OK but I got a twisted ankle.
AMBY: Your sophomore album Electric Balloon comes out in March of this year. What can fans expect to hear from the LP?
Ava Luna: I think it’s a lot different from the last album. With this one we really wanted to work together and get away from straight composition — there’s a looseness, a playfulness to it, that makes me think of particular real moments moreso than thought processes. Just like, people in a room, playing music, not getting so dialectic about it.
AMBY: What is the significance behind the title Electric Balloon?
Ava Luna: I feel like the title sums up the spirit of the album. When we were recording the song Electric Balloon, Becca just declared “let me try something,” she went up to the mic and went for it — I think that first rough vocal take became the final recording. It’s mostly nonsense words, I think she says “shock me with electrical uhh.” But then Nathan walked in the next day, heard it for the first time, and pointed out, well clearly she’s saying “shopping with electric balloon.” Obviously!
AMBY: The record’s first single Daydream is superb! What’s the story behind the song?
Ava Luna: It was originally called Hurricane. During Hurricane Sandy I holed up in my room and recorded a little demo of it, in a bit of a frenzied moment. I have this theory that the world has already, slowly, ended. The song actually started off really slow and brooding, but when we got together, the weather was sunny and beautiful, we played it about 5 times faster. I think we were literally hopping around the room as we were recording the song. Probably why there’s so many fuck-ups.
AMBY: What is the craziest thing to happen to Ava Luna while on stage?
Ava Luna: Well, I don’t know, one evening everything was just going wrong, I was really despondent and everything just had… this pallor. The microphone wasn’t grounded and kept electrocuting me, I would get a shock on my mouth and then just shriek in pain, and soon everyone in the band was reacting to my screams, making noises, and then next I knew the whole room (this was just in someone’s living room) erupted and a cluster of people just plowed into us and knocked us all over. I fell into Julian’s drums, the tom flew into the corner and I was soaked with beer. The show was over but I felt much better after that.
AMBY: Which of your influences would you love to have a jam session with?
Ava Luna: I’d rather have a conversation than a jam session. Or, really, I’d rather just see a performance than have a conversation. Or, best yet, if I could record a performance, I’d probably want to record Ornette Coleman. Perfect way to avoid jamming, just act the observer, watch for twitches and tics.
AMBY: You are allowed to say one sentence, which will reach the whole world. What would you say?
Ava Luna: Go outside.
AMBY: Where did the name Ava Luna come from, and what other names had you considered for the band?
Ava Luna: At one point we wanted to start a really glammed out electronic band, and we were calling it Courtney Gorgeous. Someimtes, these days, when people tell us we can’t play a show, we’ll play a show under the name Throat Punishment. That’s a Weezer reference. As for “Ava Luna,” that wasn’t a decision really, sometimes names find you. I used that band name even when the “band” was just me as a 16-year-old with a zoom pedal.
AMBY: What was the best release of 2013?
Ava Luna: Probably Krill’s album. Or Blood Orange. Or the B L A C K I E album is mind-blowing. Or, I don’t know if this qualifies as a “release,” but Ashcan Orchestra built this huge device that’s a sort of grand music box/player piano triggered by light sensors, with color-coded bells and lights…
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Ava Luna that nobody knows yet?
Ava Luna: We’re all really attractive.
Thank you Ava Luna, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout