What are your names?
Charlotte Marshall and Emily Ontiveros
How did you come up with your name ‘Lunar Femmes’
E – It comes from the term ‘moongirl’ which was originally something I called Charlotte. Then we ended up making a song with that name and named the EP after that song, so we didn’t really want to name our band that too.
C – Choosing a band name was actually one of the last things we did, the EP was basically finished by the time we decided on it. We came up with a few similar names but went with this one as it resonated with us the most.
What is your genre of music?
E – It’s hard to say, we definitely fall under the electronic umbrella but our focus on texture pushes us towards ambient.
C – We also tend to use a lot of synthpop elements so I’d say we’re ‘ambient synthpop’.
Give us a little bio about you as individuals and as a band.
C – The two of us met online through mutual friends on an LGBT support forum. We grew closer over time and spent a bunch of days showing each other our favourite music. Eventually when we started dating, we spent a few months together in the US, but hadn’t made music during that time. It was only when Emmy visited me in the UK and I put a MIDI controller in front of her that we started writing.
What made you go in to music?
E – Initially the project just started as the two of us experimenting during some free time. But later, when we found ourselves separated, it almost became a coping mechanism, something to keep us close and emotionally connected while we were physically separated.
C – When we met we both had some training in music and this project started at a time when both our lives were very hectic. We were both travelling great distances to see each other, experiencing so many new things and also learning a lot about both ourselves and each other. To channel all of this into music seemed like a natural conclusion.
Are you signed?
E – Not at the moment, no.
You released your new EP “Moongirl” tell us more about it.
C – For the EP we basically told our story of two lovers meeting for the first time, before finding themselves separated by a great distance, but put it into the context of an interplanetary relationship.
E – The sci-fi angle is definitely a driving theme for this EP but really, in my opinion, it’s about long-distance relationships and the challenges and joys inherent to that kind of human interaction. I was doing a lot of travelling at the time and there was a great deal of anxiety but also excitement as well. I had also experienced panic attacks for the first time that year and it had a huge impact on me so that also fed into the way I wanted to write and produce this EP. At the end of the day, I wanted to balance so many conflicting emotions and create soundscapes that reflected that kind of struggle.
What was the writing process like?
E – In terms of workflow, our process for this EP was all over the place.
It started with both of us together in the UK, we would both work on the same computer, switching off whenever we felt fatigued and constantly improving upon each other’s ideas. It was so much fun for us and I personally feel that some of our best work for this EP was created during that time.
C – In January, Emmy had to go back to the US, which threw us out of that workflow. After getting settled in again we developed a new workflow using Skype. We would use the “share system sound” and “share screen” functions to collaborate remotely, constantly sending project files back and forth while showing each other the changes we were making.
What was the recording process like?
E – As we tend to work using a lot of software instruments, most of the recording was done as we were writing it. The only equipment we had was a DAW, a microphone and a MIDI keyboard so we had to make the most of what we had. I would record improvisations and jam sessions we had together, then play them back and we’d choose what motifs we wanted to expand on and build our track off of. From there, we’d create a basic structure of what we wanted to do with the song then go on to sound design and building a sonic palette for it. We’d take a break from working on it, listen to it again, then try to get what our ears wanted to hear during that listening session into recording.
Who did you work on the EP with?
C – We took a completely DIY approach to it. Everything from the composition and production to the album artwork was handled by just the two of us. It was an incredibly personal project for us and we didn’t expect it to get any attention or commercial success so it seemed natural to keep it just between the two of us.
What message are you trying to get out?
E – For this EP, I think the main message behind it is that love can transcend vast distances and even thrive with the help of technology. For a long time there was and kind of still is a stigma towards couples involved in a long-distance relationship, especially ones formed online. Things are even harsher for couples from different nationalities. They’re treated with suspicion and looked down upon in a way, especially by immigration officials.
C – I feel our music is very introspective and personal. It’s not really written for dancing, I think it’s for people alone in their bedrooms who want something they can sink into, something they can lose themselves in.
Describe each track in two words.
Launch – Nostalgic, anxious
Moongirl – Euphoric, cathartic
Emmy’s Melancholy – Isolated, lethargic
Lost – Desperate, hopeful
Return Ticket – Hectic, excited
Your also set to release your new EP ‘Stargazers’ , can you give us some spoilers of what to expect?
E – This next EP is kind of inspired by cosmic horror. That isn’t the only aspect we’re approaching it with but it will be a key concept in this project.
C – We’re also working to make sure the album has a really nice flow to it. I like albums where the track changes are almost indistinguishable, something like the album ‘Since I Left You’ by The Avalanches, and wanted to achieve a similar effect.
Will we see any music videos for any of the tracks?
C – Potentially, we made music videos for 3 of the tracks from the last EP but they took a long time to make and didn’t really get many views. We’ll definitely make some sort of video, but probably not individual track videos.
Do you have gigs coming up or a tour in planning?
E – Not at the moment, we’re still separated by an ocean and immigration law at the moment so planning anything like that is difficult.
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any up and coming artists?
C – Our music is quite personal to us so we generally don’t tend to seek out collaborations, we’ve had a couple of offers to work on projects with other artists but at the moment we feel we need to focus on really developing our own sound and techniques before we feel confident in our ability to contribute to wider projects.
Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? and who would they have to contact?
E – While we do prefer to work alone, if the right project came along we’d definitely be interested. We can be contacted through both our Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages.
What else do you have planned this year?
E – Aside from working on new music, we’re hoping to see each other again this Autumn. I’m also hoping to find a job to help fund our music work and help pay for travel expenses.
C – I will be working until November, other than that we’re going to be finishing the new EP and trying to promote that.
Do you play any instruments?
E – I mainly play piano and synthesizer keyboard. I started with piano lessons when I was around 17 and kept going ever since. I have a little bit of experience with 6-string guitar but not nearly as much as I do with the keys.
C – I’ve been a bass player for about a decade now, I first started after being inspired by Kim Deal of Pixies, but slowly started to become more interested in electronic genres over time.
Who are your influences?
E – It’s hard to say, really. We listen to a wide range of artists so it’s hard to put a finger on what influenced us the most. If I had to list a few examples, I would pick Vangelis, Sapphire Slows, Tangerine Dream, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Fever Ray, Tegan & Sara and Jonna Lee. Basically, we love indie-pop and synth based music so we draw a lot of inspiration from that kind of work.
Which TV channel would you like one of your songs to be played on?
C – Neither of us really watch much TV but I think Adult Swim in the US has some pretty cool projects with artists. I’ve been watching a lot of episodes of ‘Off The Air’ lately and the soundtrack to those are always perfect.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
E – It can come from anywhere, really. I think watching films and reflecting on the dreams I’d have while sleeping probably has the most influence on me personally. A lot of the time it comes from an emotion or story I want to convey through music. Sometimes it just flows naturally during an experiment in sound design. It can hit you really hard and you’ll make tons of progress then it’ll be gone very quickly.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
E – Ideally we would have moved in together, have released a few more projects and started doing live shows. Hopefully we’ll have more equipment by that time as well.
C – As someone who is massively inspired by the Japanese electronic music scene, my dream would be to play a show over there at some point in the future.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
E – I love watching films during my downtime, my favourite directors are Refn and Kurosawa. I also play video games occasionally but not as much as I used to.
C – Last week I started working a full time office job to bring in some extra money, that takes up a lot of my time unfortunately. Outside of that I’m also studying Norwegian, I follow puroresu and still focus on my original passion of graphic design.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
E – I’m not sure exactly. There’s so many songs that inspired me and made me want to write music.
C – One really specific performance that sticks out to me is we watched a Boiler Room Tokyo set by Sapphire Slows, inspired by this we immediately made a bunch of progress with one of our early tracks.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
E – I remember when I was real young, in 3rd grade of primary school, I think. We had an art teacher who told us that sometimes mistakes can be beautiful and encouraged us to build off of them instead of trying to correct or erase them. I can’t remember the exact words she said but I’ve always remembered what she was trying to get across to us. I strongly believe in “happy little accidents” and the beauty of that kind of chaos. It always makes me happy when I’m writing or programming a synth and something remarkable reveals itself by accident.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
E – Don’t be afraid to try new ideas and get out of your comfort zone. Try to learn something new every day. Never give up your craft and above all, do it for you.
C – Make something that you would want to listen to, not just what’s popular and what’s going to get your music played. Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from your favourite artists either, truly original art is very rare.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
E – “Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.”
― Bob Ross
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
E – There’s a arcade machine outlet here in Houston that opens their warehouse up to the public every first and last Friday of the month. They basically turn it into a full blown retro arcade and all the machines there are free to play. It’s great if you’re into old school arcade games from the 90s and 80s.
You’re coming off tour;
1/ Where do you go first?
E – Home.
C – Home.
2/ Who do you see first?
E – Charlotte.
C – Emmy.
3/ What do you eat first?
E – Tendies.
C – Pizza.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
ID, Water, Laptop, Backup USB stick, and our MIDI controller