BY STEPHANIE MIRANDA
Lunar Vacation has effectively juggled full-time school, jobs, and touring to deliver sweet, dream-like tunes to our ever awaiting ears. Self-described as pool rock, the four-piece band hails from the suburbs of Atlanta, Ga., having formed from friends and former classmates the very same week that lead singer and guitarist Grace Repasky could drive to her bandmate’s homes.
Last week, I had the honor of catching up with Grace (lead/guitar) and Maggie (guitar) on how they’re doing amidst this pandemic,
[This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity]
First things first, how are you guys doing? Everyone is trapped inside, people are sick — how are you dealing?
Grace: Doing alright. I feel like that’s probably the best word to describe everything because, obviously it’s not well, but not terrible, you know? Despite everything that’s happening, I’m still fortunate to have my house, and my parents and such. Definitely just trying to be grateful.
Maggie: Some days are better than others. I think, sometimes I’m really happy that I don’t have to go outside, you know, and I can just sit and do whatever. But then it does get kind of hard, especially from a music perspective. Every day It seems like it’s gonna be longer and longer until we can play shows and go out. So that’s kind of hard, but yeah, very grateful to be healthy and have a safe place to live.
I’m glad to hear that. I saw you’ve been posting on Instagram concerning the Black Lives Matter movement about how we have to educate ourselves. How would you say that it has impacted you?
Grace: Yeah, it’s definitely been a lot of listening and educating ourselves and just really acknowledging how privileged we are, and also figuring out a way to use that privilege. Doing everything we can to try and make the world a little bit better. You know what I mean? Amplifying other voices, you know, we’re not gonna pretend we have it all figured out, but definitely just trying to make people’s voices be heard. It’s really given a lot of good perspective. You know, being white and privileged, but also being in the music industry, too. You have to just think and be more conscious of what you’re doing and the people that you support, as well as using your platform for good. Whether that’s donating or spreading the word through your socials.
Maggie: It’s definitely made us educate ourselves and really self evaluate. I think it changes your lens on everything when you’re questioning how you’re brought up, as well as your privilege. It’s not something that, if you log off Instagram, it goes away. It’s present everywhere, in every aspect of your life. Just focusing on how we can tackle it, make the world a better, more open, and accepting place. We’re having lots of conversations with our friends and knowing that it’s not going away. It’s not just something you can ignore.
What inspired your album Artificial Flavors the cover art? I think it’s awesome.
Grace: Thanks! I think it was because the songs have this commentary about observing a situation or moment that you have or that you see. All of them had this feeling of being out of place and not fitting in with whatever I’m seeing or just feeling strange about the situation. Just disingenuous things.
Maggie: So then I was like, well, let’s call it artificial flavors because it’s artificial, but still kind of fun.
Grace: Yeah, and then I thought, whoa, let’s sketch out a juice box, but, we were like, we should have someone else do it because I can’t. We hit up this guy, Miles, I saw him because of some cherry Glaser work he did that I thought was cool. I sent him a message and he sent us that back, but someone got it tattooed on them. We thought it was fake. A fan from another country did it. It was pretty, really crazy.
*Maggie also wanted you all to know that Grace is actually a really good artist.
I read something about how you wrote “Unlucky” when you were feeling some kind of way, and now you feel like it has a whole, different meaning. How do you feel that “Unlucky” and your music has changed over time?
Grace: “Unlucky” was interesting because when I wrote it was a year before it came out. I think there’s a benefit in sitting on a song and being reflective on it’s meaning — really figuring out what you’re trying to say. It was riding the same wave of our band developing as people, also when I started writing it, we also had five people in our band, we were out of school, and we were touring full time. We were trying to write a new record, but it just wasn’t really working. We weren’t really clicking, all of us. Listening to that “Unlucky” demo, from March of 2019 is totally different from what we put out this year. That song saw so many different changes as in sounds, chords, lyrics and meaning, about four different times. It just followed how we changed.
Maggie: It definitely like a feels like a bridge. A bridge from our sound to our new sound. Even just from observing, it feels like you’re saying more in the lyrics.
Grace: Yes it was a bridge, I think that would make sense more of our new stuff was out. People will get it one day. It’s almost more straightforward. Everything is way more intentional. I feel more connected to all the lyrics, trying to figure out how I feel. But it’s definitely weird because a lot of the songs that we were making in the past month, that are going to be on the record, are going to be feelings that were two years old. Sometimes it can be kind of weird, you know, writing about something that happened a year or two ago. You’re like, “I don’t want to keep reliving this.”
You all balance full-time school, jobs, touring, and other life challenges on top of music and touring. Does it ever get overwhelming?
Grace: I think sometimes it does get a little overwhelming and difficult. For me, at least, I get conflicted sometimes because I want to do this full-time school that everyone else does, but then like something like this happens and everyone’s saying that live shows and stuff aren’t going to resume for two years. Then you’re like, okay, well, I can graduate college in two years. But what am I doing at college? All of us are doing different things, they’re all kind of art-based and stuff we really like to do, but also having two major things going on that could determine your future does take a toll on you. You could be in the mindset of being a full-time musician and about to release a record or trying to plan your whole two years around a record or a tour, but then on the flip side, you know, finishing college. I think it’s some sort of a balancing act and that’s like just for careers and what you want to do for the future. It doesn’t count relationships, family, jobs, where you’re living, financial situations.
Maggie: I say a lot of the time it does, but, also now with this perspective of, what happens when it goes away? It’s like life is just worse without it, you know? But it did feel like a lot when you had weeknight shows or just having to do online school and also play or go to things on the weekend. However, now that it’s gone, I’d so much rather be balancing it out, but, we’ve been doing that for a while, so we’ve definitely adapted to that kind of lifestyle. We started when we were 16, mid high school, so we’ve been able to like figure out a good way to balance it, I think. It is also hard to realize a lot of our good friends that we meet have been through music so they don’t necessarily live around us. Different states. Not being able to be around those kinds of people all the time feels a bit disconnected from school life and band life since it’s not the same.
Do you guys have any dream collaborations?
Grace: I know Angel Olsen is on the list. Wallows, too, because they’re really good songwriters. Jeff Tweedy and this band from Wisconsin called Disq. Also Orion Sun. If I had to pick one, it would be Angel Olsen hands down, because I feel like she’s my aunt. I mean, not my aunt, like the mother aunt of all alternative indie music, you know? Or like Mother Earth. I would just love to do a song with her or Molly Rankin from Alvvays — those are like my two queens side by side. Any one of them, because they’re amazing. Also, just their songwriting is ridiculous! Angel Olsen, if you listen to all of her songs, it’s just like, who? Like, how did she do that? It’s crazy! She’s incredible.
Maggie: I’d like to work with Toro y Moi. It’d be so cool. If Bob Marley was still alive, I’d love to just jam with him. I feel like that’d be life changing, just get some of his whole band. That would be so cool. But if I had to pick only one, it would definitely be Toro y Moi.
GIVE LUNAR VACATION A LISTEN — WE PROMISE YOU WON’T REGRET IT!