Britt Foe from Lunar Deception on their new full-length studio album, visual aesthetics, our place in nature, and the creative energy of London.
- Britt Foe – Vocals, Greg Chapter – Bass and Programming, Hedge Seel – Drums and Percussion, Thomas Hammond – Guitar and Programming
- SALUTE: Where did you grow up?
I grew up in South Africa but the rest of the band are all English. I’ve been living in London for about 10 years now but I’m originally from Durban, South Africa which is Zululand. I’d say Durban is one of the most significant cultural melting pots in the world. It has the biggest Indian population outside of India and then you’ve got the Zulu’s and loads of other African tribes.
- SALUTE: Wow, ok. What was it like in Durban?
Hanging out with different cultures is part of daily life there. We’re more connected to nature there as well, growing up on the beach and surfing, hanging out in forests – we had all of the natural elements.
That’s really important to me, to help people feel more connected to nature.
- SALUTE: What kind of music did you grow up on? What was the local scene in Durban like?
Although there’s a strong electronic scene, the music was really limited. I grew up at the end of the Apartheid era. A lot of bands boycotted because of Apartheid so we had Midnight Oil come and play once (laughs), that was it for international music. It was a lot of local music, local bands, as well as Mbube.
My school was the first school in South Africa to educate black and white people together.
At the time, I was into Tori Amos and PJ Harvey, Portis Head, Fever Ray.
There was no internet either (laughs), we had like three TV channels and that was it. It was pretty backward but good for incubating originality. There were no influences so you sort of just make your own. Durban has more of a soul than places like Cape Town.
- SALUTE: How did you get started making music in Durban?
I was doing solo stuff back home in South Africa. I had a piano and bought a NORD LEAD synth, which I still use today and just started figuring out how to use it and just started making songs in my bedroom.
- SALUTE: Do you remember the first song you wrote?
There are still hundreds of songs from that era stored on my Zoom recorder! I go back and listen to them occasionally, the first song I wrote (with Rex Bowden) that made it to the recording studio was BREATHE.
I was spending a lot of time with the sea at that point so it naturally captured my imagination, the song was inspired by this poem by WB Yeats:
“A mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him up for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown.”
- SALUTE: How did you and the band get together?
After I came to the UK I met the rest of the band members 5 years later. I met Hedge backstage in Wales after a Tribazik gig in Cardiff and I sent him a couple of demos and he was like ‘we’ve got to do something together’. And here we are, three years later, and we’ve just recorded our first studio album.
- SALUTE: Are you into tribalism astrology/astronomy?
I think it’s really important that music tells more of a story than just ‘I love you baby’. We use music as a way to spread information in a way.
Our image is quite paganistic. The feminine ritual is always worth bringing in!
- SALUTE: What gear do you use for production?
I don’t do much production. I’m very lucky, Greg Chapter does a lot of the production for the band. He’s an electronics genius and a sound engineer as well. Mostly I just use Ableton at home with some mics and effects pedals.
- SALUTE: How’s it been since the New Moon EP came out?
Our last EP is kind of old now, we’ve got all new songs for our full-length studio album but we are just waiting to do videos and mixing for the songs. It always takes so much longer than you think it’s going to (laughs). I remember reading that the Portishead album ‘Dummy’ took 10 years to make (laughs)! That always inspires me.
- SALUTE: There are some epic mask designs and costumes in your work Britt, visually stunning work! How did that happen?
I do styling and costume design as well as music. I made all of the masks in our videos. I know bands now are often just jeans and tee shirts, which is fine, and the music speaks for itself. So last week I was doing costume design for an opera, a friend of mine wrote it, it’s a punk opera, a sexy dark punk opera (laughs). I do costumes for films, TV, commercials, other music videos – it’s good to get influences from everywhere. For our visuals, music videos, the artwork, and photography, I really like getting into the mix of visual art disciplines.
For me, a strong visual image goes hand in hand with the musical artistry.
- SALUTE: Does it get consuming for you focusing so much on the visual side of production as well as the music?
No not at all, it comes really naturally. It forms a story and songs are stories that you tell so it helps with the visual aesthetic of the story. I’m a very visual person, so a lot of the time I have the visuals first and then the music comes.
Being in London as well, there’s so much creative energy to feed off. The underground art scene is great.
I used to have a shop on Brick Lane that was an art gallery and sold designer clothes from underground artists. There’s such an amazingly thick, artistic, creative scene which is so inspiring.
- SALUTE: How do you balance being an independent musician and working/making money?
I’m not sure really, it is really difficult actually. Not only with my schedule, but two of the guys in the band are sound engineers for big bands so they are often away on tour. You just have to persist and make time whenever you can.
Because I have my keyboard and mic setup at home, I can record anything and send stuff around whilst people are away. The band will add to it and we’ll meet up and jam on ideas. We can get songs almost halfway through before we even meet up!
- SALUTE: What do you think of the SALUTE initiative and competition?
I think it’s fantastic. It’s great that you’ve built a space for discovering new music, especially music that isn’t signed. It’s great that you’re bypassing a lot of the bullshit.
What you are doing with supporting underground music is so important. There’s a lot going on in those scenes that are great and it’s so important to go underneath the commercial monsters. It’s epic that people like SALUTE are exposing that, it’s really important.
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