She doesn't say anything for fourteen minutes but she never stops singing. A stoned scat. A tap dance in an aquarium. He only ever polishes his terrarium when his parents are coming over to check on him and all his spiders. Grab a lighter and drift a weightless squish with Joseph and The Moon. Joe Nora and Lunah as autumn blooms. Lunajoe and the fog-soaked boat rolling loudly down the coast.
What's the origin behind this EP?
Joe: We had been seeing each other for a while and both knew about each other's musical projects but for some reason we never thought to collaborate. I was working on a track with a piece of a vocal that my friend had recorded a while back and I liked the way it fit into the beat I was making. However, the singer was not very confident and seemed to be a little flat. I showed Lunah who has been studying jazz singing for many years and asked if she could do the same thing except more on point and in key. This was the first time we recorded together and it worked well. I haven't used this song for anything yet and it isn't on the EP but I realized we could make something cool together. I started a new beat with her in mind and ran it by her. Pretty soon it became our first real song "Weightless" and the start of the whole project concept.
Was it recorded in Chicago?
Joe: Everything except the intro (track 1) and track 5 were recorded in Chicago. The intro was made from a voice memo that Lunah recorded herself and track 5 is a sort of flip or remix of the intro which turned into a whole new song that I thought was worth including.
How long has this project been in the works?
For a little under a year.
Since no actual words are said, Lunah's voice is treated more like an instrument. Can you speak on that?
Lunah: I think because there isn't any lyrical content that it allowed us to be a little bit more freeform with the stylistics behind it. From studying jazz vocals for several years, I became accustomed to the idea of my voice and my body as my instrument, just as if it were a saxophone or any other type of external instrument that can be played. This idea of instrumental improvising has been used by jazz singers in the form of scatting, where someone can add different types of scat syllables to channel a specific instrument or imitate a certain sound. When Joe had me improvise over the tracks a couple times, it gave me to chance to just play with a few things and then let him do what he does best. He has a great ear for chopping up specific parts and tying everything together.
Joe: I had heard her practicing scatting for her jazz chorus group and she had been expressing her frustration with how difficult it was to memorize the parts with out any words being said. I thought it sounded really cool still and that really inspired this project. All of these tracks were made kinda like freestyles. I would make a song with her in mind with similar techniques that I thought would work together and if she liked them I would pretty much let her improvise on them 3 or 4 times. Then I would go through and pick my favorite parts and build a progression from there. She was very unsure about which parts to keep so I took control of that decision.
How would you describe this EP to a stranger in one sentence?
Lunah: Gallivanting in a canoe with an old jukebox you stole from your grandma, astride a lovely soul with pretty eyes.
Joe: Stay in bed.
What's the rest of the year (and into 2018) looking like?
Joe: Now that I am finished with this project I am starting to work on another project that will feature my favorite vocalists that I have worked with/have been wanting to work with. I expect there will be more Lunah on that as well.
Lunah: Writing always, whenever I can. Continuing to explore my sound as an artist and (hopefully) a solo EP development, which is slowly but surely in the making. And of course, also anticipating more creations with Joe Nora.
Joe, on the production side of things, did you approach these instrumentals differently than with Songs About Bears?
Joe: Absolutely. Songs About Bears was really just a beat tape of some of my favorite beats I had made over the past few months. As Lunah and I started working I saw a whole different style and technique appear from what I had been trying to do previously. I used similar textures and sounds as some of my previous tunes but these were turning out much slower and melodic.
Joe, you've released a whole heap of instrumentals this year, including the stellar playlist Caars. What's your fascination with cars (and additionally, taking pictures of them)?
Joe: I love music that makes me want to drive fast. I have always loved cars, driving and especially listening to music while driving. I started trying to make music that gave me that feeling of going fast, switching lanes and cruisin' around late at night. I take pictures of cars kinda like portraits of people. Cars parked on the sidewalk fascinate me more for some reason, and if you can get them while they are driving that's even better. I also bought my first car recently which has added to my inspiration.
Do you two have any advice for artists working on music / collaborations?
Lunah: Probably just to really listen to each other and explore. I'm a firm believer behind the idea that everyone has something to teach you and to offer. I wouldn't suggest pushing anything that doesn't come organically but sometimes you have to allow others to bring something out in you, so try not to be afraid of trying new things. Also, spend time with the people you collaborate with and go into it with an open mind and attitude. You never know what might end up working out and when you might create something really special.
Joe: Yea the main thing I would stress is not to force collaborations. If it's just not happening move on or give it a rest and come back to it later. There were a few times that I asked if Lunah wanted to come over and work on some music and we just kinda ended up hanging out. Times like this I felt that it was better to just chill and come back to the project another time. Sometimes you need to just hang out with a person and get to know them before you can start working with them. Finally, you have to understand what it is that is important to your collaborator and if it's absolutely essential, let it happen. If something is important to you make sure you express that to who you're working with. You can't dominate a collaboration. It's about give and take and compromise.
Any final words of wisdom / shout-outs?
Joe: I want to shout out Mike Vigil also known as Foxxs. He is an extremely talented singer and guitar player who I lived with for the entire time that this project was created. He has helped me out a ton with music over the years and you can hear his guitar on the fourth track on the project. Definitely more music with him out soon. Additionally I want to shout out Epicure, Barnes Blvd, Shai-li and Olivia Prado and of course Neonpajamas for their constant inspiration. Also thank you to Chase Williams for introducing Lunah and I years ago [laughs]. My only words of wisdom would be to make music with your friends, no matter how many followers or how much clout they might have. Don't think too much about what you can gain from a collaboration just make the music you want to make.
Lunah: Shout out to my mom, because she birthed me and that's pretty cool. Also, I definitely want to thank Joe Nora for letting me into his groovy music world, and like him, Chase Williams for introducing us.
As far as words of wisdom go, I would say to continue to allow yourself to be inspired by everything; life, people, art, you name it. Music comes from a deeper place than just creating it for the sake of getting attention, it should really mean something to you.