I first wanted to take the time and thank you for doing this interview with me today. For our readers who haven’t heard of you yet, can you tell us about yourself and anything about the band you’d want us to know?
Of course! Glad to do the interview. We are a dark Dance Symphonic Rock duo hailing from Los Angeles. We are two best friends, Lauren Samuels and Brandon Apgar, with the same birthday, Feb.22nd. Musical soulmates.
Who inspired you guys as young musicians to pick up your respective instruments and Rock out?
Both of us were raised on spectacular music. We have many music loves. The 60s and 70s greats, The Beatles, Stones, Zepplin, Hendrix, Bowie, Pink Floyd, Janis. We also love other genres with artists like Dead Can Dance, Enya, Enigma, Loreena McKennit. For me in particular,(Lauren) I had a huge obsession with Madonna. Still do! And being a female musician of course other females inspired me and continue to do so. Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith, Lisa Gerard, the Heart sisters. I was like…”I wanna do what they do!” We have a huge love for symphonic soundscapes as well as classical. We also can get behind a dope synth bass! We love dark synth bands that you can groove to as well like
White Noise and the Presets. So much musical inspiration from so many different genres. We take it all in!
Was there any one particular song back then that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and make and go wow?
“Because” by the Beatles
“Come as You Are” unplugged version
Describe your journey thus far in the industry – what route have you had to take to this point in your career?
We formed in 2013 but really didn’t get serious until 2014. We went through alot of different members but Brandon and I finally realized that we should be a duo. We were writing all the music and lyrics and had a very specific sound and direction that we were going for. When there are 6 people in a band everyone has opinions and ideas of how they want things to go and as I mentioned before, we knew what we wanted ASHES to be. So far we released 2 albums. Our second album we were thrilled with. We titled it “The Awakening”. We truly felt like we were finding ourselves musically. With the release of that album we gained the attention of some industry people. After going through showcasing and meetings we ended up flying to Nashville to create some new music with producer Matt Bronleewe. That leads us to now. We just released two new tracks in another new music direction for us. The new tunes are more dark dance rock. We couldn’t be more pleased with the final outcome!
Let’s talk about what you currently have going on. Any new music or new tours in the works?
Our new tunes are “Wild and Free” and “Touch the Sky.” We are also hoping to finish up a couple more songs with Matt Bronleewe back in Nashville. Touring is always an option and we really hope to hit the road soon and play for everyone!
If you were to say one song of your own perfectly sums up what you are all about which song would that be?
“WILD and Free”
When you write any new music, can you tell us what the process is like? Describe to us what happens in a typical writing session.
It is all dependant about what is going on in our lives and what is inspiring us in the moment. Sometimes we will go in with the foundation of a song complete and we build around it or sometimes we go in with nothing but a synth lick. There are times that we’ve gone in with absolutely nothing and left with something amazing!
With the music industry always changing and evolving, what are the things you like and don’t like about it?
We try not to consume ourselves with the industry. We are focused on the now and the present moment. I know for me, (Lauren) I was so involved with getting the attention of all the right people that I kind of lost sight of who I was as a musician and writer. I had to take a step back and find myself again. Of course it is good to be aware of the business side and to know what you are doing but don’t get obsessed!
What aspects of the industry do you feel have hurt or helped your career?
Nothing really. Everything is a learning opportunity. The good and the bad. You grow from mistakes and you go on from there.
If you could change anything about it, what would it be?
Everyone is so social media obsessed and we feel this takes away from so much of the creativity. Most labels or music executives won’t pay you any mind if you don’t have a massive online presence. That isn’t what music is about. It isnt about how many likes or followers you have but sadly it has turned into that. There is so much amazing talent and music out there from bands and artists that no one has heard of because they aren’t given the chance.
What do you feel should be a realistic measure of success for the modern musician?
If you can make a living from your music you are considered a success. You don’t have to be the next big thing or a huge mega band to be successful. If you can pay your bills and live off of your music that is an incredible thing. We also believe that not conforming to what others think you should do musically is real success. Don’t change who you are as an artist because they tell you to. Stand your ground.
Which of your contemporary peers do you respect the most or who you would point to as an example as a fellow professional?
We live in such a musical community here in Los Angeles. We give high respect and praise to all the local bands and artists here that are doing it themself. There is so much talent and hard work here! Props to you all!
Do you have any advice for any upcoming artists?
Be yourself. Don’t conform. Work hard. Have fun. Create all the time. Be inspired.
What’s the best piece of advice someone gave you when you realized you wanted to be a musician?
We were lucky enough to come from loving, supportive families. There wasn’t necessarily advice that was given to us. It was more of a support system of if this is what you want to do of course we will be there for you on your journey.
What does the rest of 2018 hold for Ashes Of Luna?
Lots of music creating, finding things to be inspired by and shows!
Any last words?
We hope you all enjoy our music. We truly put our souls into everything we create.
Many thanks for taking the time to chat – please attach any social media links you’d like us to share.