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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Interview with Mike Luno Band

How did the band members meet?

When I lived in Victoria, bassist David Augustin and I got keen to form a band in 1996. Dave found the missing band members- including drummer Curtis Leippi, who was playing in a local cover band called Star 69 at that time. Dave was knocked out by Curtis' drumming, and recommended him for the band. I've been playing with Curtis ever since. Our current go-to bassists, Kirby Green and Scott Tucker, were both recommended to us late last year by musicians whose opinions we hugely respect. Both bassists are incredible musicians.

How did you decide on a band name?

Mike Luno Band.
Through much argument! When I first started working with Curtis, Dave came up with the name 'Victoria Secret' for the band. That was always good for a laugh. When we had a change of singers, style, and repertoire years later, we switched to 'Devil You Don't'. We stuck with that name for a while perhaps because no one hated it enough to give it an outright veto, but no one missed it when we switched again years later. Curtis recommended that we just use my name rather than a band name per se so that there might be a natural listener interest more in the songwriting and musical performance than in a band image. I was a little leery as I prefer a democratic band that allows a lot of input from all members; as a solo artist, I worried my band may be less likely to take ownership of the music. Still, I saw the logic in the MLB idea. I just altered the Ukrainian spelling of my last name a little to avoid mispronunciation. I don't even know for certain if I'm pronouncing it correctly!

What drives you to make music?

Great musical moments are deeply invigorating, powerful and addictive. This is true for live performance and songwriting. The writing can also be quite cathartic.

Who are some of your major influences?

This question often stupefies me because I never know where to begin or end! In trying to keep it to an even dozen: Dave Matthews Band, Screaming Headless Torsos, Sting/Police, Daniel Lanois, Neil Finn, Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, Jeff Beck, Led Zeppelin, Frederick Chopin, Allan Holdsworth, J.S. Bach. I suspect Curtis would want to toss in Chick Corea, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dream Theater and Buddy Rich, at the very least

What do you hope people take away from your music?

I'd hope to grab listeners instantly with the groove, a lyric or melodic idea, and hold them there long enough for the stuff that isn't instantly apparent to wash over them...and finally, for the music and lyrics to keep returning to mind the way a good book, movie or poem might. Leave the listener uplifted, yet provoked to question and ponder. Ultimately moved. Piece o cake, right? ;)

Mike Luno Band.

What is your favourite song you have written and why?

Excruciating question! Disallowing yet-unreleased tunes and ignoring such factors as whether the tune is fun to play live - keeping it to just the meat of the songwriting and arrangement - I'd lean toward 'Heart Beat Up'. It has no bass, a very unusually minimalist yet effective drum part, some chord changes you're not otherwise likely to hear in pop music, and the lyric was about as heartfelt yet entertainingly bitter as I can manage. Because of the weirdly sparse arrangement, it seems to grab listeners' attention quickly, relative to much of our other material.

Where can people buy your music?

Finally, is there anyone you would like to give a shout out to?

Melissa Ratcliff and her amazing Simon Fraser University Choir; Crying Sky Studios, Vancouver; Indie Pool, Toronto; Bruce Gerrish and Vancouver City Limits; and all the local clubs that support live music, in particular original live music - and in extra-particular the Princeton and the Cobalt.

Connect with Mike Luno Band



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