An Interview with Lunar Vacation

Written by: Hannah Hass

Photograph by: Violet Teegardin

Lunar Vacation is a four piece band hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. Their dreamy surf style is quickly catching some heat within their local scene. They have played shows with big names such as Summer Salt as well as with local favorites, such as The Pellys. Now they are hard at work releasing their new EP. With their debut single, “Anna,” now available on Spotify, you’re gonna want to give them a listen before they really take off! I chatted with the lead singer, Grace, and asked her a few questions.
What The Kids Want: How did Lunar Vacation come to be?

Grace: There’s a lot of small little parts that sort of came together in the end, but to summarize it, I was always really into music. I would cover songs, play at bars and stuff, and do acoustic things, and I was always kind of like, “Oh man, I wish I had a band,” but I didn’t really know anyone from school that was into music and stuff. I go to a really small Catholic school, so everyone is kind of the exact same. Everyone is pretty much just interested in sports and stuff. First, my best friend Maggie and I met in the eighth grade through mutual friends, and I saw a Nirvana poster in her room, and I was like “oh shit, you like good music! This is great!” Lunar Vacation had kind of always been a thing for me, and the first thing I made was “Purple Dreams,” and I think I put it on Soundcloud? I always had the name sort of floating around in my head like, “Yeah, these two words sound good together,” but then my friend John Michael, our bassist, was like “Oh shit! I can record you!” and a year and three days ago from today, (July 25th, 2017), Maggie came over and we had this big sleepover where we stayed up until two in the morning and recorded and released our first song, and we kind of decided to be a little girl duo band. Then one day we went over to John Michael’s house to record, and his friend Connor was there, and we all ended up weirdly jamming on one thing, and then we were just like, “Well shit, why don’t we just be a band?” We didn’t really go into it with the intention of like, “Yes, let’s be a band,” it just sort of happened. It just worked out so well naturally, and now it fits perfectly.

WTKW: Who do you look up to in the local scene?

G: Maggie and I went to see The Frights, and we were leaving when someone was like, “Are you Lunar Vacation?”, and told us that we should talk to his friend Ian, who was in another local band called The Pellys, and we hit it off. He listened to our stuff and said that he really liked it, and then he set up a show for us. Without him, we wouldn’t be in the music scene. I adore him! So shoutout to the freakin’ Pellys! I’ve never felt so accepted before honestly.

WTKW:: What is your favorite show that you’ve played so far?

G: Gymshorts! Yep! That was my favorite, because we became like best friends with the girl, Sarah, from Gymshorts, and it was just a really fun time. That was, I think, right after we released our single, and it was so weird, because people knew the words. A lot of people were boppin’ up and down and having a really good time. I think that’s what made it so great, that everyone looked like they were having so much fun! Or a show that we played for Ian’s (from the Pellys) birthday at his house, because that was fun too. But the weirdest show we ever played- I know you didn’t ask this, but I’m gonna throw it in there, because it’s fun to talk about. We played this thing called Trash Pad. It’s an annual Atlanta thing, and it’s in my friend Millen’s basement. There were like seven bands or something that were going on. Then half of our band bailed on us, so me and Maggie were like ok we’ll just do an acoustic thing. Oh my God, it was so packed in there, and Pinkest and the Pellys were there, and they go so hard that people just die. Imagine being packed in a really small room with all these sweaty boys who are yelling. There was a group of frat bros that came, and everyone was like “Who invited the dudebros?”. In our little friend group music thing, we’re the only girls in there. So we’re just two girls playing an acoustic set in the middle of this insane, wild night, and then in the middle of our set we look up on the stairs and there’s a cop there and we’re like, “What the hell?’ and the cop was kinda like, “Hey guys I know you’ve got a house show going on, and this is really cool and I support it, but you’re double parked and that’s illegal.” He was really nice, but it was just funny how he interrupted our set out of all of them. Then right as he said that and started going upstairs, the group of frat bros- that no one invited- held up a bottle of alcohol and waved it in his face and then he came back down, and everyone was going insane. It was really fun though!

WTKW: I’ve heard that you guys are working on an EP is that finished? 

G: Well, you’re kind of correct and not correct. It’s very confusing, but we have everything basically done. It’ll take too long to get into detail, but basically, John Michael, our bassist left for like 6 months, and we kind of had to regroup and get another bassist, but then he came back last month, and it’s been great, but when he wasn’t in the band we had to go down to our friend Chris’ place, who’s in another band in the scene called the Antarticats, and he was all the way downtown so I had to drive there after school and me and Maggie and Connor would record a few days during the school year and then some days in the summer before Chris had to move out. It was kind of a rushed process to be honest, and then John joined back and was like, “I’ll just record the bass parts at my house and send them over”. While that was happening everyone was super busy with jobs and John and Connor are going to college in the fall, but we’re still gonna be a band, because we’re all staying here, but it was just a lot of businessand it was difficult to communicate over text how you want the EP to sound, yaknow? All the recording is done, but now it’s being mixed and mastered and stuff, so everyday we get a new thing from Chris saying “Is this good for the EP?”. It’s been a rollercoaster, but a good experience. Now I definitely know how to plan better. It’s coming out on the tenth of August. We haven’t actually said that yet, but I’m saying it now. It’s called Swell, and we’re self releasing it so I’m excited!

WTKW: What are the band dynamics? Who writes most of the lyrics? Who does the production?

G: I think we all contribute equally, but all the songs that we have out right now, Maggie has helped me write those or I have written them, like “Monterey”; [Maggie and I] both wrote that one. For everything else, I just sit in my bed and kinda just noodle around until something sticks and then I record it on Garage Band and go back to it when I’m bored and then bring it to everybody and then we just collaboratively craft a song. Then with John Michael being back- it’s still fairly new that he’s back- he’ll come up with so many cool riffs and instrumentals and we’ll all just have an input. I really like that, because it’s very individual, but at the same time collaborative if that makes sense.

WTKW: Where does your surfy sound come from? Any inspirations?

G: Honestly I always liked hard rock. I went through a grunge phase and my mom hated that. I was like “Oh yeah I love Pearl Jam and Nirvana, I’m so angsty and cool.” and then I got out of that [phase], thank God. They’re still amazing musicians, but I’m not as into them as I was, but I remember this so clearly. My gateway band was Walk The Moon, and then also Two Door Cinema Club. It was in 2013, and I was Mod-Podging a table and I was listening to Pandora and they came up in the radio thing and I was like what the hell? It started playing Quesadilla by Walk The Moon, and it just blew me away! All of the indie pop stuff was something that I had never really heard before, and from there it was just Walk The Moon and as I said before, Two Door Cinema Club, and then just recently, I really like Alvvays, because the lead singer, Molly Rankin, has the most wonderful voice that I’ve heard in my entire life. We all sort of listen to the same music like Tame Impala, Alvvays, Real Estate and stuff like that and it all sorta comes together in our songs. Oh, and Mac Demarco. But yeah, it’s just a lot of different influences and I just try to make whatever sounds good or pleasing and I just go with it.

WTKW: Who is your dream artist to play a show with?

G: I have sooo many, but I’m gonna try to narrow it down. I feel like the best bet for me would be a festival or maybe just a really long show, like a day long little fest. Ok number one: Twin Peaks, always and forever Twin Peaks, yes yes Twin Peaks, Twin freakin’ Peaks. Next, Pond or Tame Impala or maybe both. I’ve been really into Pond lately and I worship them now. Third, probably Mac Demarco, and then… there’s so many! Then I wanna say Alvvays too, because we could vibe really well with them, but then Hot Flash Heat Wave? I love Hot Flash Heat Wave. They destroy me! I don’t even- and the Walters? What? There’s just so many! Ok if I could narrow it down to like one person, maybe on a tour or something, it would be Twin Peaks.

WTKW: Do you have any advice for young bands that are just starting out?

G: Well we’re not put together at all, but if I was talking to people who really wanted to, but didn’t know where to start. I would say- I know this sounds cliche- but it’s like falling in love. If you’re looking for it, it probably won’t happen, but the minute that you start doing it for you, it’ll all fall into place. You need to make stuff that you’re really proud of. Make stuff that you totally love, otherwise you’re not gonna get anywhere. It’s like if you make stupid pop songs and are like “Ooh, this is gonna make me famous”, it’s not gonna work out. You’re definitely gonna have those shows where like only two people show up, but you can’t let that discourage you. If you really want it, you have to power through all of that. We had this one show where two people showed up. It was us and a touring band, The Pellys. It was on a Monday night and it was the week of finals, so none of our friends were gonna come. I was so sad, I was like, “Oh my god, people hate us!” But it actually ended up being really fun, because we all danced with each other when all the other bands were going on. I don’t know- my best advice would be not to listen to what anyone else is saying, just do whatever you feel. Follow your heart…but I’m being serious.
Be sure to check out Lunar Vacation on Spotify and Soundcloud

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