Here;s my interview with the band Lunar Plexus.
How'd you get started in music?
I didn’t come from a traditionally musical family but my father had a very good singing voice and used to sing around the house. My mother used to ‘bash out’ tunes on the piano by ear with no musical training whatsoever. We had an old collection of 78s (Nat King Cole, Fats Domino, Lonnie Donegan etc) which I used to play on the ‘gramophone.’ I distinctly remember playing ‘Secret Love’ by Doris Day over and over again and falling completely in love with her. That song still gives me a lump in the throat.
Music was a big thing at my school. I sang in the school choir and took clarinet and piano lesson but not to a particularly high standard. My musical tastes then were a mix of 1960s greats and 1970s rock.
I think music really started for me at university. I became the musical director, arranger and pianist for a medics revue that played 3 nights to sell out audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. That was my first taste of playing to a paying audience and I found it thrilling and terrifying in roughly equal measure. I also played keyboards in a folk band (not really my thing) that played the club circuit in and around Southampton. Towards the end of my time at university I played keyboards in a band called ‘Al Et Al’ which formed to record songs written by a friend. We recorded 14 tracks at some professional studios and cut a vinyl album ‘Strange Affair.’ Financially, the project broke even and the album appears from time to time on eBay. As an adult, I’ve taken guitar, piano and music theory lessons over many years – I really should be a much better musician than I actually am.
John and I first came together musically around 2000 in a band called Reflux which played various pubs, clubs, parties and weddings in and around Exeter.
We came together again as Lunar Plexus about two years ago for the sole purpose of recording new material. John does all the vocals and we share guitar and keyboard parts between us. I do bass and drums although I’m sure John could do these also. All the material is recorded and produced in a project studio in my home.
Who are your inspirations or influences?
I think John and my musical influences are pretty similar and include Classical music, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. John has a soft spot for The Beach Boys, The Eagles and Muse. I love classic Rock – Deep Purple, Black Sabbath etc. Having said that, my musical tastes are very wide. I’m generally of the view that there’s good music and bad music so I’m not fixated on genre. I love classical music especially from the baroque and classical periods. I seem to be going through a huge Taylor Swift phase currently that’s lasted at least three years and doesn’t seem to be fading!
What advice would you offer aspiring performers?
Listen to as wide a range of music as you can. You can learn from any musical genre. Take some lessons – if only to iron out your playing technique. Don’t be frightened to put yourself in front of an audience. If you fluff some of the playing, it’s not the end of the world and the audience may not even spot it. Do your own thing as a band – commit to your sound. Practice slowly focusing on accuracy – the speed will follow. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Don't be put off by a lack of enthusiastic response from friends and family. Listen to advice but don't be a slave to it.
How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?
I think our ‘thing’ boils down to the quality of the song writing for which I can take no credit whatsoever. John writes all the songs – music and lyrics. He’s a great songwriter. The lyrics are mature, thoughtful, humorous, sometimes deeply touching and reflect a sophisticated facility with language. The music flows freely but is never obvious or trite. I don’t think John has had any formal musical education but he has an innate sense of ‘what works well.’ His chord choices are often unexpected but very musical and he used lots of suspensions and colour tones which adds interest and spice to the songs.
Any new gigs or albums in the future?
With only two of us in the band, we can’t really play these songs live although one or two of them might survive an unplugged approach. We continue to record new material and have no plans to stop.
Special thanks to them for doing this interview. & I wish them lots of luck in their music. So until then I'll catch you all on The Flipside! Stay awesome & rock n roll!