Luna asks what it means to ‘Immortalise’ someone in your art
On her debut single, ‘Try Again?’, London-based singer-songwriter and producer LUNA detailed an incidence of having her drink spiked, suffusing the music with her own personal struggles with anxiety as the world came unravelling at the seams around her. On ‘Immortalise’, the second single to be taken from her debut EP, Nostalgia, which is due out in September, Luna directs her songwriting towards a different source of anxiety: What does it mean to be an artist, and what responsibilities come with that title?
Summarising the impulse towards creating art, Luna describes ‘Immortalise’ as being about “idealism and romanticism, and looking for meaning in the world around you. The want to dig beyond the visuality and find something less tangible and record and create meaning out of that”. However, she also notes that “in immortalising the people I write about, I can immortalise myself and the situation and the way I saw it, or the way I wanted it to be – the song is about the power within that”.
It’s easy to fall into the romanticism of the artistic impulse to create something of meaning. But it’s even easier to glide over the fact that this impulse can be partially predatory, too. There’s an ethical ambiguity to the artist’s job of creating art – and, particularly, of earning capital from the creation of that art – from the lives of others, of using someone else’s life for “inspiration”. In immortalising someone, there’s also something of a paradoxical power dynamic at play: Does immortalising someone through art necessarily mean implicitly silencing that person’s voice and eliding their perspective in favour of privileging your own, as the artist?
On ‘Immortalise’, Luna’s romanticism ripples beneath a soft bed of minimalist electro-pop with these sort of darker undertones. Where a subtle rush of airy synths and climbing melodies lift Luna’s wistfully thin vocals during the chorus, making the sentiment of wanting to immortalise or capture someone sound practically whimsical, this sentiment is immediately counteracted by the verses, which, carried by an abundant use of space and plucky, synthetic drums that richot around the mix, sounds almost hollowed-out in comparison. “Let me be a diary / I’ll write down what you do / No, I won’t miss a minute / Cause I’m so wrapped up in you / When my pen hits the paper / You know you’ll never die / You’ll be safe in the pages / With all the others I’ve kept alive”, she sings in a chorus of haunting, pitched-down harmonies.
It’s the sound of a newly emerging artist working out what it means and what it looks like to call yourself an artist – and coming into her own in the process.
Words by Kyle Fensom