Track By Track: LUNAKAI Discusses Self-Titled Debut EP

London-based multidisciplinary artist LUNAKAI, the music moniker of Kyle Ross, has unveiled his hotly-anticipated, self-titled debut EP, out now on his own Masters of Nowhere label.

A five-track release, he features all three of his recent singles, on which he shares with us some details.. Get to know a bit more about what’s behind these ones, all is below!

‘I’ opens proceedings with a full-frontal, maximalist production: “This is actually one of first tracks I wrote on the EP, I had this demo version that I loved with the synths, chopped up vocals and basic beat sitting for ages I knew I loved it and I tried many variations to make this into a “proper song” but the demo always sounded better. So in the end I ended up reverting to the demo and adding a few percussion bits and mixing it down as it was. Sometimes that demo vibe is the best vibe, something we can see from the magic of the likes of Jai Paul”

The first offering we had from this EP was ‘YOU’, a fluttering, moody floor filler that combines mutated vocal samples, delicate percussion and gentle arpeggios. He pursues: “This track came about on a day where I was intentionally avoiding using the computer and trying to dig deeper into some of my hardware. I was playing on the Tempest which is where all of the percussive elements come from but also the sub bass in the tracks, that comes from messing with the filter on the Dave Smith tempest and then chopping up and resampling the results into this warping bass thing you hear on the record. Over that I laid down the chords on my prophet and layered them with a felt piano in Ableton. That was the bones of the track done and it sat like this for a while. From there I built this track up gradually over some time adding vocal samples which I layered with my own singing and the extra layers of synths and guitars”.

Well, here’s ‘ALL IN’; an intimate recording bringing together LUNAKAI’s hypnotic vocals, lo-fi guitar and a stripped-back beat, with dance music mogul Diplo supporting it on his BBC Radio 1 ‘Diplo & Friends’ show.

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More than that, the young talent recently shared the music video – which he directed, shot and edited himself. Shot in Tokyo, the engrossing video was filmed during LUNAKAI’s trip to the Japanese capital and is his first attempt at filmmaking.

“ALL IN has become my favourite track I’ve done, I started this track with the idea of sending it to someone else to use for their project, I love how lines can blur like this sometimes. It started with the verse melody sample and I was freestyling vocal ideas over that (something that I’m not very confident with to be honest!). I ended up coming up with the melody and lyrics you hear in the final track on the spot and its that vocal take on there now. I used the formant tool in Autotune to give my voice that eerie deeper vibe. When I revisited the demo it felt pretty special and I layered over the guitar (this little guitelele I have, its ukulele format but with 6 strings in standard tuning). I actually cannot remember the process of making the drop in this song very well to be honest, I know I was playing around with these weird futuristic flute sounds because there are 2 or 3 demos from that time with a similar sound haha. The thing I like about this song too is the simplicity, the track has like 3-4 elements happening at once which feels super distilled and I think that might be the key to its success”

No doubts about that, ‘GOT ME’ is the EP’s most cinematic offering, pairing rich, lucid melodies with a futuristic sonic aesthetic. Kyle details: “GOT ME again started with some hardware experimentation, the song started with that synth riff in the verse that I recorded in from my Make Noise O Coast, this little semi modular synth. After this I added the drums with that distorted 2-step vibe and bassline. The vocals you hear on the track my dad actually recorded someone he met in Jamaica for me. The ending on this track is my favourite moment in the EP, it’s a complete switch up and features a resampled melody harp which is this cheap kids toy instrument I have . I love how fragmented it feels and love weird sections in songs you don’t expect”.

And finally, things are beautifully closed out with the hazy daydream that is ‘II’.

“This track has a magical memory for me. I made this in my friends studio in Vilnius, Lithuania. After hanging with my friend for a week, he left to go to Germany and I stayed in Vilnius on my own in the studio. It was this amazing spot in a 1 bedroom flat in the very center of Vilnius which he has an amazing set up of outboard, synths and modular and you could make as much noise as you wanted. I got back from some bar hopping one night and decided to work on some tracks. After making some club influenced heavier stuff I stumbled across these chords and I can’t quite remember how I made it but it felt special. It’s quite a hypnotic outro to the EP”

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LUNAKAI Japan Trip

A stunning debut offering, LUNAKAI’s self-titled maiden EP is evidence of an artist with an innate talent for electronic production and embodies all facets of his creativity. Eager to see what is in the pipeline for the upcoming months!

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