Maxim Meyer-Horn

7 Nov
Music

On Our Radar: Luna Morgenstern Is the Bright Star of Tomorrow’s Ethereal Pop

In our ‘On Our Radar‘ series, we like to introduce you to emerging talent, and today we want to introduce you to German-born Luna Morgenstern. Her self-produced eclectic alt-pop has some snippets of Caroline Polachek, Maggie Rogers, Laurel, and Empress Of but also a delightful individuality through her sharp songwriting. Before she took the stage at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, we spoke to the Amsterdam-based singer backstage to talk about her future plans and her sources of inspiration.

How would you introduce yourself to someone who isn’t familiar with you are or what you make?

I’m Luna, and I make ethereal pop. I’m a writer and producer, and I like to dive into different melodies and sounds. I find it quite difficult to explain my own sound, but I always describe it as ethereal pop because it has something dreamy yet catchy at the same time. When writing, I try to find a balance between melancholy—my lyrics often are quite heavy—and danceable elements in the production.

You released a couple of songs this year. How was it to release music in a time after COVID?

It was quite scary at first since I was afraid of performing live. COVID was the perfect opportunity for me to try everything and build confidence about performing. I did some small shows and participated in Popronde (editor’s note: a Dutch talent competition), which was a safe space to overcome my fear and I truly enjoy performing now. So far, I only released music during COVID, which you just drop on Instagram to announce that it’s out, and some share it on their stories. So it was difficult to fully enjoy releasing music. Whereas now, I get to see the reactions of the audience, which is really rewarding.

You lived in Cologne until you were 20 and were very inspired by its Techno scene. How does that reflect in your music?

I think that influence is mostly reflected in the drums, but I also enjoy using arpeggio synths, which are often used in garage and techno. My first EP, taking The Blow, was quite heavy as it was me processing the passing of my mother. That project was very introspective and is still important to my heart. The new projectthat will be released next year is way more light and danceable. You’ll definitely hear the techno and trance influences in those new songs much more.

Was it a conscious decision to write songs in English because your native language is actually German?

I never really thought of it. It was no real choice; it just happened. I don’t think I would switch the language at this point. It somehow only became relevant to sing in your mother tongue in the past couple of years, but when I started writing, that wasn’t really the case. Especially not in German. I find it very difficult to write in German and stay close to the emotion I want to portray. It very quickly gets too storytelling. I think it’s fantastic when people are able to do that well though and I admire them for that.

You met Caroline Polachek last summer, who is an artist we sonically associate with you. Is she your absolute inspiration at the moment, and what other artists do you love listening to?

Caroline Polachek is definitely my biggest source of inspiration at the moment, and that’s also because of her
personality, her previous projects (Chairlift) and obviously because she is deeply involved in the production of her songs. I see a lot of artistic choices in her artistry that I really adore. She has such grace. I also love Sega Bodega, who’s such an amazing writer and producer. I really listen to all kinds of music but recently I listen to more German music, because there’s such an interesting new wave of artists with a lot of trance influences, like DJ HEARTSTRING and Kev Koko. I feel like they’re becoming a big source of inspiration besides Caroline.

You compose and produce your songs yourself. Does that make the process more difficult, or is it easier to fulfill your own vision that way?

I think it became easier throughout the years. When I started, I was very limited in my abilities, which helped me create my own sound, but it took me quite some time to find the right people that understand and complement what I make, and whom I trust. I make the productions for about 80 percent, and then I go to Nick Ribbens—shout out!—to finish the production together. It’s always very eye-opening because he has such interesting ideas, and it is fun to leave my comfortzone.

It took me four years to find the people whom I really want to collaborate with and it’s been a lot of trial and error with many disappointments where I didn’t recognize the song anymore. I love writing with other people, but I don’t do it for my own project. I’m too much of a chameleon. When I enter a room and somebody likes something, I do, too but chances are high that I don’t recognise myself in it after all. I need to write on my own, and I just let it come.see myself in it after all. I need to write on my own, and I just let it come.

You already teased a new project coming next. Is there something you can already reveal to us?

I actually can’t wait to share everything we made. I worked for around a year on a new EP, and it’s very danceable with more of a nonchalance to it. I was doubting for a long time whether it would be too different from Taking The Blow, but every time I listen to it, I just think, “This is just so hard, fuck it!” It’s going to be different, but I’m very proud of it. The first single will be released in January 2023.

Follow Luna Morgenstern if you want to keep up to date about her upcoming releases.

Luna Morgenstern wears Kenza Iatridis.
Pictures and interview by Maxim Meyer-Horn

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