Living for the MadHouse with Singer/Songwriter Luna Aura
photos / Jessica Castro
story / Camile Sardina
With the aura of a comic book character who finds power on lightless days, singer/songwriter Luna Aura is reveling in the craziness that is the early 20s and womanhood. You can feel it in her new ep MadHouse, your doorway to the sounds of a bold, free, even dream-like youth.
Along with her new EP, Luna breaks chains about overcoming fear, being bigger than her body and losing her mind on stage.
Let’s talk about your Luna Aura stage name. It came from your love for the character Luna in X-Men! Why did you connect to the Luna character?
Her full name is Luna Maximoff. I connected to her because she was a hybrid. She was half mutant and half human. And when she finally developed her powers she developed aura vision which allowed her to see what people were feeling. I found that intriguing because I think that’s what a musician does, so there was a connection there. Also, her father actually disowned her for now working with her powers early in life, so she felt like an outsider, that’s another reason why I connected with her so much.
And how is Luna Aura different from Angela Flores (your birth name)?
I always had a hard time performing on stage as Angela which kind of stemmed from fear. So instead of trying to fight the fear when performing live, I decided to take control of it and name it. So then I’d have control of the fear instead of it controlling me. And I named that control Luna Aura. I’m a little more balanced and normal in real life. It’s not a persona that Luna Aura is, but parts of me. It’s all my fears, and I just fuckin’ took all of it and overcame it.
And you overcame it with your brand new ep MadHouse! Tell me about the sound behind it.
I went to a really good producer, Evan Gartner, who was looking for someone to work with for his first project. He’s incredibly talented and just 18 years old. Plus, he is one of my best friends so it was super easy working with him. With my album, he added this electronic flare to the pop sounds I had done in the past. We would work in the studio from 10a.m to 10p.m. in the same night.
What does MadHouse mean to you? How do you feel when listening to it?
The album means two different things. The overall theme is “MadHouse”. Every song is different but they’re also cohesive because the message is ‘be proud to be crazy’ and ‘be yourself’. When I put this EP together I didn’t initially think of that, but when the songs were all created together, I saw the full theme. MadHouse was the last song I wrote on the album.
Any musical influences in MadHouse?
I chose not to listen to any other music that was coming out while making this album. I wanted to create something from the inside and something that I’ve never heard before.
What do you want people to know about your music right now?
I’m working with things that have a lot more live instrumentation. I’m ever evolving and I’m really proud of it as an artist because I can do whatever the hell I want.
Tell me about the creative direction with your look.
I have a sense of humor about most things, so I thought it would be funny to be in a straightjacket on my cover. PJ Szabo was the photographer for that. With the song MadHouse it’s supposed to be a dream house in my own head and me losing my head literally.
I love every song on the album, but my favorite has to be Body. It’s sexy, confident and perfect for getting lost in dance. What inspired the song? And what was the writing process like?
Body for me was about…well, I’m a very small person in general…and people don’t always take me seriously because they feel like I’m weak. And I wanted people to know that I’m bigger than my body and I’m willing to kick your ass if I have to. Also that my body is just what I’m in, and I’m capable of so much more than you think I am. The writing process was very easy, we wrote it in a few hours and it came from a very honest place. I think the song resonates with women because they’re often not taken seriously, and there’s nothing more powerful than strong women.
You’re a performer on top of being a singer. What are your performances like? What do you want your audiences to take away from them?
My performances are always really lighthearted, fun and wild. When I see a performance, the main thing that I hate is when the performer knows people are there to see them and they have airs. I want to go back to the days when people were proud to perform their music. I want to unapologetically be myself. I start out pretty on stage, but then lose my mind because I want the audience to feel the music. By the end of the show, I want people to know they can be themselves because I just made a fool of myself right in front them.
I read that you like to follow your gut. Are you an intuitive person?
Oh, yes, I’m a woman! All women are intuitive. They know when something’s up and something’s down.
What are your next steps with your music career?
I’ll be writing for my next project which will be performance heavy kind of music with more attention to the vocals and songwriting.