This time, we get to know Lunar Plexus, AKA John & Reuben. John writes all the songs (lyrics and music). John does all the singing (lead and backing). We share all the guitar and keyboard parts. Reub plays bass and drums. Reub does the recording, mixing and mastering although all musical and artistic decisions are made by mutual agreement. Lunar Plexus is a 50:50 collaborative project and the songs evolve along the way.
The track "Venus And Mars" is featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists.
Link To New Artist Spotlight Playlists:
1. Tell us a little about where you are from and what you are currently doing.
John & Reub are both recently retired hospital consultants from Exeter in Southwest England. We've played in various bands over more years than is comfortable to remember. We played together in a covers band called Reflux a decade or so ago playing various clubs and pubs around SW England. We've now come together again as an indie duo creating original pop/rock and occasionally straying into other genres. In doing so we've discovered a fabulous community of artists from around the world on a similar journey sharing their music, thoughts and ideas.
2. What inspired you to start playing and making music?
John: Always liked the sound of the acoustic guitar so bought a cheap one and gave it a go. Didn’t bother with lessons - just used my ear to try to work out songs. Had a middle aged crisis where I thought I’d have a go at writing my own stuff - with variable success. But having you to record and produce was the catalyst to making a bigger effort - before that it was just ideas swirling in my head.
Reub: I was very lucky that my school had a fantastic music department with truly inspiring teachers who encouraged engagement in classical and popular music. At Uni I became the musical director for a medics revue that played 3 sell-out nights at the Edinburgh Fringe. I also played keyboards in a gigging folk band and later played keyboards in a band called ‘Al Et Al’ that cut a vinyl album ‘Strange Affair.’ The album appears from time to time on eBay. That experience in a recording studio was a Damascus moment for me and I've been fascinated by music production ever since. 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.
𝟯. Who are your biggest influences?
Reub: Too broad to list comprehensively. Classical composers: Bach and Mozart stand above all others but I also love Mahler, Bartok, Schostakovich and many others. Popular music: 1960s; The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix. 1970s & 80s; Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, ELP, Yes, King Crimson, Sex Pistols, Genesis, Black Sabbath, Guns n Roses, Queen. 1990s, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden. Recently: I'm a huge Taylor Swift fan.
John: The Eagles, Elton John, the Who and (whisper it) ABBA.
4. What are your goals in the music industry?
To produce good quality music that other people want to listen to and feel a connection with. We're not interested in fame and fortune or following any particular trends. We both love the creative process and find creating new music enormously rewarding and fulfilling.
5. Tell us about your creative process when you make new music.
John: Starts with a musical idea - an interesting riff or sequence of chords and then trying to develop that into something that sounds fresh. I find this easier to do on a guitar but it can be done on a keyboard. Might even “borrow” a phrase or two from somewhere - nothing is ever completely original - but coming up with something that’s different in some way. Next working out how what you’ve got should be structured. Then it’s time to start thinking about what the song’s going to be about so that the lyrics fit with the “mood” of the music. Something catchy for the chorus is always useful. Rhyming can take a lot of effort because it needs to sound natural and fit the theme. By this time there should be a workable skeleton of a song. Now it’s a question of tweaking both the music and lyrics - discarding phrases that aren’t working and weaving in new ones that improve the vibe. Many iterations later you might have something that’s worth having a go at recording. Or you may decide it’s not good enough and have to start again.
6. What is your all-time favorite song?
Reub: That changes day by day. For something that vividly paints a picture of a happy time and place, "Penny Lane" takes some beating. John: Also changes week by week. This week it's "Crazy On You" by Heart. Last week it was "Lady Madonna".
7. What is the best advice you have either given or received in terms of music?
John: Not sure I’ve ever been given advice. Except possibly to stop wasting my time! Wouldn’t dream of advising anyone else.
Reub: Focus on what the song needs to be able to connect with an audience. Making sure each part serves that purpose in the best possible way. For example a simple love ballad might not require a blistering guitar solo or bass line extravaganza so play something that serves the song rather than serving your ego.
8. Proudest accomplishment?
John: As far as 'Lunar Plexus' is concerned, "Bring It On" is a highlight. It was one of our first songs and started as a very simple idea but steadily grew into a rather lovely song of aspiration and hope. Rather 'stage musical' in style, I still find it uplifting and heart warming.
Reub: Again, from the perspective of 'Lunar Plexus' I would say "The Hand of Fate". I've always felt a strange connection with the two characters in the song. It builds you up and then pulls the rug from under your feet. It always gives me a lump in throat when I hear it.
9. Just for fun! What's been your most embarrassing moment so far?
Reub: That's easy. Playing piano for a Medics Revue Company stage production at the Edinburgh Fringe. It's a opening night; full house; paying audience. The lights go down, the curtain rises to a single actor on stage about to perform a Tom Lehrer song. I start the piano introduction and it completely falls to pieces (the introduction not the piano). Somehow by an act of lightning wit, the actor incorporates the mess up into the sketch and on the second attempt everything went well. But for those few seconds, I really wanted a chasm to open up and just swallow me whole.
John: Launching into “Caroline” by Status Quo on a gig in the wrong key. It should start in F. When the rest of the band came in it was a horrible sound and we had to start again.
𝟭0. Tell us about your lowest and highest points in music so far.
John: Lowest - going hoarse at the Happy Farmer gig. Highest - getting 10,000 streams for 'Good To Be Alive'.
Reub: As listed above really.
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