Luna Grand are soulful musicians first and foremost. The trio's pedigree is untouchable, their kinship enviable and their success as assured as it is self-directed.
Laura, Shannon and Danny are a refreshing antidote to the commodification of music. A living, breathing reminder that it's not all about the money, it's not all about the fame and it's not all about the brand. Art is about taking risks and success is about making music together, about learning, growing, and about firing the imaginations of everyone they work with. The 2013 AGT winners have sagaciously withdrawn from their bankable Uncle Jed notoriety in favour of a truer entity that resonates with who they are now as people, as musicians, and as artists. They are Luna Grand.
“Uncle Jed was fun but we've had a wealth of experiences between now and then. People don't like change but artistically we felt we had to.” They happily credit AGT for the experience, but as Danny alludes to this stepping stone and to finding their more soulful footing, Shannon completes the sentiment; the three of them make a habit of this.”We're a lot stronger now; we learnt a lot and most importantly we learnt to take control.”
Such is the artistic calibre and confidence that is the steel in the spine of Luna Grand. They are part of the larger Stitt family of Australian Jazz and Folk musicians. They're young but between them they've clocked nearly 50 years of experience and boys play in various Metal and Electronic side projects. Cousin Laura is a professionally trained vocalist, with brothers Danny, a Jazz and Metal bassist and erstwhile guitarist, and Shannon 'the maestro' whose ungodly abilities on keys allows them access to the country's finest session musos, are as personally and musically tight as you'll find in the current musical landscape; they are almost the one person. If two heads are better than one then this symbiotic triad is peerless, fearless and unstoppable.
“We trust each other entirely.” Laura understates of their synergy, as she does, as they all do. They're as humble and congenitally cool as you like and that vibe is infectious. “I think it's very beneficial to our songwriting.” Danny adds. They each bring a unique, critical element to the formula that powers Luna Grand, they can't readily define it, they're not prone to overanalysing it, but they rely on it.
Whether they're writing the lyrics, the music or performing, the support in the creative process is instinctive, responsive, sensitive and idiosyncratic. It's quite likely hereditary, probably involuntary, definitely automatic and the results are that fulsome sonic pull on your soul for which they’ve become famous. They cite each other and their families as major influences, they mention contemporaries from Metal to James Blake, Cat Empire, Fat Freddies Drop and Katie Noonan, with a nod to a diverse smattering of Jazz, Funk, Soul and Reggae greats. Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder. Regardless of genre, they’re simply citing other brilliant performers.
“We love playing live” Shannon starts. "It's about those gigs where you really connect with the crowd and with each other. That's what we live for.” Danny adds, “I think every single gig we play we learn something off each other and off the other amazing musicians we play with. That's what it's all about and I think that comes through on our records.” Laura brings it home, “We play quite freely, we're always changing things, improvising, we always find little pockets of something special every time in our songs. So playing live is definitely very important for us, for our process.”
Their multi-dimensional authenticity means Luna Grand can write personally with a truth that translates universally. And like all great technicians they make art look easy, which it most definitely is not. There's is both an innate and practised skill and it’s a beautiful evolution to behold on their new EP. The name change becomes perfunctory in light of their soulful progress.
“We're not writing music for any specific reason anymore. We’re not writing a song to be radio friendly. We're not writing songs to fit any particular thing.” Laura speaks slowly and deliberately. “I think our songwriting has become…” Danny interjects, “.. a lot more selfish, in a way. We're not writing for anyone else's needs but our own.” Shannon adds, “We want to write something we're proud of, that's what this EP is about, that’s what it's all about.”
Luna Grand, the refined and sublime overspill of musical sensibility, of quality, integrity, connection and enjoyment with a purity of purpose that makes them a delight to watch, to listen to, and to observe as they continue to grow.
Catch Luna Grand on the Main Stage at Banana Field Music Festival - Saturday, 29th October 2016