LVNA, are two university friends who started out by playing jazz standards in pubs and bars but who soon realised that they wanted to write original songs together. Lucky for us as the talented duo consisting of Lydia Clowes and Teresa Origone has evolved into the unique, soul, jazz and folk sound we hear today. Drawing inspiration from a broad range of artists and genres including Lianne La Havas, Hiatus Kaiyote, Bon Iver, D’Angelo and James Blake their music taps into their influences without ever imitating them. Having already shared “Not Here Anymore” and “Stalker,” the pair release their debut EP today which showcases the depth of their musicality. On first hearing the EP, you may conclude that it sounds like five vastly different songs hastily stitched together, but on repeated listens you’ll uncover that every track is a little piece of a story, and you need all of them to get the full picture. I emailed the duo last week and they kindly answered questions for us! Check out the interview below and stream the EP underneath.
Q. How did LVNA come together?
We met studying music at university and played many a Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind and Fire tune together before we realised that we both loved similar music and wanted to make some! We actually started by playing jazz standards in pubs and bars as a duo but then soon realised that we wanted to write original songs together and it soon developed into LVNA.
Q. Is LVNA an acronym? And were there any other names you had in mind?
We chose LVNA (pronounced Luna) for a few different reasons, as we liked the imagery of the moon and what it symbolises – nighttime, dreams, nature, it’s connection to the sea, another world and also the “lunar energy” (which you sometimes hear people talk about in yoga practice!) is considered the feminine side which we felt appropriate being an all female group. When we play with the full band we have Mercy Welbeck on bass and Jaleesa Gemerts on drums – we didn’t think of the band as being an all-female band since the start, we think Mercy and Jaleesa are great musicians and friends. “The moon manipulates all bodies of water, including our own, pulling the tides of the worlds oceans, the tides of our consciousness, and the water in our bones and blood”
Q. What process did you undergo when you wrote the songs on the EP?
Lydia : I like to take influence from nature a lot in my songwriting as this is one thing that inspires me a lot. So, living in London is often hard to be inspired to write music! But also I find it interesting looking into other people’s lives, sitting in a café with a coffee and watching people walk past, imagining their lives, writing songs about imagined worlds and what struggles we all go through.
Teresa: I tend to try imagining a story as if I was reading it in a book. This obviously ends up being influenced by my personal life and thoughts, but thinking of it as something external to me makes writing about it much easier.
We brought our writing styles together to create the songs on the EP, so lyrically some songs came initially from one person or the other. We obviously are different people but together we work to influence each other and try to create something cohesive.
Q. Tell us about the EP. What made you put these five songs together?
We named our EP “In Limerence” which means to be infatuated with something, usually a person, involving obsessive thoughts and the desire for romantic feelings to be reciprocated. So, kind of being in love with someone in a creepy way! The 5 songs were actually 5 of the first songs we wrote together, and although are all different in their own way we felt that they worked well together on the theme of love, obsession, dreaming and being in another world. We like to imagine the EP as a child’s first drawing or experiment, their first creation influenced by what they see around them.
Q. How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard your music before?
This is the hardest question… We have so many different influences that it’s kind of a mush of loads of things. We love soul, jazz, folk, hip hop and I think our music reflects a little bit of each of these, but it’s hard to tell really. We always say “soul/pop/jazz with a bit of electronic stuff in there” but this is quite vague! Maybe we need to make a new word “electronic sopozz“?! Maybe what made all these different elements glue together was also working with Henry Counsell who helped us produce the EP.
Q. You’re friends with Leo Wyatt (KINDER) and Frenchie (The Naked Eye), do you have any plans to collaborate them in the future?
Yes yes!! The plan for the next lot of songs and hopefully the next EP is to do a bit more co-writing with our friends. We have just started doing it and it’s so much fun! So hopefully we will collaborate with Leo and Frenchie in the very near future, so keep your eyes and ears peeled!
Q. What musicians have influenced your music?
So many. I think whatever you listen to filters its way into your writing. We both love artists such as Lianne La Havas, Hiatus Kaiyote, Bon Iver, D’Angelo and James Blake so I think this has influenced us a lot.
Lydia : I listen to a lot of chilled out, more acoustic stuff as well and I think this influences me underneath the production of our stuff, I like that added feature! I love people like The Staves, Lucy Rose and Laura Mvula, some really great female musicians out there at the moment!
Teresa : I also listen to more hip-hop/R&B influenced music like Noname and Frank Ocean, and everything that comes from Brainfeeder is great, especially Teebs and Taylor McFerrin.
Q. Any new music you think we should be listening to right now?
Loving the new Bon Iver and Solange albums! There’s been loads of great music coming out this year, Moses Sumney, James Blake, and all the ones we mentioned above.
Q. Outside of music, what are your interests?
Lydia : I like to be outside, walking my dog, going to the beach and doing yoga. I love the theatre and doing crafty things too. It’s nice to have hobbies aside from music because as it doesn’t feel like a job at all, sometimes it can take over and it’s good to set yourself time to do something else!
Teresa : I love cooking and cycling but especially listening to music – I don’t think I do anything that’s not related to music most of the time.
Q. Tell us something interesting about yourselves?
Lydia: I’m a qualified windsurfing instructor, but I’m a bit of a fair weather surfer so generally only do it in hot countries! England’s a bit chilly for me!! I spent 3 summers whilst at uni in Greece and Spain teaching windsurfing, but now that I’ve started playing festivals my summers aren’t quite as exotic, but it’s still a great way to spend the summer.
Teresa: This is a very difficult question!
Thanks to you both! Any last words to the Twistedsoul community?
We have our EP launch on 5th December at The Islington!! Tickets are only £3 and we will be sure to spam everyone’s Facebook feed with the info very soon. Thanks so much for supporting us and enjoying our music! We love Twistedsoul 🙂
Big thanks to Lydia and Teresa! In Limerence is out now so make sure you support LVNA and stay tuned for more.