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  • Lvna In Caelo

interviewed by "Starvox"


I was surprised to discover that Palace of Worms Records' newest release, a CD from the Chile band Luna in Caelo, is actually a re-release. But on listening, the reasons are obvious. Luna in Caelo's *Aquellos Desgarradores Gritos LLamados Silencio* (originally 1998) is an intense, diverse, and beautiful release. The album utilizes guitar, female voice, percussion, and bass in a flurry of dark emotion. One moment the band is in a full throttle as intense and loud as the Swans, and next follows a piece with interesting percussion and treated electric guitar work remnant of Cocteau Twins or even early Cure. Some soundscape guitar works also work their way into the album. The Palace of Worms Records re-release of this CD includes three earlier (1996) songs not on the original album as well as two mpeg videos.

Luna in Caelo's work *Miedo a Morir* (2000) is much more consistent and a bit more quiet with a greater concentration on voice and guitar, like lighter Cocteau Twins works. The album is very passionate, but not as confrontational a *Aquellos...*. The guitars are beautiful and voice very sweet. "Vigilia" moves slowly with quiet percussion in the background and wind chimes fading in and out, perhaps sometimes backwards. The track resolves with a sort of quiet distortion fading in and finally out.

Luna in Caelo is a band that must be appreciated first and foremost for the very interesting and well used guitar and guitar effects. It seems to come naturally to Daniel Devila, Luna in Caelo guitarist and visionary in cooperation with Alejandra Araya, the beautiful voice of the band. It is evident that this is a band to seek out if you appreciate the moods of such bands as Cocteau Twins and earlier Siouxsie. And don't be fooled when Daniel says this is a rock band; I believe he means there is structure and guitar, but beyond that this is very different music indeed.

StarVox: On your new release on Palace of Worms Records *Aquellos Desgarradores Gritos LLamados Silencio*, which is actually a re-release, you have two videos. The first is a live a capella piece; the second is very dark and ambient. Would you tell us about including those on the CD?

DANIEL: Including the videos and three extra songs was an idea of Guido's, from POW, he wanted to make the release different and more appealing than the original release of *Aquellos...*. That gave us a chance to put out some unreleased material that complements that era of LIC.

StarVox: How did you get involved with Palace of Worms Records?

DANIEL: One and half years ago I put up a web site for LIC and POW contacted us. I sent some promo stuff, including *Miedo a Morir*, that was just released. We first wanted to make a compilation of the two CD's but Guido wanted to make the full release of *Aquellos...* which I think is great, because the original edition didn't have any promotion.

StarVox: The live footage from the *Aquellos...* CD was very dark, would you tell us about the atmosphere of your live shows?

DANIEL: That live footage was from our first concert in Mexico City, and we were very angry that night because we had some technical problems. But the face of Alejandra is that way in most concerts. The standard LIC concert, with the full line-up, is a very powerful yet intimate experience, we also like to play in places that are not big night clubs, like abandoned places or small venues. Here in Mexico we had to play with others groups, which we don't like much, because we take a lot of time preparing the stage, and use minimal or no light, things you can't do in a festival or something like that. At least we played here once with the full line up in an very nice colonial church that is now a cultural center. When all of us can't play, we play with just guitar and voice, which is beautiful too.

StarVox: Some of your music sounded particularly influenced by Cocteau Twins and Siouxsie. How do you feel about being compared to these artists?

DANIEL: We like those artists a lot, and all the other classics of that period. What we try to achieve is to use some musical background from those groups and build our own style, make a compliment, not a copy. Anyway, it is great to be compared with such great artists.

StarVox: *Aquellos...* contains some very interesting soundscape pieces like "Locus" and "Tormento". They sound like mostly processed guitar, and are very beautiful yet dark. Any comments on those?

DANIEL: Yes, those two songs are processed guitar, a kind of pause in the CD, that is basically a rock album. I think all the songs we make are a bit like soundscapes, more in *Miedo a Morir*, but even "Locus" and "Tormento" couldn't be called ambient music, they have a kind of sinister feeling and ambient music is more relaxing. They are more influenced by Lustmord, Non, etc.

StarVox: Another track from *Aquellos...* which grabbed my attention was "Pena", with it's almost Swans-like smashing guitar and drums. Coming off the very beautiful a capella "Duda", it's quite a contrast and blows me away every time I hear it. Where did this piece come from?

DANIEL: "Pena" is another kind of LIC song, a kind of big, epic tragedy. It was the opening song for our Chile's concerts for many years because it makes a great impact on the audience, and it keeps some tension, because you're always waiting for the drums to come back. The lyrics are about losing control of your life, when there's nothing to hold on to, just sorrow, pena. It even has our only external line of lyric: "dame el caliz de amargura, si, que acabe esta tortura" (give me the bitter chalice, yes, let's make this torture end) from "Jesus Christ Superstar"! Alejandra used to hear the Spanish version LP when child.

StarVox: Would you please tell us a little about getting started in Chile and moving to Mexico City?

DANIEL: Chile is a very small country and to make a group can be a very difficult and frustrating task if you are not going to make pop music. When we started back in 1993, there was no dark movement so we were called an 'alternative' band. I think those first years that included the first release of *Aquellos...* were very, very low profile. We wanted to be an almost 'secret' group, but that was the period we played live most. When we left Chile to move to Mexico in 1999, just Alejandra and me, we started to be very popular in the growing dark community of Chile, some kind of ghost band abroad. Here in Mexico we needed some time to decide to promote our music, because we came here for other reasons, but at last we decided to release *Miedo a Morir* and make some special concerts. We also started to make some abroad promotion, which ended, or just started, with the POW release.

StarVox: I've been listening to *Miedo A Morir* lately, it's very beautiful. And I just love the gray color on the CD itself.

DANIEL: Thanks, I think *Miedo a Morir* is less extreme than *Aquellos...*, I like it's mood. The grey color was a printer mistake, but it's nice anyway.

StarVox: It was a mistake? That's funny. I love the color, it's really creamy. *Aquellos...* is very good too, very extreme and even harsh at times. You probably need to be in a more serious mood to listen to it. Come to think of it, the are very different, and it's hard to have a favorite. Would you tell us what changed the approach between these two albums?

DANIEL: The main difference between them is that "Aquellos... " was a kind of compilation of our live set, we just picked songs to build a coherent yet diverse album, and its made in a professional studio by a rock band. It was also made in a full year period, that's why it has many different sounds. For *Miedo a Morir*, it was very different, the songs were never played live, all made almost when we were recording. And we recorded in a home studio we built, with big limitations like the drums couldn't be fully recorded, we had to make it in steps. We also had to work quietly, as to not disturb the neighborhood. And we needed to work fast because we had a date to leave Chile, so, it all influenced the music, it made a quiet, continuous, and solemn album.

StarVox: Right now you are recording new material, will you tell us anything about that?

DANIEL: When we moved to Mexico, the big question was the future of LIC, because we were just the half of the line-up, and we weren't sure about playing in Mexico. Anyway, we never stopped writing music. After a year here, we decided to make a duo recording, just to leave a testimony of our Mexican visit, that it's about to end to return to Chile. It's not Mexican music influenced, but it's about being just the two of us again, as the beginning of LIC. So I made-up another home studio, and here we are, recording hurried again, before we leave Mexico!

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