Luma is an awesome collaborative project I’m pretty keen to see at Park Acoustics, with years of experience in the scene ahead of its formation, the members bring combined energy to each performance and it was only right that I put some questions to front-person Jenny Dison!
Richard Chemaly: Right on Jenny! Great to get to speak to you lot! I remember the bang you came onto the scene with in 2016 then kinda just went underground for awhile. Maybe because I moved out of Jozi but all I can recall from mid 2017 was the Jazzuelle feature. Did you go on hiatus or did I just party in the wrong places?
Jenny Dison (JD): We did take a bit of a break to record some more songs and work on the live set. I also joined Sol Gems as a full time session musician and Alex has his own project so through out the year we had to juggle all our projects. But we still played Mieliepop, Oppi, Endless Daze festival…and did two Cape Town tours. We thought it would be easy to get stuck into the project but it can be difficult when you have too many other things going on. That’s why I’m so excited about this year because I’m going to focus on LUMA full time.
RC: Yeah let’s talk about Endless Daze and Oppi since there you were with awesome sets! Thanks for that by the way. What is the value of a festival for an electronica set?
JD: Yeah thank you! It was a pretty big deal to get asked to play at a psych fest. There is huge value in having a diverse line up at a festival and if it is going to be genre specific it is always interesting to include and acknowledge other forms of pdychedelia.
Because LUMA is not strictly an electronic sound, it has multiple influences from psych to dream pop to psych house. I think there were a lot of highlights from last year, we played a lot of festivals and a lot of interesting gigs that people didn’t pick up on. I have found there to be a lack of interest in local artists, it’s generally the same people that go to the same shows and it is very disheartening for artists that put a lot of time and work into their work.
RC: You collaborate a lot and with some really awesome artists. How have you traversed artistic differences? For example, there is evidence of you holding liquid bread on your Instagram feed but Thor Rixon hates bread so much that he wrote a song about avoiding it…yet you’ve worked together.
JD: Thor Rixon is a friend of ours and we have loved working with him. Alex also has a project with him. I started producing LUMA songs with Thor before Alex and I started performing together. So he is a big part of the sound, he performed with me in Cape Town in December because Alex had his own shows in Joburg. There has always been magical chemistry between the three of us.
RC: To laypeople, it’s not easy to understand why it’s important have a good sound engineer but I’ve read you lamenting the lack of them. Have you a story of bad sound engineering?
JD: It is really difficult to find good sound at smaller Joburg venues, and those are usually the places we frequent. It is totally frustrating because if they don’t have a good sound desk or don’t know what they’re doing it can really affect the show. Often sound engineers don’t even understand half the equipment we use on stage.
But if we play at a festival or a big show, the sound is incredible because there is a huge team who are all very experienced. I guess it comes down to venues not putting money into their stages/sound systems/engineers/desks/acoustics. I think venues in Joburg just want people to buy alcohol and make quick easy money and sometimes don’t see the value in hiring experienced people because they’re generally more expensive…for a very good reason!!
RC: And now playing Park Electric, I know you have a love for festivals but does this one have particular significance to you?
JD: We can’t wait!! This will be our first Park Acoustics and it is specifically for an electronic line up. It is pretty awesome that we haven’t been labeled as an electronic act and we are able to play such diverse line ups and festivals. But this is different because every electronic act on this line up is so different. It’s rad to be acknowledged by such a successful event that we love.
RC: Looking forward to your set! but before we go, one last question; what’s your most fascinating festival regret?
JD: Hmmmm, my biggest regret as an artist at these shows is always not going bigger! It can be difficult for me to let go because I’m always so worried about the sound or this or that. So definitely just holding back. Also at Endless Daze I decided to play the wrong song as our last one as our time ran out and we were all a bit bummed afterwards cause it would have been a better way to end off the show.