Dion Lunadon (The D4, A Place to Bury Strangers) Interview: On his Debut Solo LP

Having spent over two decades with several bands including A Place to Bury Strangers, The D4 and The Scavengers, it’s surprising to realize Dion Lunadon hadn’t released a solo work sooner and, even more so, to learn it wasn’t planned to exist.

“I hadn’t written by myself for years and felt I needed to create something with no compromises and something that reflected who I am. Out of anything I’ve ever done, this record definitely captures that more than any other. I wasn’t planning on releasing any of it, which is a great place to write from. I wrote it for me.” 

With the help of Bambara’s Blaze Batch, APTBS bandmate Robi Gonzalez and Chris Woodhouse (recording engineer for Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall), Lunadon wrote and completed the album over three months in Brooklyn, NY.

“It was actually pretty smooth sailing. I mixed most of it, which was a challenge. I recorded the drums last, which is unusual. That’s the way I used to do it on my Tascam cassette recorder. I was nervous about singing and lyrics. I always am. To me it’s the most important thing and can be hard to nail. I had stuff to sing about so I ended up being happy with it. Putting the thing out was by far the hardest challenge.”

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Although this is his first solo album, Lunadon recorded with a conscious effort to prevent his creative freedom from hindering his previous experiences alongside other musicians. His inspirations have changed, but his intensity is deliberate throughout the eleven tracks that sound jarring rather than jangly, and too quick to become repetitive.

“All the projects I’ve been involved with differ slightly. The D4 was me and Jimmy equally contributing to a shared vision and bouncing ideas off each other. My first band was three teenagers growing up and writing together about teenage stuff. The drummer wrote a lot of the lyrics. APTBS is more me writing with someone else’s vision in mind. I have to leave some stuff at the door and I also get to learn a lot of stuff I wouldn’t naturally get to, which is cool. This project is just me going for it and doing what comes natural, and also using bits and pieces of what I’ve learned from these other experiences.”

Some of his recent musical inspirations are Stud Cole, Honey, The Rats, Pete International Airport, Erkin Koray, Angel Olsen, Baby Grandmothers and Link Wray.

“I guess other music and any sort of intense life experiences are my main inspirations. My life is pretty different to how it was in my twenties so yeah, I have different problems now to write about! Anything can be inspiring. When they listen to the album, I hope people can feel the blood running through their veins.”

Lunadon’s debut, self-titled, LP is available now through his Bandcamp!

Lunadon on Twitter: @DionLunadon
A Place to Bury Strangers on Twitter: @APTBS
Agitated Recoreds on Twitter: @AgitatedRecords

See below for Lunadon’s full responses to Julie’s questions!


What led you to pursue a solo album?

I suppose the lack of a creative outlet. I hadn’t written by myself for years and felt I needed to create something with no compromises and something that reflected who I am. Out of anything I’ve ever done, this record definitely captures that more than any other. I wasn’t planning on releasing any of it which is a great place to write from. I wrote it for me.

How did the writing and recording process differ from your past projects?

All the projects I’ve been involved with differ slightly. The D4 was me and Jimmy equally contributing to a shared vision and bouncing ideas off each other. My first band was three teenagers growing up and writing together about teenage stuff. The drummer wrote a lot of the lyrics. APTBS is more me writing with someone else’s vision in mind. I have to leave some stuff at the door and I also get to learn a lot of stuff I wouldn’t naturally get to, which is cool. This project is just me going for it and doing what comes natural, and also using bits and pieces of what I’ve learned from these other experiences.

Were there any new challenges?

It was actually pretty smooth sailing. I mixed most of it which was a challenge. I recorded the drums last which is unusual. That’s the way I used to do it on my Tascam cassette recorder. I was nervous about singing and lyrics. I always am. To me it’s the most important thing and can be hard to nail. I had stuff to sing about so I ended up being happy with it. Putting the thing out was by far the hardest challenge.

What inspires and influences your work? Have these inspirations/influences changed as your career has progressed?

I guess other music, and any sort of intense life experiences, are my main inspirations. My life is pretty different to how it was in my twenties so yeah, I have different problems now to write about! Anything can be inspiring; you’ve just always got to be on the look-out to grab it when it comes along.

How do you remain focused?

Sometimes you’ve just got to sit down and get into it. Hopefully, before you know it, you come across an interesting idea; then it’s hard not to focus as you get wrapped up in the excitement. In fact, sometimes you can be too focused and need to give it some space so you can see the picture. For me, a good song is a quick song.

You’ve played with several NZ bands. How would you describe the NZ music scene(s)? Was there a transitional period between playing in NZ and in NY?

Well, it’s been over eleven years since I’ve been living in NZ, so I guess I’m out of touch. The scene was small and isolated, and I’m guessing it still is. The NZ government is very helpful to the arts and help artists get out there which is very cool. There was a long and hard transitioning period. I think I may still be in it! The first four years were very, very hard. I came with nothing, and I had to make friends as I went along. I lived in LA for a year and I’ve found NY to be way more my speed.

You’ve also been on several labels (Flying Nun, Dead Oceans, etc.) What is your perspective on the music industry?

The music industry can be a fickle beast. I prefer music. Unfortunately most of the industry has nothing to do with music. As far as labels go, I’ve actually been pretty lucky. Flying Nun, at the time I was on it, was not really the Flying Nun everyone knows. Its was owned by a major and was signing bands (mine included) that didn’t really fit the mould of what people think of FN. I guess, in an attempt to move with the times. FN seems to have come full circle nowadays which is good to see. They were good to us. Dead Oceans are great. Very supportive. They allow us creative freedom and are good, fair business people as well as true music fans that are focused on doing creative things with creative people.

What do you want listeners to gain by listening to your album? What (if any) would you say its message is?

No message really. When they listen to the album, I hope people can feel the blood running through their veins.

5′ 3″ above and 6′ under // @ncartmuseum, @kingsraleigh, @clture, @raleighmusic, etc.