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RGM Introducing – Luan Mei

Hiya folks take a seat, what made you decide to start a band?

Hey ho! Actually I am a solo artist (singer-songwriter) but the majority of my live performances are with other two musicians as if it was Luan Mei’s band in some way. When I perform in smaller pubs/venues or open mics I do it as a solo.

Introduce us all to the members, how did the band get together?

Sam Preece on the bass and Daniel Pimblett on the drums, both brilliant musicians (not gonna lie) and me, Luan Mei, guitar and vocals. I met these guys at uni (BIMM Brighton), as I was looking for musicians to perform with, playing my original stuff. The first times we rehearsed it was simply great, there was such a special connection between the three of us, and that is incredibly difficult to find (as well as committed musicians, haha).

What is the unsigned scene in Madrid like at the minute?

At the moment, I’m not that sure as I’ve been based in Brighton for almost 4 years even though I try to be as informed as possible about what’s going on in my hometown musically. Apparently, from what I see online and every time I come back, the unsigned emerging scene is taking quite a lot of visibility and it seems like young audiences are appreciating and supporting massively new music from independent artists, which is a great thing to see.

What good bands are coming out of Madrid at the minute? 

The singer-songwriter acts seem to be getting quite popular at the moment, like Alice Wonder, Martha Carpe, Ainoa Buitrago, Ede or Guitarricadelafuente. Regarding bands that I know, Naranja are sounding everywhere at the moment, and Era Paraiso have just started with their project which already sounds so cool.

What’s your favourite song right now from another band?

Oh wow, that’s a difficult one! It’s tough to choose just one when there is so much good stuff out there. I would say ‘Before the Beginning’ by John Frusciante. It is my all-time favourite song and I don’t think that will ever change, I feel weirdly connected to it, as if one part of myself lives within that song, within that guitar playing. 

Who is inspiring you at the min?

Lately, I’ve been quite obsessed with Alabama Shakes (especially with Brittany Howard, the lead vocalist) as they not only inspire me musically talking (which they already are a powerful band with their unique sound) but lyric-wise and performance-wise.

Brittany has a strong stage presence and the way she expresses herself while singing and the way she uses her voice to say what she wants to say in a specific way it’s simply hypnotizing. I feel my sound close to theirs when I jam on my own on my guitar or when singing and that makes me feel as if I understood what they do and why they do it, if that makes sense, haha!

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

Most probable was the last gig I did with my band before the pandemic. It was the 1st of March this year at The Prince Albert here in Brighton, first time playing there in my whole life. It was massive. The venue was completely full, we were crazily excited and the audience was absolutely lovely, constantly dancing to our music and so many people were singing my songs which made me feel extremely happy about what I do.

Daniel, Sam and I were super connected on stage that night and the three of us were having loads of fun as if that specific moment was infinite. I really didn’t want to get off the stage. It was magical.

What was the worst experience on stage?

Fortunately and so far I haven’t had that many bad experiences on stage, at least with the band (hopefully there won’t be many haha). Once I was performing at The Richmond (Brighton) as a solo and I guess that night I was not feeling it at all so I couldn’t focus on my singing and playing and enjoy my performance. My voice was feeling ‘’wobbly’’ and I was not feeling secure of myself as the main focus in that moment, only thinking about the end of the show. 

It’s like being there physically but not being there mentally at the same time, which sometimes can be hard to control and you get instantly disappointed at yourself. It happens, it’s life, isn’t it? Something can happen right before a performance and maybe you are not able to get it out of your mind while you’re on stage. At the end, it’s all collected experiences which we learn from!

If you could play any music festival which would it be?

I would definitely love to play at Mad Cool Festival in Madrid and at Glastonbury Festival (of course!!!!!).

Best gig you’ve been to that you weren’t playing?

I’ve been to so many good gigs but I have to highlight two.

Arctic Monkeys in 2013, in Madrid. I was 15 and it was one of my first gigs ever and by that age I was literally obsessed with them, always been an indie kid (still I am). I was in the first row on my own and I cried crazily when they played Cornerstone (what can I say haha). The second one was in 2016 when I saw Talco play live at Cabo de Plata Festival, in Cadiz, Spain. There was a massive pogo I decided to join and it was messy, very messy. Since then, my left knee has never been the same lol. But it was worth it.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to not care that much what other people think of me, to feel free to be, dress and express myself as how I feel like. Also, to not take things that seriously, cmon, don’t get angry all the time, Luan!

I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?

Yas! ‘Yellow’ has been already out for a week and it has been very well welcomed, which makes me feel incredibly glad. It is a very special tune for me, as I open myself telling a real love story between two female artists who discover a new kind of freedom together. It is called ‘Yellow’ because of my synaesthesia (I associate colours to people, shapes to sounds, etc), and this person for me is ‘Yellow’, her aura shines like the sun, full of energy and good vibes. 

I decided to release it the 27th of June as it is the global Pride date (and Pride month) and it is essential to give voice to all the people from the LGBTQ+ collective who are not able to live freely, through making visible all types of love and stories and normalising them.

What’s coming up in 2020 for the band?

For now, with all the coronavirus situation it has been a weird year so far regarding music. We started crazily full of energy and this long break helped in some way and didn’t help at the same time. The only thing we can think of doing when venues reopen is playing as much as we can and at many places as we can! 

Also, I’ve got some EP ideas in mind for winter, but who knows for now…

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

To all the audiences and fans who want to support emerging independent musicians: streams help, but not as much as you could think (Spotify pays almost nothing per stream)! The best thing you can do to support us and our music is to go and pay for gigs, merchandise, physical music formats (vinyl, CDs, etc) and sharing our art! (It’s free, wow). Thank you!

Check out the RGM Review of Yellow 👇