Luna Aura’s new EP, "The Fiction," dropped on Sept. 14. The former Arizona singer-songwriter and producer’s new five-song batch finds her lighting the fuse on a powder keg of dynamite tracks that crank up her musical game — the one she started as an 11-year-old in Mesa.
As she heads out on tour to support Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, including Thursday's show at Marquee Theatre in Tempe, we got to talk to her about this new release and what’s in store.
Aura has always had an affinity for music and, as a “’90s baby,” fell in love with acts like Alanis Morrisette, Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against the Machine. The clean, tight production on "The Fiction" blended with the singer’s personal power exemplifies that which influenced her path.
The EP’s opening song, “Money Bag,” efficiently employs the sounds of that decade, particularly the aggression that permeated radio favorites in genres from straight-up rock to indie and industrial.
Its message is also a potent one.
“It’s about someone who seems like a saint on the outside — like they have a good heart — but they are truly only in it for themself. You can also see that message represented in the artwork, with the snake and Bible with a cutout featuring $100 bills,” Aura says.
“Candy Colored Daydream” is a persistent rocker that mixes sweet and catchy vocal hooks with a thick, dancey electronic background and a dose of shreddy guitars to keep you on your toes as you get tossed back and forth between its contrasting tones.
Building on her previous work, Aura knows this record has new strengths.
“Every time I do a new group of songs, I want to elevate," she says. "I want it to be better than the last one. I think every artist strives to evolve that way. I feel like this EP is a 1,000% step up from the other two that I’ve done. I absolutely adore those, but I always want to push the envelope and see how much bigger and better we can get."
Aura says this EP is a collaborative effort. She worked on this one with “an incredible producer from New Zealand, Simon Oscroft,” with a few other hands on deck.
“Simon just gets what I am going for. We brought in some other '90s influences, like The Hives, Pixies and Dandy Warhols. Simon also had a friend from New Zealand in town who is also an artist and writer, so we pulled him into the room, and he ended up writing three of the songs with us," Aura says.
“Another [song] I wrote with my friend Andrew, who has a project called No Love for the Middle Child. He’s one of my best friends and also a producer. I really trust his taste. It was nice to have two producers in the room to make it what it needed to be."
According to Aura, the power in the EP’s sound also reflects solid personal growth after doing a lot of post-high-school adulting in the thick of the Los Angeles music scene.
The title comes from the song “Lost in the Fiction,” Aura says. “That line, to me, means you're lost in the lies. And each song encompasses the relationship between truth and fallacy and the balance between the two. This particular song is about someone I know who is wrapped up in the Los Angeles music scene and what that world ensues.”
To her, what can ensue is, along with the goodness, a lot of pretension and fraudulence that is tethered to the music business, not just in L.A. When mentioning that she seems so grounded, she cites her own experiences as part of what gives her this perspective.
“I wasn't always grounded. I definitely got caught up in it. That's how and why I understand it — because it also happened to me. I was caught up in it and lost my identity in it, trying to prove myself to people who didn't care about me,” Aura says.
“You know, you, you learn your lessons and, now I can see it for what it is, and that is honestly a blessing because now I can navigate my life and my career in a way that is truly authentic to myself and what to myself and what I want. It took time, and it took a little bit of learning and some wisdom.”
Aura is excited and still “in a little shock” about this current tour with Corey Taylor from Slipknot but highly excited about the opportunity and is “really looking forward” to the Tempe show. Not only is it a chance to see Arizona family and friends, but it’s also her birthday, and she wants everyone to come rock out and have a blast at the show.
Luna Aura. With Wargasm, in support of Corey Taylor. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, at Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. Tickets start at $45.