Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's new home for exclusive music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on female artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
Lana Del Rey may be the resident Queen of The Summer Vibe, but Luna Shadows is hot on her trail. In fact, as she recently told Refinery29 over the phone, "someone said I was her sweet, young sister." Not a bad thing to be in the music world. The Los Angeles producer-singer-songwriter, who calls her sound "Echo Park pop," named after the area of L.A. where she lives, has found the perfect blend of lazy summer vibes and moody melancholy lyrics in her latest single, "Thorns." This is the sixth single from the singer in the past year after debuting her viral hit, "Cry Wolf" in February of 2016. She says an album is "in the pipeline," but has a slew of songs up her sleeve in the meantime.
"Thorns," which first dropped earlier this summer on May 25, is slightly calmer, and more intense, than her other more upbeat tracks like "Waves." And its music video, which Refinery29 is premiering below, represents the simplicity of the track. It will first remind you of Halsey (for Luna's sweet, but tough, vocals), with a bit of Ellie Goulding (for those digital drums and electronic finish), topped with a healthy dash of, yes, Del Rey. Basically, it's a perfect sad song pop song. What more could you want?
Check out The Drop's exclusive music video premiere of the "Thorns" below, and then, read all about the inspiration behind the track, Luna's love of contrasts, and what it's like shooting a music video — on an iPhone.
Refinery29: Why did you want to have a music video like this? It's all black and white and very moody.
Luna Shadows: "I was not planning on making a video for this song. At first I wasn’t into it at all and I was just going around and filming things and one of my friends told me that I should [put myself] into it. I wanted to do that in a way that was not super selfie-oriented or anything. A lot of it is me using shadows, using light, and using things from nature. And then I just started editing some stuff together, and before I knew it I had done a minute [promo] and then I was like well, I might as well do the whole song. It is just shot on my iPhone."
So basically you shot and edited and starred in it, all on your iPhone?
"Yes! So it is not super hi-def, but I thought it was kind of cool in the age where everything is so clear and HD I was like this song is really introverted and personal. So I thought doing something more personal would make more sense for this video anyways. It is more a first-person perspective or a video diary. I was also shooting in these locations [in Echo Park] because that was where the idea came from."
That is a good segue — can we go into the story and inspiration behind "Thorns"?
"I was preparing for a writing session and was thinking about what to write about and was figuring where my head was at conceptually. This day I was sitting outside laying in this hammock in my backyard and I was looking up and I have an orange tree, and I was looking around the yard and looking at things in nature. Then I saw these roses, and I saw thorns. I just like the idea that something so violent is attached to something so beautiful. It is about holding onto things, ideas, and people when maybe it is best to let them go. And how can you still enjoy something when you know that it will go away someday."
Is that your normal process [for songwriting], having something small spark a bigger thought?
"There is no one way. When you are making something from nothing, if you’re just grabbing in the air it can feel really difficult to reign it in. So often what I will do is just tune into a word I like and figure out why I like it. A lot of my stuff is very autobiographical in some way. I think I like to put a limitation on myself and as soon as I do that, the ideas run more freely."
You wrote, “the glow of something magic in your reach” to describe the video on YouTube. How does that play into the message of the song?
"That is a line in the first verse of the song. The context of that line in the song is: 'One day we, in ceremony/ Will throw away the ashes to the sea/ For now breathe, patiently/ The glow of something magic in your reach.' It is saying that one day, something that you built, you will have to say goodbye to. Best case scenario, you go before someone you love. I think I am a bit of fatalistic person, but the 'the glow of something magic' is an optimistic beautiful picture, but it is attached to a thing that is so sad. There is a lot of light and dark [in my music]. I really contrast."
I like how you said "optimistic." I noticed that you have been compared to Lana Del Rey a lot, but I feel like you are an optimistic version of her.
"I definitely love her. I think another person said I was her sweet, younger sister. I feel like every female pop act is influenced by her to some degree cause she has just made such a wave. Some of my other influences show through my love for upbeat and more straightforward pop music. I definitely have a melancholy twist to my stuff, but where her music probably leans to straight depressive, mine puts a little light up next to it. I don't know if I'd consider myself an optimistic person, but maybe next to Lana Del Rey."
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