Up from the rubble of Reality Check arose a 4-piece band with a new
name, a new sound, and a new mission. A completely separate endeavor bolder and more intimate
than its predecessor, Luna Halo has come onto the scene bringing forth
the absolute best in Christian melodic "moody" rock with Euro-pop flavoring. Opening up for
Jars of Clay and Jennifer Knapp on the Fall 2000, 3 O'Clock Parade Tour,
we caught up with lead singer/guitarist Nathan Barlowe and guitarist Jonny MacIntosh of Luna at the Shippensburg, PA show for a chat.
This interview took place on: 10/1/00.
Jesus freak Hideout: What's the story behind the name "Luna Halo"?
The name "Luna" is Italian for "moon," "halo" means the ring around the moon. And
we thought it was a cool name that fit our music. We liked the analogy of how it gives
off light in a dark world.
JFH: How'd you come up with it?
Jonny, You tell them.
We just made it up! *smiles*
Yeah, it took like three months. Finding a name for a band is the hardest thing
in the world. We tried a million different things. Then, we liked "Luna," but that
was taken and then we liked "Halo," but we had it with some other words and then
we kinda found it... It found us, I like to think. *laughs*
JFH: I know this is probably old news, but what
brought about the "regretful" end of Reality Check?
*laughs* That is old news...
Is it regretful?
*laughs* No, it's not for me. Yeah, it was just time, it had
run its course. We had been together 7 years and people didn't know that.
Jonny and I wanted to pursue different musical interests than the rest of
the band in direction. We just wanted to be in a fun rock band again. And I
think some of the guys, God was calling them to other things. One guy's a
youth pastor now. Guys got married, and started having babies and it just became
time for everybody to do different things.
JFH: Which one's the youth pastor?
Jody the drummer and Dave the dancer guy, he works at a church in Nashville.
JFH: How would you describe your sound?
Jonny: I would describe it as moody rock, pop/rock.
Yeah, I mean we're influenced by all the European British band, y'know, so it
definitely has traces of that.
JFH: Yeah, I was going to ask you what your influences are?
I don't know, every time I'm asked this question my mind goes blank! (Nathan
laughs in agreement) Like influences growing up to or right now? (I add in, "Either/or...")
When we were listening to the record we were basically into all British bands -- Radiohead,
Oasis, bands like that. We kinda got burned out on everything over here.
For me, I've always loved bands like the Smiths growing up. There's a band called Ah Ha
that I used to love back in the day-- which they have a new record that's amazing. I think
Radiohead is my favorite band. Muse-- Muse is a great band. That's the main influences, probably.
JFH: What is the song "Aliens" about and what inspired it?
Nathan: We wrote that song together and for me the lyrics are like a conversation,
y'know, the old person versus the new. And basically that that side of you is like and alien.
I think it's the struggle with flesh and your spiritual side and how foreign they are from each other.
JFH: Tell us a little about the song "So Far"?
Jonny: It was inspired by the Beatles and how they just followed the
religious fads of the month and just kept getting let down and kept thinking they found
a new way. And it's just about people who are just searching and changing their mind and realizing
that they can't find what their looking for until they find God. But it doesn't get that far in
the song. *laughs* (Nathan chimes in, "Well, it's a short song!") It's just about the
need that everyone is trying to fulfill but they can't find it.
JFH: What inspired "The Way to Your Heart?"
Nathan: The lyrics were written about a friend of mine growing up. I wanted her
to become a Christian so bad. We'd always get in these deep talks and these arguments and
this deep religious stuff that I didn't even have enough knowledge of the Bible or schooling
to even argue some of the points, y'know? And I just remember, as I was writing those
lyrics, I was thinking back to that time how I just wanted to say to her that nothing
I can say or do will talk you into this and I don't want to talk you into it but you
gotta just open up and step out on faith and that's how you'll see the power of God.
It was really written out of almost frustration and a place of heartbreak-- just really wanting
someone you love and someone you know to come to Christ but you can't be the one to talk
them into it. You can share God with them, but you can't move in their life.
JFH: Did you ever follow-up on that girl?"
Nathan: Yeah, and even to this day she has not become a Christian.
It was a girl I was dating a long time ago. As far as I know-- I don't talk to her now,
because I'm married! *laughs* That's one good reason. I mean I
prayed for her for years and years and still occasionally think of her and will say
her name in a prayer, y'know, and who knows? She may have given her life to Christ,
I haven't talked to her in years, so she may be...
JFH: What is your favorite Luna Halo song and why?
Jonny: (to Nathan) You better go first cause I don't know... *smiles*
Nathan: Mine is "Forgiveness" because I love the lyrics, like the picture
of forgiveness falling on you like a fresh rain. I think just the whole vibe of the song
feels good to me. It's just one of those songs that puts you in a good mood. That's one of
my favorite ones.
Jonny: I like one of Nate's lyrics, "Come step inside my mind,"
just asking God to come in and take control. It's in the song "Aliens."
JFH: Can you tell us a little about the hidden track at the end
Jonny: *laughs* The Sushi order?
Nathan: Yeah, that was actually a poem I had written and the poem's
actually written inside the album lyrics and it talks about shining and actually "shimmering."
Jonny thought of the album title, Shimmer and I wrote the poem after that fact,
so it we didn't get the name of the album-- it was reversed. I thought rather than just
putting the poem in the album, we had already had the cover designed-- my wife designed
the cover-- and it had the Japanese font that says "Luna Halo" in Japanese. So I thought
it would tie in really cool to have a Japanese lady read the poem. So when we had decided to go with
that whole Japanese theme, then I found this lady in a Sushi restaurant and asked her if I
could pay her to read this into my mini-disc and that's how it happened.
JFH: I found a copy of a song called "Drift Away" on the internet
and I was wondering-- what was that from and why wasn't it on Shimmer?
You know what? It's so funny cause that was a song that was supposed to go on Shimmer
and it got cut in the final picks.
Jonny: It wasn't finished. The version you have is in the beginning
process in the studio. And we don't know how it got on the internet. *both laugh*
Nathan: *chimes in* ...and we don't know how it got on the internet or
who has it because only like 5 people had it. (Jonny jumps in, "I don't even have it") Yeah,
I don't have a copy of it. So were freakin' out when we saw it on there. We love that song,
we think it's a cool song.
JFH: What is it about?
Nathan: I think lyrically it was a little similar to "Complacent"
which is why part of the decision may have come to that. But part of it was we
hadn't finished it and part of it was we added "Hang On to You" and so that had a similar
vibe and got cut. It's about, basically, someone who's fallen away-- a Christian friend that
is close to God and has fallen away. The lyrics and the chorus say "I watch you drift away.. There's
nothing left to say. Wish I knew your reason for pushing me away."
JFH: Speaking of "Hang On to You," I noticed
that Delirious just covered it for Glo, and they had written it. Did you
guys ask permission for it? How did you guys end up covering it first?
Nathan: Well, that's an interesting story... *smiles*
We were done with our album and we turned it in and the label wanted one more radio song.
And we didn't want to write one more radio song. We couldn't. We were really burned out
cause we worked on our record for 9 months. And we turned it in and we were just like, "Man,
it's finally done," we were relieved and then they call us and are like "We need one more
song..." And we tried to write 3 or 4 songs and it had just left us. The whole vibe was gone.
So they brought this song to us. Our A&R guy said, "Well here's this song Martin wrote, but they
don't want it, they're not going to use it." So we're like, "You're sure their not going
to use it," and he's like, "Yeah, I think so." So we recorded it, and I think it's a great
song. It fits well on the album. Everything was cool until recently. And no one told
us they had heard our version and decided that it was a good song and put it on their new record.
And they'll tell you that too. (Amy joins in, So did you arrange the music-- how
does that work?...) Well it's basically all our own style. The basic chord progression
is Martin's and you can listen to their version and hear what is the same. Like the ending,
I wrote the whole ending of the thing that's in falsetto. And it's *starts singing* "When
the darkest days are falling..." I did all that stuff and they didn't use that, cause... they couldn't
so it's a little weird situation. I mean everything's cool between us, but it's just a label issue.
JFH: What do you think the future holds for Luna Halo?
Will there be a follow-up to Shimmer?
Nathan: As soon as Jonny writes it. *laughs* I'm waiting on him.
Jonny: We're just waiting to get inspired again. It's depending
on how this tour goes, actually. If we can get on a spring tour, we're just going
to keep touring this record. We're going to do as many shows as we can to support it.
But if things start dying down, we're going to go into the studio following the spring.
But either way I'm sure it'll be out the end of next year.
Nathan: Probably the fall of next year.
Jonny: The latest we'll probably start it is the summer. We haven't
started writing for it really or anything.
JFH: What has been your favorite on-the-road moment?
Nathan: For me, when we played Flavo last month in Holland, and walked out on stage-- we headlined
on a Friday night and there were 10,000 people out there going ballistic. To me, that night
standing on the stage was one moment I'll never forget. It was the best I've ever felt on
a stage in any band I've ever been in ever. It was the most amazing moment where I felt
like the band is connected and we were connected to the crowd and there was the whole
spiritual thing going on. It just all came together. And those moments are pretty rare. That would be mine...
Jonny: I can't really think of a moment that tops that moment.
JFH: What is your favorite movie?
Nathan: That's a good one... *turns to Jonny* What's yours?
Jonny: My favorite movie is Immortal Beloved, it's the story
of Beethoven. It just shows another way of looking at music. It just touched me.
Nathan: Two of my favorite movies are probably -- I love the remake
of Romeo and Juliet that they did with Leonardo DiCaprio. I just thought the writing
in that was super cool, y'know, they way they did different stuff. And Life is Beautiful
is just a great movie. The story in that... I love movies that leave you thinking about
life and teach you a lesson without cramming it down your throat. And I left there a changed person.
JFH: The Jesus freak Hideout website was started out of appreciation for
good Christian music. We've set a goal to try to use the site to spread
Christian music, as well as God's Word, & show others how good Christian
music really is. Do you listen to Christian music? If so, what bands?
Nathan: Yeah... *holds tape recorder close to his mouth* Jars of Clay! *laughs*
Jonny: It's hard cause we're friends with a lot of those guys. When we listen to those records, it's like
listening to our buddies play their instruments. But it's cool... We're friends with the
Switchfoot guys. Yeah, their records are pretty cool. I love all the dc Talk records.
Nathan: I like Starflyer 59, I think they're really cool. Their last record was my favorite
thing they've done. There's also this band-- Actually, this is the coolest record. I need to give
this band a little shout-out cause I had never heard of them. They're called The Juliana
Theory. I just got their newest record and it's great. It's one of the cooled Christian
records I've heard this year, or in the last couple years. It's really cool, I was really
surprised and taken back. And Earthsuit, they're friends of ours. They're amazing. I just they're so
innovative. *large crash sounds in the background*
Jonny: There's Jimmy...
Nathan: Yeah... *yells* Thanks Jimmy!! *laughs* Jimmy's our new
bass player. His name is Jimmy Hendrix. That's his real name. (I'm incredulous and
add "You're Kidding?") Nope. Not kidding.
JFH: I really appreciate you taking out the time in your busy schedule to
answer some questions for us. Are there any last comments you'd like to
Nathan: Um... Buy our album. *laughs* That's always a good one
to leave by. *laughter*