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MP3: "Pass the Barbary"
The driving force behind Brooklyn's Ava Luna is a talented young songwriter named Carlos Hernandez. He's a producer and the son of a well-known soul DJ, with the attention to detail and the wide-ranging tastes that come along with those things, but he's far from the only thing the band has going for it. Ava Luna's great charm lies in its many disparate parts: Hernandez's smoothed-out vocals, the minimalist keys and synths, the deep, stuttering bass, the awkward but still danceable vibe and, perhaps most notably, the all-female trio of back-up singers who are actually anything but backup. Nothing is ever really front and center here, rather pushed just off to the side, briefly passing through your periphery and then disappearing just moments before popping up somewhere else entirely, and the result is some of the most immediately engaging and smart music currently coming from our city.
Favorite NYC Venue :
Silent Barn. Joe Ahearn is the coolest—he's always been really supportive, and he's been doing shows with us since 2006. Our friend Kunal recently moved into the Barn and has been throwing afternoon stew-and-homemade arcade game parties. Does life get better?
What NYC band would you give up your spot on the list for?
Recently we've gotten re-excited about a band we played with when we were first getting started—Glass Ghost. Their album, Idol Omen, has been on repeat for weeks. Laura Stevenson and the Cans is another favorite, and also keep an eye on Stalley, an amazing MC who actually recently asked us to remix one of his tracks. Do we have to pick just one?
One thing you'd like to change about being a band in NYC?
[Carlos Hernandez] I can't imagine making music anywhere else. No matter what type of thing you're doing, you'll find people who can get into it. One downside for this band is that we're scattered around the city... it takes over two hours by subway to get between some of our apartments.
What's the biggest misconception about being in a band in NYC?
To be honest I'm not sure what conceptions people have about being a New York band. I guess people seem to think New Yorkers are mean, but I don't think that's true at all, and especially not in the music world.
If you could be an NYC band in any other year in history, which year would you choose?
The early 70s. Downtown composers, the birth of disco, the New Wave thing... seriously, it's hard to imagine a crazier time.
Favorite song about NYC:
Bobby Womack, "Across 110th Street."
Catching up with the Class of '09
Mar 31, 2010