Ava Luna: Frustratingly Poignant

“I’ve never been as moved by a work of art as a really fine film,” Carlos Hernandez tells me.  Carlos is the frontman (vocals, guitar, synthesizer) for Brooklyn’s Ava...

“I’ve never been as moved by a work of art as a really fine film,” Carlos Hernandez tells me.  Carlos is the frontman (vocals, guitar, synthesizer) for Brooklyn’s Ava Luna. Last month Noisey premiered the longtime-in-the-works music video for the title track of their debut album, Ice Level (released last year on Infinite Best Recordings).  Carlos directed the video himself, which is full of clever and visually-well-versed abstractions, including the use of culinary imagery and a hyper-stylized, avant-garde social get-together to narrate a tale about escaping.  It looks very carefully constructed and quite cinematic, which I tell Carlos.  “I was inspired by David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick, which I think is obvious,” he tells me: “I’ve never done anything really in the realm of film or video before.  I was just going on instinct.”

Ava Luna photo

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Musically, Ava Luna have gained a reputation for frustrating music critics for their sheer inability to fall into any particular genre or clever turn-a-phrase (Is there really any difference, these days?)  They’re certainly one of those bands making R&B totally fucking cool to indie kids.  They also deal in the high-mindedly abstract (in their music and imagery).  They’re not afraid of group harmonies.  But they seem quite fond of the most popularly soulful sounds of the 1980s and 90s as well… But if you’re at all versed in any subgenre of Noise, you’ll, no doubt, be able to place its influence on the group.  But they are, undeniably, quite good… even brilliant at times.

This Saturday, January 12th, Ava Luna are going to be in-town for Weathervane Music’s “Shaking Through season 4 kick-off & benefit show” at Johnny Brenda’s, where they will share the stage with Twin Sister, Steven A. Clark, and members of Dr. Dog, Man Man, Purling Hiss, and The War on Drugs, who will be making special appearances throughout the evening.  Shaking Through is a web series produced by Philadelphia’s own Weathervane Music which has, in the past, produced work from the likes of Sharon Van Etten and Sufjan Stevens.  Although Carlos admits that he’s not quite sure what fans can expect of the evening, he does say that he’s sure that it will be an evening of amazing performances by all of these amazing artists and that he’s excited to share Johnny Brenda’s stage once again with their close friends, Twin Sister (whom they did last January).

Despite being based in Brooklyn, Ava Luna have seen a lot of Philly, especially last year, when they had numerous 215 appearances and Carlos has quite fond feelings for Philly, both personally and musically.

“Philadelphia is very close to my heart.  My parents are both from there.  I was actually just visiting my grandmother there last week.  As far as music goes, it’s always been really cool.  We used to play the really DIY spaces, like Danger Danger Gallery, but it’s been so great that we’ve been getting to play Johnny Brenda’s.”

As far as what’s in Ava Luna’s future, Carlos tells me that new music, and a new aesthetic, is well in the works: “We’re doing this tour and then we’re going to buckle down and work on the album.  It’s three-fourths of the way done and should be out by summer.  We might have enough material for an EP and an album.”  He also seems quite confident about 2013 and what it might mean for the evolution of Ava Luna: “I have a really good feeling about this year, in terms of the world and music and culture in general.  My goal is just to trust my instincts. Whereas Ice Level was very composed and meticulous, this one is going to be a lot more intuitive and clear, hopefully… simpler, but hopefully more beautiful.”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.