By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Straight to the moon.
With live concerts back in full swing again since the summer, Oklahoma City-based alt-indie rock quartet Lunar Division couldn’t wait to shake off the stage dust, playing with the likes of Action Bastards, Pootoo, Don’t Tell Dena, Blue Note, Gonzo LeBronzo and The Foxies, doing all they can to continue the momentum from their latest EP ‘Moon Rose,’ which dropped this past March.
Lunar Division are made up of guitarist Paul Nguyen, guitarist/vocalist Randy Mitchell, bassist Matt Lanzer and drummer/vocalist Brandon Napoleon, whom all share influences that range from Black Sabbath and Wavves to Arctic Monkeys and Ty Segall.
The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with the band about ‘Moon Rose’ – which was produced by Braden Norris – and more.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name?
Matt Lanzer – I came up with the band name from hearing something I didn’t hear. I was watching TV and thought I heard someone say, “Lunar Division,” but that is totally not what they said. I looked it up and it had something to do with a time scale on the moon. Thought it was cool and it wasn’t taken!
Music Bugle – How would you describe Oklahoma City to someone who has never been there before?
Randy Mitchell – Flat and quiet.
Brandon Napoleon – The local music scene is filled with several talented individuals and bands. New music venues and art spaces are opening left and right.
Matt Lanzer – It has its hidden gems and for the most part, the people are awesome. There is an unexpected dynamic involving all types of people that I don’t think most visitors would expect.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your EP ‘Moon Rose’?
Paul Nguyen – Less stressful than putting out our debut. Working with an outside producer, we could focus on the sound we were trying to get instead of worrying about mixing and everything else.
Matt Lanzer – I feel like it just came together naturally. We took our time developing the songs and we had a great producer that made everything so easy.
Randy Mitchell – It was more creatively fulfilling. We had a lot of things fully formed going in, but our producer added a lot of elements in studio that were great. I felt the end result was very collaborative and has a lot of texture.
Brandon Napoleon – I would say it was very easy this time around. Our producer – shoutout to Braden Norris – he was very easy to work with. We had a general idea of where we wanted to go and I feel like the songs just wrote themselves.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Brandon Napoleon – I had to get a new job and then started working from home permanently. I missed playing and seeing live shows.
Paul Nguyen – Wasn’t able to play live shows. We had been trying to work on new music before the quarantine and after several months, we were itching for a creative outlet.
Randy Mitchell – I’ve been able to practice a lot over the past year on my own and I feel it shows in my ability compared to pre-pandemic.
Matt Lanzer – Covid pretty much put shows to a halt for everyone and it created some tough challenges for us getting together in the beginning. Luckily, we were able to use the down time to work on new music.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Paul Nguyen – The Royal Blood album, ‘Typhoons.’
Randy Mitchell – A lot of 90’s rock, as usual.
Matt Lanzer – Charles Bradley, The Screaming Eagle Of Soul, who had an amazing rise to prominence if you have never heard of him.
Brandon Napoleon – I’ve been enjoying the latest Death From Above record, ‘Is 4 Lovers’ and the latest record from Citizen, ‘Life In Your Glass World.’
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Randy Mitchell – I like to go on drives, nowhere in particular.
Matt Lanzer – I just like going home, keeping it peaceful and leave all the chaos of the world on the other side of the door.
Paul Nguyen – I’d say band practice and music in general is my standard break from life, but I also like building things or working in my garage.
Brandon Napoleon – I just like to listen to music with headphones on and lose myself in the music for a little while.
Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something people might be surprised to know about the band?
Matt Lanzer – That we have been friends for several years before we ever started playing music together. Some of us have been friends since junior high.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Brandon Napoleon – I think it is a little bit of both. It can help you get your name out there and exposed to places you never thought possible, but you can’t let that take you away from making quality music, just to be popular on whatever social media app.
Matt Lanzer – I think social media can help musicians get their name out there, if done correctly.
Randy Mitchell – Probably a little of both. It’s useful for networking, but musicians found ways to network before.
Paul Nguyen – I would say both.
Music Bugle – What’s some advice you would give younger musicians just starting out?
Paul Nguyen – Experiment to figure out what your sound is.
Randy Mitchell – Take lessons. I wish I did.
Matt Lanzer – Don’t worry about what anyone thinks. Make mistakes, make weird noises and find out what you like. I think from there, you can trust yourself to create what you want.
Brandon Napoleon – Practice, but have fun and don’t take yourself so seriously.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Matt Lanzer – It feels a bit nostalgic. Some of it has that 90’s feel that I love and in the end, we don’t really just stick with one style. We just play what we like and see what happens.
Randy Mitchell – I feel free creatively. Yeah, we definitely don’t just stick with one style and that keeps it interesting.
Paul Nguyen – I like the dynamics where each of our songs feel like its own. There’s the balance of being catchy, but not too repetitive.
Brandon Napoleon – That it is our music. Being able to make music with my best friends, it doesn’t get much better than that.