The best things in life are often juxtapositions—maybe it is skinny-dipping in small a pond in the middle of November or hot boxing your parents’ car in your old high school parking lot.
Almost naturally, humans crave the unexpected.
Take Kenzie Coyne for instance—the 23-year-old starlet who fronts the Columbus indie rock band Hello Luna. There is an abstract relationship between the perception of an artist and the appreciation of their product. At first glance, it’s hard not to be conditioned to make assumptions about the nuances of her songwriting before she even plays her first note; expecting lyrics about young love and living forever, a string of trite clichés you might expect to overhear at an artisan cafe.
But this is not a coffee shop band. Instead, let’s replace the cafe with an old repurposed warehouse crowded with raucous guitar riffs and heady by drums and bass loops—a sound that transports Coyne’s mellow Karen O-style vocals into a hard rock plunder, a slow-to-fast juxtaposition of sound akin to the likes of The Pixies or Cat Power.
Meet Hello Luna—a budding indie rock band from Columbus whose interesting dichotomy of sound has created buzz around the local music scene, evolving from a light-hearted acoustic folk aesthetic into a more actualized lo-fi rock concept. Sure, the four-piece utilizes your typical instruments for an indie band—electric guitar, bass, drums—but their sound is transcended by those aforementioned thoughts of normalcy, and most importantly, Coyne’s melodious vocals aren’t lost in the chaos.
“When we started playing together, that sound—in a way—organically started developing from us,” Coyne explained. “And we weren’t going to stop that or be like ‘Let’s be softer! Let’s be more folk rock!’ This seemed more like the direction we wanted to go towards.”
Villasmil explained that the band didn’t discard the folk style music of before, rather, mixed it up a little bit.
“Immediately after [Live at the Garden], we were already cooking on other ideas like, ‘How about we take that folky guitar riff and do it on bass,’” he said. “When we wrote ‘Empathy,’ the three of us—because Eric wasn’t in the band yet—looked at each other like, ‘Yeah, this is more like it.’”
When we talked to Coyne and the band in their cozy studio tucked away in a back office at 934 Gallery, she explained how they were still doing her solo stuff at that show and after they began to get heavier and edgier. After writing “Empathy,” Villasmil and drummer Michael Neumier both agreed with Coyne that the sound they had just produced was the direction they wanted to head in thus the EP “Ghost of You” was born, boasting a sold out release show at The Basement a few months back. Fast forward, and the band added another member, guitarist Eric Morgan, finalizing the genesis of the next big indie rock band out of Columbus.
What is the perfect after party for Hello Luna?
Kenzie Coyne: “Salsa dancing at Diego’s. That’s dead ass. I fell asleep in a closet…There was like 100 people in this tiny apartment, and I was overwhelmed so I was like, ‘I’m going to the closet.’”
Where is your dream venue?
Diego Villasmil: “My answer for this is always Wembley Stadium in England.”
What band member is the most difficult to please when you are on the road and trying to grab some food?
Eric Morgan: “I have a sensitive stomach!”
Whose mom is the biggest fan?
Diego Villasmil: “It’s between Kenzie’s mom and my mom … I’m going to say Kenzie’s mom, though. She’s made us food before and driven us around.”
Katy Perry’s marry one, bang one, kill one:
3. Kill Diplo, 2. bang John Mayer, and 1. marry Orlando Bloom.
Kenzie Coyne: “Like John Mayer, he’s not a good companion. He has a high turnover rating. Look what he did to Taylor Swift… but she did write a whole album after it and it was No. 1 so…”
Michael Neumier: “Maybe one of us needs to bang John Mayer and we will write the best thing we’ve ever rehearsed.”
Describe Columbus in one word:
Kenzie Coyne: Eclectic.
If you are not a crazy person and enjoy quality indie rock, stream their EP on Apple Music and Spotify, or do your duty as a music fan and help support a local band by buying their album on Bandcamp. For more information about their upcoming shows, visit helloluna.band.