5Q :: Indie darlings Roma di Luna return to DuluthAn interview with Roma di Luna’s Alexei Moon Casselle.
Talk about growth: What began as an opportunity for the husband-and-wife team of Alexei and Channy Moon Casselle to perform on the streets of Minneapolis has blossomed into a full-fledged musical force. The couple’s group, Roma di Luna, now features up to seven players at any given moment and an inspired sound that speaks to the size of this newfound creative powerhouse.
The group, which also features the talents of Duluth East alumnus Ben Durrant, is returning for its first show up north since June. To celebrate, we sent a few questions out to the group’s “husband half,” Alexei Moon Casselle:
Budgeteer: Roma di Luna is one of those buzzed-about groups a lot of people learn about before actually hearing the music. So, for our readers who haven’t actually heard Roma di Luna, how would you describe the group’s sound?
Moon Casselle: Our sound has evolved over a fairly short period — and I think it still is — but I think of our sound as psychedelic folk rock with an Americana/alt-country base. When Channy (Moon Casselle) and I started playing as Roma di Luna, we played straight-up old-timey folk music. Now with the addition of the band, we have a much more versatile sound that can range from a vintage R&B/soul sound to gritty bar blues, rock, ethereal ballads, etc. We all have very eclectic tastes in music and that comes through in our own music — plus Channy is a very versatile vocalist.
In a similar vein, what’s it like to get so much positive press? Did you have any idea Rolling Stone was going to talk up the band before that issue hit the stands? (Have the Oct. 28 issue, the one with Keith Richards on the cover? Check out Page 78.)
We have been getting a lot of really good press surrounding the release of our latest record, “Then the Morning Came.”
It’s pretty wonderful, unbelievable and overwhelming at the same time. It seems that you can never really bank on getting good press; just keep doing what you do and hope that someone takes notice when the time is right.
We really didn’t know about the Rolling Stone spot. We did receive a request from one of their people asking for a photo but no explanation about what it was for. I was excited about the possibilities, but I also didn’t get my hopes up that anything would come from it. I actually got a text from my friend who took the photo RS used, saying that we made it in the magazine. He was telling me the great news and I totally didn’t believe him and was telling him that it would be nice but that I wasn’t going to hold my breath. Ha!
The new record has some pretty cool artwork. Who is responsible for that?
The artist responsible for the artwork is a longtime friend of the band, Jason Jaglo. He also did the cover art for the Christmas EP that we released last winter and did a T-shirt for us, among other things. Jason worked closely with us for months on the artwork for “Morning” and patiently did revision after revision, making sure that he came up with the perfect visual representation for the record, which I think he did.
How did you guys end up selecting Toby Thomas Churchill from the Alrights to open up your set at Luce? Are you fans of his?
Toby has been working with our electric guitarist/engineer, Ben Durrant (who runs Crazy Beast Studio in Minneapolis) on a record, I believe. Ben suggested that Toby join us on the bill since he’s a fan of his work and we knew it would be a bonus to have a Duluth native playing with us.
It seems that husband-and-wife teams are on the rise in the music scene (Cloud Cult, Mates of State, et al.) — does it really work that well? I couldn’t imagine most of my married friends collaborating on anything successfully, let alone music.
I don’t know if it does really work that well. So far we have managed to have a fairly successful band with about five years working creatively together under our belts, but it definitely puts a strain on our personal relationship. The biggest challenge is not treating your spouse like a coworker/bandmate when you are not in a band setting. The plus of it all is being able to share this experience together instead of leaving the other behind and adding a whole other dimension to your relationship.
NEWS TO USE
Roma di Luna will perform at 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, at Pizza Lucé. Toby Thomas Churchill of the Alrights opens. Cost is $5. Must be 21. Visit www.romadiluna.com for song samples.