A chance encounter on social media recently reunited these two veterans of the original UK northern goth scene. He had stayed in the music business, she had branched out into theatre and academia, but they had both retained an uncannily intuitive feel for each other’s creative processes. Despite the thousands of miles that now separate their homes and studios, they started making music together again in late 2021, and so Lunar Paths was born. Since their last collaboration, the music scene has changed and developed in so many exciting and unforeseeable ways, and this is reflected in their eclectic blend of musical styles.
Imagine Mary Shelley on a trip down the Amazon.
Imagine Ernest Shackleton on an interplanetary quest.
Imagine singing a lullaby under the direst of circumstances.
Imagine a perfect happy-sad day in a sunny Greek cemetery.
The music of Lunar Paths has been described as cinematic, atmospheric, evocative and moving. It is also playful, romantic, intercultural and adventurous. With memorable hooks woven through intricate and powerful percussion and laced together with haunting multilingual vocals, their music is hard to categorise: though they share a number of traits with organic electronic, ‘intelligent dance’ and global, jazz, dub and indie artistes, their sound is quite unique, being a blend of all of the aforementioned musical styles, and more besides.
Lunar Paths make music that transcribes where they have been, and hints at where they are going.
People have been asking how Lunar Paths make music, given that the two of us live thousands of miles apart from each other, and have not met face to face in many years. To date, all of our recent communications have been via email and Messenger. This often occurs in the middle of the night for one of us, as we each live in very separate time zones. It is on these and other electronic platforms that our songs are born, nurtured and released into the world.
Typically, one of us gets an idea—a drum pattern, an ambient sound, a noise, a riff, a sample. This is recorded and pinged halfway around the world via email. The recipient imports it into their DAW and starts structuring and adding to it—layering, looping, stretching. Sometimes, virtual instruments are created via a MIDI keyboard, samples brought in and warped, transposed, distorted, or sequencers used to trigger sounds that straddle the melodic and the percussive. At some point, vocals are added. After each contribution, the song flies back and forth through cyberspace, and new suggestions, additions and changes are made. While all of this is going on, we chat online about our lives, our interests, what we have been reading, watching, listening to, the state of the world…and, of course, about the song as it emerges.
You can learn more about how each individual track came to be by clicking on the thumbnail photos next to each track on SoundCloud. Here, you will be able to read all about the making of our releases.
Percussionist Kevin Hunter and vocalist Diane Dubois were members of the band Cold Dance in the 1980s. They released two EPs on Xcentric Noise and played the northern goth circuit for two years, landing some major supports and getting plenty of airplay from John Peel. Kevin left to join Skeletal Family, who signed to Chrysalis, but Kevin quickly realized that the label wanted a pop-goth crossover, so he quit the band, not quite knowing what to do next. He was offered a job as a drum tech, and this led to work transporting bands and ultimately to tour management.
For the next 17 years Kevin worked with a variety of bands and genres, including Mutabaruka and Beatnigs. Later, he worked with Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, and did a US tour with Billy Bragg. An absolute epiphany occurred when Kevin began working for Pale Saints, doing exciting shows in small, packed out, sweaty clubs. This led to a European and a Japanese tour supporting Pixies and eventually becoming Pixies’ production manager. Over the two intense years that followed, Kevin was also taking care of Lush, and worked with other 4AD acts, including live coordination for Cocteau Twins.
Soon after, Kevin was asked to look after Smashing Pumpkins on their first solo European tour, prior to being approached by Irish Marxist hip hop crew Marxman, playing support to Depeche Mode on a full six-week tour of European arenas. Kevin was asked to fill in on drums, and he remained in the Marxman drum throne while acting as manager for the entire tour and also for the support shows with U2 that followed.
The next two years brought two world tours with M People, with Kevin acting as tour/production manager, running concurrently with working as in-house tour consultant for Deconstruction Records and coordinating live performance by other artists on the roster including Lionrock/Justin Robertson, Death in Vegas, The Grid/Dave Ball, Sasha, BT and Chemical Brothers. After this, Kevin worked for fifteen months with producer supergroup Apollo 440.
Then came a major change: Kevin quit the music business in 1999 due to the then widespread uncertainty about what was going to happen to the live touring industry. He went back to a very early interest in food, opened a coffee bar in the UK, which morphed into a bistro, ran that for six years and then went to work as a chef before deciding to move to the US with his long-suffering wife. This move led to his current position running two kitchens in Chicago: a farm-to-table high concept restaurant and an artisan burger bar.
The need to make music never goes away, so all this while, Kevin was making little notes of ideas for all things drum-related. Then, one day, he ran into Diane on social media, fell to chatting… and now they are working together again after all this time as Lunar Paths.
Diane’s story is maybe a bit more straightforward, and though it features quite a lengthy detour away from making music, she does get back there in the end. When Cold Dance broke up, Diane, then around 20 years old, decided that it was time to go to university; She studied a combined literature-theatre-history-philosophy kind of thing, got hooked on an idea about myths and archetypes and stayed on to do a PhD. Meanwhile, she started a little theatre company, taking shows around the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire region, and making an annual trip up to the Edinburgh Fringe, where she was lucky enough to appear in the European premiere of Sondheim’s Assassins. Diane freelanced as an actor, director and writer for various theatre companies and appeared in around twenty short independent films. In the late 1990s Diane wrote a notorious play which received a lot of ‘scandalised’ press coverage. Diane has also written theatre reviews for The Scotsman and edited the Journal of Gender Studies.
At the same time that all of this was going on, Diane was being offered more and more teaching at the university, which she took on, ‘just in case the theatre thing didn’t work out’. She sang in a few bands too, but nothing serious. Then one day Diane realised that she was working full time in academia! The university asked her to explore the market for a drama degree and she ended up founding the School of Performing Arts at the University of Lincoln in 2003. She initially ran it in a former gym above a pub on campus, working alongside Michael Earley, an amazing academic who taught Jodie Foster at Yale and was a close friend of Arthur Miller. Then, Diane was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and had to dial right back on doing live performances. She carried on with a bit of directing and writing, and the Performing Arts department grew, from just 18 Drama students in an old gym to include, alongside Drama, programmes in Dance, Music, Playwriting, Technical Theatre and more, at undergraduate and at postgraduate levels and based in a purpose built 440 seat theatre with four studios.
Diane took early retirement in 2019, the plan being to move to Greece with her long-suffering husband, a fine art graduate and senior lecturer in Media. Then, one day, she awoke to the news that Boris Johnson had managed to lose her access to healthcare in Greece post Brexit, so the long anticipated move was off. Diane threw herself into drawing, painting and working with cat charities, in the UK and in Crete, fostering and doing TNR work. She and her husband bought a little old stone house on the coast of northern Crete, planning to make the best of a bad situation and to go there for long holidays. Then, the pandemic descended.
Going a little bit stir crazy during lockdown, and with her long-imagined future having gone out of the window, she decided to completely renovate their big old Victorian house in the UK; it is fair to say that she was looking for something meaningful to do.
Then, out of the blue, Diane got a message from Kevin, who had found her on Facebook. At first they talked about remastering the Cold Dance EPs, but it soon became apparent that they were bursting with ideas for new songs. Kevin was already familiar with using DAWs but Diane was going to have to learn it all from scratch. Suddenly, lockdown was looking a whole lot more interesting! One day, Diane sat down with some beats that Kevin had sent to her months earlier, stuck them them in the DAW, played about with them and started to learn all about looping, warping, using samples and a little MIDI keyboard with VSTs to create sounds and stitch them together. The result was Lunar Paths’ first track, Sometime Never, which was completed in November 2021.
That first foray really defined the Lunar Paths process, where works in progress are pinged back and forth across the Atlantic, along with lots of chats on Messenger, when it’s usually the middle of the night for either Kevin or Diane, until they both agree that a track is completed.
Since November 2021, Lunar Paths have created around a track a month, discovering their sound as they go, an eclectic blend of genres, interests and influences, full of where they have been, and also suggestive of all the exciting places where they might be heading in the future.