in the groove: luna jamboree

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written by tamara styer

LUNA JAMBOREE IS ONE of Springfield, Missouri’s favorite live performance bands. Their music is bluesy, jazzy, and ultimately groovy. They’ve released multiple recordings, including their debut album, What Moves You, followed up by their EP release of Keep Calm and Funky. Their most recent project, And Those Seen Dancing, is a blues rock album, set off with an upbeat dance feel.

On stage, the band is energetic, exuding a gritty polish that can only come from seasoned musicians blending together through the love of playing music. If their album titles are any hint of what their live performances have in store, you can be assured that every show will be a good dancing time.

Headed up by Bryan Copeland on vocals and guitar, he is joined by keyboardist Tyler Mathews, drummer Tom Pearson, and that spunky chick bass player we can’t keep our eyes off of, Kim Painter.

Deitra Mag got the chance to ask Luna Jamboree the burning questions we’ve had since the first time we heard this funky, fun, and truly original band.

Deitra Mag: One of the things that has stood out to us is your female rhythm section. It’s great to see talented female musicians rocking out on the stage! 

Kim Painter: I think it brings some excitement to our performances because people think, “Is she going to be any good?” That’s really a question that people wonder. Personally, I just want to make music, and make it the best I can. So I don’t really think about gender that much.

DM: What are the band’s musical influences as a whole?

Tyler Mathews: Each other. We just play what we want to play and what we like, really. It’s not like we’re trying to be anybody else. We never go out trying to sound like another band.

Bryan Copeland: No, but influences though. It’s Black Keys mixed with Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, and sexy groove! A lot of people like to compare us to Tedeschi Trucks and Black Keys.

DM: What are each of your musical backgrounds?

Tom Pearson: I grew up listening to a lot of classic rock music, so I definitely draw a lot of influence from guys like John Bonham and Keith Moon. But I always thought that there was something that I could learn from every drummer out there.

Tyler: When it comes to musical influences, that’s kind of a new thing for me because I’ve always listened to music for the things that stuck out. I’ve just started to listen to actual piano players. I really like to emulate the styles of like what Jamie Cullum does, or some of the older guys like Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder (of course), and Elton John. They’re all really good piano players. I also have a background in percussion and did the whole symphony band thing, and marching band.

Kim: Let me tell you a story! I grew up in a pretty musical family. My dad playing the guitar is probably my biggest musical influence, because the bands that he has played with I listened to from when I was really little and all through growing up. As far as musicians who are out there currently, I love anything funky, but Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers is probably my favorite bassist. Anything with a groove to it is my inspiration.

Bryan: I grew up listening to classic rock as well. Jimmy Page, and all the jazz. Then I got into a metal phase. I listen to Metallica a lot. Then I got into a prog-metal phase where I listened to Dream Theater and stuff like that. When I got into blues a lot, like Robert Cray and BB King, I also got into jazz. I used to play in jazz band, and then I got into listening to it more. Lately I’ve been listening to more of a John Mayer kind of style. My dad played music growing up, too, so I had that around me. He also wrote a lot of songs, and we played together.

DM: How does playing music affect each of you personally?

Tyler: Playing music is just one of those things. It’s like a fucking rush. It’s something that affects me. It’s one of those times that I’m truly happy. Sometimes it’s pretty hard to be happy, but when I play music it makes me happy.

Tom: I can’t imagine my life without playing music. To be part of a band and to come together and create a song, and put it out there in performance is the most incredible rush you could possibly imagine. Like painting is art in space, music is art in time. To be able to create that with a group of musicians that you respect and care about, there’s just nothing better.

Kim: Music allows different channels, or creativity and expression. It allows you to say whatever you want to a massive group of people, and put your heart on the line, and then have other people react to it. When people react positively to that, it’s a great feeling. It’s amazing and fun and joyous to be on stage playing with your friends. It really is the best thing.

Bryan: Music is one thing in the world that can bring everyone together. No matter what type of person you are, if you like the same kind of music, you might show up at the same concert, and you might be able to get to know each other. For me, that’s one of the coolest things, that my music can bring so many different kinds of people together. It’s cool to have that feeling, that something I make, and something we make together, can affect people that much. It’s a crazy feeling to think that you can affect people that much with just what you feel and think. It just blows me away every time.

DM: What is it like to perform on stage together? 

Tom: It’s exhilarating. The rush you feel performing live with other musicians that you work together with and have a connection with, it’s incredible. And to have the crowd there reacting to it, jamming, and getting into the music, there is no better feeling in the world.

Bryan: That’s the best thing to me. We can kind of feel each other now. We don’t even have to look at each other most of the time. When we play something new, we feel each other out more than we do anything else. We just know where we’re going now, because we trust each other. It’s like a family.

Kim: I’d say we enjoy live performances more than the recording process. The recording process is great, it’s a different experience, but it’s so segmented that you don’t usually get the full effect of everybody coming together and feeling the moment.

Tyler: I love writing. Personally, I’m a pretty open but closed person. Writing a song is probably the most vulnerable thing that I feel. I know a lot of people who don’t really open up about their real feelings, but when you write a song, you open up about things you don’t really talk about. But I love live performances over recording by far.

Bryan: For me it’s the climax, where you really hit that point in a song – like a silence building up to something – and everybody can just feed off of that, and that’s the coolest part for me.

DM: What is coming up for Luna Jamboree?

Bryan: We’re playing out of town a lot more. We’re trying to book three weekends a month so we can have a weekend here still. That’s the goal at this point, to try to get out of here as much as possible and get our music out, and hopefully try to visit cities more often, like Kansas City or St. Louis. We want to play in those cities more often so that we can grab a following there, as well as play some festivals. And spread our music like the plague!

Check out Luna Jamboree’s music and upcoming shows at lunajamboree.com.   DM

written by tamara styer   @deitra_editor