Inside the ‘mind palace’ of musician Ash Lune

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It’s hard to pin down Ash Lune’s music to just a few adjectives. In fact, ask her about it and she only offers one word: dreamy.

“My sound is always evolving, and I’m perpetually inspired by things around me,” the 25-year-old tells Indian Link with a smile.

From the brooding mystery of Lana Del Rey and The Weeknd to the haunting, almost trance-like sound of Death Cab For Cutie, mixed in with artists that would fit perfectly into an early 2000s TV soundtrack (“think The OC or One Tree Hill”), it seems her niche lies in exploring what’s familiar alongside what’s fresh.

Most recently, she was selected as the winner of triple j Unearthed BIGSOUND competition alongside North Brisbane rapper Say True God?. It earned her the chance to perform at the live showcase in Brisbane, at a festival that gave some of the biggest names in Australian music their start, including Flume, Gang of Youths, Tones & I, and Rufus du Sol.

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It was also Ash’s first live performance, ever.

“I was petrified but also extremely excited,” she admits. “We had just one week to put the performance together after the competition. Rehearsals were insane but honestly, it was the best week of my life.”

She’s made massive strides for someone who got her musical start just two years ago. After many attempts at reaching out to various talent agencies on social media over the years, Ash was pleasantly surprised when Page 1 Management actually responded to her Instagram DM in 2020.

“They got back to me while I was still working on my master’s thesis in counselling [at the University of Queensland.] I didn’t have a microphone or any recording tech when they asked for a demo, so I ended up putting something together on my iPhone!” she laughs. “One of those songs, ‘I’ll See You Tomorrow’ even went on to be included in my first EP.”

Source: supplied

The former international student, who moved to Brisbane from Mumbai in 2019, suddenly found the representation and support she’d been looking for as an artist.

It was certainly an added bonus that it put her in proximity of respected producers like Joel Little, whose discography includes Grammy-nominated song “Royals” by Lorde and artists like Taylor Swift, Khalid, and Imagine Dragons, and Sam de Jong, who has worked with the likes of Thirty Seconds to Mars, Muse, and Little Mix.

Today, Ash Lune has amassed over 700,000 streams across her catalogue since the release of her debut single ‘Panic At The Party’ in 2021 and has been covered by media outlets like Rolling Stone India, Pilerats, and 10 Magazine.

“Even though I was signed in 2020, I didn’t make my debut for another year or so because we worked really hard on building my base. I was learning how to write music from scratch and growing as a musician,” she elaborates.

Credit: Zane Voloshin (supplied)

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The final step in her debut as an artist came in deciding her name.

“I’ve always loved this quote from Neil Gaiman’s Coraline that reads: ‘Now you people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.’ I know who I am as a musician, so I didn’t feel bogged down by titles or names,” Ash observes.

Instead, she says she let her manager decide. They eventually landed on ‘Ash’ from her real name Aashna Gulabani and ‘Lune’ from her love of space and astronomy.

Fresh off the release of her latest track “Autophobic” last month, she now provides a sneak peek into a darker new direction in her upcoming second EP, The Mind Palace, that releases on 4 November.

“It rains before it pours, like you love until you’re bored / you’ve got me on all fours / and still you ask ‘are you sure? / Magnetic, your hold on me is pathetic,’” she croons amid an electric symphony that’s a far cry from the sweet melodies of previous singles like ‘Sugarcoat’ and ‘Sleepwalk’.

“While my first EP Broken Science Experiments was an initial taster, with a little something for every kind of listener, this second EP is definitely going to be different,” Ash agrees.

Credit: Zane Voloshin (supplied)

Up close and personal

Currently watching? I just finished Blonde on Netflix. It should really come with a trigger warning!

Currently reading? Coraline for maybe the hundredth time.

Favourite song to sing in the shower? That’s easy – “Video Games” by Lana del Rey.

Favourite Indian artists? While I haven’t delved too deeply into the Indian music scene, I do enjoy A R Rahman’s songs. I also really enjoyed watching the F16’s perform live when I was back home.

Favourite Australian artists? Tame Impala and Vera Blue, to name a few. But the funny thing is, I didn’t even know these artists were Australian when I first started listening to them.

Any advice for aspiring musicians? I think the biggest mistake people make is not doing their research on the record company before reaching out. Look at their list of artists to get a sense of who they’re working with. If you’re trying to reach out to a musician and aren’t having any luck, look into the A&R (artists & repertoire) reps, producers, even managers attached to the label. What I’ve learnt is that it gets easier once you make that first step through the door.

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Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath is a writer and editor based in Sydney. In 2022, she was named Young Journalist of the Year at the NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards.

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