Luca and Mama Dance have crossed paths many times over the years, but we are thrilled to finally have her exceptional violin skills on our library. The album Cinematic Strings – Heartfelt Emotions is a collaboration with long-time Mama Dance composer/producer Gideon Murray. We caught up with Luca to find out how the experience of producing an album was and how life in lockdown is going for someone who was a regular performer before the craziness hit.
MD: How would you describe yourself?
LH: I am many different things! And everyday I have a different dream I want to conquer, haha. But at heart I’m an explorer, and I love finding things that are meaningful, however small they may be. I’m super sensitive, which helps with the music, but makes life quite tough sometimes. I am at my happiest in the mountains, when it’s just me and my surroundings – like it should be. I can be quite intense and caught up in thoughts most of the time, but whenever I’m hard at work on a new project, I get super energized and positive about life.
MD: When did the music career start?
LH: I started with violin and piano lessons when I was about 6 or 7, but from 9 I just focused on violin. Our house was always booming with classics, from opera to Tina Turner, to Leonard Cohen and Enigma. That’s definitely where my love for epic music started! I did choir at school, and then went on to take music as a subject in high school, taking part in all the ensembles and orchestras that were available. I started fiddling around with my own songs from a young age, and really started composing and songwriting in high school. I studied Music Technology at Stellenbosch and the rest has been a full on music career.
MD: How has Covid-19 affected you?
Covid-19 took one look at my live gig calendar for the year and just wiped it clean from corner to corner. Most of my income comes from live performances (weddings especially), and it took me a while to get over the initial shock of what had happened financially. Luckily I also teach part time, but it hasn’t been enough to pay the rent. I’ve learnt to go back to the “student” lifestyle of spending very little and eating simply, whilst trying to find ways of making a consistent income in future 🙂
MD: So if you have a bit more time on your hands, how are you keeping busy during lockdown?
LH: At the beginning of lockdown (the original 21 days) I set myself a challenge to compose, record and upload a song every day, and to sell that album on Bandcamp to raise money for the Solidarity Fund. It was a great learning experience to “force” creativity in that way and to be less perfectionist about my compositions. I also took an online course in Sustainability (through Coursera), which kept me very busy as it was quite loaded, but endlessly interesting as this was right up my alley on the nature side of things. Currently I’m drifting a bit between composing, electronic music production and filming my own documentaries.
MD: Wow, you certainly are busy. What can we expect from you in the near future?
LH: More electronic music, more outdoor music videos, and more drone footage! And definitely more albums on Mama Dance 🙂
MD: How was the experience of working on your first Mama Dance production music album?
LH: It was a longer process than I thought, with a lot of back and forth between Gideon and myself. But having completed the album, I now know more about the process and the effort it requires. Having a system and a plan definitely helps, and a deadline for each song! Gideon did most of the work, laying the piano tracks first, allowing me to add my violin melodies on top. The crew from Mama Dance (Dale, Jeff) are always supportive and eager to help where they can, so that makes it an enjoyable challenge.
MD: What is your favorite track on the album?
LH: They are all deeply moving and unique to me, but my favourite three are “Delicate Hope“, cause it makes me think of a baby horse exploring the mountains, “Beautiful Highlands” really pulls your heart out of your chest, and “Soaring free” is so incredibly tender it makes my throat tight.
MD: Any advice to female composers wanting to give it a shot at production music?
LH: Write a lot of material. And access your emotions when doing so. I think the world will be needing real emotion in years to come, with AI possibly being able to compose for us in future. And then just go for it. Don’t let the idea of perfection stand in your way of even starting. What makes your voice unique? Find that voice and pour it into your music 🙂