BY LISA MARIE BASILE
Lovely, talented, gorgeous Andrea Diaz, who are you?
I am a brujita living and working in Brooklyn with my two little parakeets, Sol and Luna. I'm a vocalist, songwriter, and visual artist. Dancing and reading keep me sane. I recently got a new black bicycle, which I promptly named Nightrider. For those of you who are astrologically inclined, I'm a triple Gemini--( sun, rising, and moon). So far, my life revolves around learning to accept ( or at least try to manage) all the whims, desires, and paradoxes within myself and to channel them into something worthwhile. Because of this, I took on the name DIA LUNA to help me empower myself in my creative projects.
Being around you is magical and powerful. I remember when we did a spell together on your roof. It worked. You've got such an aura. How do you approach infusing your life and music with magic?
Thank you! I could write forever about this so please forgive me if I go full Gemini now. I've been called a romantic on more than one occasion. While I'm not particularly sentimental, but I do believe that romance is a crucial part of life and music, and that it comes from being sensitive and childlike in our relationship to the world. Truly, a lot of magic comes from appreciating and engaging with the beauty in the people and things that surround you. Those are the things that end up being my inspiration and my motivation to create. The element of play is also hugely important.
Recently, I was at St. Dympha's on St. Mark's for my bandmate's birthday party on a sunny Sunday afternoon. There were two guys playing soccer on the sidewalk, kicking the ball to passerbies. Some people ignored them, but others did not. It was amazing to see an unassuming stranger do a trick and kick the ball back to them! Right away I knew what the guys were doing: they were creating a moment, they were creating community with one tiny, silly gesture. Obviously I couldn't resist and I joined them right away. By the end of the night we had a circle of more than ten people having the time of their lives just kicking a ball around! It was simple, but exhilarating. That's how it works. I feel the best when I give myself to the moment, relish whatever joy I can, and don't take myself too seriously.
Tell us about Superhuman Happiness, your band.
I became the lead vocalist for Superhuman Happiness a year and a half ago. My bandmate, Stuart Bogie likes to say it's dance music for the emotionally complicated, which I find both hilarious and accurate. We're releasing a record in September and all of the tracks are pretty intense conceptually.
There are lots of questions about our relationships to technology and our relationships to one another, all set against the backdrop of day to day life in NYC. It's called Escape Velocity, which in scientific terms, is the amount of force that it takes for an object to supercede the gravitational pull of the earth and blast off into space. There's definitely a lot of intensity and the feeling of wanting to break free--it's a very introspective record in a lot of ways. We don't let anyone get too bummed out though, because the tracks are super danceable and they got the funk!
What other projects are you working on?
I have another project called The Duchess and the Fox, with my friend, and downtown music legend, Joe McGinty. We like to call it nouveau cabaret music since it's minimal in instrumentation--just piano and voice. It's very lyrical and a lot of the songs revolve around hanging out in bars, dreaming of old flames, and walking around cities at night. We will be releasing an EP at the beginning of next year! I'm also planning on finally unveiling a solo project called DIA LUNA, an electronic pop project I've been working on under the radar. So yeah, lots of things happening in their cycles, always!
What are your inspirations?
Oh lord! So many! The paintings of Frida Kahlo have always inspired me because of their vibrancy. She crafted a whole universe and mythology in her work. The diary of Anais Nin was hugely influential for me as well. She's so breathtakingly precise in her description of the creative process, and in her portrayal of what it is like to live as an emotionally aware woman. Both her and Frida lived the magic and both were way ahead of their time. In terms of music, Nina Simone's recordings have been one of my pillars of inspiration since I first heard them in high school. There's one recording in particular that I found recently, which totally blew me away. She's performing "Sinnerman" live. At the end, all the backing instruments fall away and there's just her playing this crazy piano tag and singing, "Power, Lord! Don't you know I need you lord?" I mean, holy shit. It gives me shivers every time I hear it, because you hear the truth in it, and you can really feel on a visceral level, her desperation and her power at the same time.
Where can we catch you next?
We're also doing an East Coast tour to promote Escape Velocity, so if you're not in NYC, you might be able to catch us there! Check out the dates here. The next Superhuman Happiness show in NYC is in November.