Micka Luna (b. January 4, 1977, in Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain) is a self-taught composer, producer, singer-songwriter and sound designer. His music has been heard and performed around the world in theaters, festivals and arts centers such as New York’s Lincoln Center Theater, Cannes International Film Festival, London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the Sydney Opera House, Berlinale International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Spain’s MACBA Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona and the San Sebastián International Film Festival, among many others.
“Composer, producer, singer-songwriter and sound designer”
Singing in a few bands as a teenager, Luna was influenced by such artists as David Bowie, Suede, Radiohead, Portishead, Massive Attack, Aphex Twin, Brian Eno, as well as classical composers. However, despite his involvement with music since age 15, Micka’s deepest creative interests resided in painting, video art and physics. So, he left high school to study art and painting in Barcelona.
Unhappy in the academic bubble, he dropped his art studies after one year and, in 1996, moved to Paris to work as an assistant to painter Joan Ill in exchange for room and board. It was Paris, its museums and art centers, but especially IRCAM that increased Luna’s interest in art applied technology. In pursuit of finding a bridge between image and sound, Micka started writing abstract scores for video art pieces and art installations. Building self-made instruments and noise generators, sound abstraction claimed more and more of his attention, with artists like John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen deeply changing his perception of music.
“Finding new inspirational perspectives”
Returning to Barcelona in 1999, Micka partnered as creative director with Zebra, a multidisciplinary production company concentrating on multimedia, publicity and fashion, while simultaneously studying the works of Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Xenakis. After two years, and in great need of finding new inspirational perspectives, he moved to New Zealand. What better place for this than the Antipodes?
In Aotearoa, Micka met eclectic young artists such as the musical-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, filmmaker Taika Waititi, and choreographer Raewyn Hill, expanding his enthusiasm for finding new artistic languages. It was in New Zealand where he received his first commission to write a contemporary dance score, “Intimate Space” (2004), an experience forever changing his understanding and relationship with music. After reaching the summit, where next other than to descend? That inspiring feeling of being free from all-things-familiar transgressed into a deep and overwhelming isolation for the artist. In 2004, after three years in the Antipodes, it was time to return to Europe.
“From symphonic to electronic music and everything in between”
London as his next destination, Micka Luna became involved with the creative team Troika while composing his own music and investigating new artistic branches and forms of expression. Fashion designer Aganovich commissioned Luna for the score of her London Fashion Week show, “The Dream of Beef” (2006). This enriching experience lead to further collaborations at a time when Micka was already well-established. London offered him the endless flow of musical and artistic input that he longed for. Until fate struck.
In 2007, his father’s terminal diagnoses called Micka to return to his hometown in Spain, back to his roots to face what would be his life’s most difficult period yet. Completely putting aside his research and work to care for his father and find a proper way to say goodbye, the year would mark Luna forever. Then, fate struck yet again.
Ready to resume his life in London, Micka was commissioned by director Manuel Huerga with the score for his new film-documentary, “Son & Moon” (2009), the story of an astronaut who had to leave his young son behind in order to fulfill his mission. With Outer Space as its setting, this paralleling father-son narrative resonated highly with Luna, resulting in his creation of an intimate but epic symphonic score highly acclaimed by critics and the public.
“Film and dance scores, while continuing to compose his personal work”
Huerga and Luna continued their collaborative journey ever since, signing to works such as “Barcelona. The Rose of Fire” (2014), a single-shot film-documentary with uninterrupted music narrated by Woody Allen. This soundtrack shows Micka’s high polyvalence, from symphonic to electronic music and everything in between. As well, in the score for the Amazon TV international blockbuster series “All or Nothing: Manchester City” (2019), Luna collaborated with Portishead and Radiohead drummer Clive Deamer, deftly mingling rock, electronic, ambient, symphonic and choir music.
Also in 2009, and right after finishing “Son & Moon”, Micka wrote the dark and misty soundtrack for the feature film “Ingrid” (2009), directed by Eduard Cortés, showing again that he excelled in the strings and choir domain. The score’s main theme “You’ll Never Catch Me” became a flag for many viewers, the composer himself appearing at the piano to deliver the song in the last sequence of the movie. Cortés and Luna would reunite in 2012, on the feature film “The Pelayos” starring Daniel Brühl. “You’ll Never Catch Me” is revisited in Luna’s solo album, “11” (2020).
“The Gates, world premiere at New York’s Lincoln Center. Rouge, at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre.”
2010 was a year for contemporary dance. New Zealand choreographer Raewyn Hill and Micka Luna joined forces on the exquisitely mystic contemporary dance piece “The Gates”, commissioned by Juilliard and inspired by the homonymous sculpture by Auguste Rodin. Micka wrote the score specifically for mezzo-soprano Jocelyn Montgomery (aka Jocelyn West), whom he was familiar from her collaboration with David Lynch on “Lux Vivens” (1998). “The Gates” would see its Lincoln Center world premiere with huge success in New York, Hill and Luna later extending its reach while touring Australasia and Asia in tandem, with their pieces “Black Crows” and “Mass”.
Dua Lipa and Christine and the Queens’ French choreographer Marion Motin commissioned Luna for the score of her creation “Rouge”, performed by the prestigious English dance company Rambert. With its May 2019 world premier at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the work was received as a breathtakingly eclectic and powerful score, yet again revealing Micka’s broad, unclassifiable range in music.
Since then, Micka Luna has been working on film and dance scores while continuing to compose personal works and research with new and antique musical instruments. He has assisted Japanese craftsman Naoyuki Omo in making a recreation of the 1928 Ondes Martenot synthesizer and, in collaboration with Radiohead’s engineer Alan Russell, they also developed three special instruments for Jonny Greenwood to play with Radiohead live and in solo concerts.
“Luna releases his solo album “11”, experiences needing to be archived, not forgotten.”
Micka Luna releases his solo album “11” in April 2020, preceded by its singles, “You’ll Never Catch Me” (February 2020) and “Sleeping Pills” (March 2020). A wide range of Micka’s collaborators participated in this album recorded in Bristol, such as Portishead’s Adrian Utley and Jim Barr, Massive Attack’s Euan Dickinson, and Marlango’s Leonor Watling, with many others. The record unveils eleven intimate musical portraits of Luna’s most challenging moments in life – experiences needing to be archived, not forgotten. A purge. ~ Hollace M. Metzger