The show is a deep dive into dance-centric creativity, with Lunoe and her guests — Chris Lake for the premiere episode and MC and director TT The Artist for the latest show — talking about their own histories as artists, their creative blocks, biggest victories and why, even after you’ve experienced success, it’s not guaranteed that the creative muse will simply appear to you once more. The self-released podcast is streamable on all platforms where podcasts are available and will drop episodes twice a month. Lunoe is producing Create/Destroy in addition to her weekly radio program on Apple Music 1, danceXL Radio.
Lunoe, an artist, wife and mother of two, is recording Create/Destroy during lockdown from her home in Sydney, Australia. Here, in her own words, she reflects on her own evolution as a creative person — from childhood to Coachella — and why she’s keen to talk about it.
My life has been one long journey of attempting to tap into to the cryptic voice inside me, suggesting to me that there was something I needed to do. It hasn’t always been clear what that “something” even was, but from a very young age I felt its presence. I tried to ignore it, for years actually, but that felt awful, so I started trying to listen.
So far that voice has led me down more than a few garden paths — but eventually I have found myself making music, radio hosting, DJing, raising babies and now making a podcast.
Create/Destroy is based around having hopeful conversations with creators of all kinds. By sharing stories of creators and the lessons learned along the way, I hope to encourage listeners to dig deep, nurture a little creative confidence and start to take steps towards doing what energizes them. Not because I imagine that everyone wants to be a full time artist, but because joy and purpose are essential.
I was not a child prodigy at anything. I remember being alone a lot. The youngest of four, my parents were busy working on their own creative endeavors. My brothers and sister were much older than me, so I was left to draw a lot of my own conclusions about life. Most my thoughts were formed by the CDs I would steal from my big brothers bedrooms’, or the TV shows I would stay up watching. I also noticed my parents seemed passionate about their work and took big risks to build a life that excited them, for better and for worse — and that is still true of them today.
I worked out quickly that music was hugely fascinating to me. As I spent my school holidays reading every CD liner back to front and inside out, the artists themselves became untouchable in my childhood brain. Like another breed, aliens plonked on earth to deliver perfectly formed and delivered thoughts, images and sounds.
I felt a creative impulse of my own straight away and got to work. I banged on my mum’s childhood piano, singing wildly until my siblings would come home and yell at me to stop. I wrote out lyrics, pausing and rewinding to decode every word of my favorite songs. Once I sat myself down and spent an entire day writing, only to realize I had basically re-written the Little Mermaid synopsis — the only creative part being my poor spelling. I would record myself singing on my tape deck (yikes) and even make my own taped radio show for my friends.
After realizing what a mess it all was, and without anyone to remind me that everyone starts somewhere, I promptly stopped doing that and went back to watching TV and avoiding homework like every other kid I knew. I guess I wasn’t an alien. Bummer.
The Great Myth of the Genius Artist is fun to hold up though, isn’t it? We analyze how they walk into a room, effortless and graceful, having recently been plucked from obscurity while minding their own business. As a result of this popular narrative, we put too much faith in the Plucker and not enough faith in ourselves. Those with ambition wait to be plucked, putting our effort into outwardly projecting that we are ready for the plucking instead of taking on the weird and courageous task of… plucking ourselves? (Okay, my analogy hit a dead end, but stick with me.)
The long, hard and meandering grind of digging into your heart and finding your purpose and passion isn’t a story that is easily told, or glamorous and bitesize enough to put on a CD cover.
As its turned out, against eight-year-old Anna’s better judgement, I did stick with my desire to create things. Soon after I left school, I discovered DJing, a medium that allowed me to be creative enough to satisfy my creative urge and build creative confidence, but not so scary that it forced me to face all my demons! Great! It became my total obsession, and ultimately became the jump-off point to writing and singing songs, making music, radio and now this podcast. But as I rattle off what followed, it didn’t happen without exorcising a few million limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs come from society, family, friends and are enthusiastically embraced and upheld by our very own brains! We all have these self-imposed limitations. We willfully believe negative things about ourselves with much more ease than we are able to believe the positive things. Most of the time they aren’t even objectively true. When I left school at 17, I thought I was too old to try making music — because Beyoncé was already famous by 17, so clearly it was too late for me. I mean, maybe that wasn’t the best example to give ,because I could probably live 100 lifetimes trying to be Beyoncé and fail. But the point is we compare ourselves to people we shouldn’t and happily co-opt any fact we can, if it means not facing something that scares us. (Hey… last bit sounds familiar! Anyway, moving on!)
I’ve read a lot of artist biographies over the years. It was a good two-punch time-spend for me, because not only did I gather extensive music history knowledge which fed my DJ abilities, I also got the real story on those perfect and untouchable artists on those CD covers I poured over as a child. Ahhh, so they weren’t plonked on earth that way? Interesting.
I read a lot of creativity books. I journaled, did workshops, tutorials, therapy, and spent endless days and nights working on my craft and talking to fellow creatives. All of it essential — but those conversations with other creatives offered some of the best medicine. I got to peek behind the curtain. Sure, a lot of them are exceptionally gifted but all of them without exception were turning up every day just like me. Imperfectly bumbling around a dark room, looking for a light switch.
The weirdly democratic part of creative life is that creating something great today doesn’t guarantee you will be able to do it again tomorrow. As a result it takes a lot of inner confidence, and acquiring creative confidence is not a one and done. You don’t get it and get to keep it forever, it runs thin and needs replenishing. So by nature of the beast, even an experienced creator stays a student and the lessons can come from anyone, anywhere.
The power of someone finding their purpose and passion is enormous and bigger than just what they can achieve for personal gain. I’ve seen the creative spirit of one person start fires and change lives around the world. I really believe there is no greater topic than what we chose to do with our lives, and society’s systems to work that part out aren’t cutting it. I don’t know about you, but my high school guidance counselor was way way way off base. Like, playing the wrong sport entirely.
When I sat still during the pandemic for the first time in 13-plus years, I was forced to recalibrate what might be my purpose if my old purpose didn’t come back in the same way. Did I have the energy to forge ahead with, even without people cheering me on? The truth is I’m no longer interested in sweeping up the dirty business of building my life and having it be reduced to the image on that glossy CD cover. Do I want to perform and live my passion for music? YES! But I want something as enormous and inspiring as the dance community that I found myself a part of having a positive impact on the people that support it.
Dance music has always been always about sweating it out, blowing off the steam and shaking off the pressure and limiting beliefs. A place where anything was possible, for anyone. My idea of “PLUR” in 2021 isn’t trading plastic bracelets or trying to pack the meaning of it all in a four-minute techno tune (although to be fair I’ll probably still do those things!) It’s encouraging and facilitating the incredible humans I have met through my passion, to share their power, purpose, kindness, and creation. Blasting out blueprints, free of charge for anyone with the time to listen.
And the name of the podcast? “Create/Destroy”? Well, recently I read Jeff Tweedy’s book How to Write One Song. At the bottom of the first page it said “In this life we have a choice, to be on the side of Creation or surrender to the powers that Destroy.” That pretty much explains it all. It explains all the people I’ve loved the most and how they all inspire with me with the possibility of creation. And on the flip side it explains how we find ourselves succumbing to the powers that destroy when we don’t feel that we are on our path.
So I’m going to be loud with hope and purpose;
Because there are plenty of loud voices saying we can’t.
Because the great Myth doesn’t serve our community.
Because each of us has something brilliant to offer the world.
And because I want my kids to live in a world with more people living on the side of creation.