It is not often that, in this day and age, you come across an artist who says he loves to miss out. Who deliberately takes himself off of social media for five years saying he feels “it was one of the rare opportunities to take my time and figure out my position within this whole scene.” But then again, Lunice doesn’t really feel like any other artist of this day and age in the first place – someone who doesn’t want to “compete for likes and follows” but whose goal it is to “obverse the happenings of the Internet and then speak with the people in person later.”
“That way of thinking completely changed the way I work,” the Montreal-based artist says today, back from his hiatus with not only his new album “CCCLX” but an entirely new outlook on himself, his music, and the industry itself. “Being less on social media, you tend to pay deeper attention to your mind, body, and soul. And you start to notice how interconnected a lot of things are and how you can contribute to this connection in a positive way. If I was fully focused on social media today, I’d probably be completely distracted. I feel that kind of culture comes and goes but the endless exploration of knowing yourself is infinite.”
Maybe this is why “CCCLX”, which was released at the beginning of September, feels much more like a concept than an album per se – more like all these thoughts Lunice gathered during his social media abstinence finally found a catalyst in eleven songs and an accompanying set-up; competing for its own share of the spotlight. “I used to make music purely out of ‘beat making’ which consisted of creating various loops and short instrumentals,” he explains, “but once it came to working on my debut album I started to get myself more involved in not only the musical process but the stage design and everything else in between in relation to the whole project.”
That “in between” he is talking about, again, is not what you would typically expect from a Hip-Hop or electro record either – it is curtain calls, costume changes, a transition of stage setting. Because with “CCCLX” Lunice had a precise, and, referring to the title, 360 degree spanning idea of the imagery he wanted the listener to develop in his mind: A theatre play. One that is adaptable for any surrounding, and where he himself is the narrator. Asked about what his role in relation to the play would be – the hero, the villain – Lunice headed straight for what is most organic for him: “I’m definitely doing a voice-over through stage performance. I physically express the emotions of certain songs I play out in hopes that the crowd get to feel the same way I do whenever I hear that song.”
An approach that, like Lunice himself, very much fluctuates between the niche and the mainstream. For a musician coming from the background of running trap-group TNGHT, thinking in terms of theatre feels alien at best – for an artist observing the industry from afar for over five years and having extensive experience in the whole process of what makes a record, and persona, going with creating not only the sound, but the whole world around it, simply seems inevitable.
“I got to think about this over the years,” Lunice himself says of where he fits better – the underground or the mainstream, “After having been fortunate enough to experience various studio sessions, the longevity of my work will definitely fit better with the underground scene. Nowadays there’s this interesting bridge between the two worlds. I’m grateful for that.” A bridge that not only leads to him being able to work with a variety of artists, he adds, but equally a variety of genres and stages – may they be literal or of his life.