Jenny Dison is not a new feature to the South African music landscape, but for the first time, she’s exploring what it means to express her own sound for herself with LUMA. After Dark caught up with Jenny to find out about how her solo project is going.
After Dark: You’ve been involved in a few musical projects before. What gave you the courage to start LUMA?
LUMA: I started out in Bye Beneco but I always knew I wanted to have my own project where I could explore different sounds and experiment for myself. There has always been a bit of hesitation in my mind about performing live but I have always loved making music on my own. After leaving BB, I decided to session for a couple of bands to gain a bit more confidence on stage, while having the time to work on my own music. All of this encouraged me to pursue what ultimately became LUMA. And the rest is history.
After Dark: Who do you love collaborating with the most?
LUMA: Wow, I have been really lucky to have had a great list of collaborators. The most notable being Struan Watt (Sol Gems), Alex Leeu, Thor Rixon and Tshepang Ramoba. All bringing a unique sound and production to the LUMA sound.
After Dark: What’s the significance of events like A Night Of Talented Womxn?
LUMA: This event is SO IMPORTANT, particularly for South Africa. Which is, in my opinion, dominated by male figures in this industry from; promoters, managers, sound engineers to musicians and dj’s. This event does not only promote femme musicians but pushes women to be involved in all aspects of an event, from the female illustrators who design the beautiful posters to the always well-curated femme line-ups by the incredible creator of the event Tourmaline Berg.
After Dark: I’ve been lucky enough to see you performing in several different settings and it seems smaller, intimate gigs are more comfortable for you. How does this affect where you want to go as a musician?
LUMA: I would love to play on bigger stages for larger audiences. It is more comfortable for me to be in a smaller setting, I enjoy being on stage but I do find it quite stressful at times. The scene is also so small so I guess now what really makes an impact is having an album out and music that is readily available, which I don’t have at the moment. My music video and music will come out soon, so keep an eye out on Spotify/iTunes etc.
After Dark: I’ve felt disconnected from you on stage, which is a contrast to the strong personality I know you to be. How do you consolidate this? Do you find your boldness emerges in the studio?
LUMA: As I’ve said before, I do find it difficult to be on stage…I much prefer being in studio. I suffer from a bit of the old imposter syndrome. Sometimes I get on stage and just feel like I’m not supposed to be there. But it is starting to get easier for me the more comfortable I get with the set.
After Dark: Thanks for your honesty, it can be really difficult to deal with imposter syndrome, especially when you’re on stage in front of people but you’re doing an incredible job. What’s next for you?
LUMA: I have really exciting plans… I am travelling overseas soon and hope to be travelling until the end of the year. My music video for “All the While” is coming out soon, more singles will be released… Oppikoppi is coming up and I’m playing on the main stage on Saturday night, so that is really exciting. There’s a lot to be excited about.
After Dark: You work as a stylist as well. How does that affect LUMA as an aesthetic?
LUMA: I am lucky to know a lot of local clothing designers in Joburg from my job and I am always dressed by someone interesting for festivals. There is a lot of support from designers, it’s awesome. My wardrobe is also full of vintage finds I have collected and I also love dressing myself for shoots and shows. My style definitely influences the aesthetic of LUMA.
After Dark: Who in the world do you most want to do a round of Ice Cold Shots with?
LUMA: Hmmmm… probably Frida Kahlo. She is my favourite artist/feminist/style icon… obviously, it’s a ridiculous statement because she passed away so long ago, but wow, how fucking cool would that be?
After Dark: That would be pretty fucking cool.