Have you ever felt shamed for your sexual needs? Do you feel like it is not appropriate for you to openly communicate to your partner what you like and dislike in bed? Chances are, you are a woman. Society has been telling women for centuries to be ashamed of their needs, or simply insisting that women don’t have such needs. Meanwhile, men have historically been described as naturally sexual and in need of satisfaction. When Cardi B released her song “WAP” feat. Megan Thee Stallion, it caused a pop culture scandal. Just because they did what male rappers have been doing all the time — openly elaborating on their sexual desires through music. How dare they?
Maria, Emil and Jonas are Copenhagen-based trio LALUNE. On the new single “TAINTED”, they address exactly that problematic double standard. Their courage to put that topic on the table impressed me and I fell in love with their fierce artistic expression. Luckily, the band agreed for an interview with Good because Danish. Keep reading and learn more about liberation, equality, and this very special electro-pop project.
How did you three meet?
We met at Engelsholm castle, an art highschool. The first week was alcohol-free, which can arouse restlessness when arriving at a new place with many new faces. That restlessness resulted in the boys teaming up and combining Emil’s EDM with Jonas’s indie rock. Maria was drawn to it and wanted to be a part of the universe they created and rushed into the rehearsal room. Thus, LALUNE was born.
Later, sitting outside in the sun at a cafe in Amsterdam, we completely opened up to each other and discovered that we were struggling with the same mental problems and had been through the same things in life. Then it dawned on us that without knowing, music had brought us together.
What is your message with TAINTED?
“TAINTED” was created one late night on the floor in our old, very small rehearsal room, where we, as always, started our rehearsals with a long deep conversation. That evening, we reflected on sexual frustration and staying true to your sexuality. We discovered that, at the time we were making the song, conversations between our friends and us had been very much about men’s sexual expectations of women, so we wanted to shed some light on that.
Why do you think women are still shamed for their sexual needs? What should be done to change that?
Our generation grew up with a certain image and expectations of how women and men are and should be. But there has been a shift in the later years. We have become liberal and willing to break the norms that have been over us for so many years. We want to break out of the boxes we have been put in and shine a light on the issue of gender imbalance.
There is a lot of debate and openness about gender equality in most areas, which is fantastic. We are already breaking a wall there. But we still need to open up and talk honestly about the sexual imbalances that still characterise our society. We believe that the more open we are about sexual needs and sexual diversity, the closer we get to true equality. If “TAINTED” can help with that, we are thrilled.
To Maria: Do you have any experiences being shamed in your personal or professional life?
As long as I have been sexually active, I have experienced being stuck in a box about how you as a woman should be sexual. You should be in a certain way, while men are free to be just as they want. I have always hated it, and that is why this fight is important to me. Women must feel free to say honestly what they want and do not want, on an equal footing with men.
I strive to be 100% me, and not something the box makes me. It has been a struggle because of the norms women grow up under. But I’m free now and if I can help, I would love it. For example, I have hair on my legs and under my arms because it makes me feel beautiful and sexy. If men can grow hair wherever they want, we can too, for we are equal. Seriously, what is sexier than a woman who is just the way she is?
The TAINTED music video was filmed in moon-like landscape and then in a big warehouse with flashing lights and ecstatic dancing. What was the inspiration?
In short, the message of the music video, like the message of the song, is sexual liberation of women. The director Asbjørn [Dupont] tried to visualise this by letting the dancer move in cold and slightly gloomy locations which symbolise the norms women live under. Then comes the light and the colors that symbolise liberation.
Why did you decide to work with the director Asbjørn Dupont and dancer Irene Hoppe?
LALUNE is a very personal project for all of us that our hearts speak through, so it is natural and important for us to involve friends in the process, so it remains in our bubble. Like our press photos, the video was entirely made by our good friends.
How do you work together as a band?
We are a trinity and best friends. For us, LALUNE is nothing without each other. All music we make comes from deep conversations between us, and everything we make comes from our hearts. Of course, we each have our role: Maria is the songwriter and creates the melodies, Emil and Jonas are the producers and composers. But it is the friendship and the conversations between us that drive the work.
Are you keeping sane during COVID-19 times, and if so, how? What has changed for you since the outbreak?
That’s a very good question because — is anybody keeping sane during these weird times? It has been difficult not to see each other so much and not play concerts. Concerts are where we get the energy out, and cry out the emotions that lie in numbers. The shift from our old music to the new also shows how our frustrations have been expressed. It has gone from fine and dreamy to brutally honest. We have thrown away the filter.
What are your plans for the near and distant future?
Much more music. Another single is on the way, and a lot of music is waiting to get finished. Hopefully, a lot of concerts too when possible. We miss the contact with the audience wildly.