Cameron Buyers of Christchurch psychedelic indie rock band Lunar Intruder wrote the lyrics to their new single Angel within an hour. He tells NZM this was one of the first songs he’s written where he was truly satisfied with the outcome by the end of the songwriting process, indeed that completing the song has itself brought the four-piece band closer.
Angel, a dreamy journey through a psychedelic atmosphere, attempts to suck the listener in from the moment it begins, progressively ramping up into an emotional explosion – as I (Cameron, Lunar Intruder’s songwriter) like to describe it!
To give a bit of context, the writing process began no more than a month after Lunar Intruder’s first EP was released back in July 2020. When it comes to songwriting I usually don’t like the idea of writing the same sort of song twice, which could involve any elements from structure to tone, subject etc. Out of the blue, this idea of a soft but almost fast-paced drum beat suddenly resonated with me, so I set up a looped drum beat like what was going around in my head and began to experiment with guitar melodies that felt connected to those drums.
I began with the fingerpicking classical-esque melody played by Matt Earle (our lead guitarist) and generated an eerie shoegaze-like melody to accompany the fingerpicked style that I would play. In a short space of time, I had written the parts and had the first section of the demo which I showed to the other boys in the band. We all clicked with it straight away.
Over time the song began to write itself and before long the second main section was done too. I’m not sure how to put it, but this was one of the first songs I’ve written where I felt truly satisfied with the outcome by the end, and genuinely thought I nailed exactly what I was trying to achieve in terms of connecting my thoughts and emotion into a piece of music. This was also the biggest challenge for me, but at the same time, the song came together so smoothly with very little trial and error. All the pieces just fell into place in the way I see it.
The lyrics for this song came very naturally and were fully written within an hour of sitting down. Ironically, the more I care about a subject for a song, the more I’ve already thought about it a lot and all the ideas and words just come naturally. This was especially true with Angel. It’s not so much the lyrics that I get stumped on when writing, but often the vocal melodies and how they accompany the instrumental elements that I get stuck with. The vocals, I would say, are definitely not the most forward in the mix of this song, but I love the sound of the struggle of the vocals trying to stay afloat with the power of the instruments. I’ve noticed that it’s quite a popular mixing style in the psychedelic genre, to have vocals a little more distant-sounding to create that huge sound atmosphere.
A final small note about Angel. The reason why it is so significant to me and the other band members is that it staples so many things at once. For a start, it marks a slight genre turn for Lunar Intruder into our next EP, and one where we all love the music that we are currently making. It also marks off a subject that I have been desperately trying to get off my shoulders since I first started writing songs in late 2017, and it feels like the process of writing and discussing this song has brought the band closer together than ever before!