Meshing a diverse array of styles this Long Beach four-piece has crafted an infectious collection on their full-length debut Carny Life. I recently spoke to Lauren Coleman about the band, her recent foray into acting, their plans for the rest of the year and more.


All Access Magazine (AAM)-MK – Can you give me a band history?

LC – Matt and I started recording together when he produced my former band’s record in 2005. Within a couple of years I moved to California from Las Vegas to be able to record more frequently. Jess played drums for another band in Vegas and, because we played a lot of the same shows and used the same practice space, we ended up becoming really good friends. Jon and Matt have known each other their whole lives so once we started playing live and needed a full band it came together pretty organically.

AAM – Musically there is a lot of diversity throughout the disc, but there is still a common vibe running throughout. What influences would you say go into the Pebaluna sound?

LC – I grew up listening to oldies. Matt and I bonded over Motown and old Jazz standards. But we didn’t really set out to do any particular genre, so the songs were able to just come out in whatever style the mood called for.

AAM – How does the songwriting process usually work?

LC – In the beginning, I couldn’t play an instrument at all. Half the songs on Carny Life are songs I wrote a cappella and Matt wrote the music around it. The other half, I brought completed and we would just layer things on top of it. Matt became like a mentor to me and wanted to make sure that I was putting everything I had into it. He had given me the use of his studio so I could be better and he challenged me to do so. But now since it’s the four of us, I’m looking forward to bringing more ideas and playing with the structure and the energy of them.

AAM – Some of the percussion in “No I Can’t” sounds like banging on pots and pans. Is that what it actually is?

LC – No, but I’m glad you said that because I did really want that effect. It’s actually just a bunch of items from the percussion drawer in the Elizabethan (Matt’s home studio).

AAM – “Please Me” is a bluesy rocker that just kind of comes out of nowhere and is really unlike the rest of the disc. Was there anything specific that influenced the sound of that song?

LC – That was actually one of the very first songs that I ever wrote so I don’t quite remember… I do remember that I was listening to a lot of Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin at the time. And when we recorded it, we had C-Gak (from RX Bandits) on drums which created a very unique feel as well.

AAM – You have some videos of covers on Youtube and some others on Soundcloud, plus you cover “Tonight You Belong To Me” on the Acoustic Sessions EP. Have you thought of releasing a collection of covers?

LC – I would love to! Every now and then Matt and I will record covers at the end of a late night session. They’re in the computer somewhere…

AAM – Speaking of the Acoustic Sessions EP, one of the songs on there, “Penguin Island” is a really catchy song that sounds a lot like a children’s song. Is there a story behind that song?

LC – I wasn’t feeling well one day and I was riding around in my friend’s car. I think three things went into that song: 1) I’ve always wanted to do a children’s album, 2) I wanted to make my friend laugh and 3) I just wanted to feel better than I was feeling, so I created a place that sounded nice to me. It was one of the simplest songs I ever wrote (only two chords) but people still yell it out at shows. I blew it by saying “bitchin'” and “beer”, but parents and kids still seem to enjoy it.

AAM – Matt is in several other bands including RX Bandits. How does it work with him being in the other bands?

LC – It depends on how active things are, but we just try to schedule far enough in advance to where it all works.

AAM – You’re in the film “I Am Not A Hipster”. How did you get involved in that and how was that experience? Is acting something you would like to do more of?

LC – One of the co-producers of “I Am Not a Hipster” had seen a youtube video of mine and thought that my personality would be a good fit. A mutual friend called me and asked if I would be interested. The truth is, I have always wanted to pursue acting, but didn’t know the first thing about breaking into it. I’m always creating characters in my car and doing different voices. I look crazy, but my stereo is broken so it just became a new hobby I suppose. Anyway, they called me in to audition and I got a call back. I was out of my mind excited and extremely surprised when Destin Cretton called me to see if my schedule was open to shoot. I would absolutely do it again, although I’m pretty sure I was spoiled by my first experience. The cast and crew of the film were so ridiculously kind and fun to work with and going to Sundance is something that I will always be extremely proud of and grateful for.

AAM – I would love to see you live. Do you have plans to do any touring in other parts of the country?

LC – Thank you- we’re making it happen now, but keep a lookout for late August.

AAM – What are your plans for the rest of 2013?

LC – We should be writing and recording the next record and then maybe opening for Beyonce on her next tour. We’ll see.

AAM – Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

LC – If you’re ever having a bad day, look up Ellen on Youtube. It always works for me.


Artist/Band Website: http://www.pebaluna.comI