Q&A: Lumina



1)Who are you? 

Alison Marks and Helen Copnall.

2)What do you do? 

I work with homeless people and basically get shouted at a lot, Helen works for a software company.  We both have children and families.

We also produce/compose/program/engineer, DJ and run the occasional party.

3)Where do you often create/produce? 

Since we live quite far from each other and are very busy, we mostly work independently in our studios and send each other files. It’s not the preferred method but needs must.


Whenever we have the time.

5)Why do you play music? 

First and foremost because it’s fun and we enjoy it. It helps one to feel connected with things somehow, vibration being the foundation of life and all that ..

1)Which track defines you the most?

No one really, it depends what day it is. It’s hard to communicate via these criteria since things are really far more complex. Some stuff that springs to mind that we collectively enjoyed during our early years as friends;  – Njoy Live In Manchester (The LP that bought  Helen into my room at university), Herb Alpert – Rotation, Filla Brazillia – A Zed and 2 L’s, Mixed Up by The Cure, Kate Bush, Electrospy – Voices Underground Resistance – The Final Frontier, Juan Atkins – Jazz is the Teacher, Rhythm Is Rhythm – Icon, Wulf N Bear – Raptures of the Deep, Motorbass – Neptune, Carl Craig – Televised Green Smoke, Pepe Bradock – Burning, I:Cube – Caca Carnival, Surgeon – Floor Show, Herbert part 1-5, Chris Brann/Wamdue Kids, Baby Ford – Change, Symbols and Instruments – Moods, Derrick and Chris Nazouka – Am and Experience, Aubrey – Pervert, St Germaine – Alabama Blues, Kenlou – Gimme Groove, Vince Watson – Mystical Rhythm... etc etc 🙂

2)Any track of the moment? 

Helen: “Love Hate” by Conforce. Alison: I’m really enjoying Life recorder’s current output.

3)What influences your work? 

Our shared journey as friends and through dance music; The Hacienda, Hard Times, Basics, Plastic People, Kenny Hawkes’ Space night and Ultimate Bass were favorites. The frequent trips to the middle of nowhere to various free parties, adventures in Ibiza in the 90’s before it was taken over by the English and all the incredible parties we went to in Macedonia, Serbia and Russia. Emotions, limitations, technology and time.

4)Do you consider yourself as an Artist? If so, why? 

Before we could answer that you would have to define what you meant by the term artist. Ultimately the main impetus for doing what we do is the “doing” itself. We create because it makes life feel better. It’s the process that takes precedence.  We have been around a while and with age comes a certain relaxed feeling/perspective, that’s not to say that we don’t take what we do seriously just that we don’t really mind what happens when things are done (or if they get done) we just wanna get better at it all, keep it flowing, keep moving.

5)What’s your academic background?Are you an autodidact?

We’ve got a fair amount of qualifications, Alison is a pretty proficient engineer, Helen is a multi instrumentalist, we enjoy learning a lot. We can’t say the qualifications themselves ever helped much though, we’ve learnt the most reading books, forums and manuals, playing with other people and machines, listening and talking.

 6)Favorite designer?

Alison: I’m a fashion disaster. no idea, don’t care.

Helen: Design school and art movement – Bauhaus.

7)Favorite Classic movie?

We’re struggling with this one since a bit.. what with trying to create stuff, kids and work there isn’t much time and energy for films nowadays but, that said, we always  enjoy watching Bad Santa 😉 , loved Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid when we were kids (crush on Paul Newman.. such a shame about the salad dressing phase..)  and  nearly always love the films of Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Black Swan) and David Kronenberg (Eastern Promises and History Of Violence)

8)Favorite book?

We LOVE books, here are a few we have enjoyed over the years.

An Individual Note – Daphne Oram

Island and The Perennial Philosophy – Aldous Huxley

Straw Dogs – John Gray

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep – Phillip K Dick

Under My Skin – Doris Lessing (and anything by her actually)

Sidharta – Herman Hesse

Iron John – Robert Bly

Stasiland – Anna Funder 

Collective Short Stories – Anton Chekhov 

9)Favorite word ( that you most overuse)?

Helen: “Sweetheart”

Alison:  “Nonsense”

10) Favorite music label?

We’ve got independent record collections and good records on loads of different labels; Solid Groove, Dial, Metroplex, Axis, Playhouse, Palette recordings, Pacific, Product Deluxe, Versatile for example and for Alison it’s often easier to communicate this kind of thing via artists. In dance music, I pretty much always  find something to enjoy in the creations of Larry Heard, Charles Webster, Aubrey, Kenny Larkin and Ron Trent for example

11) Your dream collaboration?

“Dream” being the operative word, not sure we could really have anything to offer these greats but how about; Nina Simone, Donna Summer and Alice Coltrane lyrics by William Blake, Kate Bush, Brian Eno, Steve Reich, Pat Methany or any of the above for dance music

12) What’s your life motto (quote)?

Helen: “Live fully in the moment”.  Alison: “I have had to eat many of my own words and I find the diet very nourishing”.

13) Any “mot de la fin”?

Thanks for taking an interest. 🙂