With his musical project YAWNS, Roman Luna sounds less like a hip-hop producer and more like a four piece post-punk group. A multifaceted musician, YAWNS composes his beats with live guitar, bass, and drums, fusing classic instrumentation with traditional trap beat formats.
Born and raised in the metropolitan sprawl of Phoenix, Arizona, with a DJ as a stepdad, some of YAWNS’ earliest memories are with music. His childhood home was full of half-built speaker boxes, partially repaired amps, and mixers. After discovering a newfound interest in punk music, YAWNS traded his own set of turntables for a friend’s electric guitar. It didn’t take long for YAWNS to teach himself power chords, and satisfied with this basic understanding of guitar playing, he soon after learned to play the drums.
YAWNS began to play in bands in and around Phoenix, predominantly as a drummer. His longest running gig was in the experimental punk band Naw Meen, where YAWNS would sing, play guitar, keyboards, and utilize an intricate set up of sample pads and synths. After the band eventually broke up in 2010, YAWNS began making experimental beats with his younger brother.
YAWNS became the producer for the local rap trio .CULT, and the three soon joined the underground rap collective Thraxxhouse in 2014. He would go on to produce for other Thraxxhouse artists sporadically in the following years, most notably FACES, Mackned, and Cold Hart. As the renowned collective GothBoiClique emerged from Thraxxhouse, YAWNS assumed the role as a graphic designer and Lil Peep’s DJ. He’s responsible for mixing and mastering some of GothBoiClique’s most notable projects, including the collective’s group album Yeah It’s True, Wicca Phase Spring Eternal’s Secret Boy and Stop Torturing Me, Horse Head’s True Blue and This Mess Is My Mess, and singles “Absolute in Doubt” and “Avoid.” It was fellow GothBoiClique members fish narc and the late Lil Peep who encouraged YAWNS to start producing again.
YAWNS opted to stand out by consistently using live drums, guitar, and bass in his productions. This stimulating alternative indie-rap hybrid is what made his 2018 Wish Me Well EP with Cold Hart a critically acclaimed fan favorite. After announcing he’d be accompanying a worldwide tour with GothBoiClique this year, listeners eagerly await YAWNS’ forthcoming albums, including Good Morning Cruel World with Cold Hart, We Had Our Fun with Horse Head, and a soon to be named project with Zubin. — Jack Angell