Talking With Vancouver-based Trio Ludic About Their Latest Single “Heart Emoji”

For me, it is the funkadelic and slick “Heart Emoji” by Vancouver-based Trio Ludic. This groovy song will make you want to get your groove and enjoy each infectious beat from the first note. But, what is the meaning behind “Heart Emoji”? And why are the trio called “pioneers to a new formula of modern soul.”?

I recently interviewed Ludic via email to answer those burning questions! Continue reading to find out. And, don’t forget to listen to the band’s newest single down below and let me know what you think in the comments!

Please introduce yourself!

We are three friends, two of whom are brothers, and we very much love creating art together! Ayla Tesler-Mabe can most often be found with a guitar in her hand, Maxton Cunningham with a bass, and Rhett Cunningham behind the drums; we all love exploring various other instruments as well.

Why did you choose your name Ludic?

We thank Max and Rhett’s mom for that! They started jamming together with the intention of creating music that was spontaneous, undirected, and playful. It just so happens, perfectly enough, there is a word in the English language that means just that: Ludic. And so, when Ayla came around with her love for spontaneity and undirected playfulness, it made sense to keep creating music with that name.


How did the band come together? How has been being band been like? Any favorite memories together?
Back in late 2016/early 2017, Ayla was really hoping to start a band with young, like-minded, hardworking musicians who wanted to grow together as artists and as people. Her mentor, the fantastic Sami Ghawi, put on a post on Facebook to see if there happened to be anyone like that around the Vancouver area.

A few months and a few jam sessions on the White Rock beach later, Ayla, Max, and Rhett had written a handful of songs together and started playing gigs at bars and restaurants around the city.

Ludic is like a family. We’ve been through so much together, and while she can’t speak for everyone, Ayla looks back at a lot of the early shows as being some really fond moments for the band. There is a certain charm about schlepping all of your equipment up a steep flight of stairs, grabbing some Chinese food before the show, and playing to a crowd of 20 people that makes moments like sharing the stage with Snarky Puppy or Brittany Howard a few years later that much more magical.

What musical artists and genres influence you?

Soul, funk, jazz, and pop would definitely be the genres we are most drawn to. Ayla also has an eternal love for classic rock. As a band, we really look to artists like Brittany Howard, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Hiatus Kiayote, and Funkadelic for inspiration. Our latest single, “Heart Emoji”, definitely has some Daft Punk and Justin Timberlake influence. The list of artists we look up to is really quite endless though!

I’m loving your new single “Heart Emoji”. Could you tell me what is the meaning behind the song?
“Heart Emoji” is what a dating app might sound like if it learned how to write a song! It’s about the modern landscape of online dating and falling in love with someone through digital images, bios, and emojis.

What is the song’s backstory? How did you create the song and what was the production like?
The song started as a very slick and cool demo that Max put together, and lots of the wacky and wonderful production elements that can be found in the song came directly from his brain! We then jammed the song together and teased out the ‘70s funk and 90’s/2000’s RnB aesthetic as much as we could. Our producer Ryan put his genius touches on the song in the studio as he always does, and Heart Emoji became the track you hear today. We wanted to keep the production fairly minimal for this track, which allowed for moments like the chimney keys in verse 2 or the crazy synth shots in the chorus to really come through.

What do you want listeners to listen to in “Heart Emoji”?

Funky and very danceable, we want you to fall in love and think about the rest later. We were hoping to write a song that is equally at home residing on contemporary pop playlists and more eccentric ones too; Heart Emoji is a song for casual music listeners who just want to dance and musician’s musicians alike.

On your website, Ludic was named as “pioneers to a new formula of modern soul.” Could you elaborate on this? And how do you incorporate this “new formula of modern soul” in “Heart Emoji”?
Obviously it is such an honour to us that there are people out there who describe our music in such terms! I suppose what it means to us is taking inspiration from all of the great music of the past, writing with the musical sensibilities of today in mind, and hoping to create something new with these elements. We just hope to create something that reminds people of the music they love from the past and present, but also doesn’t seem quite like anything they’ve ever heard before!

What are your future plans?

We have soooo much music to release! We have many songs in the works, and a whole pile of already recorded and finished tracks that we’re just chomping at the bit to get out to the world. Coming soon…

Any messages for the readers?

We just released a music video for Heart Emoji, and we couldn’t be more proud of it. We hope you might decide to check it out and feel some of the good vibes we felt while we were making it! Either way, peace, and love! Stay safe and well in this crazy time we’re all living through. <3

About the Band: Ludic

Ludic is based in Vancouver, Canada. The trio, comprised of Ayla Tesler-Mabe and brothers Max and Rhett Cunningham, describe themselves as SOULFUNKJAZZPOP or Alien Motown and have cemented themselves as one of Canada’s most exciting and fastest-growing acts. The band have amassed an incredible social media following with over half a million followers across all social platforms.

Not long after meeting at a neighbourhood jam session, Ludic is on the rise to fame sharing the stage with artists such as Brittany Howard, Lawrence, Snarky Puppy, and Catfish and The Bottlemen in some of Vancouver’s most notable music venues. Ludic was also named top 10 in CBC’s annual Searchlight competition this year out of 1500 other competing artists.