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INTERVIEW: Lukr

Hi Lukr, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey VENTS, thrilled to talk with you! I’ve had a crazy year, honestly. This was my first year releasing my work as a solo artist, and having been a part of several bands and projects, it was the most exciting and scary period of my life that I’ve experienced yet. My first two singles got a lot of love from both the staff and listener base at Spotify, and that has shared my art with more people than anything I’ve probably ever touched before. That feeling is definitely rewarding, yet somehow ironically, I almost feel a little exposed as a person. It’s freaky. 2016 has been an awesome rollercoaster. I feel stretched as both an artist and a human in general, and my work almost scares me a little. It is creatively energizing.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Scarecrow“?

I’m so proud of Scarecrow as a song. I wrote it over the course of 3 years, so it’s been with me for a long time. It feels like an old friend to me, and lyrics have shifted and settled as we’ve both grown a little bit. I’ve made different worktapes and demos and even cut a rock n’ roll version with a side project, but the song never felt quite finished to me. I loved the direct collaboration with [Producer] Sainte, just the two of us trying to create a record that we both loved. We have a lot of similar musical tastes and backgrounds, and we set our bar as “What do we like” as opposed to guessing what might be the “correct” or “incorrect” creative choice. It’s been an awesome journey making the song and record, and it’s been exciting to see so many people connect with it.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Yeah, definitely. It’s about a person who was my first real love as an adult, and that post-relationship fallout and her getting married to a mutual friend. I think for me a lot of my songs are about trying to capture a certain feeling and using personal experiences to illustrate it. Basically a that feeling when meme but in song form. In your teens and early 20s, nothing feels permanent, no decision feels final. You can date somebody on and off, you can change your major or your school, change jobs, apartments, whatever. Maybe you break up with someone, but nothing is really final. Seeing your first love get engaged or married to somebody else is this huge grown-up thing that is like, for life. You see that pop up on your newsfeed and all of a sudden that thought in the back of your mind that says “Hey, maybe we’ll still eventually wind up together” is extinguished. It’s a weird, very grown-up feeling.

How was the film experience?

Fun and challenging. In order to move in slow motion in time with the music, you have to sing it back 2.5x the speed, which is faster than an Eminem featured rap. We had a short window of time to shoot a particular light at dusk, but when we arrived to our location there were tons of people so we had to scramble for a new spot. Once we were set up we had enough light left for a only a few takes, so the pressure was on but we got it done. Scarecrow sounds hilarious played back at that speed.

What was it like to work with Steven Alan and how did that relationship develop?

Steven is the most laid back dude ever, super approachable to create with. I saw the video he did on So Low for NAWAS and I was in love with his style immediately. Jake Nawas was cool enough to connect Steven and I, and from there it was so easy to collaborate with him, and his artistic vision is simply cutting edge. I hope I get to do my next video with him!

How do you feel about the recent success of the song?

So surreal. It’s the widest reaching thing I’ve done in my career and in my life, really. I think I’ve felt the full range of human emotion about it. Sometimes artists can bang on the gate of exposure for years, and all of a sudden the door opens, which is just the weirdest, most electrifying experience. I love it.

How was the recording and writing process?

Sometimes I co-write songs, this one I wrote by myself. Solo writing can be painfully boring, for me the only solution is time, and lots of it. I’m a slow writer, and it usually takes me a total of 40 hours to write a song by myself, and that looks exactly how you’d think: just going into a room by yourself for 4-6 hours, and maybe you only get 2 lines or just the end of a phrase that you actually end up keeping. It’s arduous but rewarding.

The record process is probably my favorite part of creating a song. You finally get to make a tangible representation of what you hear in your head. Sainte and I have been writing and recording together on various projects for 4 years, so at this point we almost know what each other are thinking. Lately, we’ve been experimenting with using chopped and tuned samples of my vocal as an instrument, and trying to think outside of the box in terms of conventional instruments. There are a lot of my vocals flying around all over the place, the “drums” we recorded are actually samples of static pitched down to sound like a kick and snare.

What role does the 80s play in your music?

What a great question! I think that decade is so inspiring visually and sonically. I was born in the 80s, so I guess there’s that connection, but I love movies from the 80s, there was just so much desire in them, of wanting someone or something you couldn’t have. Musically, I love so much from the 80s, Phil Collins, Don Henley, Cyndi Lauper, U2, Bruce Springsteen, really anything with synths and drum machines and a little teen angst. I’m also in love with the 90s, that was my childhood so the music from both decades blurs together for me. I think as an artist my sound is an attempt to blend those sounds together like I already do in my head. I tell people I wanna be like a Miami Vice Nirvana singing Springsteen-style lyrics with Kanye track production.

How has Nashville influence your songwriting?

I learned to collaborate here. Before I moved to Nashville I only wrote by myself, but once I was here I started co-writing with different kinds of people from all over the world, writing virtually every style of music. I wrote with artists for their projects, with professional writers to pitch to artists, and music to be pitched for film/tv and advertising use. It was a crash course in the art of writing, and more than just honing my skills, I feel like it taught me how to help someone else accomplish their creative goals instead of my own. I think that helped me to look at my own songs from the outside and made me a better writer whether working alone or with someone else.

Does the new single mean we can expect any new material – how’s that coming along?

Yes! I’ve got 20ish songs right now and trying to be extremely selective about what I’m going to release, as well as making sure the timing is right. I’m not planning on a new release before the holidays, timing wise it doesn’t make sense for me as an independent artist. My next few songs are either recorded or in various stages of being recorded, and I have been and will continue to be writing like crazy, working towards an album’s worth of material. Don’t worry, I’m gonna make it rain in 2017.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Nothing set in stone at all, but I’m recording my EP and writing an album right now. Really depends what happens next year, I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to release songs. All at once, a few at a time? I can say I’m currently working towards releasing at least 10 new songs in some shape or form next year. I’m not sure about titles. I like the title So Long Since The West Coast. Not sure if that’s the one but I like it. It’s a line from a new song.

Any plans to hit the road?

Oh my gosh, yes. I’ve been night rehearsing a ton with my band, who are an amazing collection of creators. I’ve started playing a few small last minute shows to get our feet wet, and I’ll be playing here in Nashville for the rest of the year and touring domestically in 2017. On Spotify, I’ve got an unusual amount of fans in Germany and Finland, so I’m going to try and get myself over there as well.

What else is happening next in Lukr’s world?

I’ll be in and out of the studio recording and getting songs ready for release. I’m also focused on rehearsing with my band, I’ve played a couple shows and will play some more before the year is out. 2017 will see me come out swinging, with singles, EPs, videos, touring, and probably an LP. The most important thing to me is to release music as on the reg as possible. In this day and age, you can put out music however you want to, so who knows if an album will even makes sense, we’ll see. Until then, you can find me chilling in Nashville with my two cats, Fuzz and Scrap and my lady Jess, who is an artist/illustrator.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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