Small Town: Get to know Luke Spook

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With extensive knowledge in folklore and realmy music, it’s no surprise that Luke Spook’s music holds psychedelic nuggets and quirky gems. My introduction to Luke was when he was playing guitar with the Pinheads. After their London show, myself, The Pinheads and Rich Snowden, the man behind Third Eye Stimuli, took a trip deep into the Forest of Dean to see what we could find. Now back in Australia, Luke is releasing solo music under the title Luke Spook. With his new single and title track Small Town from his upcoming debut record. We caught up to see what’s happening in the garden.

Hey Luke, you up to much today?

I harvested my pumpkins the other day so I’m trying to figure out what to make with them. I’ve probably got enough to last me til the end of the year but the allure of pumpkin soup is finite so I need to get creative. I also went for a swim with some friends but it was very cold.

Congrats on the release of your new jam, Small Town. Happy to have it out?

Thank you! I’m very glad it’s out in the earth and I hope people are enjoying it. I feel like I’m a mother goose sending her baby duckling out into the world, please be nice to my duckling. I spent a long time making the visual accompaniment for the song in the film clip, I probably have irreversible health problems from it.

How’s your hometown, is it small?

It’s a very nice little foresty town, I’d say it’s quite small, maybe 1000-1500 people live here. There’s an old train tunnel that they grew mushrooms in at some point, I think there’s probably ghosts in there now.

You’ve got a new record out soon and it’s your debut. Tell us a bit about that.

The records been in the works for a while, I spent a lot of time trying to make everything how I imagined it. I guess it’s kind of a tale or an ode to small towns but it’s also very personal, the songs weren’t made strictly for a concept or anything, it just came out that way. It’s got a few things going on - a bit folky, groovy and even country tinged in parts… I learnt to play a few instruments as I was making it so I kept adding little things as I went along, I think that made it come out in a bit of a mish-mash but hopefully that’s a good thing.

You also spend your time playing with The Pinheads. How is it juggling the two projects?

It seems to work out, I’m actually playing in 4 (I think) projects now (Tropical Strength and Troon Lienad) but not all of them play live a whole lot so it’s not too wild. It’s kind of refreshing having those 2 main projects to switch between, I get to have personal fun on my own and then I can share creativity with others. Of course it’s such a different form of expression writing for yourself as opposed to writing in a group - they aren’t better or worse than each other, just different.

There’s themes of these surreal folk tales, something I know you dig. Where does this interest come from?

I guess I like to know that creativity and strangeness always existed throughout time. I mean most folk tales are usually moral lessons or ways of deterring kids from wandering off into the woods alone, they carry this sort of dark undercurrent, and there’s something about this whole other-worldly version of history that’s very intriguing to me. I like when people believe in it, who knows what might be out there at night-fall; Gnomes?

Do you find it’s easier to write when you have an interest in a particular subject to write about?

Absolutely. Sometimes coming up with the title can allow me to write a whole song surrounding it. But still, I find it’s pretty rare to think of something you consciously want to write about and then execute it successfully. Usually songs have to visit themselves upon you like dreams and only after will you be able to decipher their true meaning. I mean things like interests, feelings and subjects are bound to surface in your songs whether you want them to or not, but you have to allow it or you block up your soul. Aren’t we lucky to have music? Without songs to write I’d probably surrender myself to the gnomes.

There’s a lot of 60s influence, and noted that it’s got parallel to Revolver. What’s your musical upbringing like?

My dad grew up in England and lived through the swinging 60s so there was always music from that era blasting through the house or in the car. I’m probably the only kid that had to tell their parents to turn music down instead of them telling me. Everything from Van Morrison, The Stones, The Who, Fairport Convention, The Kinks, Incredible String Band, etc. He also loved world music from everywhere as he lived and travelled through morocco, India and other places.

As for my mum, I suppose she just listened to whatever my dad would have on because theres no way you could make him turn it off. In my teens and onwards into art school I got into all the classics on my own, or through my brother Jez, like Bowie, The Stooges, Neil Young, The Saints; and eventually onto Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd, 13th Floor Elevators, The Flying Burrito Bros., The Byrds, blah, blah, blah, I could go on for too long if I don’t stop myself!

You been to any cool new zones recently?

I was in Europe and U.K about a month ago (you already know this), which is obviously absolutely steeped in folkloric history, so I had a great time researching folk-tales of each area we passed through. Wales was especially nice, we went to Tintern Abbey and through Forest of Dean - I hear theres dragons in the hills there. Theres also a stone in the forest they say will bleed if it is pricked at precisely midnight, how could you not love that?

What’s next for you, Luke?

I keep writing music everyday so hopefully it won’t be long before another release. I suppose I’ll do shows for the album, hopefully meet some groovy new people, locate and capture a hobgoblin, learn a new instrument… Things like that. There’s a few things in the garden that’ll need harvesting soon so I’ll need to think of some new recipes, maybe I’ll send a pumpkin over to England for you!

Keep up to date with Luke Spook on his Facebook here. Watch his new clip for Small Town below.