Face to face with The Luka State

The Luka State

The Luka State know how to rock-n-roll in the manner to make you gasp for air in excitement after a few chords. Seriously, these guys’ have the talent to write sharp arrows of songs that pierce your heart straight away. Be it upbeat numbers with a vintage touch, mellow tunes or huge rock songs laden with heavy riffs, they do it brilliantly. June 8 saw the release of The Luka State’s debut mini-album ‘The Price of Education’ – a self-produced effort, which is a confident music statement from the young band. Rock Britain chatted with lead singer and guitarist Conrad Ellis about the record, covering The Beatles and playing Wembley. 

– Your debut mini-album ‘The Price of Education’ is out on June 8. What makes this record special?

– The record’s been a long time coming that’s for sure. Sam and I have been playing music together since we were just 12. Each chord change or lyric evokes a memory for us. We also produced the record ourselves which was a massive learning curve for us.

– How long did it take for the album to shape and what went into creating it?

– I’d love to say something rock’n’roll like “it took us just a week to do it” but in truth it took almost a year of our lives. We started with 30 tracks and had to pick the strongest ones to record. That was HARD! We then had to demo them, which let us experiment with arrangements, guitar parts and rhythms. We actually brought in our new drummer Jake, about 2 months before we started recording for real so the rehearsals for him were really intense. 

– You touch upon a lot of various topics on the record. Where did you draw the main inspirations from while writing it?

– The inspirations came from all around us. From our experiences on the road, in our lives and with the people that mean a lot to us. The town we’re from is very small so you kind of know everyone’s business and that gives you even more material to draw on.

– What records were you listening to while creating ‘The Price of Education’? 

– Wow. Well the record took almost a year so we listened to a lot of music in that time. I think the record that really got us going was Kasabian’s 48:13. When it came to doing the synth and string work on the records we listened to anything and we could get our hands on. We actually took a lot of inspiration from Film score music. We loved the way it could really add to the emotion of a scene, but not distract from the action. That’s what we wanted. We’re a rock’n’roll band, not an electro act so anything we did on a keyboard had to add to the sound but not distract you from what we’re really about.

– ‘The Price of Education’ is self-produced. How did you like being in control? 

– It was great. Being in total control means you never have to compromise. If you’ve got a clear vision of how you want to sound then you can just do anything you need to do to get there without having to justify yourself. It was also great getting Chris Sheldon to mix the record. He’s a bit of a rock’n’roll hero.

– The track ‘Daytime TV’ is about escapism. How do you like escaping from the real life when you feel like it?

– Ha. We don’t get the chance to escape from real life. The band is our real life and nothing will ever stop us doing it. Yeah we all have to do a little bit of day to day work to make ends meet, but our music defines who we are. 

– For your single ‘The Believer’ you’ve covered The Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ as a b-side. Why this song in particular?

– We chose to cover the song as we felt it would push us really hard to try and break down any self-imposed barriers to our creativity. That’s why we actually did that song first before the rest of the record. You can’t just cover a Beatles song, you have to reinterpret it, so shifting it to a minor key, adding dark electro sounds really helped us make it our own. We learnt so much doing that song and then immediately applied it all to the rest of the tracks. 

– The Luka State have toured UK, Europe and North America. How have these trips influenced you personally and as musicians?

– It’s funny, we’ve played more countries than most bands ever will. We’ve played more countries than some signed bands ever will. So it’s kind of humbling to know how lucky we’ve been to date. It also gives us a massive hunger. We want to bring our music to every one of our fans around the world, and we will hopefully.

– What’s your dream place to play in?

– Wembley Stadium… How could it be anything else. Or headline Glastonbury on the Sunday night. That’s the ultimate dream for most bands. Have you ever seen the looks on the Foo Fighters’ faces when they played Wembley for the first time? They were all crying in shock. We’d give anything to feel what they felt.

– What releases of 2015 are you most excited about?

– God I don’t know there’s so much out there. Tame Impala’s next record should be good. Also, I’m quite excited to hear the new Libertines album too!

– What’s your biggest goal concerning The Luka State?

– Total and utter world domination ha! We want to be the biggest band in the world. But then, who doesn’t yeah!?

‘The Price of Education’ is available from iTunes now.

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