Luke Elliot, the New Jersey native whose music has been described as “timeless” recently released his full-length album ‘Let ‘Em All Talk’ to critical acclaim. Just ahead of a run of gigs around Europe, we had the chance to sit down with Luke and talk to him about his music, the influence of film on his work, and his future plans.
Thanks for your time Luke. Your third album is out now, can you talk us through what your vision was for the record?
I didn’t necessarily have a vision. I knew I wanted something big and raw. I was going through a separation at the time (still am), and needed a new type of vulnerability to my work. I didn’t have the capacity at the time for fancy metaphors.
Tell us about your writing process as the songs feel more like you’re telling a story rather than just writing a song?
I always feel like I’m telling some sort of story. For this record, as with the last, the music came first. The lyrics were painstaking and took a great deal of time. When I’m writing a song, I want to feel like I’m watching a film. I want the listener to feel as if they’re watching something on screen. Right in the front row- overwhelmed with it all.
In terms of songwriters/storytellers who inspire you, who would you say are your biggest inspirations?
The usual characters you’d probably expect- Dylan, John Coltrane, Elvis Costello. I am extremely influenced by hip hop as well. Biggie, Public Enemy, Tribe Called Quest, Was. You can’t beat that narrative.
Film also plays a big part in your life. Do you remember the first film you saw that had a life-changing impact on you?
I was perhaps even more obsessed with movies as a kid than I was with music. I spent most of the money I had going to the video store and looking through the titles. The first movie I remember seeing that really stunned me was Pulp Fiction. It was the first Rated R movie I saw in a cinema. I was in Philadelphia with my brother Christian. I was shaken to my core. It changed everything for me. Shook my sense of things in a very important way.
And combining the visuals and the music together, do you have to consider both when you’re writing new material?
If the music doesn’t make me see something, I don’t want to finish the piece. The music has to shake an image into my mind.
There feels like a dark tone to your music, what do you hope people get out of listening to it?
I don’t know really. Maybe they hear something that shakes them up a little bit, or they find themselves in what I’m writing about. It’s such a personal thing for each listener.
We’ve talked about film already but you’ve been on the big screen both as a songwriter and actor. Any plans to do either again soon?
Absolutely! I am actively speaking with my agent about roles and screenplays. More to come!
Pulp Fiction and Natural Born Killers have been mentioned. If you could act out your own ultimate over the top Hollywood death on the big screen, how would you want to go?
Hmmmm…. A piano dropping on my head in the middle of a forest meditating.
Tour dates are coming up this Summer, what are your plans for the rest of 2023?
More music, more shows, more film, more tv, more of everything. We are very excited!
Thanks for your time and good luck for the rest of 2023. Just to wrap up, we’ll hand it over to you to plug the new record…
This record is a pretty direct portrait of what the last year has been like. What I wanted it to be, and what it really was. It’s as brutal as I could make it without being so dramatic it turned people off. I hope you enjoy it.
Elliot has confirmed European dates for May and June, including 2 UK dates – London’s The Harrison (**change of venue) on June 15th and Kent’s Black Deer Festival on June 16th. You can find tickets here