Late last year I had the great opportunity to chat with Conrad from rising British indie/punk band The Luka State. We talked about the band’s highlights of 2018, what influenced their upcoming new record, the legacy of the late Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks fame, and when they will next be paying a visit to Liverpool.
Daniel: So you guys have had a pretty busy 2018 – you’ve toured the UK and released some of your best singles to date. What has been your personal highlight of the year?
Conrad: That’s a hard one since there’s been so many, I suppose. The gigs with Feeder were good early in the year, but its mainly tying-up the album and getting everything done and dusted. Now the album is ready go at some point, so being in the studio and getting these singles out so everybody can hear what we’ve been up to is probably the main highlight.
D: It has of course been about three years since you guys released The Price of Education, so how would you say the band has grown since then and how do you think your sound has evolved?
C: I suppose we’ve evolved as musicians, as songwriters, and as people in that time. That’s why the stuff we’re releasing now is completely different to what we were doing when The Price of Education came out. That was just, I suppose, a test to see where we were at, but the band is always growing. You’re never really in the right place – you should always be trying to step up and better yourself. I feel like our best songs are always to come.
D: That’s a good attitude. Tracks like [recent singles] ‘Kick in the Teeth’ and ‘Bury Me’ do feel a bit more aggressive to me than some of your earlier material. Is that a fair assessment, and was it a conscious change on the band’s part?
C: Yeah, definitely. We are different, but that just comes back to the band evolving and discovering that you’re capable of making different music, or you could say ‘better’ music, than what you were making before. It is heavier and harder, with a lot of angst and grit behind it. We just wanted to make something that represents who we are now.
D: Are there any particular bands that have influenced the writing process, or has it just come naturally?
C: It mainly came from ourselves on this one. That’s why the lyrics are so honest and so central to where we are from. Its about being in a working-class town with nothing else to do and a lot of it is about sex, relationships, drugs, whatever – that was the inspiration, along with just wanting to get into the studio and make our songs better. All four of us are music-obsessed, so there’s not a day that goes by where we’re not listening to something. You’re always being influenced, its always there.
D: Well one band that I know has been an influence on you is Buzzcocks, and of course the great Pete Shelley just passed recently. Could you tell me what Shelley and his band meant to the Luka State and how he influenced you guys?
C: Yeah, very sad news. I grew up listening to a lot of early punk. The first Buzzcocks song I heard was ‘Orgasm Addict’ and I just found it so witty and clever, and it opened up a whole new world to me. Hearing that sense of melody over punk was something that wasn’t really being done back then, so it was not being afraid to put those melodies over hard, fast rock n’ roll that was a massive influence on the band. Its such a great loss to music.
D: It definitely is. So when can our listeners in Liverpool get a chance to see you guys over here again?
C: Hopefully very soon. We’re thinking about getting around Liverpool and Manchester a lot more in 2019, so watch this space. Its definitely in the pipeline.
D: Finally, what else can we expect from The Luka State in 2019?
C: Even more hard work, more focus, more music, more gigs. We’re just going to ramp it up again and keep on keeping on, so you’ll see a lot of us!
The Luka State are playing various dates accross the UK from March to June, including a date in Manchester on 20th April. Their latest singles are available now on all streaming platforms.