Calling on a retinue of classic influences, Luke Sital-Singh has crafted a series of brilliant EPs that display all the elements of a true star in the making. His passionate delivery, gift for bullseye melodies and burgeoning song craft have already caused considerable critical ripples, while appearances at a number of key festivals have contributed to the gathering momentum. The Tornados EP is his boldest most complete statement yet, buoyed by a fuller sound that benefits from a solid working relationship with producer Iain Archer, in whom Luke puts his full trust.
The opener Nothing Stays The Same is an instant classic from the opening cascading guitar lick and intimacy of Luke’s voice, it builds into something life affirming and passionate as he sings, “Cry your eyes out and fill your lungs up.” Luke is prepared to, “Rage and scream and shout,” as he takes life and all it has to offer, embracing the joys and pains with equal enthusiasm. Its carpe diem message is powerful and articulate and the song reaches towards an epic climax through a middle eight into a final rousing chorus.
The repeated guitar figure and subtle wash of electric piano of Nearly Morning are a complete contrast to the rambunctiousness of the opener, but it makes no less impact. Luke wrestles with old ghost and loneliness, but the message is that we are not alone in our moments of questioning and even despair. A new dawn will follow the darkness and the track, heavy with reverb and atmosphere, once again has the gift of a gorgeous tune to lift the spirits.
“You can move me to core, you broke me in pieces but I just want more, I laugh at the person that I was before,” Luke Sings in How To Loose Your Life. He is prepared to sacrifice all in the cause of love it seems and his use of keening falsetto and the power of the closing coda of, “I will loose my life to the love I find,” once more stir the emotions. There is no let up.
The closing Tornado Town derives its potency from the story of resilience in the aftermath of human lives torn apart by an apocalyptic whirlwind. Surveying the wreckage there is a matter of fact acceptance and a simple will to start again. It’s a clever song that works as a story and metaphorically at the same time. This time it’s the restraint in the delivery adding to the pathos that gives the song its ultimate power.
This is hugely impressive and unquestionably the work of a major new discovery for me, so I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to catch up with Luke and get a little extra insight into his story so far.
I understand you’ve grown up being encouraged to make music from an early age can you recall the time when you started to take it seriously?
It was a gradual process I think. I guess one of the defining moments was probably when I decided to forego proper university and attend a Mickey Mouse music college. This was when I became invested in music as a full time pursuit.
From your comments about what great songs should do you clearly have a passion for music. What have been the touchstones or markers on your discovery of music and how has the journey unfolded?
The first time music really hit me somewhere important was after hearing Damien Rice for the first time. I’d never heard any singer/songwritery music at that point. It lodged inside me and has never come out. I’ve been obsessed with music of that world ever since.
Have you been surprised by the way your EPs have been received?
Yea I suppose it has. Usually I laugh it off and assume people are out of their minds for liking it the way some people do. I’m proud of all the music I’ve made which is what helps me sleep at night.
How do you approach songwriting? Is it a constant process, do you keep notebooks of ideas? Is it generally lyrical ideas or melodic lines that come first or perhaps a combination? Is the songbook brimful?
It’s definitely a constant process and a subconscious one as well. I’ll sit down one day and a song will spew out and when I look at it finished on the page I’ll recognise the situations and thoughts from the past that must have inspired it. It’s a weird experience and I wish I could be more intentional but it never works when I try to write about specific things at the time. If that makes any sense. Songwriting rarely makes sense.
Talk me through the songs on the new EP. There are certainly some passions being stirred and Tornado Town sounds positively apocalyptic, yet resilient and hopeful.
The general theme of these songs is advice to myself about how to deal with life’s shit. Tornado Town was inspired by a channel 4 documentary I watched about the massive tornado that hit America recently. The presenter was walking around the wreckage of houses talking to the families and I was inspired by their nonchalant attitude to losing everything they owned. It’s all just stuff. The most important things aren’t things at all.
Can you tell me about the people that you have involved in the recording a production process? Are you on your way to your debut album? Has the process started and when can we expect it?
Iain Archer is the guy who’s produced all my E.P.s. We also work with an engineer called Dave Lynch (not that one) and a couple of core session musicians, Jon & Phil. All these guys have been working together forever so it’s an awesome team to be a part of. Makes the whole thing very fun and very easy. We have all started work on the debut record. Slowly chipping away at it. Should be out before summer next year.
Are the gigs getting easier with experience or harder with the expectation?
Both probably. The tour next week is a big turning point as it’s my first with my new band. It’s been great playing solo for so long. And I’ll continue to play solo when I can. It’s such a simple way but will take me a lifetime to perfect. But I’m excited for playing with the band. It’s sounding great I’m very happy with it all.
Review / Interview by: Simon Holland
04/11 Banquet Records – Kingston Upon Thames
05/11 The Tabernacle – London
06/11 Proud Brighton – Brighton
07/11 Glee Club – Birmingham
09/11 Thekla – Bristol
Tornados is released 4th Nov via PLG UK Frontline