Feature Friday: Luke Seymoup
Written by Hanna Branch
It’s not uncommon for those who work in the music industry helping others achieve their goals to make some noise of their very own. Luke Seymoup, an Australian based artist, is doing just that. Luke has experience behind the scenes from working with the record label Whisk & Key, and is pursuing his own exciting endeavors.
That’s not to say that working on the publicity side of the music industry is not exciting, but making your own music is extremely rewarding. Seymoup has previously released several singles and EPs ranging from ukulele driven tracks to a more pop/indie sound, and has come up with some creative song titles and concept ideas along the way.
“Hand-Me-Downs,” Seymoup’s release from last December, heavily leans into a pop rock sound and starts off with a strong guitar and drum lead, which transition into the lyrics seamlessly. “Hand-Me-Downs" speaks of longing for a familiar time, where everything fits just right and reminds you of simpler times.
His more recent single, “Spooky,” starts off with a simple drum beat, reminiscent of early pop punk. While overall happy and upbeat in sound, this track carries a heavier meaning in lyrics as Luke sings “Please let me sleep / I need this.” The song speaks of these monsters we all face, even if those creatures are just our annoying and rude neighbors as it is in Luke’s case (sorry about your neighbors!).
Continue reading below for our interview with Luke where we cover everything from his next EP release, where he finds inspiration for his music, and his upcoming UK show. With much much new music coming out constantly, don’t sleep on Luke’s tunes - his creative personality allows him to create music that most, if not all, people can enjoy with his releases ranging from a ukulele EP, to a ska EP, and an assortment of mixed genre singles. If you live in London, check out Luke’s first show overseas on June 30th!
Q: First off, congrats on the announcement of your UK show and new singles! What has the process been like going from helping other artists to focusing on your own music?
A: Thanks for having me, Hanna. Working with other artists at Whisk & Key has always been a lot of fun for me, it never really seems like work so I haven't ever felt like it's taken time away from my own music. James is the big boss who handles all the releases and I help contact press to get the music out there. It feels more like a community than a record label and we're very close friends with the artists we work with. There's a lot of people who help out and do jobs for the label.
Working on my own music doesn't feel very much like a process of moving so much as just shifting up gears for a minute. I'm a bit of a prolific writer and in 2018 I managed to put out three releases: my ukulele EP “Uke Seymoup”, a ska EP called “Burnett Street” and the single “Hand-Me-Downs”. The newest EP Poke'Gods is something where I've had the idea for a while and I'm pretty excited to get to release it now.
Q: Going back to the UK show, how did that opportunity come about? What are your expectations for the show?
A: This UK trip will be my first time leaving Australia so I'm pretty excited to head over. I already had plans to come over for non-music reasons and it felt like, if I'm going to be there anyway, why not play a show?
I've had UK fans messaging me for a while asking if I'd be able to play over there soon so this was the perfect opportunity. Fiddler's Elbow have been very supportive in helping to organise the show. I'm kind of going in blind having never played overseas before so I'm trying to keep free of expectations and just enjoy the trip as it happens.
Q: I love that your song titles for your upcoming releases are short and pretty unique. How did the names come about?
A: Poke'Gods is something of a concept EP that pulls a lot of ideas from the Poke'mon franchise but in an indirect way. I was reflecting with some friends on how, back in the beginning when it was only Poke'mon Red and Blue, there seemed to be all these rumours about hidden secrets and extra Poke'mon in the game.
This was complimented by the internet becoming more widespread and it seemed like all kinds of Poke'mon cheats would just be posted on random Angelfire websites and taken as fact by us young Poke'mon fans. They usually consisted of long, drawn out instructions that don't really accomplish anything except for disappointment. We may have been more willing to believe these cheats since the game did include one actual, unintentional Poke'mon (Missingno) who could be obtained by doing a long, drawn out series of instructions. So, if it works once, we thought, why wouldn't it work again?
Each song on the EP is named after one of these fake Poke'mon. I spent time trawling through old Angelfire and Geocities websites to find these cheats and there's a lot of recurring themes in them. One is the Mist Stone, an item that doesn't actually exist in the game but it's claimed to evolve a lot of Poke'mon into Poke'Gods. Charizard becomes “Charcolt”, Blastoise becomes “Rainer”, Venusaur becomes “Sapusaur” and so on. The opening track on the EP “Mist Stone” is me reciting a lot of these fake game cheats over a Game Boy synthesizer backing.
That was a bit of a long-winded answer but I could honestly talk about stuff like this for days on end.
Q: Did working with other artists in the past help shape the way you write/record music now, and did you take any inspiration from others you've worked with when it came time to write your own music?
A: I've been writing music most of my life and I feel like my style is constantly evolving. I try to be very involved in the local scene and keep an eye on what other bands are doing. I've never tried to copy anyone's style or anything but I feel like theft is such an important part of being a musician. You might go see a band and see the guitarist playing a chord shape you've never seen before and think “Yoink! I'll be playing around with that one when I get home later!”
I'm always interested in bands that are doing new and interesting things and living in Melbourne is great for that because there's always shows happening and always bands trying different stuff. Seeing bands that are passionate about what they're creating inspires me to keep working on my own music and to keep growing and changing.
Q: Your music has a wonderful indie vibe to it. How would you describe yourself and your music to someone who may have never listened to you before?
A: I've never wanted to be pinned down and stuck in one genre. Since putting out my first album, I've done a ukulele EP, a ska EP and, now, a more pop-punk release covered in Nintendo synthesizers.
The best word I can think of to describe what I do is “contradictory”. My music is happy, bright and funny but at the same time it can also be sad, dark and serious. I'm generally a pretty upbeat person but there's also always a lot going on in my mind so that's what I want to come across in my music the most: that I can play songs that are a bit quirky and weird but, when you dig into them a bit, they're still saying something that goes a little bit deeper and is worth thinking about.
I try to keep my music fun and dance-able though so hopefully people can come to see me play and feel pretty good about feeling bad.
Q: What sort of themes or stories are you hoping to explore in the future with your music?
A: Since Poke'Gods is mainly a solo effort, while I've been working on it, my band has been working on a second full-length album. That album has been getting chipped away at and worked on since before I released my first full-length The Professional back in 2017 even. It covers a lot of topics like friendships, self-doubt and feeling out of place in the world and, as usual, there are tracks that read like stories. There's one I'm excited to put out about myself and a friend getting lost in the rural Australian bush on a road trip from Melbourne to Sydney. We'll hopefully begin recording that album in the latter half of this year.
Q: Do you have any advice for others who may work in the music industry and want to branch out into their own solo projects?
A: It's funny, I've never really thought of myself as being someone who “works in the music industry” but, I suppose, if you're playing music then you're already working in the industry and I'm just doing a couple of extra jobs on top of that.
I think the biggest thing for me has always been (at risk of sounding cliched) to be honest and true to yourself and not just worry about following trends and what other people are doing. Music needs to feel genuine. That doesn't necessarily mean that everything in your music needs to be “lived-experience” or “true”, I make up stories for my music all the time so that's a misconception that I think needs to disappear completely. I mean that it needs to come from a place that feels real for you and that it's true to your own influences and the music that you want to make. You've always got to do your own thing even if that means making a weird concept EP about Poke'mon.