“I didn’t have anything to lose and wasn’t holding a gun to anybody’s head, so I thought fuck man I’ll give it a crack and it’ll be a cool experience at the very least and at the most come back with a cool record that people want to listen to and that I’m really proud of and a cool story for the kids.”
From Bio: Luke Yeoward is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer based in Melbourne, Australia. Luke fell in love with music from a young age and taught himself to play the acoustic guitar handed down to him by his mother. His journey began as a street performer at just 10 years old and his musical river flowed through his teens and twenties, carving its way through several different projects, genres and countries. After a successful career as the frontman of much loved rock act King Cannons followed by a long break from music entirely, 2017 sees Luke Yeoward back in full swing as an independent artist. Luke launched his solo career with a successful crowdfunding campaign that enabled him to create his debut album Ghosts over a month in the USA and the first single of the same name has been welcomed with open arms amongst the local music community.
At home we gave our old mate, Luke a call to have a great in depth chat with him about his new solo album ‘Ghosts’, creating it, his return to music, playing live, his other musical endeavours, and much more…
So you’ve just released ‘Ghosts’, why was now the right time for a solo album?
I don’t really know the answer to that, probably because I’d never done one before and I’d been in a lot of bands doing a very similar thing for most of my life but the way I started playing was on the street by myself which you might know or might not know. I was on tour with The Living End with The 131’s and I like being in a band and stuff, it’s all good but you know you’re reminded about all the intricacies of being in a band and stuff and I was just like I’ve gotta really do something now because I’ve got kids and I’ve got all these responsibilities and I’ve gotta figure out a template that’s going to work around my lifestyle and that’s when I had that idea, I was just like I’d already been doing some solo shows around the place just doing some little residencies and stuff like that and I was like fuck, I’d never thought about making a record before and was thinking how can I make a record and give myself a kick up the ass and a creative boost and all that sort of stuff and yeah that’s when I had the idea to put together the campaign and sort of see what people’s reactions was. I didn’t have anything to lose and wasn’t holding a gun to anybody’s head, so I thought fuck man I’ll give it a crack and it’ll be a cool experience at the very least and at the most come back with a cool record that people want to listen to and that I’m really proud of and a cool story for the kids.
Putting it together did you go in with a different mindset or ideas from any other project you’d been a part of before?
Yes and no, it’s a funny one, I think I went in with a completely blank slate and I didn’t have any preconceived ideas of what I wanted to do, I honestly had no ideas at all of how it was going to turn out and I didn’t know it was going to be the way that it was. That’s kind of my general approach to working with people in general is to see what happens when you’re bouncing energy off another person and where you land is where you land and that’s what you’re meant to go with. Otherwise it comes out really thought out and really contrived and you’re trying to force things out that really aren’t meant to me there so it’s just sort of luck of the draw it’s like fishing you just enjoy the time on the boat I guess *laughs*. No I didn’t haven’t have any preconceived ideas about it at all so the way it turned out is the way it turned out you know?
Is it harder in some ways writing songs for a solo album than in a band scenario?
Yes it is because you don’t have as many people to bounce ideas off and you have to be able to have faith in the way you constructed something I guess, so it does have its sort of challenges like that. That said you kind of feel it out as soon as you start recording you feel out what’s working and what’s not and you can kind of gauge what’s happening in the room and over time and doing a lot of that stuff you get an ear for it I think or I felt that way anyway. So in that respect it was different in terms of being in a band where everybody’s got their ideas or opinions or that sort of stuff even if it was like my song I was bringing to the table people would have something to say about it, so it was actually really nice to just be able to lay the shit down pretty much how I wanted it. It was fucking really quite liberating.
‘Ghosts’ is of course the title to the record but what does it represent to you personally?
Well it’s the title track to the record and that song was just as much a sort of self-affirmation and kick up the ass for me and like a moment of sort of realisation I guess as well as it is I guess a call to arms as other people. It’s kind of a saying that it only takes one small moment of inspiration or one small thing to change to basically change your trajectory and for you to feel like you can do something again and that you can have something to say or that you can have some changes or you can feel excited to contribute and all those sorts of things. So that’s what the lyrics in that song is “Just a second of sound can kick up the ground we don’t have to be these ghosts stuck here” like you don’t have to be some fuckin’ nobody doing nothing, you can still do stuff no matter where you’re at or whatever and that’s kind of what that tune’s about so I thought it was a fitting title for the album you know.
What did going over to The States allow you to do when making this record that you couldn’t have done here?
I was living in Reservoir at the time and working as a furniture removalist and we had our daughter she was about a year and a half old and it was not a lot of money I guess on one sort of income and not a lot of spare silent time *laughs* to go away and to be honest I wasn’t really feeling very inspired in my environment you know like it’s a lot of hard work and then I was home and had to give my attention to my family and if I was to do what I wanted to do here I don’t know if I would’ve got the same level of inspiration to be able to execute it in such a short time frame and I kind of felt like I ran out of things to say in my current environment, I was looking around and thinking I need a change of energy and a change of environment because I know that’s how I work creatively. If I can put myself into some situation where I might feel differently it might prompt me to express that, and in terms if I did it here I still would’ve had to have taken a month off work, I still would’ve had to play for a studio or buy some audio recording equipment to do it you know what I mean? So it was like actually going to be cheaper for me to go over to The States and wing it with other people than it was for me to take time off here and take time off or hire a studio and buy a bunch of gear and do it that way, and I don’t think I would’ve got the same result as what I did because I worked with some incredible people that are on the other side of the world that don’t exist here so I wouldn’t have had those writing opportunities either.
So is that the plan from now on, maybe how you’d make your next one just head overseas and do it?
I don’t know, I’d say everything is a case by case basis, I don’t think there’s one way to do it but since I got back from The States I’ve just got really, really inspired about audio engineering even more so than I was before, and especially an old style of audio engineering like how we made the record and so I’ve just been working my ass off trying to teach myself and collect little pieces of gear along the way and try and sort of teach myself how to do everything. If I’m going to make something and I’m an artist I want to be able to fuckin’ fully understand how to fuckin’ do that shit and do it all myself but I don’t know how we’re going to make the next record I haven’t quite got around to that yet but maybe it’s here, maybe it’s overseas I’m not sure. I think about a lot of the records I listen to are old school stuff and I like the way it sounds and sometimes using old mics or unorthodox techniques or recording in environments you wouldn’t usually record in with some sort of makeshift gear has a certain charm to it and I like the sound of things when they just sound a little more gritty and just sound like people trying harder as opposed to sounding squeaky and shiny. It’s taken a long time to really understand what I really like and what I want to hear from a record and how I want to execute that, and there’s only one way to learn that and that’s by constantly doing it. I look back at King Cannons stuff and I listen to that now and at the time I thought fuck this sounds fuckin’ remarkable I love this, this is great, and now I can think about that with the more intellect I’ve gained and the more experience and think fuck imagine if we had’ve done this and this and this and it’s really exciting, I love playing with is and just the process of fucking around with music and sounds *laughs* and having something to show at the end of it.
Seeing you live is where you truly shine, so what is it that you enjoy the most about being up on stage?
Well you know you have your good nights and your bad nights, I’ve had some nights where I’ve felt really uncomfortable believe it or not and some people don’t believe me and I thought what the fuck am I doing up here? I actually felt more and more disgruntled with the whole thing I mean towards the end of King Cannons and I tried to start some other projects and they’ve gone the same way, now I can just kind of get up there and just enjoy making music. I like it when everything clicks and you have the transfer between what you’re doing and the audience reciprocating and everything sounds good, that’s a cool thing and an in the moment thing and totally different to making a record, that’s like in the moment shit, that’s real and when that happens that’s a really special feeling and that’s a relationship between you and your audience at the moment and I think that’s what I love about it anyway.
What’s top of your list of things you want to do but haven’t yet had the chance to?
I’d like to be on the road and do some substantial shows around the world, I’d love to work with other artists too like producing other artists and just keep on recording people and recording me and just doing that sort of thing and just keep writing good songs, that’s all I really want to do and let it build up. I’d love for when my kids are a bit older they could come and I could play on some cool stages and they could hang out, that’s kind of why I’m doing it I’d like to give them an insight into that cool world really *laughs* that would be so fuckin’ rad growing up with like I’ve just been hanging out with Dad at a gig and it’s awesome and the people are clapping and the guitars are loud and everything’s awesome *laughs* you know what I mean. I just want to get back to that and that would make me happy.
As well as a solo artist you’re also out there rockin’ in The 131’s, what’s happening in that world?
The 131’s started as something and we weren’t even thinking about playing or anything, it was just kind of like let’s write some punk songs, make a fuckin’ racket, jump around like a bunch of idiots and more for catharsis than anything, and so since I started with this album I said to the guys, look, The 131’s is gonna have to take a backseat as I’ve gotta do this at the moment and they understand I’m not a one trick pony completely, so I just had to duck and weave between creative projects and that’s just how it is, I don’t want to be stuck on one thing. So we’ll get back to doing some stuff soon but for now its focusing on what I’m doing at the moment.
Just as an aside, what happened with The Spirit?
How’s this, we did two shows, we did a Melbourne show and a Sydney show and after that Sydney show, like I quit King Cannons to try and do something else thinking it was going to help but I was thinking it was going to help the way I thought, it was the kind of music I was making, might have been the people I was surrounding myself with so I thought I’m going to try something different I’m going to try and do this rootsy pop kind of thing which is the furthest removed from anything I’ve ever done before really, but I wanted to do it and I spent ages I put the band together and wrote all these songs and rehearsed the shit out of them and played these shows and fuckin’ recording and videos and I was really into it, but then like I was out on the road and getting up on stage and I just had to be truthful with myself and I just had a moment and thought I’m not even into this, I’m just so fuckin’ over this and I can’t do anything about it, I think was sort of suffering a little bit mentally you know like I might have been slightly depressed but I don’t know what my deal was but I definitely was not my old self, and so I just said to them and Sarah and I were in so much debt from the hangover from King Cannons and stuff and I was just like I didn’t know what to do, we toyed with the idea of moving back to New Zealand and then Sarah got pregnant and stuff and I thought you know what, fuck music, sorry guys I can’t do this anymore, we put everything into it but I can’t do this anymore. So it was a short lived project, we did some recording, we played a couple of shows but I’m done. We never made a big public announcement about that or anything, it was just like let’s just let it slide sometimes you do stuff and we made and put out a single and played some shows, it’s not a bad thing to do but I guess like everybody wants longevity in a project and I guess it was just a short lived thing that wasn’t meant to be for me, but I wouldn’t have been able to come back and have the perspective and the right approach to music again if I hadn’t made that call. From anybody’s point of view anything that I did was absolute career fuckin’ suicide really, like quit my successful bad, start another project and have it do nothing, get off the radar for like fuckin’ two years and don’t do anything, and then for me to be able to get back up and be like ok, I’m gonna have a crack at this again is some people won’t even bother listening to me now *laughs* but I don’t care, I do it because I love it and if people come around to it that’s cool, there’s a lot of things that have happened in that time period that have sort of given me a greater perspective on music I guess. Everything that I do musically is so feeling based and I don’t really think of it in terms of like a fuckin; chess game or anything like that, it’s like I really fuckin’ feel like doing this and then I do it *laughs*. That’s all there is to it and that’s how I like to live my life, so whatever.
Let’s look ahead to the future, finish this sentence for me, by the end of 2017 Luke Yeoward wants to…
I want to be making some tracks in The United States I reckon, I want to be doing something over there, I think I need to spend some more time over there, I’ve met some great friends and some fuckin’ good connections to do stuff over there and I feel like I should keep spending more time there, that’s what I want to do. I made really strong friendships over there and I really miss those people and I just want to hang out with them some more and make some more music and stuff.
From: Melbourne, Australia
Latest release: Ghosts – (Out Now – Footstomp Music)