Interview: Five Minutes with Luke Howard
Luke Howard, an Australian producer and composer, has announced the release of his new album, All That Is Not Solid via Mercury KX Records on July 17th. Ahead of the album, the producer has released the music video for ‘Antoinette Boulevard’ which is comprised of drone footage edited by Howard of the Australian landscape, from Victoria and New South Wales, filmed by Howard’s friend Finn Robertson. Howard is known for being nominated for Best Soundtrack at the ARIA Awards and having worked on ballets with The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden and Atlanta Ballet.
‘Antoinette Boulevard’ is a breath-taking melodic piece that serves as a reminder of the stark period during which the bushfires raged in Australia. Howard tends to adapt the song to reflect his mood and the dynamics of the audience, allowing each performance of the piece to be unique. One can feel the drama of the events surrounding the bush fires as well as Howard’s reverence for the resilience of people who lost their homes in the fires. Learn more about Howard and his inspirations in the exclusive interview below.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
It’s a reflection of the soul
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Generally, the sound, it is usually music itself that leads the idea.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Most recently London-based choir Shards featured on my record The Sand That Ate The Sea. There are also a bunch of local musicians I’ve been working with for years, that regularly appear on my records.
What’s on your current playlist?
Piano & Voz by Cesar and Pedro Mariano
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
I think there is a gentle humour and enjoyment in sharing the music with people that come to my shows.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
I do experiment with some synthesisers and processing in the computer, but really it’s a matter of playing, writing, refining ideas until nothing needs to be changed.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
In my own studio, well, there’s a fair bit of procrastinating and then usually some playing, recording, editing, etc. When recording an ensemble of musicians in another studio, things tend to be much more focused by virtue of the economics of the session.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
Well, it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child, but the reality of the music industry is such that it’s never a direct path. About ten years ago I decided to pursue music as a full time occupation.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
I try to have all the tunes committed to memory – it’s the only way to really play music so – the only thing I have to hand, and haven’t memorised yet, is the setlist.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Red Moon, Hania Rani, Nat Bartsch
What gets your creative juices flowing?
A good walk, a conversation with friends, watching a documentary, listening to music.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
Piano plus computer, really. I’m mostly in the box, using Pro Tools and a collection of plugins and virtual instruments that I imagine is fairly standard. I have a pair of ATC speakers which I love very much. A Prophet 6 is a semi-recent addition. My piano is just a regular old Yamaha upright. I have some nice microphones, preamps, etc, but they’re things you’d find in any studio.
Any side projects you’re working on?
I’ve been working with singer Tom Snowdon from No Mono on a bunch of his songs.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Probably just through listening more deeply, and being my own harshest critic.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
I’m working on a new album, extremely slowly (sorry record label!). But I have an album of solo live improvisations that is coming out in July. I released a book sheet music earlier this year.
Update from the editor:
Luke Howard has just released the new track and video, ‘Passions Of All Kinds‘, also lifted from the upcoming album. You can catch it below:
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Written by Sarah Britton