Interview: Luke Roberts
Published on September 28th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Rocksucker was rather taken with Nashville singer/songwriter Luke Roberts’s set at north London’s Bull and Gate the other week, so we fired the Thrill Jockey signing over some questions to try to find out a little more about how his own particular operation. First, though, have yourselves a simultaneous butcher’s at and earful of the following choice cut from his earthily soulful second album The Iron Gates at Throop and Newport of earlier this year…
How much of your albums’ instrumentation do you handle yourself? Who else plays on them?
All of it. I’m very anal retentive.
Do the words or music come first when you’re writing? Or even any other stimulus, like a title or some sort of notion?
I write one word then one note and continue like that forever.
Obvious questions, perhaps, but to what extent do you think your Nashville origins have impacted upon your music?
Probably being from Nashville makes me seem slightly more interesting than I really am?
How did you come under Thrill Jockey’s radar? Are you a fan of any of the other artists on their roster?
Have you started thinking about your next album yet? Do you have much material stockpiled?
Yes. I have written over four hundred songs.
Rocksucker’s a bit of a sucker for the ‘reluctant front man’, which is how you came across at your Bull and Gate show a few weeks ago. Were we witnessing your usual onstage demeanour, or does it vary from gig to gig? Is it something you even give any thought to?
No. I resent the audience and myself while onstage. I detest social pressure but I do care deeply about connecting psychically with some chosen one(s) somewhere somehow.
How long have you been writing and performing music for?
Since age zero.
When I said that I was imagining people trying not to laugh at a funeral. Like the people who really know me know I have tremendous faith in god and that this life is a joke.
Having read that you worked with Marky Nevers, we wondered whether you’d heard Lambchop’s Mr. M album of earlier this year, and if so what you thought of it.
Haven’t heard em. Met the pretentious singer through Dave Cloud. He was talking down to Dave though I doubt he realized it.
Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming artists that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
I want to do a cover record of Chromatics’ “In the City”.
Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, with just the entire back catalogues of five different musical artists for company, whose would you choose?
Luke Roberts, thank you.
The Iron Gates at Throop and Newport is out now on Thrill Jockey. For more information, please visit www.thrilljockey.com/thrill/Luke-Roberts/