There is an unmistakable theatrical streak in the music of Quiet Luke. Having tried to be everything from rapper to choirboy, the New York-based producer and artist has now pinned down a sound which belongs to him. He’s currently riding the wave of his debut EP Beholden, full of lofty experimentalism and histrionic grandeur. “My mother says that I’d always be singing when I came home from school,” he tells us over email. “Music, especially melody, has always found it’s way into my head and back out of me somehow.”
Quiet Luke’s music exists at the intersection of far-reaching pop sensibilities and triumphant choral majesty. His Beholden EP is an exploration of romanticism and egoism in the modern era – timeless themes which he beams through a lens of modern-day cynicism. “Pop music taught me about a wall of sound, but choir made me love a wash of sound,” he explains. “Choral music also made me re- appreciate classical music, which up until then was just something from my childhood that I was running away from.”
The artists who shaped his sound – he tells us – are as diverse as they are reliable. Jackson, Vivaldi, Wonder, Sade, Hendrix, all psychedelic melody makers and composers who value the performance itself just as much as what is being performed. He’s also situated himself in a colourful space aesthetically, “It’s all connected. I think that my style helped me re-contextualize my music. When I started paying close attention to how I wanted to present myself and this project, I realised that my music belonged in the cannon of glam, rock in general, P-funk, Japanese aesthetics, and sci-fi.”
Through an almost academic approach to absorbing, recreating and remoulding the music that his been around him from an early age, Quiet Luke has managed to present a debut offering which is stylish and ostentatious without feeling detached or distant. While he might be inspired by timeless luminaries that came before him, his own creative pursuit is rooted in the existential crises of the now – full of muted rollercoasters and internal conflicts. “Beholden is about how hard loving yourself and someone else can be in this day and age”, he tells us. Considering it’s his debut, he doesn’t do a bad job of capturing it.
Blood Orange / Sade