Interview – The Luka State, Jimmy’s, Liverpool, 13/12/2019

Gigs for me at Jimmy’s in Liverpool are a bit like Merseyside buses.  Nothing for ages, then three come at once.  Last week was The Mysterines, tomorrow will be The Kairos headlining a set of new, young, local bands, but tonight is a bit different.  Tonight, I am sat at tiny table in the little back stage changing area of Jimmy’s chatting to The Luka State.  To my left, drummer Jake Baranabas is going through his 45-minute warm-up.  Buzzing around the place is bass player, Sam Bell.  Guitarist Lewis Pusey is out front chatting to the crowd.  Sitting to my right, patiently answering the questions is lead singer and guitarist, Conrad Ellis.

Who is Luka, and what state is he in?

Conrad – Ha, Ha. Luka is a bloke from Canada, from Toronto, who we got the name off.  We don’t know what state he’s in because we haven’t seen him in about five years.  He follows us on Instagram and online but we haven’t have actually spoke to him since we took his name.  The Luka State is about a state of mind, It’s about having a positive mental attitude.   

You seem proud of your Winsford roots.  There are references to it in Kick in the Teeth and there’s an image of a salt cellar on Jakes kick drum skin.  It’s not the first town you would associate with rock music.  What’s the Winsford music scene like at the moment?

Conrad – The music scene in Winsford is actually amazing because it’s a small working-class town in the middle of nowhere.  It’s been forgotten. All the towns in the surrounding area have had money pumped into them, but we’ve been left behind.  So, it’s always been a breeding ground for angry young teenagers to pick-up a guitar or a bass or bang on the drums.

Anyone we should be looking out for? 

Conrad – Yeah, there’s a great band, who are our mates called Deja Vega who are making big waves at the moment.   

That’s your geographical influences covered.  What about the band’s musical influences?

Conrad – We share a love of The Beatles.  Lewis is a bit of a Stones man.  We are all influenced by Punk.  Jake’s a bit a Nirvana guy,

Jake – Nirvana are the best band to ever exist since the big bang, which was The Beatles!

Conrad – Growing-up I was always into the Mod stuff, The Small Faces, The Who, The Jam.  Those type of bands are what made me want to pick up a guitar. 

This is your last gig of 2019.  At the beginning of the year you set yourselves an insane target for the number of gigs you wanted to complete this year (100!).  Any gigs or venues stand out?

Conrad – Last night in Glasgow was amazing. We’ve played that many it’s been a bit of a blur.

Sam – Sometimes they all just roll into one. Every venue’s got something special that we take from it, whether it’s the sound on the stage, or the sound guy, there’s little things that you can always take from each gig.

Conrad – Yeah.  Crowd-wise, Glasgow’s been the best one, for me personally.  People are really getting into us in Scotland, which is cool.  

Has having such a mad schedule had any detrimental effect on you being able to come up with new material?

Conrad – No, not really.  I’m always writing in my head, jotting things down on my phone, coming up with melodies.  Because we were going on tour, we set time aside to just write.  We did a month of just writing.  No rehearsing.  We set that time aside to be creative.  We needed to do that.

Earlier in the year I got hold of your 4 track EP A Taste of Things to Come.  That title hints at a possible album release.  Any news on that front?

Conrad – The album is in the bag and we’re looking at a summer 2020 release date. 

I’ve seen you a couple of times at the Camden Rocks Festival and you’ve developed a bit of a reputation for your pre-main gig, pop-up sets.  Last year you brought Camden High Street to halt by playing a set from out of the upstairs window of a women’s clothes shop.  Who came up with idea of theses guerrilla gigs?

Conrad – A bit of all of us really.

Sam – I’m going to say Jim, our manager.  He came up with idea and we went with it.

Conrad – Yeah, we thought it was something a bit different and it suits our style of music.  It gives you that experience of ‘shit what’s happening here?’.  That’s what we like to do.  We like to be in people’s faces.  

We’re at the end of the year.  What’s 2020 got in store for The Luka State?

Conrad – Loads more gigs.  Gigs, gigs, gigs, gig, gigs.  A few more releases. We’re going to get back in the studio.  We’ve got new material that we need to demo.  But mainly gigs.  We’re going to be out there finding new fans here, there and everywhere!

As if to emphasise this point, and to cement the bands claim to be one of the hardest working bands around, within a day of this interview, The Luka State announced that they were extending the current tour.

Ian Dunphy.

If you want to catch The Luka State live, and you really should, then you can see them on the following dates:

Jan 31st – BUMS, Barrow in Furness

Feb 5th – Network2, Sheffield

Feb 6th – Sneaky Petes, Edinburgh

Feb 7th – Audio, Glasgow

Feb 14th – Think Tank Underground, Newcastle

Feb 15th – Soup Kitchen, Manchester

21st Feb – Sincity, Swansea

22nd Feb – Jimmy’s, Liverpool.

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