This Luke Rathrorne article was written by Sarah Ebockayuk, Track of the Day Editor
Luke Rathborne, a singer songwriter from Maine, releases his newest single ‘Losing It’ and we at GIGsoup think it is fully deserving of today’s Track of the Day accolade. The single is from his forthcoming album ‘AGAIN’, which will be released on March 4th via his own label ‘True Believer’. This LP was managed by the Grammy-winning producer Ted Young (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth) alongside Luke Rathborne himself.
Rathborne, now resides in Brooklyn and gained a considerable amount of attention last year. His previous UK debut ‘SOFT’ generated over 3 million streams on Spotify and gained Radio 1 airplay from Zane Lowe and glowing press acclaim!
GIGsoup had the opportunity to interview Mr Rathborne and gain insight into his music and plans for 2016!
How did you come to produce a track with Ted Young? And what was the experience like?
Producing a record with Ted Young happened in a very organic way. We actually have a history that goes back to my first days in New York as he engineered a project for a friend of mine years ago.
I reached out to Ted in the final stages of mixing the last LP, ‘SOFT’ and I think he could see that I was struggling with the sonics of the record – sometimes when you’re in the midst of a record a certain battle can take place to preserve the integrity of what’s there.
The more we talked the more it became apparent that we shared so many ideas and motivations behind music making. It didn’t take very long to put together the sessions that became this record, and I can speak for myself but it was a very satisfying collaboration.
What made you decide to move to Brooklyn for your music as opposed to popular choices such as LA?
It’s funny because as I write this I’m actually in Los Angeles. I suppose New York City had a legendary mysticism for me growing up with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. I had visited as a teenager and was really attuned to the energy there, and the feeling of moving forward and momentum.
Your sound is a mixture of genres, including indie and punk rock. Who are your musical influences? How did you come about your sound and are you looking to expand your musical style?
Lately my musical influences are a lot of R&B but I grew up with a such a voracious appetite for music regardless of genre.
Mel Torme could find just as easily a place as Thom Yorke on my mantel and I think most people are similar to this, they are just led to believe that their tastes are more limited than they in fact are.
The sound I reached myself was very organically reached upon in whatever head space I’m in. The songs really are a reflection of my best intent in the moment.
Your album ‘Again’ is due to be released in March. Is there much pressure to match up to the success and exposure of your previous album ‘Soft’ How do you feel this album differs from your previous? What are your expectations for the future?
This album, ‘Again’ takes some of the pop principles of ‘Soft’ I think a level further. As much as I love the songs on the last LP I think the process for this record was so much more comfortable and creatively fruitful because it really felt like friends ecstatic and enjoying making music.
You are due for a tour this Spring in the US and the UK. Would you consider working with any UK artists or producers (given the Radio 1 exposure and the attention you are getting this side of the pond?
Of course. One artist in particular Jai Paul holds a certain degree of mystery to me. I have always felt a mutual admiration for UK artists and producers and have always appreciated the support from across the pond. I do believe there could be much to do there, it’s just a matter of getting the LP in front of folks, I am always open to collaboration.
You upload your music on TuneCore. You have stated previously your belief of disenfranchising. How do you battle the demand of industry norms with yourindependency as an artist?
It’s funny to talk about something like this because as indie artists we are already very seperate from the conversation in mainstream media. I think on a personal level I genuinely felt that those philosophies I had encountered on the music side of business could sometimes function like a snake eating it’s own tail. It doesn’t know what its got in its mouth.
I avoid phone calls when I can. The way I have my label set up is I can disappear two months and Come back. It is all very laid back and more motivated by pleasure than commerce.
Your new song ‘Losing it’ is the first track off your new Album. What made you choose this track as your first release song? And musically what was your influence behind the song?
I really enjoyed, ‘Losing It’ as the first single because it was such a watermark for the record of the push for an innovative new direction and sound without over encumbering the story. Sonically I love what we accomplished and the bass playing by Darren Will and drums by Jamie Alegre are so creative. By the final rounds of creating this kind of Roxy Music synthesizer texture I was just deeply pleased by the whole thing.
The influence is definitely early Prince as well as the kind of musician movement that came from it, fine young cannibals, paisley park, etc. There is also a healthy dose of the strange ethereal music that is so effecting right now, war on drugs, kind of like Roy orbinson on LSD and a Space echo.
True Believer is your label that you set up by yourself. How do you manage yourself as an artist? Do you manage your own PR , touring and musically endeavours? And do you think more artists should follow your lead?
I don’t know if people should follow the lead. I think you have to be your own creation. Sometimes maybe you don’t want to grand stand you just want to continue working. What about the need for privacy and also on the other hand the need for expression? Being on our phones and computers is a kind of private form of expression. People love to have music with them as well.
As far as touring, that’s usually done through the work of agencies. You are able to set up your own tours, but sometimes it’s good to collaborate with others. There’s plenty of nice friendly agents.
As far as management, you really put yourself in whatever position you think you can handle. Don’t try to do things you couldn’t do on the road from the road. You need to shut down for portions of it, and be able to focus on shows.
How has the music industry changed from when you first set out to complete your goals and which ones remain?
The music industry… What is that exactly? Are we talking about 3 major corporations and their subsidiaries? Or independent labels? I do think it’s changed but to be honest, the music industry from the time I started seriously releasing music has remained pretty similar.
I do actually really like the efficiency of streaming music, though. It’s very practical and somewhat tactile, and if you listen to music regularly it’s pretty exciting.
Luke thanked GIGsoup on the insightful questions!
Check out Luke’s new single ‘Losing It’ above. He will be on a co-headlining tour with Alex Caldner (Captured Tracks) this March!