As he embarks on his first major solo UK tour, I spoke to Luke Sital-Singh about his latest EP and the importance of radio airplay.
This tour sees you playing bigger venues spanning a wider distance than before, what do you really enjoy about being on the road?
I think it’s just playing the shows, it’s playing on stage when it’s my tour and you’ve got the crowd and it’s my job to win them over, it’s different playing on my own, (having previously played in a band) and having the freedom to play whatever you want, and if I make a mistake I just cover it up but I can be a bit more free. With a band you have to all decide together and play together, and who wants to do that? It’s gonna be really cool, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve done anything like this.
The release of Tornados EP is the first you haven’t released independently. Did releasing it under Parlophone make any difference production wise?
It is different but it’s also not as different as maybe it would usually be. It seems that we were already doing most of the right things before (Parlophone) and they appreciated that and let me get on with it. It’s the same producer, Ian (Archer), who’s done the EPs and then we were supposed to do the same again but it’s nice to have quite a big company pushing it out there as well. Production wise it’s been very similar but then different for other reasons too but I’ve enjoyed it.
How different from the first EPs is Tornados? On first listen it sounds much grander and even more polished than before.
Yeah, probably, it feels like it’s got a lot more energy to it, that’s for sure, the single ‘Nothing Stays The Same’ is the most full-throttle song that I’ve written. There’s two songs on there that are probably some of the most slow songs I’ve written, the most low key melancholic songs up with two more upbeat ones and it’s more a case of bridging that gap between the two. I like the big bold sound but then I like making people cry as well, so there’s a bit of both on this one.
How personal is the EP, lyrically, or is it a broader thing?
I think there’s two extremes. I think the single, and a track called ‘How To Lose Your Life’ are much broader than just about myself. There more wide ideas and get away from things that are just about me and then there are two songs which are really quite personal and pay homage to my own experience so there’s a bit of both with that too.
You’ve been added to Radio 1’s playlist recently, alongside the likes of Coldplay and Frank Turner. How does it feel to be in and amongst such well established artists?
It’s really weird, I keep thinking that someone has made a mistake or something, but no, it’s kind of nuts but it’s pretty great, it’s what everyone wants really and something that you aim for – to be played on a station like that is pretty good. It’s good to know that a lot of people will get to hear the tune.
How important do you think radio airplay is these days, has it lost any of its former value?
I want to say before I got onto mainstream radio that no it wasn’t but then as soon as you get playlisted on one of the bigger stations and then see the reaction that comes on Twitter and things you see there’s a huge difference and I was really surprised by it and didn’t realise that people actually cared so much, so yeah, maybe it does still have a lot of power.
How important has social media been in your rise up from unknown artist to someone who’s now widely recognised?
It’s massively important I think, a balancing act really. It can be very distracting but it’s good to keep people interested and to give people an insight into what’s going on, I think people move on to different bands and artists quite quickly with so much choice out there so it’s a balancing act between trying to make great music and interacting with your fanbase.
What can people expect after the tour?
An album really! I’ve started work on it and it’ll be mostly recorded by the end of the year hopefully and then released next year at some point and that’s what we’re moving towards and what all next year is about. The jury is still out on old stuff making its way onto the album but songs like ‘Fail For You’ should be there.