Sunday, February 20, 2011
Luke Legs—Interview with Luke Hindson
Luke Emmanuel Hindson’s talking voice is deceptively coarse in comparison to his alter ego Luke Legs’ smooth vocals. On the phone he demonstrates his natural story-telling talents, he has a lot to say; he talks cyclically, meandering through multiple topics in bursts of good-natured yarning. It’s no wonder he’s found himself writing country ballads. He takes time to let his stories evolve, relishes the chance to share. Hailing from a family of ten, you’d need to speak up or be forever sidelined you’d imagine. As Hindson explains, however, it was more a case of preferring to take the long way ‘round than him pursuing country music in particular.
“My favourite thing is punk bands that don’t make it so then they turn to country—that’s me pretty much,” he says. “I really like the story-telling side of country, it suits me. Some gigs I’ll show up and maybe only play one song ‘cause I’ll start telling a story and that will lead me away. I just like to get my songs across and get my stories out there through lyrics you can actually hear. Plus you can play it live anywhere, everyone likes a bit of country.”
Hindson’s debut album Why Oh Why (My Caroline), released this month, has such strong song writing and thematic cohesion it’s no surprise it’s been taken on board by Triple J and community programming alike. It wanders and wheels in equal measures—the delicacies of his lighter vocal moments are swept up in his veritable reinvention of the Whitney Houston-esque (his words, not mine) power ballad. “Different people I speak to have different favourite songs from the album,” he continues. “To me this means that either all the songs are awesome or they’re all mediocre. I think they’re all awesome [laughs]. I’m a walking, talking PR machine.
“A few years ago I was on tour with Jordie Lane doing my solo stuff and every night he blew me off the stage. It was embarrassing; I thought I was good but I was actually really shit. From then on I decided I had to start writing better songs, so I went back to the drawing board. I practised every day for a year and wrote and played for five hours a night. All I was writing about was the feeling of living in small country towns and being young and creative but not being able to express yourself because there’s not anything to do in these places. You just have beers with your mates and the same conversations, so most of these songs are about trying to get out. It’s not new, it’s been done before but it’s just kind of romantic.”
It’s this romanticism that opens Luke Legs up to the listener. These sentiments are universal, we can all relate in some way—some of us more than others. “Playing the East Brunswick Club recently I played the song ‘Why Oh Why (My Caroline)’,” he continues. “This guy came up after the show and asked me if the song was about Geelong. When I told him it was, he said that even though I didn’t mention Geelong in the words and he’d never even heard of me before he knew it was and had almost cried ‘cause it made him think about how he felt when he was growing up there.”
Hindson maintains it’s the live show that brings people back again. With arse shaking action and a random-by-nature aesthetic, the album launch is set to sell out. “I played a country fair where there was no microphone,” he says. “I had to sing through a megaphone, but they couldn’t get it onto the stage so I played on top of a fire truck, singing into the CB radio. I’m sure those people were thinking who is this guy and does he take a fire truck to every show? It can work in your favour.”