A Q&A with Luca Wilding

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Dream-folk original from London – here’s Luca Wilding…

How did you get the title of your upcoming release, and what does it mean to you?
It takes its name from the final track on the record, ‘To’. The song is written as both a toast and a love letter; it was also the stage name of the subject of the song. I decided to give this name to the EP since each song takes the form of a letter to its subject.

What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
There were so many challenges to putting this EP together. The hardest, I think was letting go. Reaching the point with a song where you can’t tweak the lyric anymore, my producer was great at helping me get to a stage where I could do that.

Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
The record was produced by Dave Granshaw, who produced the last two Fionn Regan records. I’m a huge fan of Fionn’s work and really loved the direction Dave had taken his music. He’s a true gentleman, with this unbelievable set up on the windswept west of The Isle of Wight. The studio is set in the grounds of an old 16th century manor house, with this huge live room with heavy rag-stone walls, thick metre-thick wooden beams and huge seaward skylights. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect place to record my debut record. Dave really challenged me on this record. I hadn’t really been in an intense, high-pressure studio set up and was a little nervous at first, but he helped coax out of me the confidence necessary to speak my mind. Over the course of making the record, he taught me a great deal, not least importantly he helped me develop the language necessary to communicate what I meant to the musicians we were working with. At times he was pretty brutal with his honesty, but that is the kind of trait that you look back and are thankful for. He really helped shape this EP into something much more than what it might have been.

What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I may have mentioned this before, but when I was a teenager, hearing Leonard Cohen’s music for the first time, I was struck by how I could sense the pain and beauty of his stories through the years. I remember feeling a distinct sense of kinship with him, and intangible knowledge of a closeness to a person I had never set eyes upon. It was around the same time that I started reading poetry. I remember reading a poem called ‘Love Songs in Age’ by Philip Larkin and being completely floored by the poet’s sense of closeness to the subject, but more than that, how he conveyed a deeply universal truth through such an intimate, glancing story. It was these two things that made me want to write songs. I hope that when listening to any one of these songs, the listener might get a sense of the pain, or hope, or joy, or desperation I experienced in the living of it. That they might feel connected to the subject, across geographic borders and through years, and, if I was being really hopeful, that it might help them realise something about themselves that is of use to them.

How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
That really depends on the track. A song like ‘Johanna’ came together very quickly, but songs like ‘Heartachers’, which is about a friend slowly succumbing to mental illness, took a lot longer.

What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
Since I started this project, a very big influence on me has been Adrienne Lenker from Big Thief. I just think her writing is head and shoulders better that any modern songwriter. Another big influence has been Aldous Harding. She’s so effortless and manages to bring such a distinctive sense of performative strangeness to her work without making it uncool.

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When the world is back to normal where would like to tour, and why?
I’ve always dreamed of touring in India; it’s a country that draws me back to it, after I travelled there a few years back. The other is America, until lately, I’ve never been particularly drawn to it, but now I see myself touring there quite extensively.

If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
I would start with ‘To’. I feel like ‘To’ is a great centre point for my music.

What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
I’ve got a lot to learn, and many areas I know I need to improve in, so the next months will be spent working assiduously on all those things. When this pandemic is over, though, I plan on making this work for me by whatever means necessary. It’s a period of time I’m very excited about and I look forward to being able to play in front of crowds and talk to strangers like I used to.

Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
I guess I’d like to thank you all so much for the support you’ve given me and thank all the people who have listened to and shared my tracks so far. Thank you for inviting me to talk to you today. I appreciate it hugely. Also, to tell everyone to stay safe, active and sane during this lockdown, and to use this time of stillness to do something you otherwise might not have got the chance to do.

The new EP from Luca Wilding, ‘To’ is out 27th November
For more info visit: facebook.com/iamlucawilding


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