Video Premiere: Quiet Luke - "Escapist"
I feel like the visuals you have are very distinct and definitely go along with your sound. What were some inspirations or references that formed your sound and identity as an artist?
It’s so hard to really say, because there are a bunch of phases you go through as a teenager. I definitely had my post punk, new wave, into shoegaze phase. Then I was like, “Fuck that,” and only listened to hardcore bands and stuff like that. Honestly, I feel like my biggest references points are 20th century icons of different eras: Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Prince (RIP to all). It was super crazy losing both of them last year because they’re both super influential in what I want to do. I think both of them leaving in the same year was kind of, not really a wake up call, but it was kind of a symbolic changing of the guard. I think of the late 70’s/early 80’s as long-ended. And I felt like, with those icons, we jolted into the future, and now it’s like we really are past that. Now these people are actually gone. I really love The Beatles. And I feel like on the Beholden EP, it’s kind of not really there. But the new music that I’m writing is very Lennon/McCartney-inspired.
I can also see how these icons passing away can open up a window for art that is inspired by their art to really prevail.
Yeah. It’s really weird because I was kind of revisiting both Prince and Bowie last year. I was starting to get really inspired by glam, and I don’t know if you saw the press photos from the EP, but I was really on this Japanese, Sci-Fi kind of glam/high fashion aesthetic. I actually got the chance to study in Berlin last semester, and it kind of just fucked up my whole world. I got really into the industrial sound of the music there. I was taking classes in Germany, so I started getting into these bands Kraftwerk and DAF. This emerging sensibility for Punk started to really influence me—kind of a more gritty, rooted-in-reality visual presentation of myself. I was on this super surreal, fantastical wave. Everything was happening in the socio-political sphere of our world, and I think it’s important that there’s more people that really show their personality and are a little less unreachable or aloof, which I kind of feel like I was. That’s kind of what the video is, too. It plays with that kind of extreme regal iconography. It’s really in your face and gritty in way—this "home video" kind of vibe.
What would you say a running theme through your music and visuals is?
It’s different every time. I feel like I keep prefacing everything with this, but I’ll say specifically with this project that I was super influenced by National Geographic documentaries. My friend Santangelo, who co-directed the video, sent me this National Geographic documentary on animals. And I kind of had this idea and location in mind to do this video, and it just clicked that we totally needed to make this “Feral child” sort of documentary—that’s kind of what we went off. Especially at the end of the video, we were very inspired by Jurassic Park and by this movie called Wild Child, which is basically the story of this kid who is raised by wolves. And I kind of wanted to do something like that.
Where was the video filmed?
The video was filmed in a place that means a lot to me.
Explain the name “Quiet Luke.”
I feel like this is a recurring question, and I kind of answer it differently every time.
What does it mean to you at the moment?
It has a lot to do with the aesthetics of the letters—just the way it looks—as well as it being my middle name. I feel like middle names are never really spoken about, and I just really thought the idea of using your middle name is very cool. I feel like artists use the middle name thing a lot because it’s partly something that’s “other” but also still very close to you. Right now, Quiet Luke is kind of like an empty beacon for me. It’s kind of whatever I want it to be. Quiet Luke is whatever, man. It’s protection.
Anything else you'd like to add about the "Escapist" video?
The video plays upon people's prejudices and fantasies. I wanted there to be this intersection of beauty, humor, and complete sincerity packaged in this post-modern sheathe of irony, symbolism, and self-awareness. A way for me to exert my personality under the mantle of performance.
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