By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Whether it was self-taught skateboard lessons, working on music or being nose-deep in “Star Wars” novels, Luke Seymoup found ways to occupy himself without the chance to perform in front of a live audience.
The Melbourne, Australia-based indie punk musician showcased this in the video for “Judas,” which was filmed entirely in isolation with only home materials to work with.
The updated version of the track is featured on his split EP, ‘VETMOUP’ with Vetty Vials from Sydney, which was released in August 2020. The EP was recorded as a way to stay connected while interstate borders were closed.
“Judas” itself focuses on overcoming your past to become a better person, with the video adding an element of hardship in the current day by way of COVID-19 restrictions.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with him about “Judas” and more.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your musical style?
Luke Seymoup – I’ve always tried to make music that I would most want to listen to. I listen to all kinds of different stuff and try to bring it all together into what I do. My style is mainly a mix of pop punk with some singer-songwriter influences – like Bruce Springsteen and Paul Kelly. I listen to a lot of ska and country too and those come through at times as well. My favorite part of the style that comes through best in our band shows is that our sound is big, loud, energetic and fun, while the lyrics cover some deeper and more melancholy topics. It’s a bit of a contrast between light and dark. I’d describe it as “bittersweet.” I want my music to help turn feeling bad into a much more enjoyable experience.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Melbourne to someone who has never been there before?
Luke Seymoup – Melbourne is the city you come to when you want to get buzzed on as much high-quality coffee as humanly possible. You can walk in anywhere and pick up a cup that is, at worst, pretty solid. Melbourne also has one of the best music scenes on the planet, in my opinion. There’s so much cool and diverse stuff going on in Melbourne music all the time. You just need to pay attention to it.
Music Bugle – What inspired the song “Judas” and what was it like making the video for it?
Luke Seymoup – “Judas” was a song that was first released as part of my “Uke Seymoup” EP in 2018, my all-ukulele record. I’d been trying to find an arrangement of it that worked in the full band for a long time and finally came up with one early last year. The band had started rehearsing it and was ready to play it at a show when the lockdowns hit and we had to cancel everything we had booked, so I recorded the band arrangement myself for release on the split EP ‘VETMOUP’ with Vetty Vials. I played everything except drums, which got a killer performance from Marcus Tamp, who has worked with Amends, Vials and Jack R Reilly. The song is about reflecting on past mistakes in order to move forward and become a better person. The video came together pretty quickly. I recorded during lockdown and was trying to use the visuals to express the frustrations of being stuck at home. It took only one day to film and edit the whole thing, I’m super stoked on the result!
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt music?
Luke Seymoup – Social media is a blessing and a curse. I like that it’s given so many smaller musicians an opportunity to be heard. I’ve managed to reach people around the world who never would have heard my music otherwise, as well as maintaining friendships with fans and musicians in different countries. There’s obviously a lot of stuff on social media that’s not genuine, but I feel like people have a pretty good in-built “bullshit detector” and can always tell who or what deserves their time and attention. With access to every song ever produced in your pocket at all times though, it becomes harder to make something memorable that people keep coming back to, so as musicians, we need to make sure that we’re always producing our best stuff.
Music Bugle – Have you been working on any new music?
Luke Seymoup – I’m currently in the process of recording my second full-length album with my band. This is the first recording the band has played on since our debut LP ‘The Professional’ in 2017. Through some delays thanks to COVID, we had to postpone a lot of the tracking, but we’re finally finishing that up. Then, it’s off for mixing and the first single will hopefully be dropping soon.
Music Bugle – What’s something you wish happened more in today’s music industry?
Luke Seymoup – I think the biggest thing that holds a lot of musicians back is trying to cling to old ideas of what the music industry should be like. The idea of “rock stars” is a pretty outdated concept. We all need to focus more on treating the people who enjoy our music like friends rather than fans. Musicians aren’t superior in any way to the people that enjoy their music and the artist/fan relationship should be built on mutual respect. The music scene generally takes itself very seriously and I think we could all afford to have a bit more fun as well. The idea of standing on stage and dancing around with a guitar strapped to you is inherently pretty silly. We need to embrace that. People are meant to make music because they enjoy it and I think we all need reminding of that sometimes.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Luke Seymoup – The COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on all our performing and recording plans. I’m usually pretty prolific with writing and recording music, usually making several releases a year. With all that was going on in the world in 2020 though, it felt like the best time to pump the brakes a bit. I still managed to release two songs that I’m really proud of on the ‘VETMOUP’ split. Things like self-preservation and personal reflection were higher on people’s list of priorities than consuming new music last year. That felt much more important than releasing anything. It’s not that I haven’t been working on music, but I’ve been doing so in a quieter way, so now that Melbourne has come out of lockdowns, it feels like the right time to get back into finishing that record ready for a fresh start in 2021.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need to escape?
Luke Seymoup – If I ever need to clear my head, my favorite thing to do is just to get into the car and drive. I know it sounds like a Brian Fallon lyric trope or something, but it really helps. I love to throw an album on the stereo and sing along with the windows down. I just follow the roads and eventually wind up back home again.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Luke Seymoup – In some of the aforementioned long drives, I’ve been listening to a lot of Midland’s album ‘Let It Roll.’ It’s just a great, old-school sounding country record with tight harmonies and some killer lyrics. Worth a spin, whether you’re a country fan or not. I defy anyone to listen to “Cheatin’ Songs” or “Playboys” and not have a good time. I’m getting back into the old Ben Folds Five albums lately as well. I read Ben’s book “A Dream About Lightning Bugs” and it reignited my love for those older records of his. “The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner” is an underrated classic. I’m also a diehard Taylor Swift fan and she gave us the blessing of two wonderful albums last year when we needed them most. Both “Folklore” and “Evermore” are on high rotation.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Luke Seymoup – I actually find it harder to write our shorter, punkier tracks as opposed to the big epics. I always want to tackle a lot in my lyrics and in a longer song, I have more time and space to do that. In a shorter song, like “See Ya Never” from ‘VETMOUP,’ I need to make every line count and get my point across without overfilling the lines and losing the flow. I’m always happy with how they come out in the end, but I find shorter songs to be a puzzle that needs solving. Constantly editing down to keep the meaning and the best lines, while trimming off all the parts that don’t need to be there.