Luke Thompson’s ‘Hosts’ is a finalist for the Tui for the Best Folk Album 2016. We spoke with him midway through his Porch Sessions tour about the process of self-producing and how the album came about as a bit of a surprise. 

I spoke to Luke Thompson when he was mid tour on the ‘Porch Sessions’ with Stu Larsen and Tim Moore. The Porch Sessions are this amazing house concert series. “They basically just takes someone’s backyard and turns it into this magical place. Almost a mixture of a festival and a great house concert.”

Luke’s been split between Australia and New Zealand for this last year, after moving to Australia for an extended six month trip in March last year. “We moved back in September, because we missed home, kind of have a foot in both camps. It was amazing to move, such an adventure. Beforehand we were just guessing, we knew that we didn’t know what it was going to be like. Immediately we knew it would be a six month adventure, especially with the kids. It was so good, it worked so well, I was lucky to get some good support slots in that time. I’ve almost been playing more in Australia than in New Zealand over the last few years. I intend to continue playing there. I’ve only ever done trips of five weeks or so, so to be away for so long it was incredible to end up back home!”

Luke spent time with Stu Larsen, working on Stu’s newest record, helping record, and do the behind the desk work – a new direction for Luke, in some ways. “It’s kind of new and it kind of isn’t. In the sense of having a little studio and doing my own demos, I’ve been doing it since the beginning. I never really was that interested until recently, I also didn’t think I was very good at it until recently. I would think, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here’, and I think that’s true, to some degree, but I think that’s part of the beauty of recording, if you don’t know the rules you can do something quite interesting. I value that a lot more than I used to. You can do whatever you want, even if it’s not what you’re meant to do. That was massively how ‘Hosts’ came about.”

The art of self-producing is very popular these days. Artists seem to be doing it everywhere, and some beautiful albums are being made from people’s living rooms. ‘Hosts’ is one of those albums and Luke has a lot to say on the process. “It makes so much sense, no wonder there are so many genres and so many different sounding records out there. Every single person that puts themselves behind a desk, or a microphone, is going to do it differently than the next person. There are so many possibilities out there, with sound, even with the limited range of instruments we use in modern music. When you free it up, for any songwriter, to record their own stuff, and not really know what they’re doing, that’s key.”

“Great mistakes can often end up being the key moment of the recording. I’m more excited, I think for the first time ever, about making more records than about performing live. Not even just records for myself, for anyone. The idea of rushing into a studio and being told I have five days, just terrifies me and can rip the soul out of a song. You can do it all from home!”
“When ‘Hosts’ started I didn’t even know I was making an album. I chipped away at it and realized I was
making something. It started as a strange hunch, and thinking I was just making music for experimentations sake. It just evolved, and wasn’t so planned.”
“The cool thing with Hosts, it didn’t dawn on me until it was nearly finished that I was going to use it. I was able to free myself up to do something random. I might have edited myself if I’d known from the beginning I was going to use it. I just wrote the songs quickly and worked on the idea, rather than focusing on the finished album. I fell in love with project, I can still listen to the whole thing, from beginning to end. That’s why I released it, because maybe someone else will find this as peaceful as I do. It was a healing process to make it, and I feel that when I listen to it. That was my hope, that others would feel the same.”

You can see Luke Thompson perform, with friends, at 5.30pm in the Main Marquee at the Auckland Folk Festival, as part of the Tui Finalists Concert. Go have a listen to the album ‘Hosts’ which is a finalist for Best Folk Album 2016.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *