Interview: Jay Luke

Jay Luke is an awesome musician, creating anthemic metal tracks that mix both heaviness and melody together perfectly. He first caught my attention with his track, Me And My Demons, and I’ve since delved into his back catalogue. If you like your metal, you really need to check Jay’s music out!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a single titled Me And My Demons. What can you tell us about the track?

Well, the track was born from a visual cue I had floating around in my brain for a while. It was from my love of both vintage horror films and vintage magician advertisements in the early 1900s. Strange combination, I know. I always loved the images of the devil whispering into magicians’ ears on their posters to promote their events in the Vaudeville Era. Then I recalled one of my favorite Vincent Price films where he had a devil on his shoulder and turned to the other shoulder where you’d expect an angel and found another devil, which I found to be the catalyst for the song and eventual album title Me And My Demons. The song is a fast-paced heavy tune detailing the mix of anxiety, insomnia and the struggle that a lot of us fight when we live a deadline or high-pressure lifestyle during the daytime, and have a hard time adjusting when the sun goes down.

How has the reception to Me And My Demons been so far, and where can the song be purchased?

To say it’s exceeded expectations would be an understatement. The short period it has been out has brought a massive amount of streams, airplay, playlist additions and general press, like I could not have imagined. I guess that is the beauty of music in the modern age. It is accessible literally everywhere, but you never know if it will make a mark or if it will be ignored in the flood of other artists and songs. I feel very fortunate that it has grown so much momentum. The song can be purchased on any of the preferred streaming platforms – when the full album comes out, you can look out for a physical release as well.

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

I am still in the old-school mindset that any single release is to be followed up with an album. It is almost like a preview of what is to come. So yes, I will always release a single or two before a full-length release to keep things interesting. In today’s world, they always tell you that the album is a dying artform and that releasing singles consistently is the way to go, but I’d rather do my own thing and ignore the trends. I am a firm believer that whatever direction the crowd is running in, you should run the other way as they are usually wrong (laughing).

I find my songs tell a story when put together – if you only hear a chapter you don’t get the full story, if that makes sense.

You’ve released three albums so far and you have a new one coming out soon. What can you tell us about the record and when will it be released?

I am aiming for an early autumn release, so likely the first week of October or so. This record, much like the previous two, is a peek into my psyche and gets very deep at times. I am not one to write songs about fantasy situations or fake stories. I write what I observe, what I go through or what I feel strongly about, so these songs are a glimpse into my world. I think they are songs about relatable situations, feelings and scenarios.

What is the writing and recording process like for you, and has it changed much over the years?

I think it’s getting to a fine balance point of being in the area or being in the water where your feet don’t quite touch the bottom. It’s not exactly a safe zone, but you also feel you won’t drown, and I think that is the best way to describe the way the process is. If any of us stick to our comfort zone we don’t progress very much. It is like when they say that if you want to get better at something, you should hang around with people who are better than you, so that you learn from them. I think the recording process has improved as far as knowing what can be done and how to achieve it. I think with this record, what stood out as different was I wrote the songs very close to the time I went into each session, so they were right off the chopping block – so to speak. I toyed with the idea of calling the album Winging It, but once the title Me And My Demons came into my mind, that was impossible to ignore. I ultimately felt it to be the perfect choice.

Your music has a classic rock/metal sound. What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

As an artist, I try to absorb as much influence as I can. Even things I don’t particularly like have their values or important things to learn from. Bands or musicians that have influenced me the most are a challenging list that can change from day to day. Some of the big inspirational mainstays in my life have been Andy McCoy of a band called Hanoi Rocks, The Rolling Stones, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and David Bowie. Artists I have been listening to recently are a Scottish band called BabyChaos, Noel Gallagher of Oasis, Johnny Marr, The Wildhearts, King Diamond and The Interrupters.

You’re from Pennsylvania. What is the local music scene like at the moment?

The music scene here is pretty cool. It is diverse, and most of the bands aren’t necessarily in competition with each other but doing their own thing, and that should be the mark of any good scene. Bands that aren’t against one another but are encouraging and positive toward one another are so much more effective to progress. The whole contest mentality is so shallow. I think the popularity shows like American Idol seem to plant the idea in young people’s heads that you have to see things as a competition, and I think the whole creative process is stifled because of it. The local acts are all pretty cool and we try to support one another as often as we can.

Do you have anything else exciting coming up this year?

This year I think I have more shows booked than I have ever had in all of my performing years. It has been a steady 2-3 gigs a week all year long, and on top of that, recording this upcoming album, as well as working on the releases of the two other bands I am in. Reach For The Sky is one of those bands and we are working on our 4th release. The Stones Of Atlantis is the other band and we are just about wrapped up with our debut record as well. So, this has been a very busy year, all in all.

Do you have any tour dates lined up for the UK?

As things continue progressing and more momentum is built up, we are going to have to consider the possibility of doing some dates in places where there is a demand. It is cool to see the locations where fans seem to listen most nowadays. It is probably the best feature or useful aspect that modern artists have to plan or promote shows or releases. The UK is a place I know I would LOVE to perform as we have been getting a good bit of press. So many of my influences are from there and it is just cool in general. So I am hoping the answer to your question is a lot sooner than later.

Any last words for the fans?

I just want to thank all of the fans locally and globally for jumping on board this journey with me in my solo career. The road has been long with a lot of ups and downs, but it is never boring. We managed to top over 300,000 streams this year, and the reception this single has been met with has the anticipation to release this full-length album at an all-time high. As far as original material goes, it is our proudest release, and I cannot wait for you all to hear it.

Thanks for all the support!