Sure, the music world's drowning in hyperbole, but these guys are a legitimate must-see. Late Night Poets represents singer/songwriter Luke Parker's move away from his usual solo fare. Parker takes the rare authenticity of his previous solo worship projects and puts them in the hands of his barnstorming bandmates, who create a sound equal parts soul, country and folk. Aside from the songwriting chops, they're a cracking live act, a family of enthused musicians reminding you that folk music has always been about stomping your feet more than staring at them. The band have just released a video for their song 'My Darling' - we caught up with Luke to find out more about the tune and the band's plans for the future.
Tell us about ‘My Darling’? My Darling was written last year and all came rolling out one night as I sat strumming my guitar. I had a big room downstairs in an old art deco flat in Orakei and would come home from work, eat, shut my door, and play my guitar for hours every night. There was a rawness and creatively which hit at the end of January 2013 which started a new wave of writing and a different sound. With this track, it started around the melody and I began experimenting with phrasing which created the hook in the chorus. When I song write, I usually just let whatever lyrics naturally come out and see what’s in there before giving them shape later on. After specific lines and phrases led to a certain theme, I began writing from the perspective of a previous relationship which ended where I had had the time to process the fact that it was coming to an end. I wrote it from the other person’s perspective and what they went through.
How’d the video come about? We’re lucky to have some amazing friends that work in the film and television industry that came to us and said they wanted to help us do a video that represented who we were as a band. It was all done pro bono and on a shoestring budget. We knew our first music video needed to be simple but have a strong visual concept that would show our personalities but not take away from people actually listening to the song. It was directed by Brooke Benton with the help of Rob Zane and Hayley Thom and we’re very grateful to them. The guys thought it would be cool to freeze bunches of flowers with liquid nitrogen and smash them to help express the emotion of the track.
It’s easy for others to put music in a genre box these days - how would you describe your music? Yeah it can be difficult at times to answer what exactly our genre or style is. I don’t really get too caught up in specific titles because I think our music is always evolving and changing especially since we’ve added new members and instruments on board. I’ve come from a singer/songwriter background so this is how I do the majority of writing. I’d like to think that the foundation of the songs are strong in their pure form as I come from the school of thought that “A song is only as strong as it is on an acoustic/piano stripped back” – definitely when it comes to singer/song writing anyway. But if I had to describe it, I’d say they are sing-along pop songs with a bit of folk, country, and southern soul thrown into the mix. A lot of the tracks are rhythmically driven which is where Jassher on the drums plays a crucial part. We’re always exploring to come up with interesting and unique beats.
You seem like you’re having a great time live - is that a big part of Late Night Poets? The moment you stop enjoying playing live is the moment you start writing for others or releasing stuff online from your bedroom. In this day and age, touring and playing live is now routine and part and parcel with being in the industry if you want to make any money and gather momentum. The songs we’re performing are naturally pretty upbeat and fun so it’s not hard to get into it. It’s also the fact that the personalities in the group really gel and we all get along well on and off the stage - it’s like we’re just hanging out and happen to be playing music. We want people to go away from our gigs with an energy and happiness that’s allowed them to escape for a bit.
Plans for the next year? Where can we see you? Our next gig is at Galatos Basement with Young Lyre and [shift] in Auckland tomorrow. The plan for 2015 is to go back into the studio in the first quarter and release our debut EP shortly after. We are in the process of working through some options that have come as a result of doing well in the Unsigned Only Music Comp out of Nashville this year.