As I’ve often said here, anyone who just goes for it in life is someone I find admirable. Lucus M Walker is no exception. After spending the first part of his adult years living that routine life, he broke free and decided to explore the world around him. One day, I hope his stories fill a book but until then we can hear his heart and adventures in song. He was nice enough to share with us some insight into his sound, the heartache of losing beloved mementos, and more in this back and forth exchange.
Kendra: You’ve been a sort of vagabond the past five years or so. Were your travels inspired by music, or did you find music along the way?
Lucus M Walker: No, I always played and wrote music. I did things the wrong way round by normal standards in that I worked a job in my twenties and lived a relatively normal life. Then around 30 I had quite a serious spinal injury, evaluated my life when I recovered and realized I wasn’t happy where I was.
I had this overwhelming sense that life could have been very short and that I should just go and do whatever I wanted to do now before it was too late. And I’ve never lived back in the UK since. Travelling has inspired my writing, but at the same time, I had also written a song describing one man’s traveling journeys. I wrote this before I left so I sometimes feel like I was subconsciously writing this about myself and where I wanted to go.
Kendra: You’ve been pretty constant with your releases for the past couple of years dropping a few songs a year since 2019. Will you continue with that pattern this year, or break tradition and drop an EP or even an LP?
Lucus M Walker: The songs I’ve been releasing are all part of the same album but I’ve just been releasing them all as singles. I have six more songs to release and then I’ll likely compile them all into a whole album once they’re out. Maybe I will release a song every two weeks or something like that. With the nature of music streaming these days it kind of lends itself more to the single rather than the album and you just hope you can get on a few playlists, or acquire a few new listeners on every release.
Kendra: Your most recent and the last of your 2020 triad was “When I See Your Face.” It highlighted your skills as a natural storyteller. Have you always had a natural way with words, even growing up?
Lucus M Walker: If you asked my old English teacher that, he would probably laugh you out of the room. I have always enjoyed writing lyrics though, but I sometimes think I may have fallen into that through necessity rather than some romantic notion I was destined to write. I was in lots of bands at a young age playing drums, but I’d always find myself writing the lyrics because no one else was doing anything. It helped that I was naturally creative so I suppose I just never stopped.
Then again, I’ve also used writing as an outlet and it’s always my go-to place when I’m feeling down or have something I feel I need to say. I’d probably say it has always been marred with a sense people might listen to what I am saying, but I know how ridiculous that idea is nowadays. When I used to write for bands I don’t think even they knew what any of the songs were about.
I‘ve gone through different phases with my writing though. Sometimes more storytelling, sometimes possibly more abstract. Currently quite retrospective I’d say. It probably depends on what music I’m around at that time in my life.
Kendra: We mentioned your travels, but it’s also important to say that you’ve been able to call Thailand home recently. What about that country made you want to stick around a little longer, and do you feel it helped drive your creativity more so than other places you’ve placed your luggage in the past?
Lucus M Walker: Thailand is an interesting place. I was not expecting to stay there for a year by any means. When I left the Middle East last March with a year’s worth of travel plans ahead of me; like everyone else, I wasn’t expecting to get locked down. Luckily, it turned out to be a great experience and the lockdown there only lasted a couple of months. Then I was free to explore the country for the next year pretty much uninhibited.
Thailand kind of took the pressure off me though. Allowed me time to relax and get my priorities back in order. I wouldn’t say it inspired my songwriting directly as a place. But having time to think about things that had happened recently, my changing opinions on certain aspects of life, it certainly gave me the space to write more than anything and get some things off my chest.
Shockingly though, while I was in the South of Thailand, I had an email one day letting me know my storage unit in Dubai had gone up in flames. This has been the most difficult thing to deal with really last year. It had a lifetime of musical instruments in it. Pretty much everything I owned and had collected over my lifetime as a musician. A few guitars; some I’d had from really young, amps, effects pedals, drum kits, recording equipment, keyboards. All gone. I still haven’t built up to buying a new guitar yet. Something just keeps stopping me.
Kendra: How have you pushed yourself as a musician in terms of creativity amidst the wild ride last year gave us?
Lucus M Walker: Not having an instrument for the last year hasn’t inhibited my songwriting in the end. It’s made me write in a new way which I’m loving. Shortly before Christmas 2019, I met a guy where I was living, and we started to write songs together. We had a couple of tracks before I left last March which weren’t great. Since then we have built up about 15 new songs and every new one seems to be getting better as we start to understand each other more. It’s been interesting though. He will write some music, send me the audio, and I write the song over the top. I send it back, and we tweak it from there. I’ll set up makeshift vocal booths wherever I’m living – in wardrobes and bathrooms etc. Wherever I can find that works really.
The main thing it has allowed me to do is to focus on the melodies more. It’s also made me feel free of defined song structures. I try as best as I can to use his music how it comes, so I fit words and melody to the music, rather than returning to previous ideas that you sometimes naturally do when writing on a guitar. It’s a new way for me anyway and has come at a good time in my life. I think the songs sound more creative than I’ve possibly written in the past in terms of melody as well. He’s a great musician too so I get these awesome pieces of music to play around with.
Kendra: It’s hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
Lucus M Walker: Well, I am now living in Armenia, which has been an interesting change having flown straight from Thailand. Yerevan is a great capital city though. It has a European café culture feel with nice restaurants and museums. It’s been a nice surprise. So spending time exploring and seeing this country is first on the list. I’m continuing to write with George and will spend this year hopefully finessing the songs and getting a new album together.
Maybe if I can overcome this newfound reluctance to buy a new guitar I will return to writing the way I used to. But for now, concentrating on the song and letting someone handle the music is fun and producing some good results, so this is fine for now. Inevitably though songwriting is never going to be something I can just let go of so there will always be something new.