We had the chance to catch up with Austrian singer & producer LUEK. The lead singer of the successful indie band Naked Cameo recently started releasing his own music and has already landed huge playlists like New Music Friday Germany and Switzerland. Find out what he had to say about the production process of his latest single “Fools Gold” with Joe Traxler, songwriting routines and top 3 favourite plugins.
Can you give us some insights into the production process of your latest single “Fools Gold” with Joe Traxler?
It started with Joe and me going to the studio and listening to some music together. We were Just bouncing ideas off of each other. We ran the guitar through a Mellotron pedal and created this sort of droney flute thing that is audible throughout the whole track. Next, Joe came up with this grungy bassline which we distorted as much as possible. Once we had finished the song’s skeleton we both sat down writing our parts, not knowing what the opposite was actually gonna write. This actually turned out pretty effective and it all went together really well.
Fast forward a week or so, we got together for a second session, where we finished the full song, including the guitar riff. It was all pretty easy going and intuitive. That was super satisfying.
Could you sum up some personal milestones in your artist development?
I started writing songs when I was about fourteen years. In this case there’s not really a moment that I could pinpoint as a milestone really. It’s a really slow development that took a lot of time and effort. But I knew I had found my own style as soon as I finished writing the songs for Naked Cameo’s debut album. But to this day I’m never satisfied with my writing. I’m definitely still evolving. In fact, I hate most of what I wrote as soon as it’s out there, at least for a while.
The thing where I made the fastest progress in a short timespan was producing and mixing. I started off producing in a serious way on our debut album. I did a great chunk of pre-production alongside Marco and Maria.
Marco definitely taught me a lot. I spent hours sitting next to him, asking him about pretty much everything he did and how he made it sound so great.
I quickly got into it way too obsessively and I went on and on and spending hour after hour in front of the speakers. So I think at this time I’m able to put out a decent production and mix to a certain degree. Needless to say there’s still lots of room for improvement.
A point that I would not necessarily consider a milestone, but learning about the music industry as much as I could was a crucial lesson. The music industrial system is very intricate and complicated when it comes to getting the money you’re entitled to. A lot of musicians starting off don’t know all the sources and institutions that basically owe you money. It sounds super generic but learn how to fill in forms and educate yourself about the infrastructure.
You’re also the lead singer of successful Austrian indie band Naked Cameo. What inspired you to start a solo project?
The main reason I started it was because I had so many songs I wrote that were not really Naked Cameo material. My approach to my single material is different. Naked Cameo songs take me insane amounts of time before I see them as good material. I go about a Naked Cameo song in a much more “intellectual” way as I do on my solo stuff. I don’t want the listeners to hear where the ideas came from (at least not initially). Naked Cameo is more of an album-band. I like having the record be coherent in every possible way. That’s a thing I don’t mind so much with the solo stuff. LUEK will be mostly feature based, since it turned out to work so well and intuitively.
Do you have a songwriting routine or ritual?
Not really, I used to spend a lot of time sitting on the piano or the guitar just blurting out babbling noises like a baby, recording it, listening back to it and then try to make sense of the noise as much as possible, and sometimes parts for songs would come out of that. At this point I have a few different approaches, sometimes I have some keywords that i like but mostly chunks of melodies, that I try to incorporate into an already existing track or making it the blueprint for a melody I will later elaborate on. I am also much more routined and disciplined in a sense than I was maybe a few years back. But to answer the question, no, there’s not really THE distinguishable pattern and procedure in my songwriting.
Name your top 3 plugins you can’t live without. Explain why you think they’re awesome!
My number one has to be the Fabfilter Saturn. I like the way it saturates and I play around with the dynamics knob a lot. You can make so much difference with the room of the drums, while you don’t really mess with the transients too much.
My favourite compressor is the Waves CLA 76, I like the color it gives to the track a lot but I also use the logic stock compressor on most of my tracks.
For eqing I mostly use the FF Pro-Q. I love the surface and it’s very intuitive I think.
Where do you see the popular music market in 10 years from now and how will artists and producers have to adapt?
This is always a hard and dangerous thing to predict, because the industry is evolving all the time. Right now, music is seen as a lifestyle product more than ever but at the same time it’s a very exciting period because with streaming and TikTok literally everything can be a hit. But eventually there will be a new app that’s exciting and creates new ways to get your music heard. I’m actually looking forward to see where it’s going. What is certain is that musicians will have to adapt constantly and I think that’s a very good thing in terms of innovation.
What’s next for LUEK?
There will be an album out in the spring and after that some singles with featuring artists. The Album is almost done at this point and Im looking forward to playing the songs live. I have the privilege to being able to play my music with incredibly talented musicians so there will be some concerts in the future.
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