British singer songwriter Luca Wilding is set to release his debut EP To this Friday. The EP follows the release of debut single Heartachers (a mesmerising track with surges of beautiful instrumental), second single Johanna (dreamy and melancholy) and latest single Ruby, Don’t Cry (a combination of poetic lyrics and an ethereal soundscape).
I spoke to Luca Wilding ahead of the release of To to find out a little bit about his musical taste, songwriting and the upcoming EP.
Luca Wilding’s passion for songwriting and performing was borne from a love of family singalongs, resulting in the heartfelt and moving tracks that he’s penned for his debut EP. He cites Leonard Cohen as the artist who ignited this passion, saying, “I remember when I first heard him, being struck by how I could sense the pain and beauty of his stories through the years. I resolved that if I could make someone feel that, then I would’ve left a positive mark on the world, and that that would be a special thing.”
Storytelling with a slight sorrowful edge and a melancholy air is the niche that Luca Wilding has carved for himself. So I was interested to find out which artists had had the biggest influence on his musical style and taste. Turns out it is very far-reaching: “It’s hard to say, I have a very distinct idea of the aural aesthetic that I want to create, but this is not perhaps shaped by the artists that have had the biggest influence on me personally. My lyrics all seek towards Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, but sound-wise I diverge from this area completely. Bands like The Shins, Neutral Milk Hotel, even Band of Horses have played a part, Sufjan Stevens, Johanna Newsom, Cocteau Twins, David Bowie. Since I started this project, a huge influence has been Adrienne Lenker from Big Thief. I just think her writing is head and shoulders better than any other modern songwriter. Another big influence, more sound-wise, has been Aldous Harding. She’s so effortless, and manages to bring such a distinctive sense of strangeness to her work whilst it remains flawlessly cool.”
To is released this Friday and contains all three previous singles as well as some new tracks. When asked which of the tracks on the upcoming EP he was most proud of Wilding said: “I think my favourite track on the record is perhaps the title track To. It taught me a lot in the writing. It describes a period of time in which I was experiencing a really self-emptying kind of love. I met a girl who I fell for instantly, she was so beautiful in so many ways that I decided she must be right for me in every way. Over the period after that ended, I wrote To. Writing the song helped me to understand the amount of pressure that this might have put on her. I began to see more clearly how important it is to appreciate someone for who they are, not who you want them to be, and that lesson endures with me now.”
2020 has been an unprecedented year, and the effects of Covid-19 have been far-reaching. The music industry has undoubtedly felt the strain and artists have had to adapt as the landscape of the industry has changed before their eyes. I was interested to know what effects Covid-19 had on Wilding as an artist. “The pandemic has been a really strange one for me. I’m sure so many people are in the same position as I am. I finished recording this body of work (2 EPs) in January, that I had been working on for just over a year. We were planning to start releasing in April with an extensive live campaign which I was really excited about. I had chosen to remove myself from the live scene to focus solely on the records and had already really missed it. Then when the pandemic hit, I was really thrown by the notion that these plans would have to suddenly change. My first response was sadness, but very early on I realised that I now needed to use this time very, very wisely, so I’ve spent my time improving my playing, and writing for the next group of songs.”
Artists, songwriters, musicians and fans are all eager to look to the future to when live music can return as it’s something that is so important to so many people, bringing us together and igniting shared passions. Once live music has made its triumphant return, I was wondering which venue Wilding is eager to play. “I’m most excited about the prospect of festivals next year. I want to play as many as possible next summer, but a venue I loved playing was The Union Chapel in Islington. I supported an amazing gospel singer, Liz Wright, there and I would love to go back. It was a really special gig and a venue I had dreamed of playing since I was a kid.”
Until gigs and festivals can make a safe return, at least we have the prospect of new music on the horizon. Luca Wilding’s debut EP is set for release on Friday 27th November. Find out more about Luca Wilding here and have a listen to the new single Ruby, Don’t Cry below.