On the release of his debut single Heartachers, Luca Wilding took time out for an interview. Released today via Abbey Records, Heartachers is a poignant and emotional song with a strong depth of feeling. It is described as ‘dream folk’ which does go some way to pinning a genre on to Luca’s unique and thoughtful approach to his craft.
There’s a sublimely beautiful shift halfway through the song when the pain gives way to something that is almost akin to a dance track, it’s redemptive and sends out a message of positivity. The track also features on the singer-songwriter’s soon to be released album.
Hi Luca. First question… when did you start playing the guitar? And when did you discover your vocal talent?
That was some time ago when I was in my teens, but I never really started playing till a few years ago. I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of good musicians who have helped me a lot, but I’ve got a long way to go. I found my voice when I was living in a basement in Margate, I remember being extremely sad and feeling very lost and alone. Inwardly I was seeking out this intangible thing that I knew I had in me. One day I was playing a song on this beaten up second-hand Tanglewood Guitar I had just saved up for ages to buy – the song was Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, and I remember I kept moving my capo further and further up the fretboard. Each time I found I could hit the higher note and then one higher and then higher again. When I finished the song I had this moment of realisation, that I had found my voice.
When was the moment that you decided to become a singer-songwriter?
I’ve always known this was what I needed do, but about four years ago a very close friend of mine pulled me aside when we were out in a group. She told me I needed to do something with my music and that it would be a big loss if my songs were never heard. She is perhaps the least sycophantic person I know and I was aware that she would only have said this if she truly meant it. It was a really beautiful moment where I realised both what a good friend she was and that I had no choice but to follow this path.
Your first single Heartachers is a strong, reflective and emotive track. How long has it taken you to get to this moment?
I actually wrote Heartachers a few years ago – I’m glad it’s my first release since it does reflect the first moment I allowed myself to think my songs were good enough to be heard by other people.
Are there particular themes that inspire you when you write?
Loss is a big one, but not in an exclusively negative way. A song can be about losing something and it can equally be about losing the fear that was holding you back from something. I like to play with dark lyrics juxtaposed with spritely, intricate melodies.
You have started working on your first album… how is it going?
The album is finished and ready to go out, I’m looking forward to sharing it very soon.
How has lockdown impacted on your creative process? Has this time had any positive aspects?
I’ve actually written quite a lot in lockdown, one story song about a couple battling with loss and acceptance during the crisis. I’m trying to shape the second album into something even more exciting.
Who are the musicians who have most inspired you?
Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan are right at the very top of my list; more recently an incredible woman called Adrienne Lenker has emerged. I was fortunate enough to share a few words with her last summer after watching her band perform at Green Man festival. She fronts Big Thief and she is the closest thing to the true greats I have ever come across.
Have you played live? Are there any plans to play once we’re out of lockdown?
I can’t wait to get back to playing. The whole point of making a record like this, for me, is spreading a message of kindness and peace, and that’s a little harder to do from your living room, though not impossible. I want to play as many open-air shows as I can, and maybe in so doing try to raise a little money for the people who have been worst affected by the crisis.
Are there any people from your past who have been a guiding light? I would love to mention my English teacher, James Brierley. He was a huge influence on me as a teenager – he made me a mixtape when I was 15 with some of the best music I’ve ever heard on it. It is from there that my framework of influences stems and I owe him a lot for that.