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.


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Pho­tog­ra­phy © John Ogunmuyiwa

2 thoughts on “Sweet and sad times: an interview with singer songwriter Luca Wilding

  1. Haven’t been so excit­ed to hear a new singer in a very, very long time. Pure tal­ent. I am absolute­ly floored by Johan­na. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.

    1. I have to agree, he is a rare tal­ent – mea­sured, thought­ful and sen­si­tive. Hope to see him live… when­ev­er that happens!

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