After 4 years spent focusing on bringing out incredible bands on his Super Fan 99 Records label, Uncle Luc (aka Luke Barham) makes his return with new album ‘Sticking to the Rules’. Here, Luke talks us through some of the bands and songs that have influenced the record, which you can pre-order here.
So I decided to do an influences piece specific to the making of the album. Hopefully it gives some good insight to where I was coming from and background to some of the sound and instrument choices.
Crowded House – ‘I Feel Possessed’
Neil Finn is one of my favourite songwriters, the way his middle eights lift off and take you somewhere completely new is almost unmatched for me. He perfectly balances upbeat with heartfelt which is what I aim for with my own songs. The Mitchell Froom production on this album is something we discussed quite a bit too. It has that polished late 80s slick sound and loads of colourful arrangements. Really hard to pick one song from this band but I was listening to Temple of Low a lot and this is the opening track.
Phil Collins – ‘Another Day in Paradise‘
Halfway through making the album I was invited to see Phil Collins at The Albert Hall. This coincided with catching the BBC Four Genesis documentary only a couple of weeks earlier. I’d grown up with a few Genesis albums playing in the family home but had never taken Phil totally seriously. The show turned out to be one of my favourites I’ve seen and I was totally inspired. His song writing and productions are literally out of this world, In The Air Tonight still sounds totally alien and fresh. We looked at some of the 808 drum sounds and emulated these on a couple of tracks. We also found some similar synth sounds and referenced the guitar sound on the Easy Lover solo too. He became a big influence on the record.
Jon Brion – ‘Knock Yourself Out‘
I think Jon Brion is one of the finest writers out there, there’s something about his melodies that just melts me. As with my first album we listened to a lot of his productions and borrowed certain sounds like toy pianos, timpani style drums and duel guitars. I love how clear the Beatles influence is in his music but evolved through his own filter. I think his Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind score is my favourite but Lady Bird has been on heavy rotation on my record player lately.
Modjo – ‘Lady (Hear Me Tonight)‘
The track ‘Sophie’ on my album was a collaboration with a Parisian friend of mine ‘Kostral One’. It was a little different for me as we wrote it on synths rather than guitars and it’s led by a drum machine. The song took a fair while to come to fruition as we battled with it over a year period. We always knew there was good song there but couldn’t quite figure out the arrangement. It led me to listening to lots of early 2000’s french house pop tunes. Modjo has to be one of the best and I love this video too. Our song opens with the sound of a plane flying over head which is a direct reference to ‘Groovejet’ by Spiller feat Sophie Ellis Bextor. Modjo’s Lady is also referenced in the lyrics to Bones of the Days.
Ken Stringfellow – ‘Down Like Me‘
This pick is on behalf of the album’s producer Henri as much as me. The album this comes from is one of his favourites and often came up in discussion. This track to me perfectly straddles grunge and alt-coutnry. It has that slackrey heart-worn feel which is perfectly complimented by the pedal steel guitar which adds extra sadness. We had BJ Cole play pedal steel on Bones of the Days and this was the track we had in mind when making that choice.
Nick Lowe – ‘When I Write The Book‘
EASILY the coolest rockstar from Surrey in my opinion. I feel some kind of kinship being from the same county and like Nick I’ve never taken songs too seriously often weaving humour in to the lyrics even within sadder songs. I guess I get some of that from Stephen Malkmus too. The way he just gets better with age amazes me, he’s a hip crooner these days and his band Los Straightjackets are so damn good. I’ve picked one of his classic tracks as I just love how rocking the acoustics and drums sound on this, it also has a killer chorus. He’s another artist that myself and Henri are both huge fans of. The Jesus of Cool indeed.