A beer with... Luke Sital-Singh
Luke Sital-Singh is a musician, singer-songwriter and craft beer fan.
Gordon | 22 Aug 2018
Every few months we find someone really interesting to sit down and have a pint with. Because, well, why not? Luke Sital-Singh is a musician, singer-songwriter and craft beer fan. I caught up with him in Small Bar, Bristol.
For those people that are unfamiliar with you, what would you say was your music style?
I’m a singer-songwriter of pensive, melancholy pop songs. Performed mostly with acoustic guitar or piano. I sometimes call myself a balladeer, because we don’t use that phrase very often and it’s cool. I do love a ballad. I’m bringing back the ballad.
What have we been interrupting?
Probably a fairly lazy day. Having just finished a lot of hard work making another album I am kind of having a bit of a breather. It’s now left to the professional people in suits to do what they will with my artistic endeavours. I tend to just sit around. I watched a bit of basketball this morning, cleaned the house, did a few chores. It’s quite good to be drinking in the afternoon!
So you’ve been working on the new album?
Yes, for the past two years really. I recorded it in beautiful Donegal in Ireland. In the middle of nowhere for two weeks with a producer called Tommy McLaughlin (who plays guitar in The Villagers). It was really good and I am very proud of it. It’s hard for me to show emotion because [laughs] I am a cynical person but I am genuinely very proud of it and can’t wait for people to hear it. Annoyingly it probably won’t be a while until anyone does but it will be early next year with snippets and singles out before the year’s end.
Is there a working title?
Noooo. Album 2 is what it’s named on my hard drive! There are a few ideas but I’ve nothing to say. I haven’t really got any ideas.
For people who are familiar with your work is it a natural progression?
It is. It’s not weird but there were moments when I thought I was making a weird thing. If anything I think I’ve just taken it further and taken off the shinier edges which is maybe something that I regret about my first album. I feel like maybe those edges were rounded off a bit and I like to leave things untreated. I don’t like sanding wood. To stretch a metaphor I’ve left the sand blaster at home and you might get a splinter.
I first heard you on the Lauren Laverne show on 6music. I stalked you on Instagram and I saw a picture you posted of a row of great beers. So I thought, that Luke Sital Singh likes his beers. Is this true?
I am a hipster through and through. I do like beers. I like coffee and I like beers and stupid glasses. And selvedge jeans.
You’ve got a bit of a geek on about coffee?
I am a bit more of a geek about coffee. You’ve got to pick one thing haven’t you? The thing with me is that I like things that have been made well and have passion put into them. More than buying some crap off the shelf which has been mass produced. There’s just something a little nicer when you know the people. It’s what I really like about the HIUT denim jeans and you guys. When you’ve met the people you suddenly appreciate what they do a bit more. I’ve met a few of the brewers here in Bristol and I like supporting things like that. I wouldn’t say that I was a connoisseur by any stretch. That photo that you saw was a bit of an experiment. A friend of mine was coming round and he liked beers and I like beers and I thought we would do a mini tasting. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I based it all on whether I liked the label.
That’s how we buy beers at BeerBods!
It’s what most people will do. It’s the same with coffee you know. I think that once you get to a certain level of quality it’s all in the branding [laughs].
You like to be closer to the person that has made the thing, whatever that thing happens to be?
Yeah I think so. Obviously there’s elements where that is difficult but it is so nice to be more intentional about things that you consume and things that you purchase. Knowing the story and where it has come from and it’s not just some vacuous thing that appears on the supermarket shelf. You invest a bit more. The woman who makes my jeans is called Elin and she comes to my gigs. It’s so nice to have that relationship. My friends run Bertha’s Pizza and now my favourite pizza in the world is made by my friends in Bristol. It’s great. It narrows down the stuff that you have to choose from. When you have friends who are doing world class things and sometimes you just make friends with the people who are doing world class things and, you know, I want free stuff [cheeky grin, then laughs].
You’ve recently relocated from that London to Bristol?
Yup. About a year now. From Holloway. My wife Hannah and I knew Bristol fairly well. A big contingent of my family are in Bristol. My eldest brother moved here to Uni and stayed and had a family. And my parents moved here because they wanted to be near the grandkids and, when we basically got priced out of London, of all the places close to London, with the things that we liked about London but without the things that we didn’t like about London. It was Bristol or Brighton.
And you are now fully acquainted with the Bristol beer scene?
I wouldn’t say fully but here we are in the middle of the day, drinking! Wiper and True are probably my favourite. Followed by Left Handed Giant.
Does beer figure a lot when you are touring?
Brewdog was sort of one of my ins to the world of nice beer. Whatever you say about them they probably did that for a lot of people and they should be appreciated for that. Anyway, I made the mistake of putting Punk IPA on my rider which I now can’t drink because it’s a pretty strong taste and I find hoppy beers fairly difficult to drink in large quantities. Because I foolishly put Punk IPA on my rider, which is the thing that you get given at every gig you play. All it takes is one tour. Maybe you do a two week tour but you are drinking Punk IPA every single night for two weeks. It was a struggle, but if people want to give me free beer. I’ll take it!
You’ve toured in the States?
Yeah. But I haven’t done that any where I’ve been able to ask for whatever beer I want! I’ve done a lot more in Europe. In places like Belgium, Germany and Holland I do really well.
Is that a melancholy thing?
I don’t know why my stuff goes so well in Holland or Belgium or such. The rules are just completely different and, you know, they like what they like. I’ve done some tours with Villagers who are a fairly big indie band who do huge venues in Europe.
If you were to play a gig anywhere for the beer that was there, where would it be?
It would probably be Belgium because one of the things I have enjoyed about touring Europe and stuff is that I do like a Belgium beer. I do like a Westmalle. The Tripels and the Dubbels and that. I would accidentally get very drunk before a gig somewhere like Belgium because I will have just asked for two bottles of Westmalle Tripel and drunk both of them!
You also curate a playlist on Spotify on Sundays?
[Laughs] I’ve never actually heard anyone say that! I chuck some songs on a playlist! Totes emosh playlist. It’s what people do or so I am told. People like to hear things that you like. It’s fairly dour but I think it works. I actually listen to it quite a lot if I’ve nothing to listen to. It’s introduced me to more bands. I don’t go out of my way to find new music very often. I like what I like and I like being really fully invested in stuff. So if I discover a band I have to listen to everything they do. Rather than like ‘oh I like that one song’ and put it on a playlist. I am not really a playlist kind of listener. I like to listen to albums.
If people are interested, how do they find you?
My name is fairly unique, there are no other Luke Sital Singhs on the planet as far as I am aware. It is my actual name. You’ll be surprised how many people think it’s a stage name. Which is hilarious to me.
Wherever you like to find music, I’ll be there.
Cheers Luke, Gordon.
Luke's latest EP, Weight of Love, is available to buy and listen to now. He's currently in Portland, Oregon recording his new album.
This interview was originally published in our Summer 2016 journal.