luke hemmings

Luke Hemmings: Take Two

We had such a good time with Luke Hemmings while working on our cover story this summer that we thought we’d give you even more! Ahead, you’ll find more snippets from his interview that didn’t make the final cut but were too good to keep to ourselves. Plus, check out our exclusive behind-the-scenes video from the photo shoot in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

On choosing “Starting Line” as the first single: “There’s a couple of ballads, but I tend to write slower songs instinctually. And this one has a bit of everything on the album. It has the piano. It has the strings. Obviously, the lyrical content is a great starting point and sums up a lot of what the album is about. But I think sonically, it’s what a first step forward should be from an album. It sums it up lyrically and sonically. There are bits and pieces that relate to other things in the album because it is quite sonically diverse, I guess. So this was the closest thing to summing it all up. Summing all the thoughts and the sounds and all of that stuff up. And also it’s just rad. It’s a great way to open.”

On how he felt during 2020 and COVID: “It’s hard because I feel like every new year should be one of the best years because you make of it what you make of it. But [2020] really was so nice for me. Again, it was such a shitty time for so many people, but for me to be at home with Sierra and with my dog and in one place, although it was obviously really hard not to go to Australia. I still haven’t been, which is a bummer, and all of that sucks. But being in one place and being able to make something, whether it was on my own or with the band, even just being able to figure it out and come out the other side of it. Even, like you said, come out the other side and be, I don’t know, definitely more appreciative, and have such a deeper understanding of my inner psyche, I guess.”

On working with Sammy Witte: “It was very much me and one other person, obviously Sierra’s on two songs, but a lot of it was me and the producer Sammy Witte. So because it was only us two, it’s actually quite different for me. In the band, obviously you have three other people. And there’s a lot more moving parts, I suppose. So for this, when it’s just me, and the same with the writing process and the production process, it was just me and him. It was interesting for me. Every little decision — I’m quite the over-thinker — I had the luxury of going through every little thing, even the track list. There were 15 different track lists that I was listening through. [Witte] was like, ‘No, we should do it like this.’ Because he’s so passionate. Even more than me sometimes, but he was like, ‘No, it shouldn’t be here. It should be here. This song should be here.'”

On working on a solo project: “At the start, I was writing just on my own for it and then met Sam. I was just writing on my own, and I’m trying to get better at producing. So for a while, I was writing a bunch of songs that were cool. They were cool vibes, but … none of them are on the album now. I had to go through them, and almost write those songs to get to these ones out. It was very nerve-wracking at first. A lot of it was written in Sam’s place, which is a converted garage. It’s really nice. I don’t want to talk shit about his place. It’s a rad place. It’s a sick house, but that part was fine, where it was just me and him. But then not going into an actual studio and even doing a photo shoot or doing a video shoot was really weird. All of that process was very strange. But I think that where I’m going with it is where the scariest part was like, ‘Oh, OK. We were going to do all the creative and then do a video shoot.’ And going into a video shoot without the band was so strange. And it’s taken a minute to do things on my own, and not freak out about it and not be like, ‘Fuck, I feel like I’m cheating on the band or something.’ I think that has made me, again, similar to the songwriting aspect, has made me better at doing things because I realized how much I leaned on them.”

On spending the last decade with 5SOS: “I don’t even know what kind of human I would be, or what would have happened to me, if I didn’t have the band there for all that time.”

On what he learned while touring with One Direction as a teenager: “You know what I did learn on tour is fucking math. Because my mom taught me on the road. So she taught me that. That’s one thing.”