As I interviewed young musical prodigy Luke Saxton at his home last Wednesday night, cries of “Finish your coursework first!” and “Don’t leave it till later, do it now!” from his parents, could be heard at various points throughout the night. Luke himself, lounging slightly self-consciously on a chair, looked neutral to their comments. This is probably because he’s heard them a million times before. As a fifteen year old whose only concern is his music, school work tends to take a back seat. Evidence of how much he detests school and the education system can be found on various tracks from latest album, Big Black Car, such as the aptly named, Manor. The tracks stink of exasperation and imprisonment. Luke has the characteristics of a phoenix-like butterfly, cocooning himself in a certain style or genre of music, and then engendering yet another album before the whole cycle starts all over again. He’s like a shape shifter, shoegaze, post-punk, indie, he’s done them all. And he’s still bored. “Yeah, I reckon I’ll get bored off albums” he mumbles thoughtfully. “I’m running out of melodies anyway”. This isn’t hard to believe after listening to albums such as Crazy World, an ironic take on his not so crazy life, and newest track, Television. Strokesy to the point of criminal and with melodies that bands such as The Drums would swap an arm and a leg for, it’s hard to see where he could go next.
The album before Big Black Car was an experimental, post-punk, industrial beast, Reptile, a complete polar opposite of his earlier stuff. The second brain behind this moody monstrosity was close friend, Jamie Scott-Dyson. He’s the boy who can’t technically play any musical instruments, but manages to produce the stark, gravelly tones Reptile so proudly boasts. Although he puts a sizeable amount of work in to Luke’s music, he states confidently that even if Luke manages to become big and famous and his name gets left behind in the shadows, he won’t care. “It’s when you’ve finished a really good album and you get a really good feeling in your stomach” he says. “That’s the reason I help him make the music”. Although Luke insists that this is in no way the beginning of a band, he is in fact already part of a group, folk meets shoegaze trio, Sombre. And after only less than six months together, he’s already bored. “It feels more natural playing with Jamie, but I don’t want that to become a band. I already have to force myself to have band practise as it is” he admits. “In the future I’ll probably have been in several other bands and been part of plenty of other side projects”. He has an ever changing musical personality and constantly needs something new and challenging to keep him interested.
This was once seen as a good thing, as he created album after album in a matter of months, but now he just wants to take things slow. “There’s no rush” he states. This is true. He’s only fifteen, yet he’s already produced more albums than many professional bands have in a life time. This relaxed attitude fits in more with his character. Calm, thoughtful, and sometimes a little slow, the saying ‘goes with the flow’ is an understatement. Much to the annoyance of Jamie. “When an album’s finished I feel like, jobs done, lets starts with the next one” he tells me. “I don’t” Luke interrupts somewhat timidly. “I feel like the jobs done, but I also feel proud of myself, like I’ve done something good. I don’t feel like that about anything else”. A shy teenager with low self-esteem, he tells me bluntly that he’s talentless at everything except his music. This isn’t helped by being the youngest of four and easily the most overlooked. “Yeah, I don’t think I’m taken seriously. It’s just like ‘Oh, Luke’s doing his music thing again’” he tells me. Critics could say this is the reason why he changes his style of music so often, as a cry for attention, but I just think he’s the sort of person who can’t sit still for too long.
And what will he do if he doesn’t make a breakthrough? “I don’t think I could work in an office. Maybe I could if I did my music when I got home, that’d be okay” he muses. “It’s all about personal fulfilment. It’s nice when people compliment my work, but it’s not that important. I don’t know if I’d like being famous anyway. I’d have to see”. This is shown on album, Big Black Car. Half of the songs are from past album, On Water, about a girl who rejected him. This fits in perfectly with his typical, stereotypical, teenage life, always turned down and never accepted. Is it this everyday life that sets him up to write a song? “Not really. I could wake up in the morning with a melody in my head. It just comes”. This is the perfect way to describe his music, as if it just comes with the rest of his bodily functions.
And where does he see himself in ten years’ time? “I don’t want to turn in to my Dad. I want to be out of York. It’s boring. I hate it. I just want to be playing my music still”. Although chilled, he has an impulsive personality and is constantly being told by his Dad that he’s going to ‘die young’. “Well, I don’t want to die an old man” he tells me.
It’s inevitable that this young man is going to go far. Not cut out to work a 9 to 5 job, and not just looking for fame as an easy route out, making music is all he knows to do. Whether he ends up as the next big thing or not, it’s clear that he’s going to be creating albums till the day he dies, however soon that is.