Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Mini-Interview: Luke Top

Among the sub-genres of LA independent music, the Grand Gallop label acts are their own distinct breed: Not freak enough to be freak folk, less hook-addicted than straight pop, too melodic for rock, but a bit of all of them, just the same.

And one of the main instigators within this rich, hard-to-describe vein of local sound is Luke Top, who is performing at our FREE Let's Independent! event at Boardner's next week -- so we figured we'd throw a few questions over the wall to him about what these guys have been up to.

Hey, Luke. How's LA treating you today?

Paradise is a bit gray today!

How long you been here?

Moved back here in 2004 via San Francisco. But I did grow up in LA for most of my formative life after emigrating from Israel. Specifically in the San Fernando Valley. Fine... Reseda.

How long have you been playing music? How did your current band come together?

Since childhood. My band has been blessed with many talented friends. It always seems to come together very naturally. We've had the same solid lineup for a while now and its been great. Some of the guys I've been playing with practically my whole life.

Others are newer collaborators like Michael Tapper (ex- We are Scientists) and Heather Goldberg (ex- Idaho Falls) who are both ruling it.

What was your experience putting your EP together?

The EP was recorded in San Francisco on an 8 track tape machine. Some friends and I built a home studio out in the Ingleside district. We each made records and played in each other's bands and this was one of the results. There were lots of mice present and all we ate was French toast.

When's the new album due?

Hopefully by fall at the latest.

You're also in Fool's Gold. How would you describe their sound?

Hebreopian. We take a variety of World Music influences and combine it with our own sensibilities. This includes some lyrics in Hebrew, free-form dance, and intricate guitarwork. With at least 8-10 people on stage at any given time it's a really fun thing. People are seen to shake it at our shows. Ever seen Weekend at Bernie's?

They have an album coming out on Grand Gallop as well?

Not quite, but we're in the process of finishing our first studio recordings.

And you also perform or have performed with The Cave-Ins/Ceramic Isles, Cairo Gang, Foreign Born, Cass Mccombs, Papercuts, and Big Search? Which of those is current?

All of these projects/people are very close to me. Collaboration is always around the corner so in some ways they are always current. In the near future, I'm performing with the band Big Search for a couple shows opening for Peter Moren. I also recently co-produced Cass' latest record for Domino and wrote some lyrics for a Foreign Born song. These days I'm making a serious effort to focus on my own music.

Who exactly are Grand Gallop? Is it a local start-up?

Grand Gallop a local label started by Sam Dorm, er, me and good friend Matt Popieluch. Sam was a 'business persona' created to make it easier for us to book shows and correspond with customers. This soon unraveled as people would start inviting him to lunches and would show up to shows asking to buy him a beer! Eventually we ran out of excuses and he is now buried, the label still active.

What's next for you? More recording? Touring? Residencies?

All of the above! Once the mixing beast is tamed, all else follows.

Last question: What local bands are you listening to these days?

Just saw a great John Webster Johns show the other night.

That's all I've got for you. Thanks for your time.


For more details on next week's Let's Independent! event, go right here.

- Lord, Save me from this Valley MP3


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