Mix Talks: Luka layers up for In the Dead of Winter

Luke Kuplowsky, who performs under the moniker Luka, is hopping on an airplane and then driving around the Maritimes to play a bunch of festival shows this weekend. Here’s what he had to say about the upcoming shows.

You’re doing the classic In the Dead of Winter-Stereophonic-Shivering Songs three-pack this weekend. What’s it like preparing to travel through the Maritimes in the winter compared to the summer for something like SappyFest?

Bracing yourself for the elements. Layers of clothes. Flying out to Halifax, rather than driving from Ontario. A lot of practical factors, rather than the laid back SappyFest road trip.

What will you listen to on your way out? Anything grabbing your attention at the moment?

When I’m flying out, I’ll be turning towards relaxed, pretty sounds. Most likely Abdullah Ibrahim, John Martyn, and Sade — all artists in touch with a deep well of emotion and tenderness.

In the car, we’re planning on country from old to new —  George Jones to Eric Church,  Dolly Parton to Carrie Underwood.

Before we talk about your music, tell us a little bit about the cat on your album cover (Summon Up a Monkey King) and the “Why Don’t You Go to Her” video? We’re a little obsessed with cats at Mixtape HQ, so don’t hold back.

Ah, sweet Rohmer. My partner and I have lived with him for almost three years. He is a natural performer. You turn the camera on and he takes no direction, yet every take is gold. Both the album cover and videos have been, in a sense, directed by Rohmer.


For IDOW, you’re playing with Kurt Inder and Bianca Palmer. How did you meet them and what led to you playing with them?

Yes, I met them two summers ago, hitching a ride from Halifax to Sackville. Beautiful people and great musicians. It’s often difficult financially or practically to bring out the friends I play and record with in Toronto, so it’s great to have Bianca and Kurt as an East Coast band. It also refreshes the set, keeps the songs alive and flexible.

(Editor’s note: Kurt Inder plays at 10 p.m., right before Luka, at the Seahorse on Thursday.)

What’s it like getting up on stage and singing open and honestly? You seem to have a lot of personal tales woven into your songs.

Performing is always a very powerful and rewarding experience. The personal element, for me, really dissolves after the song is written and takes shape as its own form and narrative. However, the songs still carry a mysterious power that never fails to move me.

What’s on tap musically for you in 2017?

There is a new Luka album that will arrive towards the end of the year. Spring and Summer tour plans are in the works. Recording more music. Maybe releasing an ode to cult artist Jan Terri. Lots, if all goes well.

East coast tour dates:

Jan. 19 – Halifax, NS – In the Dead of Winter at the Seahorse Tavern (11 p.m.)
Jan. 20 – Sackville, NB – Stereophonic XIV
Jan. 21  – Fredericton, NB – Shivering Songs

Edited for length and clarity by Jonathan Briggins.

Press photo of Luka by Josh MacDonald

About Jonathan Briggins 71 Articles
Editor-in-chief of Mixtape magazine.