This fall, Lukas Graham hit the road in support of 3 (The Purple Album), kicking things off in the states on October 22nd in Seattle, WA. The tour ran through November 10th, ending in Boston, MA where we sat down with Lukas to discuss his incredible year. Lukas reveals that the preparations for this tour were a bit turbulent in the beginning, but after a few new band replacements, they were ready to go. Lukas admits, “Even though we had some bumpy things happen on this tour, it’s been really, really, good to be back on the road. This is what we do. I love writing songs, I love all the other stuff that come with my line of work. But it’s when you get to look your own audience in the eye and you’re like, “yeah, this is why I do what I do.”.
There are a lot of rewarding moments that come with touring your music across the world. For Lukas, stepping out on that stage and seeing the audience sing the words right back to him is something to remember. “Even a concert that I feel didn’t go well, I still get nothing but positive responses and usually the same with reviews and stuff.” For this tour specifically, Lukas did things a little different this time around. “We have usually built our set around two ramps - one at the beginning and one at the end. This time we tried to ramp it a little more gradually. Have some smaller highs in the early show and then go back down again to some slower songs. Slowly but surely build to that climatic moment that we have for the last three or four songs that really just feel a little more ecstatic.” While Lukas takes the time to perform the hits from the past few years, he admits that he will never be able to make everyone happy. “we’ve released so much music that every time we do a tour, even with 90 minutes, there are songs we don’t play. You know you’re going to disappoint someone and then the question becomes, “but am I disappointing myself?”. No matter what I don’t play, someone in the audience is going to wish that I played that song I didn’t play.” Not to worry though, hearing songs like “Funeral”, “Love Someone” and “7 Years” is bound to make your entire evening.
Bringing your music on the road allows you to feed off the energy of the audience and see what they are really vibing with. There is always a moment or two that can surprise an artist in the beginning of any tour. For Lukas, he shares, “We do a song called “You’re Not The Only One (Redemption Song)” - when song’s aren’t pushed as singles, the same with “Funeral”, which is one of the last songs of the set, “Redemption Song” and “Funeral” were never pushed by a label, but the audience sings them so loudly. That’s where I realized that I’m an album artist. Yeah, I have great singles, “7 Years” is still the biggest one, but the fact that my audience, our audience, listens to the entire piece of work when you release an album.” A lot of artists are only releasing singles these days, which is fair due to the industry that is growing every single day. However, there are a few select artists who are able to release a body of work and have the public, more importantly the fans, appreciate it for what it is.
The Purple Album is obviously something very close to Lukas’ heart. Lukas reveals that stepping into this career, this journey, has allowed him to be himself. “I grew up doing movies and stuff and I did a lot of theater, I sang in a choir - where it was always someone else's face, it was someone else's role. When I’m doing this, since I started writing rap lyrics, as a twelve year old, a sixteen year old, it’s like, “oh, I get to be me”, which is a great feeling.” That passion and drive was at an all time high when Lukas shared his latest single “Lie” with the world. “Lie” is the start of a new era for Lukas - only because it doesn’t sound like anything he has released in the past. “That was kind of the point - not to create a break with the past but to in some ways start a new era. We use to tour with a brass section, we’re taking a break from that for a little while. We use to be a four piece band, then we were a four piece with a brass section. We’ve done four piece, with a brass section and a choir. But now we have a guitarist, John, and the way he fill out the gaps in the music - being a five piece for the first time, feels really, really good. Remembering how powerful a rock and roll band can be, when it’s just music, not too much extra glam. “Lie” is a nice can opener. It sounds different and it’s also from a retrospective view rather than from the present looking into the future, which everything else I’ve done had been. It’s like me as a nineteen/twenty year old singing about that adolescent love - where we do tend to lie to ourselves first and foremost.”
With the holiday season right around the corner, Lukas released his first original holiday song, “HERE (For Christmas)”. “We’ve never released a seasonal song before. It was an attempt to write a song that defied the modern single in terms of being longer - it’s almost four minutes. So many people aren’t feeling well during the holiday season - Thanksgiving, Christmas, or whatever it is. I think they need to know that it is ok. The only way out of an emotion is through that emotion. If you keep bottling things up, you explode. It doesn’t really work well if you try to ignore how you feel. I’ve tried it and I ended up punching walls or breaking things, that was after my father died. I was so adamant about continuing my work, that I didn’t really allow myself to feel - which made me an asshole for a while.” The goal in the back of Lukas’ mind, was to write a Christmas song that wasn’t all about bells and being happy. Lukas admits, “It’s not a sad song, it’s just a song about the fact that we also miss people while we’re celebrating and being happy - and that’s ok. You can be mournful and happy at the same time.”
With 2020 right around the corner, Lukas has a lot to look forward to. “I want the album, the next one, to be more uplifting, more uptempo, more giving - still deep and I still hope to inspire with my way of writing lyrics that mean a lot in a short space.” Lukas is looking forward to having fun in the new year, teasing some features and collaborations that are on the way. Keeping up with the industry, Lukas plans to have a higher release frequency in 2020. “The follow-up for “Lie” is ready for March. I’ve already written thirty songs this year. I still have more sessions to go. My goal for 2020 is to release as much music as our schedule permits.” That schedule is already looking pretty booked as Lukas Graham plans to play some big home town shows next summer. “I hope to do some festivals around the world. That all depends on something as bull shit as commercial success. I wish it wasn’t the case. At the end of the day it’s alright though. So many people would like to do what we do and we get to do it. Wishing for more also going to bring less of all the stuff that I’m enjoying - like my friends, my family and the good food experiences. When we become bigger and more famous, there’s going to be more places we need to go and more people that want to see us and more pressure, more sacrifice. But I’m pretty ok with it. After a while I kind of gotten use to exchanging one thing for another.”
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