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Interview: Luke Buda Chats About New Single 'Very Special Feelings'

Interview: Luke Buda Chats About New Single 'Very Special Feelings'

Chris Cudby / Friday 5th April, 2024 9:22AM

Picking up the thread of his BUDA album launch tour, frustratingly put on hold during the on again / off again peak of the pandemic era, The Phoenix Foundation co-founder Luke Buda will finally be gracing stages all around Aotearoa this month, playing with his own live band featuring Olivia Campion, Jacqui Nyman and Anita Clark. Joined for both Te Ika-a-Māui dates by Tāmaki Makaurau's Phoebe Rings [update: their new single 'Mandarin Tree' is out now], the Silver Scroll winning artist (received in 2009 for co-writing Lawrence Arabia's 'Apple Pie Bed') brightens our autumnal Friday with the magical dream-pop hues of new single 'Very Special Feelings', including contributions from Clark and Campion, plus backing vocals from Buda's long-term TPF creative ally Samuel Flynn Scott. Buda kindly entertained my questions about the song and his life in music, open your heart to 'Very Special Feelings' and read on below...

Luke Buda

Friday 12th April - Yours, Ōtepoti*
Saturday 13th April - Space Academy, Ōtautahi*

Luke Buda and Phoebe Rings

Friday 19th April - Meow, Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Saturday 20th April - Whammy, Tāmaki Makaurau

*Tickets available HERE via UTR
Tickets available HERE via Moshtix
Whammy tickets available HERE via UTR

Chris Cudby: Luke — this is your first new release since your Taite Music Prize nominated 2021 solo album BUDA. Where does the feline single cover artwork come from? Is this an ode to your cat?

Luke Buda: Haha! I do have three cats. One of which gets really positive engagement on the socials due to the fact that she is big fat cat. We took her to the vet once a little worried about how chonky she was and the vet basically shrugged and said “Some cats are just fat.” All power to her. Her name is Darling Jnr (after her mother: Darling) and, quite distressingly this gets shortened to DJ. So I am constantly calling out “DJ! DJ!” Around the house. Which is weird cause I play guitar.

Ummm anyway the cover is by my brother-in-law Doug Johns.

Sam Flynn Scott also sings on 'Very Special Feelings' — where does the boundary line exist (if it does at all) between your solo work and The Phoenix Foundation? It feels to me like something of a continuation of your BUDA-era dreamy sound.

Ah yeah that boundary line is random and arbitrary. It’s basically down to timing — like when I have a demo I am excited about, and whether that is at the same time as I am organising a solo tour, meaning that naturally the song becomes a solo song… or it could be down to this: I play the demo to Sam and Conrad (Wedde). The response is muted! Therefore it is a solo Buda song. Etc etc. In fact you might like to know that The Phoenix Foundation spent the week between Camp A Low Hums in the studio busting out new jams. AND during those sessions we ended up doing a song of mine that I had thought was going to be a solo song because it was exciting to be in the studio and we were laying shit down real quick and I felt like I wanted to contribute more stuff.

What was it like to revisit your older solo works in preparation for the upcoming tour?

The older older stuff is weird because it’s so old. Special Surprise came out in 2005. I was 25 when I made it. I am 45 now and I feel like I am now a slightly different person. On Special Surprise especially because it is so optimistic and sweet. Not a natural feeling for a tired 45 year old TBH sorry just err saying it how it is.

However we have selected a couple of choice cuts and are attempting to lean into the youth and enthusiasm in the music.

As an artist with a now extensive back catalogue (eg. you've recently had a TPF 20th anniversary album tour) your new song sounds very crisp, fresh and good. From whence does the well of musical inspiration perpetually spring?

Sheet. I dunno. But I can say this cheesy thing. My mum tells me that when I was a little kid (like 4 or 5) I would just as happily listen to records on headphones as watch the TV. So I think I’ve been tragically obsessed with music for my whole life. Also, there have been times when Moniker have been working on TV shows etc where the output of music seems relentless and sometimes I have thought “Shit is there just gonna be a day when I run out of music?” Luckily not yet. And in fact I feel like I and also the Phoenix Foundation are making our best stuff now.

How did Phoebe Rings come to be involved in the tour?

I think one day I was just having a good hard think about what cool other act could be a co-headliner when I saw the Instagram post about their last single '아​스​라​이 (Aseurai)' which I immediately loved. Luckily they were into it. The venues down south are much smaller and at the time it felt like maybe it would be hard for us to make it financially viable to bring TWO touring acts down.

Will there be any more new solo releases in the near future?

Maybe not the near future but I have many many half finished tracks in the vault, and also that 8th Phoenix Foundation album we have now begun working on — working title Virtual Cafe.

Where do you keep your Silver Scroll award?

Ha! You gotta give the scroll back at the end of the year man — also I think James (Milne) just had it for the year cause we couldn’t be bothered trying to courier it down to Wellington! I do have a certificate though. It is sitting in a pile with my ahem gold records (they’re actually gold CDs) behind some keyboard stands in the corner of my studio. One day I will have a total change of heart and embrace the cheese of proudly displaying them.

'Very Special Feelings' is out today on major streaming services.


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