Songwriting allows Luke Biscan to become his own personal therapist, he laughs.
“With music you can flip the painful stuff around and turn it into something that’s quite healing,” the 27-year-old explains.
“I want all of my songs to speak to people on some level.”
Much of Biscan’s music symbolises moments of epiphany, expressed through lyrics of powerful imagery and guitar melodies that layer sincerity, depth and complexity.
Sometimes he reflects darkly on past disillusionment, enlightening listeners to his radical shift in perspective and newfound acceptance of the world, his flaws and all of life’s ironies.
Almost four years ago Biscan moved from England to Geelong, the hometown of his father, Mike, lead guitarist of ’80s folk rock band Goanna.
“My family was reserved and encouraged me to pursue a modest career. I was a carpenter for some time and then I worked in a bank for a bit,” Biscan says.
“I was anxious about the adjustment but Geelong has really adopted me. I think I’m perceived as something a little exotic because of my accent but I’m really the least exotic person.”
The youthful values Biscan held close to his heart began disbanding in early adulthood, with his new mindset prompting the desire for a fresh start in Australia.
“When I arrived in Australia I immediately found that I had this larger palette for songwriting.”
“Everything changed when I came to Australia.”
Biscan had limited experience playing live before the move. His first gig was just two and a half years previously in a Bristol pizzeria.
Now he’s just played a gig at Federation Square with Chris Pickering and Demi Louise and is independently producing his first record, Revivalist. His first single, The Oldest Illusion, was released in December.
The song will feature on his debut album, to co-incide later this year with Biscan’s first national tour.
Biscan was recently taken under the wing of Ditto, an international marketing, promotion and online distribution company that brought Ed Sheeran to fame. The brand’s leverage in the music industry and worldwide connections have given Biscan hope that overseas tour opportunities might arise as soon as 2017.
“Places that censor artistic expression really interest me. I’d love to visit North Korea for example,” Biscan says.
Working closely with Waurn Ponds music producer Isaac Barter, who previously lectured Biscan at Geelong’s Diversitat music theory college, the pair at times finds themselves fleshing out songs in the middle of the night.
“When you’re playing four or five gigs a week as a means to fund the recording you find that by the time you get to the studio your voice can be hoarse,” Biscan observes.
“There’s been times when I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with my vocal chords feeling recording-ready and I’ll call Isaac and rush off to the studio at 3am.”
Influenced by the likes of Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, Biscan’s songwriting simultaneously carries a broken, youthful sentiment and mature clarity.
“One of my favourite tracks on the record is called What Could Never Be. It’s about the dangers of keeping wild dreams in captivity and coming to a point in life where you learn to let go.”
“Lyrics come to me like Tetris. I might have the DNA of the melody and just one line before going into the studio.
“All of the songs on the record are very story driven.
“One song was recorded in the one day. It just all came together which is very rare. I love creating something out of nothing like that.”
The UK expat says Geelong’s music scene is “pretty small” but “so supportive”.
“I’ve never felt overwhelmed. Everyone wants you to succeed. The challenge is carving out a space for yourself.
“In carpentry and pretty much every other profession you’re not applauded by a room full of people for finishing a job, so it almost feels unethical. I feel really lucky.”
Biscan’s filming his first music video, for The Oldest Illusion, with the song inspired by the attacks in Paris.
After gaining experience in Geelong, Biscan feels “ready for the road ahead”.
“It’s nice to feel like I’m starting to get some recognition.
“I haven’t been scared to wait and hone my craft before launching my first record.
“I want to release something I’m really proud of.”
His second single, Rockodile (A Reptile for the People), should be out in August, with a string of other singles to be released in the lead up to the launch of his 12-track debut record in October.
Biscan’s national tour date announcement and music videos will be available at facebook.com/lukebiscan. Samples of his music are available at soundcloud.com/luke-biscan
Originally published at Geelong Coast Magazine.