Chat with Luke Dowler on His New EP West
From the first listen to “Coming Home,” the opening track off of Luke Dowler’s 2012 masterpiece Polarized, I’ve been captivated by his unique blend of rock ‘n roll. A true singer-songwriter with a penchant for churning out passionate, thought-provoking originals, Dowler is an artist who always captures my attention.
The Montana based performer is back with his recent release of West, his new EP. The Kickstarter funded EP finds Dowler pushing his boundaries yet again and is an excellent and diverse offering. We caught up with him recently and chatted about the new EP.
RARA’s Farm: Tell us a little bit about the decision to use Kickstarter to fund this EP.
Luke Dowler: I thought about doing one a few years back, but even then Kickstarter seemed so over-saturated. The idea came back around and I decided to take the leap. Any project that takes the Kickstarter approach, there’s some risk out there. Fortunately, we succeeded and we were able to make the EP.
RARA’s Farm: So, this EP is titled West; is there significance as to why these five particular songs ended up on the EP named West?
Luke Dowler: Leaving the label last year and looking forward I was thinking ‘what now’? And, the answer was ‘anything and everything’. I would say that on one level, the EP is not very linear sonically but at the same time, the glue of it is “West” conjuring up images of pioneering and looking forward to the future and what’s next. You’ve got a little bit of electronic a little folk rock and a little acoustic. It was my thought that I could go anywhere from here.
RARA’s Farm: That makes sense. As I listened to the album, it seemed really diverse and I was wondering what the common thread was; that’s a good way to pull it all together.
Luke Dowler: I started out in a ska band and played in a lot of different variations musically and have written in a lot of styles. Sometimes the delivery of style is something that people get hung up on. I’ve always considered myself a songwriter… So that’s why I decided to start out with West. “West” as an idea is where I wanted to start.
As a reviewer, I found the EP was truly a diverse group of songs. A few of them work better than others, but they all stand strongly on their own. The first three are straight forward Dowler-esque rock, and all three are superb; then the EP takes some different twists and turns. We chatted about the five tracks.
RARA’s Farm: The EP kicks off with “Firewater Revelation;” it’s an excellent track with fantastic lyrics.
Luke Dowler: I’m a big fan of Van Gogh’s “Cafe At Night” and the emotional response it evokes and I thought I wanted to paint a picture with a song. So, it’s describing a bit of a melancholy scene. The working title was actually “Bar Rats.” Growing up in the church and learning about life within that context and then playing music and meeting people outside of that context you start to see the similarities in people and similarities in drive and desire and realizing there really is universality of the human spirit. So you see the contrast of the church language and the coarser bar language.
RARA’s Farm: “Good Enough” is a bit of a stripped down folk rock track. Is that a genre that you’re more comfortable playing in? The first three songs are all a bit different, but feel like good fits for you. Is there one that seems like a better fit?
Luke Dowler: I think I like the first three songs equally. “Good Enough” is one that also translates well live. I like all of the tunes on the album, but would probably say my least favorite is “Hold Up The Sky,” and that might be more because of the production value.
RARA’s Farm: Let me ask you about “College Town,” listening to those lyrics, are you speaking to a specific college town, or more the electric, eclectic atmosphere in many college towns?
Luke Dowler: I live just North of Missoula, which is similar to a city like Portland… an organic creative and youthful place where there’s a lot happening all the time. So, that’s definitely an influence.
RARA’s Farm: “Hold Up the Sky” – is that a song to your wife Jacy?
Luke Dowler: Yeah. when I first started out, I was writing songs about girls and now that’s come back full circle where I realized the first things I wrote about, girls and love, are worth pursuing.
RARA’s Farm: That female vocal we hear on “Halfway?”
Luke Dowler: Yes, that’s my wife, Jacy singing back-up vocals.
RARA’s Farm: “Halfway” is a bit of a different feel than I’ve heard before from Luke Dowler.
Luke Dowler: I’ve always been a sucker for electronic and dance music. When we’re touring, I always force the crew to listen to it, typically the tackier the better. “Halfway” is one that I like.
RARA’s Farm: Are there still plans to do the other three compass directions, North, South and East?
Luke Dowler:I think so, I think that is still in the pipeline. I don’t have the timeline down, as I’ve got a couple of singles I’m working on and some music videos, so creatively, I’m looking at that stuff first before completing the three follow-up EPs.
So, there you have it, a bit of an in-depth look at West, and it’s five songs. Check it out below and give us your thoughts.
If you like pure, passionate singer-songwriter rock, you’ll love this album. The first three selections are pure perfection, and the EP offers a diverse collection every fan of rock music needs on their new music radar.