Much like Pasihae, Dr Frankenstein, and Sharon Osborne before him, Luke Haines, in his band The Auteurs, would create a monster he would later disown – Britop. He would be the vanguard of guitar based song writing mixing wry kitchen sink observation with sweeping confession, Spawning and spurring many others.

Now after a period of reflection and stint with the palette cleansing Black Box Recorder Luke is now making dream-like investigations into the public subconscious and his own reflections on popular culture including an album about British wrestling of the 70’s, one about the baader meinhof group, and his latest about New York in the 70’s.

With two sharply written books and twitter account that holds nothing back Luke is an intimidating figure, until I talked to him on the phone, his voice is gentle and he’s quick to explain his point of view.

Do you fancy playing festivals any more?
No, I don’t care about festivals, I’ did festival number six in September but that’s more to do with the documentary made a couple of years ago and the short film I made for the Quietus about art. I think festivals now have become the stepping stones in a career path for young bands or reformed bands, neither of which are of any interest to me. I don’t really put myself forward anyway so I never get asked anyway.

Tell me about the documentary at no 6 festival
Its a film called Art Will Save The World its made by Niall McCann, its been on the festival circuit, done a few European festivals and a few in the UK, It should be out on a more general release by the end of the year.

How was it being the subject of a documentary?
Its weird, you don’t really exist to be the subject of documentaries, you exist to write songs, or books or just make stuff, so when some thing’s being made about you. Its quite surreal. I’m quite detached, I had nothing to do with the film other than I sit there and have a camera stuck in my face. I don’t really know what I think of the film, its impossible to say because its not my take on anything, but I don’t come out of it really badly, so that’s okay. Other than that its someone’s take on you me, so you you have to kinda let it go.

So talking about other peoples take on you, ‘the psychedelic’ has been used to describe your work, you even used it yourself. Is it a word of convenience or is that the genre you’re going for?
I’m not going for any genre at all, I’m think I have my own genre, and that’s what I’m trying to create, certainly with the last three albums anyway. They’re a psychedelic trilogy, loosely, because they’re very surreal. They’re all very dreamlike I suppose, and they work they were listened to in a state of altered consciousness; i.e. they would be good to take drugs too. I use psychedelic as a kinda shorthand.

I was defiantly thinking about that dream like quality as I was listening to your latest one the other day, although there were some sharp, maybe barbed bits. Do you have a great love for New York in the Seventies of is there some criticism there too?
I don’t think it is that. Some people have said that, about it being kind of sharp but I don’t think it is. I think that’s got more to do with possible preconceptions of some of the things that I’ve done. Because some of the thing I’ve done in the past have been quite barbed. This album has more to do with a genuine love and I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve. There are bits that are meant to funny I suppose, but I’m not taking the piss out of it.

And I suppose you can love and see the faults in something at the same time.
Of course yes, but I’m not being that critical. Its a mythologised version of, an abstract album I would have written when I was seventeen or eighteen. But if I had written it then it’d be more to do with me trying to be cool and it’d be awful, me trying to sound like Modern Lovers. Now I’m old enough not to care, at point its a bit corny, but that’s okay we get cornier as we get older. Some people et more right wing as they get older, I get cornier.

Who would have you like to hang out with in seventies New York?
Burroughs would have interesting to listen to, he’s a fairly fascinating character. I’m not sure about musicians, I don’t really hang out with that many musicians anywhere, never have done. Not because I particularity hate them or anything. Musicians do tend to talk to music quite a lot, and if I’m going down to the pub with my friends I tend not to talk about music, because I know more artist I tend to talk about art, which is probably worse.

How much research do you do?
I never do any research for anything, I just make it all up. I’m serious. For the wresting album I dint need to do any research because it was all in my head anyway, this one was all in my head. When I did an album called Baader Meinhof I didn’t do any bloody research really. If you do research it becomes too much like an archive thing. I don’t want to do things in a journalistic way or the how a writer would do it. Of course I’ve written books, but I didn’t do any research for them either. I don’t do research as a I rule I just use the subject as something to lift off from, and if its not factual accurate at times it doesn’t matter, because its rock and roll.

A friend of mine put on the Baader Meinhof album the other day while I was were working and I remember thinking ‘this album deserve active listening rather than background music’ do you have a preference of how people listen to your music?
No, not really. Sometimes I write things that I think it would be good to take drugs to. I’m serious about that, I have a fairly blasé attitude toward these things and I think humans like altered states. I’m not recommending people do that, but its an idea. Lots of things are an idea.

When I listen to things I tend to listen on the headphones anyway. That’s why my albums are quite short generally, because they’re made for headphone listening so you can lose yourself in another world. Because half an hours is all anyone’s got in this day and age. And our attention span is getting shorter, mine included. They’re not really made to be listened to in pubs and clubs, or even in groups of people. They’re a solo mission I guess.

Some of the references you make, for example the 70s wrestling album, could be seen as quite niche. Do you worry about alienating people?

Not really no. because it doesn’t occur to me. I write about things I know, good writing is about what you know. Maybe one day Ill make a concept album about You Tube or something. Then maybe everyone will know what I’m talking about.

I like things about stuff I don’t understand, if someone presents me with a album or a book about something I’ve never heard of, I prefer that to being given something I already know. The stuff like the news on TV bores me senseless, because its stuff we already know and you kinda get lost in this hyper mundane reality. I suppose I’m trying to create a different reality for myself and if anyone else wants to come in, that’s good its there for them.

You’ve released this new album on LP, is format important to you?
The format is really important to me, I started in the eighties and I was making vinyl and that’s what I wanted to do do, it was always a drag when you couldn’t put out a vinyl as well as a CD. Its got now to the modern age where MP3 is seen as an acceptable format and its not acceptable to me. I wouldn’t release my stuff as a download but you kinda have to. The records companies have to get as many sales as it can to exist, especially as a small label. If it was down to me I wouldn’t bother. Downloads have inferior sounds quality, and their ephemeral, they wont really last, god knows what going to happen when the format changes in ten years.

And there is a something about the ritual of having a physical object and having to go through a series of actions that puts you in a different space to listen to things.
Absolutely, certainly the last album, Rock And Roll Animals had a map and a lyric book, it was very much A physical thing. The new album this one is going to be a picture disc that’s a optical illusion to help you get into an altered state perhaps, not that I’m advising you to do that, but if you’re the type of person to do that, this album will be good to do that and watch go around.

What’s your favourite way of getting into an altered state.
Well nowadays its usually via cider or red wine. I’ve had my fun before but now I’m a bit older I’ve got my responsibilities.

A lot of your work is concerned with myth, or where myth and history and memory overlap, is that something you’ve always been interested in?
No I think this is a relatively a new thing to what I’ve been doing. With the Auters my stuff was observational and quite cathartic where as now its less observational. Its taking things that did exist and taking them on new mission. I like the idea of creating your own reality, that’s where myths come into it. Rock and Roll is meant to mythological and with the way things are now with post irony and in the middle of the of the social media explosion a lot of the myth of rock and roll is gone. Pop stars shouldn’t be on twitter, you shouldn’t have too much access. Within what I do I’m trying to recreate the myth of rock and roll and try assert this idea that you can believe in rock and roll, its not jut a thing to be cynical or ironic about. I’m very much into The Doors and Jim Morrison I like the idea of rock stars being shamanic and Id like get past this post-post-modern post irony age and get back to something more spiritual.

So what’s next for you?
I’m doing a micro opera for the Berlin festival with an artist friend called Scott King. We’ve written this micro opera about Mark E Smith going on a caravan holiday. Its only twenty minutes long, more of a performance modern art piece.

That excellent, does Mark E Smith know?
He probably does know, he just doesn’t care.


The defining features of great British men from David Bowie all the way back to William Blake is there refusal to be put into any box, that and looking good in a hat. And I feel Luke is riding this groove. An artist making art because he has to not for any audience, for himself. Thinking deeply and expressing himself anyway he pleases. Rock and rollers to become legends have to die young or live forever and I get the feeling Luke Haines isn’t going anywhere for a long time

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