Luke Miller, aka Luke the Knife, known primarily for his vital role with Lotus, a multi-genre jamband, took the stage for his debut album release party at Club Vinyl last Saturday. The newly released album, titled Disco Nap, was produced solely by Luke Miller to set a perfect comprehensive sonic journey and ambiance for the club scene. It also allows listeners to dive deeper into the more tranquil and groovy tracks that are showcased throughout the album.
Club Vinyl was the perfect setting for his debut album release party on Saturday, June 19th. Miller mentioned that he can ride his bike here with only a backpack of necessary equipment, being a local Denver resident. The atmosphere was cooled down from rain showers on this Saturday, and the house was packed as attendees awaited their upbeat house music-filled afternoon. Miller phrased the event as “a collective party of Denver family and friends to celebrate this album debut.”
First off, Miller spoke to Grateful Web of his reverence creating his DJ side project, as he reaches almost ten years of existence: “[When I first started] I was doing disco flips and taking old disco songs and making them more modern sounding, even with some, like, indie dance songs, and kind of flipping them into more dance stuff. As I've progressed, I've learned how to mix better and how to have a set that works at a festival, and that works at a straight up club like where we are today at Club Vinyl.”
He continued to speak on his evolution as Luke The Knife: “At first I was somewhat uncomfortable with it. You're just standing up there by yourself, but then I've kind of accepted that's what DJing is. It's more about creating the atmosphere. At the beginning I always wanted to have a drummer there or something, but more and more, I just want it to be, like, just the pure kind of DJ thing without anybody else playing with me.”
When speaking on the influence of the album, Miller stated, “I think this is a part of me that radiates the electronic dance side, like the producer side of me, whereas like Lotus is more the [musically positioning] production side of me.” He also cued in Grateful Web that Stevo Darko and Flamingosis were influences for the album.
Miller actually consolidated Disco Nap from two album structures, plucking selected tunes from each to finally get the derived version of Disco Nap. He also let Grateful Web know that the ~ten tracks not featured in this album will be released throughout the year.
Miller set intentions to make his debut album while in a ceremony circle at the new year. Since the album was built primarily throughout the pandemic, Miller mentioned he often imagined how the live crowd would react to be able to sync the energetics with the production of the album.
Miller explained that contributing to a solo DJ act definitely puts on the pressure. Since it is not so much a collective masterpiece with band members, you end up really “putting yourself out there.” He elucidated that, although years of working with Lotus has made him confident, contributing all aspects of a debut album release is quite a vulnerable process. He continued that “just like the motivation to write music, [the vulnerability] is always gonna be there.”
When speaking on the name of the album, Luke anecdotally described a desert trip with friends where they were floating on the river where the album name was derived from.
“Their suggestion encapsulated the full piece because there [are] elements of disco, but there's stuff that's more on the chill side too. So I wanted something to be a little bit tongue-in-cheek. I think I'll let you know, Lotus [could be taken] on the more serious side, and I feel like Luke The Knife is supposed to just be about having fun and partying.”
When canvassing the components of curating a full-length album, Miller mentioned that the “devils are in the details.” He touched on the fact that perfecting the “kick” and “punch” of each track was critical to the development of the album. He explained, “It's not as easy as just putting together a loop. You have to know when to build and when to break it down. It’s a different structure than a chorus-bridge situation. At first I had to wrap my mind around that, just getting structures of songs together.”
He continued, “[The album] starts off very disco-based, and then it kind of moves into more of a heavy house structure in the end. It then chills out and gets into some more downtempo tracks."
He mentioned that the album was built with intro and outro segments, and that is featured beautifully on a continuous DJ mix of the whole album. Miller described the mix of the album to come out very “full” and “punchy,” and like listeners, was satisfied with the end result.
The best way to purchase and support the debut album and the continuous mix for listening is on Luke The Knife’s Bandcamp here. Luke the Knife’s next performance will take place at City Bisco in Philadelphia, PA on July 9th & 10th, followed by two sets of Lotus.
Album Review by Song
The opening track of Luke the Knife’s debut album, Disco Nap, opens with "Hit Em’ With the Boogie," a high-energy track coupled with thick basslines that instantly give you a head-nod sway. Sprinkled with funk, the track quickly gets layered with a grooviness that propels a listener to simultaneously connect with the “Oh, Yeah.. Hit Em’ With the Boogie.” Hit Em’ With the Boogie” is dense with production, making you appreciate each and every sound of the collective rhythm, including the distant percussion.
Next is "Beware," a high-energy track withs a strong build-up to catapult listeners into an electro-funk groove. The precision of these layered musical notes, combined with synthesized vocals, provides the perfect soundtrack for a night out on the town, encapsulating the perfect club setting. It will keep your pace up, yet make you stop to bust a move perfect for the occasion.
"She’s So Damn Fire"—produced and collaborated with Cherub—is one of the lengthier tracks on the album. The song gives listeners an elated burst of euphoria, with a consistent energy brilliantly provided by Cherub. With a steady house music tempo, the song radiates playfulness and a steadfast meter, which eventually accelerates into an irresistible and alluring liveliness.
Next on the album is the pre-released "Sau Paulo"—which was supported by both a Kickstart effort and an epic music video—in order to highlight Luke’s debut album efforts. This track holds a divine intention and mechanism of sonic explorations. Miller utilizes a variety of soundscapes to create an overlaid lamination of auditory arousal. There is a hint of classic jazz influence that also adds beautifully to the song.
Things pick right back up with "Bounce It."—a track with a staccato effectiveness which accelerates into elongated and classic house beats. Following that is "Better Mind," another collaboration masterpiece from Denver-based vocalist Raven Jane. Luke deemed this track to be a “reimagination of an old field recording of a blues song,” which translates into a calming and surreal jubilation many would seek and hold on to.
“Disco Nap” encapsulates the full essence of Luke The Knife’s debut album, a modern and tech-based swing on an imperative essence of house music. The dynamic and high-capacity sonic limits of this track are the ideal soundtrack for a night out with Luke the Knife.
The ultimate grooves and resonance are brought with “Head’s In The Sky,” a track that encases and cocoons Luke’s derived talents throughout the years. Utilizing a multitude of instrumental capabilities and knacks, coupled with skilled production, this track allows for listeners to go on a personalized pilgrimage of a narrative. Featuring keys, percussion, synths and vocals, this track is concise and explorative.
The final track, “Dawn Light Hits the Snow”—a seven-minute track to close the album— opens with mystifying, attention-grabbing soundscapes which are quickly intercepted by a bassline propelling powerful—yet subtle—extended expansions of sound. After reaching full sonic force, the track allows for listeners to gently flow out of the album with grace and poise.