Q&A Scene: Luke Plumb ~ LUKE PLUMB & The CIRCUIT

New album? Turn & ReTurn

What’s your favourite work at this point in time? 

I’m really happy with how Still Shining and Ancient Light came out but I always have a soft spot for the currently unreleased “Ten Titles” project I recorded in Greece in 2010.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

My old band Shooglenifty played the Festivale Internationale in Mexico in 2004. We began our set in the main square, the Zocalo, to a crowd of curious and bemused locals – listening to a dance-vibe version of traditional Scottish music. Following us on the bill was the then current Number 1 artist on Mexico’s top 40. By the end of the set we were playing around 100,000 people. Totally surreal experience.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why? 

A banquet made from the leftovers in the fridge. And chocolate.

What, or who, inspires you?

The Grateful Dead, Andy Irvine, Nick Cave, Beck, Terry Riley, though travel to new places is a source of constant inspiration.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Street Fighting Man

What’s next for you?

Touring the Circuit shows, working on a duo album of traditional music with Kate Burke, writing a new project – music for Dreaming and building a house in Tasmania!

What’s your scene?

My scene is music with no genre boundaries, good conversations and good food.


Luke Plumb & The Circuit release new album “Turn & ReTurn” through MGM

“They call themselves Luke Plumb & The Circuit and I can’t get enough of them. As I listen, Variety-style headlines are exploding in my mind. Boffo! Magnificent! Monstrous! I tell you, they are that good, enough so that I can’t sleep until I get this written.” – Frank Gutch Jr, NO DEPRESSION 

Turn & ReTurn is the first new body of work released by mandolinist Luke Plumb after 12 years touring with the cult acid- croft hypno-folkadelic band, Shooglenifty and his subsequent return to Australia.  Conceptualised while walking home from a session in Edinburgh, Scotland, Turn & ReTurn is a bold release defying boundaries of genre. Drawing on 15 years of musical interactions from around the world, Plumb’s compositions are grounded in traditional musics and driven by dance rhythms.

Plumb describes the music as traditional form melodies arranged in the context of groove based songs with a rhythm section that is grounded in the drive of Cretan music and the fluidity of Terry Riley organ improvisations. Comprising of a twin frontline from Plumb’s searing mandolin and Eamon McNelis’ sinuous trumpet, driving twin acoustic guitars from Kate Burke and Jem Dunlop and locked together by Shannon Birchall’s double bass and Rory McDougal’s drums, this is a band made for live performances.

In his own words, “…I envisaged a gig fronted by duelling melodic lines on trumpet and mandolin, backed by a rhythm section drawing on the pulsating sound of Cretan lutes, the rebellious acoustic guitar style of Keith Richards and the Velvet Underground’s throbbing Moe Tucker drum sound. I knew the constituent parts and the effect they would have on the audience but the music itself needed to be discovered. It took 7 years to figure out what music would be the soundtrack to the experience I saw that night”. 

Turn & ReTurn is the 5th album Plumb has worked on with revered Scottish folk industry icon Calum Malcolm (The Go-BetweensMark KnopflerStephane GrapelliCapercaillie) as a producer/co-producer, and the 9th as a mixing/mastering engineer. Work on the album began in earnest when Malcolm travelled to Melbourne in 2016 specifically to commence work on this project.

Alongside the striking use of mandolin and trumpet as feature instruments on this recording, Plumb showcases his skill as a lyricist. Lyrically, this album was written well after I had the instrumental parts completed and demos recorded, but they follow themes that I have been grappling with for a long time; the story our era will tell future generations looking back; the nature of belonging and what constitutes home; places to look for optimism in troubling times”. 

“One of the great folk artists in Australia… this blew me away! The whole album is brilliant. Not only is [Luke Plumb] a great musician, he’s a great producer as well” – Paul Gough, PIMPOD

“Through his ground-breaking work with folk minimalist group ‘Senan’s Haggart’, his playing and composition that helped give ‘Shooglenifty’ new life, his duo with James MacKintosh and his solo work, runs a thread of sunny, assured, innovative and distinctly Australian music making.’ – Lucky Oceans.

Turn & ReTurn is out now through MGM. 

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About Mary Boukouvalas 1501 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.

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