Classic Rock

Struts Lead Vocalist Luke Spiller Explains Why "Could Have Been Me" Is a Hit

A glam indie rock band lead by a strapping young peacock — that’s lead singer Luke Spiller's nutshell description for his up-and-coming Brit band the Struts.

And now they’re bringing those vibes to the Valley.

"We spend a lot of time being radio-conscious at times with the music because we don't want to sound pastiche."

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On Friday April 1, they’ll be headlining a free concert at Tempe Marketplace as a part of 93.3’s ROCK IT UP Concert Series. On April 3, they are taking it a step further and opening for The Killers at Marquee Theatre, a concert that sold out in a matter of hours.

The UK-based band, made up of Spiller, guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott, and drummer Gethin Davies, quickly gathered notoriety in the rock world after the drop of their recent album, Everybody Wants

Sporting their radio-beloved single, “Could Have Been Me,” the Struts opened for The Rolling Stones and acted as Mötley Crüe’s closer for their final four performances.

Tell us a little bit about the origins of your band. Who were some of your influences, and who did you model your music after?

When I was about 14 or 15, I discovered Queen, Led Zeppelin, and so on. I became completely obsessed with that kind of music, the rock 'n' roll genre more specifically. I’ve carried that with me for quite a while and our music definitely reflects those sort of core influences there. 

I mean, I know I remember hearing your music for the first time and just the stylistic, classic rock elements caught me. But how do you set yourself apart from those iconic artists?

Good question. We’re trying take our influences and push them into a new direction. You know, if you hear our production — we’re a rock band, but we sound like we’re in 2016. We spend a lot of time being radio-conscious at times with the music because we don't want to sound pastiche. We want to create the music we love and are inspired by, but make it fresh and exciting. When it comes down to it, the production sets us apart.

Have you seen your sound change at all or does it have a sort of consistency?

It has changed. I mean, as songwriters you start in one place just like any skill or craft, and then you just develop. I think the writing’s gotten better and even now, we’ve written some new material since the release of our recent album, and the sound’s just become more definitive. The way we want to present our music has become slightly more defined.

In the same vein, how have you seen yourself grow?

I have to say we’ve had a great stroke of luck in terms of credibility of some of the acts we’ve supported. You know, the Rolling Stones and closing for Mötley Crüe. And then the Killers, as well. I think that one in particular is going to be very interesting because, at the core, us and the Killers have some similar influences. You know, whether it’s Lou Reed, Queen, et cetera. It’s going to be interesting and, of course, a great honor. 

Just looking at your music, I’d love to have you break down one of your songs for us, just to see how you put it together. Your most popular song, of course, is "Could Have Been Me," so tell me about that.

That song was almost written in the studio, completely fresh. We were looking at the next avenue to go down because that song came fairly lately in the album. We set out with the idea that we wanted to create something anthemic. We achieved that in terms of the melody and the production, then when it came to the lyrics, it’s really describing where we were at that point. We’d been through a lot of tribulations. We were at a fork in the road, so to speak, where we were bring heavily advised to look and sound a certain way because, you know, according to them, the group wasn’t resonating as well as they’d hoped. We just said, “Fuck it, no. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and make our music even bigger and more outlandish.”

So what’s the importance, then, of holding true to that original voice and maintaining it?

It’s like, look, there’s only one way I know how to do this, and in the end it’s very important that you enjoy what you’re doing. I don’t think I could play and perform as much as I do without believing and loving what I do. There’s no compromise there.

Correction, 4/1/2016,4:20 p.m.: This article originally referred to singer Luke Spiller as Luke Skinner in several places. This has been corrected. 

The Struts are scheduled to play Tempe Marketplace on Friday, April 1, at 7 p.m.
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Megan is finishing her bachelor's in journalism at Arizona State University and hopes to be an investigative reporter. She loves everything from classic rock to rap — except country, of course.
Contact: Megan Janetsky