Luke Hemmings FAULT Magazine Covershoot and Interview

Black Tank Top – Kingsley
Silk Shirt – Vintage Versace
Pants – Balenciaga
Boots – Isabel Murant
Choker – Ice Link
Rings – LOUPN

Photographer/Creative Director: Raen Badua
Stylist: Benjamin Holtrop
Grooming: Kristen Police
Style Assistant: Emily K.E. Johnson
Photo Assistant: Dorian Qi

Interview: Miles Holder

It doesn’t matter what stage in his musical journey you first heard the name Luke Hemmings, what matters most to this artist is that you’ve truly experienced his music. With his debut album ‘When Facing the Things We Turn Away From’ on the horizon, we caught up with Luke to discuss his journey, his process and of course, his FAULTs. 

What would you say has been the most challenging aspect of creating ‘When Facing the Things We Turn Away From’? 

Besides the months spent writing the actual songs, the most challenging aspect was to make sure that when people listened to them, they would feel the same emotions as I felt when writing them. I wanted songs to sound like the listeners could understand me in those moments. Because of that, most of the songs went through a million different versions and production changes to get to their final state. I’m already an anxious person and an overthinker, so you can imagine how long it took for me to be certain of the songs on my first record.

Black Tank Top – Kingsley
Silk Shirt – Vintage Versace
Pants – Balenciaga
Boots – Isabel Murant
Choker – Ice Link
Rings – LOUPN

What was the inspiration behind the album’s title? 

‘When Facing the Things We Turn Away From’ is a line taken from the chorus of ‘Saigon’ [album track]. It was inspired by a trip to Vietnam that I took right before the stillness that quarantine forced. In those moments, I spent months facing the things I turned away from. The good, the bad, my regrets, needing to get help. Through all of those times, I kept thinking about how euphoric that trip was, and how I wanted to keep chasing those highs I felt. Sometimes we can’t appreciate the best moments of our life until they’ve passed us by and are out of reach. I was messing around with the idea of multiple titles, but I eventually settled on that one because I feel like the theme of time slipping away is ultimately threaded throughout the entire album.

Is ‘Place In Me’ inspired by real-life events that you would be willing to share?

Everything I write is inspired by something real, in one way or another. It’s tricky walking the line of how much you want to share about the exact meanings because sometimes people will run away with them and start analyzing your relationships, mental health, your personal life without knowing you. Lyrics, to me, are dramatic and overzealous and emotional and exaggerated, and I don’t think they’re meant to be picked apart. That being said, I wrote this song like I was leaving a voicemail on the answering machine of someone I love very deeply. It’s like a verbal love letter, letting them know that no matter what happens, they’ll always have a place in me.

After ‘Starting Line’ and ‘Motion’, was there a conscious decision to slow things down with the release of ‘Place In Me’ and show more vulnerability? 

Definitely. I felt like ‘Starting Line’ and ‘Motion’ really set a good tone for introducing myself basically as a brand new artist, but I will always have a soft spot for songs like ‘Place In Me.’ I love emotional songs that come from an honest place and I wanted people to hear that pretty early on. 

Shirt – Gucci
Pants – Ralph Lauren
Boots – Saint Laurent
Teeth Choker – Iris Trends
Ring – Valentino

What’s been the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself between your debut with 5SOS and now?

I’m a lot more confident now. I think as a teen who was thrust into the public eye pretty quickly, I got overwhelmed easily and felt constant pressure to be a certain type of person. Now at 25, I feel a lot more sure of myself. I dress in clothing that makes me happy, I make the music I want, I wear glitter and makeup, I express myself better, I don’t feel boxed in. It’s pretty freeing. 

Would you say there is a theme that runs through ‘When Facing the Things We Turn Away From’ and what would that theme be? 

Time. I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of time. Specifically, with this album, I found a connection in the word “zenosyne.” It’s the feeling that as you get older, time seems to move quicker. I constantly feel like time is slipping away from me, and feel like before I know it, everything will be over. It’s terrifying and exciting and inspiring all at once. Spending a year in one city for the first time in 10 years really let me reflect on that notion, and it shows through lyrically in just about every song.

When you look back on your entire musical journey, what’s been the hardest hurdle you’ve had to overcome? 

I’ve had a lot of hurdles to overcome in my musical journey, but since coming onto the scene with 5SOS, we’ve really had to fight to be respected as genuine artists. The band, and I, really pride ourselves on being passionate and writing our songs and showing the world we’re in music for the love of it.

Pleated Shirt – Issey Miyake
Strap – Louis Vuitton
Gloves – Givenchy

As someone who has been releasing music for over ten years now, do you find it hard to make decisions that are at odds with what earlier fans might want or expect from you?

Not really. My intention when I’m making music is to write what I need to write, and not what others think I need to. When I was making the songs for this project I wasn’t sitting there thinking “What does everyone want from me? What are they expecting? What will make people like me?”. I just poured my heart and soul into these songs, and made them how I wanted to, regardless of who would eventually hear them. I think that’s why this album feels so honest to me.

Suit – Ermenegildo Zegna
Scarf & Bucket Hat – Burberry
Rings – LOUPN & Lukes own

If you could go back to the start of your career and leave yourself one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Don’t be so hard on yourself, enjoy all of the good times and try to savour them, take more photos, call your mum, and stop wearing skinny jeans every day. That’s not just one piece of advice, but I guarantee I needed it all.

What’s something positive you’ve done this year to protect your mental health? 

Make this album really. I’ve always felt like writing and creating music is similar to therapy, because you’re spending days, weeks, months reflecting on yourself and your life and trying to process everything and express those feelings out loud. It can be incredibly cathartic and healing. I’ve made an effort to spend as little time as possible looking at screens of any type. I don’t think humans were meant to have access to every opinion about themselves at their fingertips constantly, both good and bad. I also took a step that scared me a bit, which was to start actual therapy with a professional. 

What is your FAULT (Personal Flaw)?

Where do I start? *laughs*. I think for a long time, my biggest flaw was pushing away happiness because I felt as though I didn’t deserve it. I would self-sabotage and hurt the ones I love, almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy, because I felt like there wasn’t a world that existed in which I could genuinely be happy. You can hear this referenced in ‘Slip Away,’ but I do think I’m starting to fix this personal flaw. So lately, it’s saying no to peanut M&M’s.