Meet Luke Neocamp
The Irish-Born Celtic Club Artist
A New York transplant by way of Ireland, Luke Neocamp has become an inevitable fixture of nightlife and queer culture with his towering stature, fire orange hair and high-concept approach to music-making. Both visually and sonically, he simply cannot be ignored, aggressively asserting himself as an artist that fosters only the unexpected.
Neocamp's most recent project, a stunning series of three short films collectively called Content, saw him exploring more cinematic pop sounds to pair with his ambiguous video treatment, co-directed by Charlie Curran. Following the release of Content's prelude, "Strange Loop," we're excited to premiere today another Neocamp track called, "Generous Narcissism (Asset)."
Listen, below, and read Nicopanda's conversation with the rising celtic club legend.
Bring us through your Irish background.
It was super rural—a tiny town in the north midlands of Ireland. It was kind of gorgeous, but also rough and ready. I definitely learned to stand my ground, as it was fairly queerphobic pretty much all the time and I was really into being provocative. As a teenager, the weekends were a blur of mass underage drinking in the woods or the one night club in our town, and lots of fights and dancing. It was kind of bonkers, but there was a real sense of community there that I'm so grateful for. I'm so in love with Irish culture and the people, but it's just so damn small. There was never any hope for me staying there.
What has your experience been like moving to NYC and assimilating to culture, here?
The beginning was tough. I was overworked and under-slept for a long time before and after arriving because it's insanely expensive to emigrate to a different continent. Plus the powers that be make it really difficult and scary, so I had to jump through a lot of hoops the first year with this fear of deportation always looming. But eventually I started to meet people, get my work out there, hit the club scene and feel this deep sense of community with artists, creatives and weirdos in the city. It's a dream, really, and I'm so in love with this city. Every tired old cliché about New York is so true, it's stupid.
How did your trilogy Content come about?
The guts of Content came about really quickly this past January and February, but it was probably about a year-and-a-half in the making. I'd spent a lot of time in New York trying to get somewhat established with some media attention and getting gigs, while noodling forever at this massive double album that I ended up hating. After a crappy break-up and feeling burnt-out, I scrapped all the music, stopped going out and bought a bunch of gear and hemorrhaged a ton of tracks that I cut into an EP. Aesthetically, I was tired of my old work and a lot of stuff I was seeing—really cold, spacy slo-mo production values or super high bpm post-trap everything. So for Content, I was trying to use more classic instrumentation and warmer sounds, but still get fresh with it. I play clubs a lot, and know what I can play there, so I was thinking how can I stretch that—what do I want to see brought into that enviroment. I love the idea of the club as a home for the avant-garde in a way that is kinetic and resonates, as opposed to art spaces where everything becomes archival as soon as it's experienced in there.
What's the larger concept behind Content?
I was interested in the role of the artist in contemporary society. Web rules the world, and independent artists that work in music or video have become content providers for media outlets to sell advertising. I was also experiencing first-hand how self-branding has become a nuanced art form in itself and I wanted to breakdown the idea of how 'Neocamp' as an image functions. I was also looking at Francis Bacon at the beginning, which led to the triptych idea. I like the idea of trilogies in film, but I was thinking of these videos as paintings, to some degree, moved by mood. Sonically, I was thinking of mood through the entirety of this project. I love the idea of these songs as soundtracks first and pop songs second. I was really into trying to play with the power of image and sound
You're a very visual artist—have you always felt comfortable presenting yourself the way you do?
I've always presented myself in a provocative or very visual way since I was young. It's caused some problems along the way, but I find it a very immediate and arresting way to interact with the world. I've been into fashion since my teens, but it always feels like a point of rebellion for me—like self-image as knowing performance.
What's the story behind the track we’re premiering, today?
It's part two of the trilogy, and the most poppy and consistent—the mid-section or torso of the project. It differs from the rest of the project, as it's less influenced by my background and more by where I am now. I was listening to a lot of early disco and art-rock over the winter, and I think those influences probably came through.