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Luke Balkin

Australian electronic dance musician and producer

S1 Ep09

Luke Balkin

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To mark Father's Day here in the Southern Hemisphere I share 3 special episodes where I chat to 3 creative dads to get their take on things, how they continue to make music while being hands on dads.

In this episode I chat to electronic musician, and producer Luke Balkin from Casterton VIC, Luke is a dad of two, we chat about balancing creating music with running a farm and being a dad, the importance of supporting independent artists, and how he incorporates his children into his music. Luke's stage name is LT Balkin.

Connect with Luke here -

Watch Luke's DJ B*tch video here -

Connect with the podcast here -

Luke's music used with permission

When chatting to my guests I greatly appreciate their openness and honestly in sharing their stories. If at any stage their information is found to be incorrect, the podcast bears no responsibility for my guests' inaccuracies.

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Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page

Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast

I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!


Thank you!


Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.


Welcome to the Art of Being a mum, the podcast where we hear from mothers who are creators and artists sharing their joys and issues around trying to be a mother and continue to make art. My name's Alison Newman. I'm a singer, songwriter, and mother of two boys from regional South Australia. I have a passion for mental wellness, and a background in early childhood education.

Oh, come along, like thanks so much for being part of this special episode.

No worries. Thanks for having me, Allison, of how to listen to a couple of the podcasts so far. And it's sounding really good. So yeah, it's great to be a part of this.

Oh, great. Thank you. All right. So for those people who aren't familiar with your music, and what you've been up to Jordan, give us a rundown of how you got into music. What was the style is and what you what you're up to at the moment as well.

Yeah, for sure. So I got into electronic music, being a DJ. And I also studied audio engineering at SAE in, in Melbourne. So I was, you know, recording bands and stuff like that in Melbourne. And then also DJing on the side. And, and when I sort of, at the end of my finishing up doing DJing I just wanted to sort of make music and, and at that sort of stage, I sort of got into the electronic music field. And, and yeah, started sort of producing tracks and making music and just my own sort of own sort of style sort of thing. So yeah, that's how it all sort of started out. I was I started out as a punk DJ, like I was at nightclubs in Melbourne, playing playing punk rock music, and, and, yeah, I used to record bands and stuff and do sound engineering for a fair few bands on the circuit as well. So when I do, you know, between their sets, I used to DJ at the clubs, and then they come on afterwards and mix them while up on stage playing. And that's, you know, that's my early roots has always been punk rock. So, you know, I grew up listening to that, you know, no effects and, and all those sort of punk punk bands, the early sort of Green Day stuff, and living and and all that. And that was the scene I grew up in. And, yeah, that's sort of sort of how my music career sort of started out really, it was, like come from, I've never been really musical as such, but I've always had a fairly good ear for music. So it was more to do with audio engineering and stuff like that. So yeah, but when I first started out as an audio engineer, it was a long time ago. And, um, we were, you know, Pro Tools just sort of started the digital era was just coming out. Well, I was, I was back when it was, we were recording off of like tape and stuff like that will cut in bits and pieces. So it was a long time ago. And then we're just sort of forming into that digital era. So yeah, it was a it was good time. And that's Yeah, so my early, early parts are all punk rock. That's, you know, that's where I sort of started the whole music sort of thing with me.

So when you say, pre electronic sort of equipment, does that mean you were DJing? With proper records? And that kind of stuff? Back in the day?

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, for sure. That's, that's how, you know, we, as as DJs, when I started with like, with the punk rock stuff, it was all on CD and stuff, it had nothing really to do with, with mixing as such, you're just dropping the music after the song had finished. So you just had to have a really good ear to what would come on after that track was all it was really just whatever you wanted to play. But then when I that's what sort of got me into electronic music was that it all had to do with like BPM and actually mixing the song and actually making songs really mash together really well without sort of, you know, missing a beat. That's what you couldn't do that with punk rock music, you know, you're just playing songs after songs and just trying to keep the crowd entertained. As much as you want to do that with electronic music, you've got to be a good mixer. And starting off, too, with turntables, like I had a, like a reasonable time on turntables. But I wouldn't say that my main DJ was with turntables that was sort of like, turned over onto that the CD sort of format, and we were sort of mixing off of CDs and CD decks, the early early CD decks and stuff like that, but we were, you know, you had to be a but you had to be a good DJ, to, to be able to get by back then. And these days, you don't have to do anything. You can just push a button and it'll sync everything up for you and you know, and the kids love it. So it's a lot it's a lot different. It's a lot different these days. So, yeah, yeah, for

sure. I think a lot of people now just press play, and especially the young kids doing it now, they don't seem to be actually mixing live as they're going, Oh,

it's 100% I, you know, my club times in, in Adelaide, you know, I sort of that's where I sort of finish my, my DJing careers was I had a, a, like, a residency at the casino, where we go and play there, you know, every, every Wednesday night, and it was, it was really good vibe, and everything like that, but we used to go out a lot. And afterwards, and that and two other clubs, and you go there, and you just go up and have a look and see what they're doing. And you would see people pushing play on like, a mix on on, you know, like a Spotify mix or something like that. And that was what they were doing. And I'm like, what, like, what are you doing? Are you actually doing anything up here or, you know, and a lot of did it lost its vibe, because the people they actually don't really know how to mix at all, they just have got a sink on their, on their mixer. And, and it pretty much well, you know, everything comes together and you get you can't get by if you go to a club, and you sit back and you listen to music. And you either know if it's a shit DJ are really good DJ. And that's, that's these days, you can go out and you put it to work and you'll you'll know straight away if it's good, it's good.

It's a real skill then to as a DJ to read your audience to get those people back on the dance floor. You got to know your stuff.

Yeah, that's 100% Like, yeah, definitely, if a DJ doesn't know what he's playing, or, you know, gets up there and, and hasn't got the right tools or, or know how to work the decks or anything like that they can fail just so easily. So yeah, it's just it takes it takes a big skill to, to do it. And yeah, a lot of guys out there are good at it are really good at it. And you don't actually see, or I don't know that many DJs that are right into producing though either though, like most of them are just you know, they just do their weekend DJs and stuff like that. So DJ gigs, so

you know, you know

the music you're making now, you're doing that all from your house, and you're working with people all around the world, which is really exciting.

Yeah, 100% the music I make now is basically a collection of music that I made probably around about 2016 and I'm still making music now. I just a lot of the stuff that I made, I put a lot of time and effort into it. So I seem to like go back and revisit a lot of the older stuff that I made. And just keep working on on that. Yeah, so now i i Just jump online I've got a master over in America that I used and he's put me in touch with a fair few people to collaborate with singers that Charlotte lock who's from the UK and, and a fair few other artists that I that I just work with. And just you mainly for vocals. Yeah. And it's just really fun. It's just fun to sort of have a bit of a hobby and a passion for music and still be able to, you know, put something out there at the end of the day and have a bit of fun with it. So yeah, that's my sort of main thing is just as long as you're having fun with music, that's the main thing for me.

Absolutely. You've got a young family. Tell us about your your children over there in Victoria.

So I've got a young boy named Fletcher. He is coming up to three years old. And I've got a little girl Lexi and she's around one and a half. Alexis she is so yeah, we give her we just call it Alexei. So she loves that. So yeah.

keeping you busy at that age, the two of them run around.

Yeah, they sure they sure. Are they sure are they they they cause plenty of headaches but they are both really good kids and yeah, we love them to death.

Yeah, so how do you go then finding time to to get stuck into your music and create when you've got little people? Do you sort of try and do it at night or weekends? How do you make it work?

This is basically my time now it's like minute they're the kids go to bed at sort of, you know, seven o'clock, eight o'clock as I come up here I've got my own sort of studio up in what I call the school house. It's like an old converted school house just got like a bed for friends to stay in and it's just got all my computer equipment and stuff like that up here. So I just wanted to come up here and do my thing. You know, it's it definitely has been challenging, I must admit like coming from, you know, just having a part Under and being able to do music and that whenever you want to, to to, then only do it at night time, you've got to try and really, you know, focus and yeah, try and make the time that you've got, you know, make it work.

Yeah, yeah, make the most of those limited little slots with the hours. So you also work you also run a farm, I believe. So you're, you're pretty much burning the candle at both ends. Really?

Yeah, yeah. So we've got a three and a half 1000 acre farm over here in Casselton. And me and my dad work here on the farm. And we've got like, roughly set like around about 350 head of cattle, and so maybe closer to 400. And, and two and a half 1000 sheep here on our farm, so So it's extremely busy here, during the weekdays plus, up in New South Wales, our my brother, my older brother, he has his farm up there, which is around about 13,000 acres. So we used to split our time a lot in between the properties and work both sides of it. But now we tend to sort of stay one end and the other end of my dad sort of floats in between the property. So yeah, we were pretty flat out over here all the time. So, yeah, absolutely. And

we'd be challenging then to try and, you know, with the kids, you wouldn't actually be able to sort of float between the two properties that easily when you've got your Yeah,

that's right. Yeah. 100% it's made it made a lot different. Now having that having a family and stuff like that, it just changes things a lot. You know, so but, you know, that's just the part of having a family I guess you've got to make, you know, you've got to make changes yourself as well.

So clincher is actually in one of your music videos recently.

So I do, I do a lot of my own music videos, and I've been doing video for a long time, probably just as long as I've been doing music. So that's one thing I've sort of thought about doing is like, just just do it, just make the video yourself have a bit of fun with it and make it yourself. And they they just love it. They they love being a part of anything. And then when you go back like, you know, if you put if you put TV on and YouTube or tractors on, then you know he gets really grumpy. So that so when he gets on YouTube, and then he sees himself on there, he thinks that's the best thing in the world. Like he thinks it's the funniest thing ever. And he will watch it repetitively all day and Lexi, well, she just loves it, so she can't get enough of watching him or mommy on there. So they love it. So the I'm going to try and incorporate that the kids into as many of the music videos as I can and just have a bit of fun with it. Like I was thinking about sort of getting something you know, professionally done up and I'm just like, what, what's the hell, you know, like, just just have a bit of fun with it and do it yourself. It always like always think that if you have a crack at it yourself and it comes out real raw, it sometimes makes it give a more feel to it, then then something that's over produced or anything like that, like you know, you'll give your fuel footage to somebody else Now rub their hands all over it and, and make it glossy and everything but it doesn't seem as raw as as sometimes. stuff. So, yeah, we just had had a lot of fun making the video for DJ bitch. And yeah, we filmed it on our property. And yeah, we always had this idea to do it. But it was just really an idea. And let's let's just do it. And we had this footage. And it was it had just been sitting there and I said the laser I said we've got to finish it with like half it was shot. And I just sort of started putting it together and it just sort of slotted in really well. And yeah, before too long, I think, you know, the film clip I think was up to about 6000 views at last I looked it was it was quite a shock actually, but it's a good fun. It's a good fun video clip. So, you know, it was just a bit of fun and the kids love it and like I said they just can't get enough of watching themselves so it's really good.

It is a great video and yeah, I didn't realize that you made that yourself. Congratulations because that is awesome.

Yeah, no, I do all the all the video on myself and then I get back to the computer here and and produce it all myself. So yeah, it's just fun.

Yeah. So you used to drown in that video is that you do that yourself

as well. Yeah, I got my I got my own drone. And so the drone shoots in full 1080 Hey, He HD and I use the GoPro as well to get mosiello shots on the film clip because pretty much a GoPros these days, I just got some of the best, you know, the best pixels as well they just come out amazing clear and you can just sort of go through and edit up your videos afterwards. So yeah, drone stuff. I've had a drone for a number of years now and yeah, I love love flying them and just yeah really fun

you kids obviously know that you do your music is that it's something that you you love sharing with the kids, it's important for you to involve them in, in what you're doing.

Yeah, for sure my kids really love music. We got a thing at our house that we just love to put on music, like around tea time, or Saturday mornings and stuff like that, it's always music going on at our place. And we just yeah, we just try and involve them as much as we can, you know, whether it's listening to my music or, or listening to other people's music, and they love it, they love dancing, and they just love being kids and, and as adults mainly so we both love it as well. So yeah, that just we just make sure that they've got heaps vert arounds. And you know, they're not too scared to have a bit of fun and dance around the living room. Here in my studio, I've actually got a toy toy room here for Wednesday. So, like on a Saturday, if I'm, if I want to do music or anything like that, I bring the kids up here with me, and they've got their own toy room, and they'll, they'll play toys up here and, you know, push around the boats and the cars and stuff while I'm up here, you know, playing on the computer. So yeah, it's a really sort of fun environment for him. And we don't I definitely don't just run away from the whole family to go and do music. It's just, it's just here, you know, Dad's up here at the schoolhouse, and the kids will come up here and, and you know, they'll ride their bikes around in here and have a bit of fun as well. So yeah, definitely they're very much included Can you see

do you find now have with the kids in your life, that the way that you write your music has changed at all yet, like the like you see the world a bit differently? Maybe anything like

that? Yeah, 100% I'd say. Because my music is, you know, electronic and different. I'm just sort of really trying to create a vibe, as much for like the, the kids and stuff, it definitely hasn't really changed my sort of style as much. Yeah, the only thing that that really has changed is that just not being able to have that flexibility time to you know, just just go and you will just have more time without having the kids and stuff like that you would just end up having a lot more time up yet up your sleeve to sit down and really concentrate on something, and you just win now doing music, you sorta have got to be in the right mindset, or else you just don't get it down. And if you're not, if it just doesn't flow, it, you're wasting your time. So yeah, I will, I'll come up and play around with tracks like that. And it's just not working. It's just definitely it's not working. So you just stop and you'll come back another time, but it's it having children and music, you just got to really make time for your passion, I think. And yes, to having having children and stuff like that. It's, it's yeah, it's a great thing. And it's been awesome, but there's definitely challenges involved. And I think if I had children a lot, like, like, I'm I'm 40 Now, if I had them when I was younger, I don't think I would have coped as well that's one thing I don't really want. I'm glad I had children when I was older. I'm pretty like I think I'm very selfish myself sometimes like not now, but I was would have been when I was younger, a lot more selfish er and wanted to sort of achieve more. Now I've got that mindset that I've just don't don't really care anymore. Like I just want to have fun. So but um, but now, you know being a bit older and stuff like that. I'm just a lot more chilled and just don't really care. And just like I said, I think for myself if I just have music as a as a passion and a hobby. It breaks down those walls. It's just like, you know, if you achieve something, it's great, but you're not really focused on, you've got it, oh, I've got to make the charts or I've got to sell music or anything like that. If people want to listen to it, that's fantastic. And it's awesome. And if you wanted to get shows, that's great. But if you really focused on that, and it doesn't happen, it just breaks your heart all the time. And you just end up burying yourself, I think

you just want to, I just want to put stuff out there that I'm really proud of. And, you know, when I released my last album, I had had a lot of messages of people saying, Oh, my God, that song was just amazing, or that was so great. And that's what it comes down to. For me, it's like, just those moments where people say to that, so I think it's really big. Shout out to people that, you know, tell that artists that you really liked their music, it makes a difference to people like it makes people be more productive. And they want to actually, you know, they want to keep pursuing their dreams. And I think today's age to like, with artists, where where artists and musicians and everything has gone through the whole COVID thing. You know, they need you more than ever right now. People really need to stand up and say, hey, you know what, I'm gonna buy that CD. I love that tune. Keep doing what you're doing. And you know, stay positive, because it only takes one person to say oh, you know your musics crap. And you know, you suck, all of a sudden, that person just shuts down and then they don't want to do it anymore. So you know, as long as you know, since I've been doing music, I haven't even had one person say you, you suck or your shit. It's just like, everything in the music scene I think is so positive. But we're just going through such a short time with COVID that no guy out there's work and the poor old industry, music is industry is suffering. The venue's are dying up. They need you more than ever, right now. People, people like myself, anyone out there who's putting music together still is they need you. So, you know, the people out there listening and buying records, you know, they're awesome. That's what we, we do it for. So, you know, yeah.

That's so well said. Yeah, that's the thing. And I think big Yeah, because we can't say, the audience face to face because we can't make those, you know, personal connections, it is important for people, if, you know, if you like someone's music, send them a message. And, you know, it's just that little, that little bit of connection. It's just enough to brighten someone up and and keep them go. And like you said, it's, it's that spark that gets them going. So,

yeah. And it's nothing is it so it's not, I like appreciate so many different styles of music, like I listened to, you know, so much different styles. And even if it's not the general the genre that you listen to, you know, just just let them know that that piece of music that was awesome, you did an awesome job on that, you know, your vocal was fantastic on that. Just just let them know. I think it's like, that's the most positive thing I think with the with the music scene, other artists get behind other artists, even if you got a small majority of fans out there and you know, I don't consider myself having many fans at all but the small group that have that I have around me that they definitely don't shy away with saying hey, that's that tunes. Awesome, great job that's a that's a sweet tune keep getting maybe keep doing that sort of style it's a love it so that's and that's what gives me a bit of momentum and stuff and just just to have a bit of fun with it too. So yeah, but it's definitely a struggle out there and if you know if someone was doing this job at the moment full time and and you know looking for those gigs every weekend I really feel for those people at the moment I you know, it breaks my heart to to see how the music industry is going to recover from this because I know a lot of artists I know that they're artists Charlotte lock the, the girl that featured on my album, she she ended up going back to work at a big company and I murder messaged not long ago and I said you know how's how's the music going? And she was like, there's no time you know, I've got to get back to work and there's no no gigs. So and she you know, I couldn't never think of this girl not seeing again because of voice is so amazing. And it just broke my heart to hear that. You know this girl can't get any more gigs and she's had to go back to the office and start working again and slaving away to the man you know. You mentioned

briefly before Lacey your wife She must be very supportive of of what you're doing and helped me a lot.

She's very supportive she that she loves that she loves being involved. She's, you know, probably my biggest fan I every track that I do or take part in in any small way. She's probably the first person who gets it is on that track. So I give it to her and, and she'll listen and I'll say, What do you think of this? And you know, what do you think of this? And she'll be like, oh, yeah, I love it. I love it. I love this bit. And so that yeah, gives we sort of feed off each other a lot. And, yeah, it's great to have somebody supportive that by your side, or that, you know, is prepared to sit up all night while you're at three o'clock in the morning, you know, bouncing ideas off somebody overseas about some track that's getting mastered at, you know, some ungodly hour or, you know, me waking up in the middle of night Khan Hawk got such a great idea for a video clip. So, she, yeah, she's really great and very supportive. And yeah, yeah, I love her a lot.

Yeah, and she got got a little bit of a go in the video as well. The music video.

Yeah, she was up there dancing with flat chi. And it was quite funny. She said, I'll go out with death, which I said yeah, get out there and have a dead so yeah, it was good.

Mid so I loved the little little jacket that he had onto. Yeah,

he's gonna wear that and all that all the film clips. We've decided he loves his he loves that jacket. He calls it his DJ check jacket. So he really thinks it's really cool. So yeah.

What have you got on at the moment or anything coming up that you want to share?

I've got one track that I'm working on at the moment. I've just, I've got another girl that's just doing some vocals for me for this track. It's, it's called creatures. When you've heard lately, it's like I really wanted to make something that was sort of like, really on that that preset vibe that really pumped up sort of idea. And just it didn't really have to mean anything. It was just sort of a like really pumped up track. Yeah, that's what I'm working on at the moment. So I just sort of had that mastered. But it's come back and I'm Why can't I just need something else to sort of give it a bit of an edge. So I thought I'll try it with a female vocals. I'm just waiting for those vocals to come back. And I'll put in the track. And yeah, see how that turns out.

Let me lose a happy move. I don't know what to do. Everything about my situation is a win or lose. I know the feeling of people when they go donate bags. I made a choice to ignore my Molly, Jason bash, what is exactly

when I listen to a couple of the podcasts before? And he the people what they were saying about you know, and you know that they have music and then that was on the back burner because they've got so much time. It's what happens. I think when you have a family, it's like so much gets put on the backburner though, doesn't it? It's like, it's incredible, that, you know, you've got all this, all this passion and all this art that you want to get out there and want to push out into the world. And all of a sudden, you can't because you're locked down with their, with your family and doing you're doing the stuff that's, that's, that's important to them. And then all of a sudden, you can't you can't get it out. And then it's sort of built up, it really is built up, especially if they're, if they're, if it's a person that's putting out stuff constantly, and has a family and all of a sudden that sort of just kind of it's it's hard

it's just about expressing yourself, I think and as long as people can keep getting it out there. That's the main thing. And you know, I imagine for women, especially having kids, it's so important to nurture those kids and you'd seem to be putting everything into the children I know from seeing it firsthand through my wife that she puts everything into our kids and and your wonder like now I've you know, she's focused on going back to studying more at nursing and, and, and that's something that she's passionate about and she loves so we make time to fit her you know, things that she needs to do to into into her life things but it's that's the thing is it's like you know when When if you don't have an outlet somewhere or a passion and you've got nowhere to you know to do it it builds up and you know probably can end up being the falling down of your marriage or anything like that because you just got no outlet and you feel like you're locked up with your children and just having this dull life that you you know, that just ends up crashing around around you if it doesn't have you don't have an outlet much for coming on

today. Like it's been great to chat and all the best with whatever you've got coming up soon. I can't wait to hear some new tracks for me.

No worries. Thanks, Alison. I really appreciate coming on the podcast and yeah, I wish you all the success for it. It's sounds fantastic so far, and yeah, it was he could be keep going with it in the future and it keeps coming out and bringing positive messages with it.

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