Luke Sangerman, performing as Luke Titus, has been fluent in notes since a young age. The multi-instrumentalist has been drumming professionally for years, and is now flexing his vocal and production muscles. No longer the youngest artist in the room, Luke Titus is stepping out as a solo artist for the first time.
He’s one of the best drummers you’ll see live, and his focus is now on the opportunity to sing, produce and compose his own music. To some it sounds like a big transition, but for Luke Titus the creator, it was a no-brainer.
"Drumming didn’t fall by the wayside at all, but it was really nice to start to have another outlet, a personal outlet... I love playing other people's music a lot and I love playing the drums, but songwriting was a passion that I think hadn't quite come into fruition, and I think over the past few years I've finally allowed it to."
Luke was drumming and singing from a young age but gravitated towards the former. Throwing himself at any opportunity to get on the kit, he got serious early on in in a youth program called School of Rock. It's where he caught the music bug, and where he met Brian Sanborn, who he'd go on to play in Woo Park with after years of jamming together. By the time he was attending a performing arts high school in Chicago, the drums were everything.
Luke Sangerman was 15 when he became a drummer for Blue Man Group, their youngest ever member. He's played with them for years now, but Blue Man Group was one thing and Woo Park another. A psychedelic soup leaving a major impression, the genre bending band found an organic following that few can emulate. It was a real wave in a short time, engaging their core fan base with dedication to live performance. Through these connections, Woo Park taught Luke about the relationship between music and community.
“That whole energy that was our band and our fans and our music taught me a lot about how to create, and taught me the value of a community…Now that I’ve been gone for a while and came back to the city, those friends and people that followed us, they’re still here and still want to work...the payoff of that band is going to be timeless...it gave us all a foundation to start creating on a broader level.”
Woo Park recently ended, and now Luke is exploring his own sound. The drummer has pipes, and his trepidation towards singing has vanished. It was a choice that's good for all the music lovers out there, because Luke Titus has an insane ear for catchy songs on every level. On top of the vocals, Luke Titus knows his way around production. So with his ear and these tools in his toolbox, Luke Titus' songs pop. His approach varies, starting with sampling, then keys, synths and pads, and now producing with live instrumentation.
“People didn’t even really know that I sang...When I was 15 or 16 I naturally started song-writing again. I got an MPC as a gift and started sampling, and started singing over the beats...I really started to care about was my song-writing and my singing...in order to make my song writing better, I had to be a better singer...what sounds good is what feels good to me, I'm not the most theoretically trained piano player but I use my ear as a vocalist to try and understand what needs to be there before I start singing."
His solo releases have been thoughtful and listenable. Much like Woo Park, it's a cross genre effort, but the similarities end there. His most recent project, the Colors EP, was a clear sign that Luke's talents and abilities weren’t limited to drumming. It was some of his most creative efforts yet, conceptual and catchy.
“I’m a very emotional person, and like to associate my emotions in life and music with color...If you start associating your feeling with colors, it turns your music into a painting. You can associate sonic waves with something visual, and not just what’s coming through your ears. So after I had written those songs, which I did one after the other, I was asking myself what color does this make me feel?”
While it's the creative freedom to pursue something entirely his own that he's yearned for, he'll never lose his addiction to the sticks. When he can, he's continued beating away, providing percussion for local artists regularly. In fact, he sees it as necessary for working on his own music - he's gotta get it out of his system one way or another. Yes, if there's one takeaway, it's that Luke Titus is both far more than a drummer, but also will always, always love drumming.
"I love the music, and that gives me the creative freedom to do my own stuff. As a drummer, I'm so satisfied playing that role. Playing someone else's music, especially a singer like Noname or Ravyn or Akenya, I love their music and I'm a fan to start with. As a drummer, it's a dream come true to be able to play..and I love all the grooves...That keeps me satisfied, keeps my belly full so I can use my creative outlet, put that energy into my own stuff. I think I'll always be doing that - playing drums for other artists, people who's music I respect. Because, it makes me happy. Yeah, I guess that's the best way to put it."