Luke Henley Musician
The Sex Headaches are on hiatus. You might have seen them play their brand of punk-infused, bracingly loud pop music at Rockin’ Rollers, The Cave at St. John’s College, or industrial spots in the Siler Road area like Ghost and Radical Abacus, but now its members are working on other projects. One of these projects is Hate Stadium, a record label based entirely on YouTube.
“People have already been putting full album streams up there, so we thought it was just a matter of time before someone would exclusively release content through YouTube,” said Luke Henley, who cofounded the label with Sex Headaches bandmate Sam Funk. “Hate Stadium is half experiment and half earnest endeavor.” Both Henley and Funk play guitar in The Sex Headaches, and Henley also sings and writes lyrics. (The drummer, Angelo Harmsworth, founded Lime Lodge Records, which produces 12-inch LPs.) Luke and Sam now have a grind-core band called Purity Contract. “It’s very punk-indebted,” Luke said.
Luke’s biggest influence is probably the Velvet Underground, “which I know is a shocker for a guy in a guitar band,” he said. He recently started listening to the Dead Boys, who were part of the punk scene in the 1970s at New York City’s CBGB. “It’s some of the filthiest music from that time; it just lit me up.” He has a lifelong obsession with Frank Zappa as well as all things punk, despite giving the impression of being a fairly mild person. “I try to be nice and gentle,” he explained, “so music is a way to get all the negative impulses out, where I can be a jerk in people’s faces. I get to play a part.”
As much as Luke loves the grittiness of punk rock and its history in New York City, he prefers a more relaxed lifestyle. The twenty-eight-year-old Tucson native started college 10 years ago at New York University, where he was majoring in screenwriting. He put in two and a half years there but ultimately found he could not continue. “There’s just something about that city. I’m not sure why I didn’t do well there, but I was very unhappy and stressed out in a general New York kind of way. I’m more of a Santa Fe, get there when I get there kind of person.”
Luke works at Video Library and is entering his final semester at Santa Fe University of Art and Design, where he’s majoring in creative writing and screenwriting. Though he’s been recording music since he was fifteen (he used a four-track tape recorder) and he played with a few bands in Tucson, he didn’t hit his musical stride until he came to Santa Fe, where he found people who were able to devote a lot of time to rehearsing and playing gigs. Luke met Angelo in a literature class, and Angelo introduced him to Sam.
The formation of The Sex Headaches was an easy, natural process, although they originally wanted to name the band Girl Brains, a reference to the comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U’Know. “But another band had the same idea. I think they were from New Jersey. Obviously we were both nobodies, but they tweeted me and acted all upset that I would dare to watch the same show as them and name my band after it.” Luke then stumbled upon the medical condition of sex-related headaches. He likes it for its metaphorical implications: “It’s the perfect concept of obsession and pain with a sexual or romantic relationship.” He also appreciates its attention-getting qualities, a concept he also embraced when naming the YouTube label, the very anti-establishmentsounding Hate Stadium.
Luke’s current band, Purity Contract, references the contracts some conservative religious teens — usually girls — sign as a promise to God to remain chaste until marriage. Purity Contract’s first album, now streaming on the Hate Stadium YouTube Channel (www.tinyurl.com/hatestadium), is called You Won’t Believe This One Weird Trick to Trim Your Belly Fat. Other Hate Stadium releases include the EP Anything But a Gentleman, by J.W., and Christian Michael Filardo’s Suburban Slowing, which also features Christian’s photography.
“One of the things I really love about Santa Fe,” Luke said, “is that you meet the people you want to work with, and who you want to hang out with, just by showing up and being present — and not by staying home.” — Jennifer Levin