Luke Hen­ley Mu­si­cian

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPOS -

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 (­es­ta­dium), 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

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