By Luke Voogt
Fresh off TV talent quest The Voice, Geelong’s Luke Biscan will play his “first-ever proper live stream” at Geelong Arts Centre on Friday night.
“I’m going to have to relearn the guitar mate, and relearn how to sing!” he joked.
The 31-year-old made the ‘battle rounds’ of The Voice, which aired in May, after his manager suggested entering to boost his profile.
“The Voice was really risky for me,” Biscan admitted.
After cutting his teeth as a singer-songwriter in local pubs, Biscan felt somewhat odd on a show focused entirely on voices.
“I’m used to people punching on and making out with each other while I’m playing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said.
“Only a third of the audience are paying attention – at least at first – if you’ve got them going by the end of the night it’s like an arena concert.
“But the idea I was just going to go on this thing and be this guy that showcases his voice, it was a little bit intimidating.
“You’ve got these four faceless celebrities with their backs turned to you and everybody is waiting with baited breath for you to do something extraordinary.
“The silver lining was I got through the blind auditions and that kind of legitimised me, which is what I was after – I felt super.”
But the show “ended up being a springboard into the ghost town of COVID-19”, Biscan said.
“You return to Geelong and everything’s dead. My little story about going to The Voice in Sydney didn’t matter, and rightfully so.
“Everyone’s attention was on something that mattered … trying to keep their businesses and themselves alive.”
In Friday night’s online show Biscan will join forces with multi-talented Geelong musician and “sandals-and-socks-type guy” Isaac Barter, who played slide guitar on Biscan’s debut album Revivalist.
“He’s the least rock star kind of guy you can think of but with all the taste, colour, magic and sensitivity,” he said.
“He’s not a jack of all trades, he’s a master of all trades.”
Barter flits from jazz to contemporary and has played for big names such as Vance Joy and Guy Sebastian, Biscan explained.
“He’s this phantom that kind of shows up everywhere. I think he likes being unknown – he’s a real musician’s musician.”
Biscan had been friends with the “long-suffering” Barter for several years, he said.
“I’m a huge pain in the arse to work with in the studio – I like to change my mind a lot. Even though I think he would like to strangle me sometimes, we still love each other.”
Biscan’s dad Michael, recently-deceased, was a founding member of rock band Goanna and part of the Revival Centre Church, which has been described as a cult.
Biscan grew up in Bristol and learned to play guitar in his dad’s church band. “It wasn’t exactly a bush doof,” he said.
In 2013 Biscan came to Australia “to do my two years in the wilderness” and began playing in Geelong pubs.
He returned to Bristol briefly in 2015 before “amicably” leaving the group over a “handshake” and a “sandwich” with its leader.
“They found out I was playing gigs at Beav’s [Bar] and they gave me an ultimatum,” he explained.
“Christianity is still as mysterious to me as it’s ever been but I’m a little more clued into the dogma. That’s when I got plugged into the [local music] grid and my life changed.”
He wrote a “couple of bangers”, Jaws of the Jungle and Volcano, which became favourites for Geelong punters, he said.
“Usually people want to hear Jesse’s Girl or Horses but people were like, ‘play Jaws, play Volcano!’”
Five years later Biscan turned two chairs in his blind audition at The Voice.
He remembered the crew filming him in a “white linen shirt self-baptising in the river” and hoped they would not “sensationalise” his back story “too much”.
“They said ‘you’re going to have to trust us Luke’,” he said.
“‘I don’t trust you guys as far as I can throw you. You are the entertainment industry – you have a reputation.’
“But they edited my dialogue in a way that made sense and didn’t make me look like a character in Deliverance.
“I usually hate [reality TV] but they treated me well so I don’t have a bad word to say about them.”
Apart from a crazy 40-minute conversation with Guy Sebastian about religion reminiscent of a “Joe Rogan podcast” for a two-minute segment, and “three seconds” speaking to Kelly Rowland, Biscan revealed:
“You don’t actually even see them that much. They say they’re your coaches but really, they’re the face of the team that coaches you.”
Biscan hinted he could play some tracks from his upcoming 10-track album Laodicea on Friday, along with songs from debut album Revivalist and covers.
“We want to do something a bit exciting and fresh,” he said.
“There’ll be some stuff from Revivalist but we’ll want to test-drive some of these new tracks which are sounding electric in rehearsal.
“I don’t know yet what covers we’ll do – we’ll keep it a bit of mystery for now.”