Creative Spotlight | Manson Luk
Published on 19 September 2023
Tell us a bit about who you are and what kind of creative work you make
My name is Manson Luk, and I’m a performing musician/drummer based in Ryde. I’ve had the blessing to study and recently graduate from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and I currently both lead and participate in numerous Sydney based Musical Ensemble such as ZODIAC, the Eric Tsai Quartet, Ms G’s Quartet, Uniting Creative and other groups specialising in both original music and event music. I push to create and exercise a unique sound to the drum-set, utilising modern and traditional techniques and allowing the influences of my heritage shape my identity and sound in music.
What Creative project are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I’m performing, composing, and recording an album for a quartet that I’m a part of called “Zodiac”, backed by the ABC Jazz Commission. We’re a band with entirely original works, inspired by a unique voice shaped by our Asian cultural background and Australian identity. I’m also performing with and recording an album for Uniting Creative, an exciting project to bring together cross generational, cultural, and stylistic frameworks to create a modern sound for Gospel Music.
Whereabouts do you look for creative ideas? Who or what inspires you?
I think there isn’t a limit to where, who or what can inspire you. What’s most important is that you’re open to change while keeping your personal fundamentals to allow you to adapt those ideas into whatever medium you desire to express yourself in. One of these examples can be seen where I allow my background as a Taekwondo Instructor to shape the motions and technique of my drumming. Having a fundamental understanding of slow to fast movements in Taekwondo allows me to translate those methodologies onto what I do on the drum set. Another example is my experience of the books/movies that I read and translating the messages that they present into unique language in my performances.
What’s the most challenging part of working as an artist/creative?
There’s always a struggle with making time to develop your personal touch on your artistic medium while upkeeping the demands of other gigs and teaching opportunities. We live in a post-COVID world, and live original music is struggling to stay relevant, amidst this world’s attention-based paradigm. It’s important to understand the necessity to create music for both performers and listeners and to support them. As a Chinese Australian, there’s also a cultural disapproval of musicians, and I can feel the societal pressures of my heritage. Luckily, the opportunities of being a musician in this Australian landscape give me the tools and ambition to pursue a pragmatic yet exciting career.
Are there any special processes, techniques or tools you use to make your creative work?
A process/technique I’ve always loved is the concept of a flow state. I love the feeling of the complete attention and focus on creating music, especially when combined with the improvisational nature of live performances. It’s an amazing feeling when the culmination of your practice and focus results in a present and effortless attitude of playing the music and its demands.
Where can we find out more about your work and get in touch?