You only have to look at the gritty artwork for The Luka State’s new album, More Than This, to know that there is a story behind it.

Reading that the band also donated the budget for their recent “More Than This” video to the foodbank and poverty charity The Trussell Trust and further supported the charity by donating a meal to families in need for every ticket sold for their upcoming London show as well as launching a GoFundMe appeal, the struggles and challenges faced in a working-class town have clearly made a huge impact on their lives.

In our latest UnCovered series, we spoke to The Luka State about the album artwork, the challenges that inspired it and what message they wanted the artwork to convey.

Which album is the artwork for?

The Luka State: “So, I wanna tell you all the story behind the artwork for our second album, More Than This. A very personal album to me and the other boys as it kinda reflects the experiences we’ve all had in a working-class town over the last couple of years.”

Please help us understand what are you trying to convey with the cover’s imagery? Give us details on the concept.

“The album theme is about needing more than you currently have. Be that love, money, food, or even support from the system. The same system that kinda ignores people like us from working-class towns… Rather than doing the whole cliche band photo in front of a run-down building in our hometown Winsford, we felt we could be more symbolic and make people ask questions rather than just giving answers.”

How did the artwork’s image and/or concept come to you?

“The boy in the photograph is a very close family member to one of us, a really lovely kid called Frankie. He’s growing up in a hometown with very few opportunities, and we wanted to show his innocence against the backdrop of the realities of life. We tried doing the photo shoot in front of a few different places but settled on one of the permanently shut down shops on the estate round here.”

When it came time to come up with artwork, did the musician/band give the artwork guidance or was this more from the artist’s interpretation?

“So we’d spent some time looking at old archive photos from the North West taken in the 20s and 30s. Old coal mine town stuff and also photos from this lady in the midlands called Tish Murtha. Originally we wanted to sort of show the old with the new and make people realise that although we all have Sky TV and fake leather sofas, we’re really no better off than we were back then.”

How did the artist collaborate with The Luka State on the artwork?

“Unfortunately, Tish passed away some years ago, so we weren’t able to collaborate with her, but she left such an amazing legacy of photos that inspired us, and we hope many others for years to come. If you check out her images of the Elswick Kids online, you can definitely feel the connection to the photograph of our Frankie.”

Who created the artwork? How did the musician/band decide on that artist?

“So one of our managers, Jim took the shot, but he kept telling Sam “This is your vision, man, you direct it.” So really, Sam was the spark behind the whole thing, and he came up with the idea whilst in the back of the tour bus in North America.”

How did the artist decide to get into making album cover art?

“We’ve always loved the creative process outside of just the studio. Making music videos in particular. And this time around, we really wanted to make sure the whole package around the album reinforced our message and beliefs.”

Are there any symbols or stories hidden in the artwork?

“So there’s a definite Oliver Twist, kind of Dickensian take on the artwork. The idea of an innocent boy saying, “please, sir, I want more,” and in some ways, we’re all stuck in that same horrible workhouse trap of zero hours contracts, rising food costs and benefits that don’t help people regain their pride to get back to work. It really sums up that we all deserve more than this at times.”

Based on the results, would you work with the artist again?

“I mean, we think Sam and Jim absolutely nailed it, so yeah, maybe. But really, it depends on the inspirations we draw on for our next album. We’d definitely like to be heavily involved in the creative process again, though.”

The Luka State “More Than This” Album Artwork
The Luka State “More Than This” Album Artwork

Has anyone got your album(s) cover art tattooed on them?

“Ha! No, not yet. But we have a fan in America with our logo tattooed on their wrist and one in Paris with the lyrics to our song Room’s On Fire on her leg!”

How do you think the record business and art industry are navigating the handling of album artwork?

“I mean, people will have you think it’s all digital these days, but there’s nothing like holding a physical record in your hand, or putting it up on a wall like a piece of artwork. Plus, vinyl is selling loads now. So I think album artwork is here to stay.”

More Than This is out now, and you can order your copy here.

Tour Dates:

03/23 – Birmingham, Rainbow
03/24 – Bristol, Crofters
03/25 – Southampton, Heartbreakers
03/30 – London, Camden Assembly
03/31 – Leeds, Hyde Park Book Club
04/06 – Aberdeen, Tunnels
04/07 – Dundee, Church
04/08 – Glasgow, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
04/12 – Hamburg, Hakken
04/13 – Cologne, Helios37
04/14 – Berlin, Maschinenhaus
04/15 – Amsterdam, Paradise Bitterzoet
04/21 – Manchester, Academy 3


I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.