From the Notes App to the Studio; Dean Luke Breaks Down New Single ‘What Do I Know?’

Naarm based indie musician, Dean Luke, delves deep into the lyricism behind his first solo release, ‘What Do I Know?’.

Pain and existential despair, getting older but feeling younger than ever, and coping with the absurdity of life are all themes that make Dean Lukes Debut single ‘What Do I Know?’ so captivating. 

In his first release as a solo artist, Dean doesn’t shy away from the messiness that is being human. So take Luke’s hand as he guides you into the dark recesses of his mind to discover the meaning behind these lyrics and what inspired them. 

Dean Luke interview

Catch the full lyric breakdown below, and scroll down to listen to ‘What Do I Know?’.

“Jung, Freud and Wittgenstein – I’d read them and reread them if I just had the time. Would they make much sense of what I see? Would they translate me to me?”

The opening lyrics are about the desire to better understand yourself. 

Typed into the notes app of my phone while I sat in the back of an Uber, I had picked up my phone to write a poem as a form of catharsis in the midst of a 6 month depressive state. 

At the root of the depression I was experiencing was a great sense of existential despair – this was the inspiration behind the reference to the psychoanalysts Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

“What do I hope to gain from them? Well, a simple understanding of my own torment. ‘Cause life’s less scary the more you know and don’t let the fear show, but what do I know?”

I think life is much easier and less scary the more you know about yourself and how to better navigate the waters of your own pathology.

What I mean by my own torment is the pain and existential despair I was struggling with at the time. 

I think we all share this torment to varying degrees – I think it lays dormant inside us and begins to surface during times of hardship and sometimes at random.

Dean Luke interview

“Another year around the sun as a 30 something with 20 something problems. What the fuck does that even mean? It’s bad though, or so it seems.”

It’s commonly believed once you enter your 30s you will (or should) have your life in enough order to feel more self- actualisation than you did in your 20s.

In reality, I don’t think anyone feels there life is in perfect order – there will always be things you don’t yet have under control or feel inadequate about.

Dean Luke lyric breakdown

“But what chance do you stand when life makes no sense? And the more you think about it, well, the harder it gets. Maybe these are feelings that I’ll one day outgrow, but then again maybe I won’t, ‘cause what do I know?”

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always harboured the idea that life is somewhat absurd. We’re all dopey meat sacks in dumb clothes, driving our stupid cars to silly jobs, acting like everything is important. 

Swapping goods and services for numbers and trading those numbers for more goods and services. Treating people with higher amounts of numbers as important and people with lower amounts as less.

Maybe it’s more an observation of the absurdity of capitalism than life itself. But so long as our lives exist within that paradigm, it’s going to be hard to differentiate the two.

Dean Luke lyric breakdown

“‘Till then I’ll find solace in the never ending beauty of the sunset and stars. God, how they floor me – they’re almost too much, too much for my heart.”

Ever since I was young, I always loved looking at the night sky or at a sunset.

Doing so would give me a feeling of peace but also a sense of existential dread. The magnitude of a starry night sky would make me feel small and insignificant, and cause me to question why I exist and the point of anything at all.

I think the beauty, vastness and mystery of the natural world has the power to humble us and remind us of what’s actually important. These lyrics are about finding respite from the confusion and troubles of life in the natural world.

Listen to ‘What Do I Know?’ here.