PREMIERE: Getting to Know Internet Man Luke Markinson & His Latest Single

In a world where everyone has an online platform, people relate to their digital neighbors in complex ways. The lines have blurred between celebrity and fan, person and persona. Experimental pop artist and habitual Internet user Luke Markinson explores these often-confusing relationships with his new single “Double Tap,” an unquestionably modern yet radio-friendly reflection on the nature of digital affection.

Luke Markinson heart graphic

Graphic by Zoe Axelrod

Ringtone Magazine: I’ll start by asking you to introduce yourself and describe your music.

Luke Markinson: I'm Luke Markinson, I'm 20 and I make futuristic indie pop. I like playing around with different sounds and experimenting, sonically and lyrically.

Who would you say your biggest musical inspirations are?

I would say my number one inspiration is Charli XCX. She actually put my song “Never Alone” on her playlist, and I freaked out. It was the best day of my life; I didn't believe it was real. That was insane for me. I also really like Troye Sivan, The 1975, A.G. Cook, and Beach House.

Your new single “Double Tap” is written from the perspective of a person who is obsessed with someone they can only communicate with online. Is this meant as social commentary, or are you drawing purely from your own experience?

It's a little bit of both. The song is definitely inspired by the way we show affection to one another in this age that's run by social media. Specifically, it’s about wanting affection from someone online who won’t return it. All you can do to let them know that you care about them is to “double tap” on them. I incorporated elements like iMessage noises to make that theme clear.

I’m sort of playing an obsessive character in the song. I'd like to think that I don't become infatuated with people online to that extent. But there’s part of myself in there too. I’m following some people that I'm just obsessed with, and I wish they would give me the time of day back. It’s definitely more of a character, though.

A parasocial relationship is the one-sided relationship that develops between public figures and their audiences. Fans start to view celebrities and entertainers as their “friends,” despite never having met. The rise of social media has made parasocial relationships more common as public figures become more accessible. When writing “Double Tap,” did you have this concept in mind?

Totally. I watched a show called I May Destroy You on HBO. There’s a scene where an influencer is doing a livestream, and fans are spamming the comments with messages like “You saved my life.” This happens with content creators in real life, too. Fans make these really intense statements, when in reality, they don't even know the person who they're speaking to. They grow way too attached to online personas.

Moving on to the music video, which is very intriguing — where was it shot?

In a couple places—mainly Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis. It has the most random sculptures you'll find. My roommate actually directed it — part of it was also filmed on our roof.

Why did you choose to film it there?

To be honest, a lot of it was just, “Oh, this place is dope. Let's go.” But I think some of it is meaningful. The shot of the eyeball could relate back to parasocial relationships, emphasizing how this character is fixated on an online persona.

Regarding the character — are you planning to release more tracks from his point of view, or is this a one-off thing?

I think this was a one-off idea. Most of my songs relate more to my own experiences.

Is character-oriented songwriting harder for you?

This was tricky to write about. Taking from my own experiences is more lyrically resonant for me. But it was fun to give a deeper meaning to an ostensibly silly concept.

You started your music career on Vine when you were 14 — what would you say to your younger self now?

Keep grinding. Listen to yourself; you know you know what you love to do. Be authentic. Be yourself, and I think people will appreciate you for you.

Check out Luke Markinson's latest single, Double Tap, on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud!

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