Gavin Luke

Twin Cities, USA



Behind the Music

The most shocking thing to me, after reading The Ocean Outlaw, was how lawless the open seas truly are. Though there appear to be some laws in place regarding international waters, they are not really enforced or they are easily circumnavigated. I think music is a universal language unique to humanity, which allows it to lend itself into this project. It is expressed in all cultures and societies throughout the world. Music instantly conveys emotion and it’s a powerful form of storytelling. Like a story, music has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The music I’ve composed for The Ocean Outlaw Music Project serves as an undercurrent to the narrative told throughout Ian Urbina’s book The Outlaw Ocean. 

My intent with the music is to augment the emotions and struggles highlighted in the book, and I wanted the music to highlight both the struggle for equity and despair that Ian Urbina has so masterfully conveyed in his book. The word “discord,” which is also the title of the album for this project, is defined as both a disagreement between people and in musical terms a lack of harmony between notes. I think music engages the listener in ways words cannot. My hope with the music I’ve composed for this music project is to tell the story through the lens of the individuals enslaved on the fishing boat and tie the listener emotionally to the issues raised in Ian Urbina’s book The Outlaw Ocean.

Gavin Luke
About Gavin Luke

Gavin Luke is an American composer who was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From an early age, he was innately drawn to the musical world, so much so that his mother would counteract his youthful tantrums by playing music to him. At age seven, he began taking classical piano lessons, following in the footsteps of both his parents and his grandmother. Throughout his childhood, Gavin both practiced and experimented with classical masterpieces, frequently re-writing the works of renowned pianists such as Brahms and Mozart. This creative flair continued through his education as he played in numerous bands, whilst familiarizing himself with the nuances of film scores. After studying music synthesis and film scoring at Berklee College of Music, he moved to Los Angeles to hone his film scoring skills. Since 2010, Gavin has divided his time between composing his own pieces and composing music for films. In 2016, he released four albums and two singles and his track, “Delicate Transitions” gained over 50 million plays on Spotify. In 2018 and 2019, he released several EPs and singles and his music has now been heard several billion times on YouTube. With many of his releases being recorded on his grandmother’s fully-restored 1925 Steinway grand piano, it is clear the online world is in tune with his uniquely authentic touch.

The Journalism behind the Music

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

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