Express & Star

Mike Oldfield's son Luke Oldfield on his dad, Gypsyfingers and making music ahead of Birmingham gig

His dad is a world-revered music idol, best known for ground-breaking iconic album Tubular Bells.

Gypsyfingers. Pic: Alexandra Cameron

But Luke Oldfield, whose father is of course none other than Mike Oldfield, has very much taken his own path when it comes to creating music; making unique songs and fascinating videos to match with his band Gypsyfingers in which he plays with wife Victoria Coghlan.

He does however give his dad credit for inspiring him to get into music, alongside his older brother Dougal who sadly died in 2015, aged just 33.

"The first gig of my dad's I went to see was at the Royal Albert Hall in 1993, performing Tubular Bells. I was stunned by the whole thing - I thought it was amazing," said Luke, who lives in West London with Victoria.

"I must have only been about seven.

"I can remember being struck by the caveman who came on stage in Tubular Bells Two. I thought ‘what is that guy? There’s a real caveman on stage!’.

"Later on, I found out it was the percussionist in my dad’s band and I met him when they played the Olympics Opening Ceremony in 2012. His name’s Alasdair Malloy. When I met him and told him about it, he said ‘you know that was me?’. I had finally met the caveman.

Luke, far right, with his dad, third from left, at the sound check for the London Olympics in 2012

"Dad hasn’t toured since 1999, but when he did he was so impressive.

"I’m immensely proud of him. It’s very cool.

"My parents split up when I was really young.

"To me, he’s not a rock star - he’s just my dad.

"It is interesting for me to see fans’ perception of him though.

"Even if he says he was absent while we were growing up, I’d still go round his house and do what dads and sons do.

"My brother started playing guitar when he was 16.

"I remember it being a New Year’s resolution one year that I would take up guitar lessons at school.

"I tried to learn piano when I was seven, but I didn’t really take to it.

"So my dad, my brother and I all went shopping on Denmark Street in London and I was bought a classic guitar, which I still have today.

Gypsyfingers. Pic: Alexandra Cameron

"What’s lovely is that if you’re good at it, you enjoy playing. And because you enjoy it, you play more and keep getting better. It’s a nice circle.

"I used to try and play music I’d hear on the radio, such as Red Hot Chili Peppers.

"At the age of 12, you’re not really an active music consumer - though it’s little different these days. I’d really just listen to whatever my brother had on. Under The Bridge is one in particular, as well as some others.

"If I went to my dad’s house, I’d listen to him working on his music - which is obviously very eclectic.

"The earliest album of my dad’s I can remember listening to is The Songs of Distant Earth. It’s an amazing album which was sci-fi inspired.

"His music is so varied, he must have inspired me over the years.

"Thanks to my family, I don’t see music as having any rules."

Luke's mother also influenced him as, during her time working as an artist liaison for Virgin Records, she would bring little Luke CDs home of stars who spurred him on to pursue a career in the industry.

She also no doubt had some incredible tales to tell, given she organised events including the iconic Sex Pistols party on the River Thames in 1977.

"My first CD was by Seal - Kiss From A Rose. I’d been given a Discman for Christmas and I just couldn’t stop listening to it," added Luke, who has just turned 32.

Luke Oldfield alongside Gypsyfingers while supporting James Blunt. Pic: Sally Low

"My mum was an artist liaison. She met my dad at Virgin when she was a press officer.

"To me, she always seemed to have the coolest job.

"When my parents separated, she became an artist liaison for Virgin, sorting things out for musicians, whether it was booking or hotels or getting them to and from shows."

Luke records music for Gypsyfingers at Tilehouse Studios in Denham, which was originally built in 1981 for his father at their then family home.

He also works at Toe Rag Studios in London, where The White Stripes recorded Grammy-award winning album Elephant.

"I went to music college in Bristol," said Luke.

"My father built a studio in the house he and my mum lived in - the house we grew up in. In fact, I’m there now.

"When I finished college, I thought I’d really love to run a recording studio - and we had this one. I just had to figure out how it was wired, as everything had been cut.

"I got in touch with the architect, who sent through the original drawings.

"After that, I spent all my time building it up to what it is now. It’s a fantastic building and it deserves to be used.

"Parallel to working at my studio, I also work at a studio called Toe Rag Studios in Hackney.


"The studio is entirely analogue, like they would have recorded back in the 60s. When using analogue, you have to rely on the musicians a lot more.

"I met Wolf Alice when they went to record there. They just came in to do a single.

"The Undertones’ recording was the second session I was ever given to run as an engineer. It was pretty nerve-wracking; everyone’s heard of The Undertones.

"But they were very nice and it worked really well.

"The Wytches; I produced their first album which they recorded at Toe Rag."

Gypsyfingers, which crosses a whole range of genres from dance, to folk, rock and more, began as Victoria's solo project back in 2010, until she met Luke the following year after which they recorded their first album as a duo.

The pair, who then teamed up with bandmates Simon Hedges on bass and Patrick Kenneally on drums and keys, went on to support James Blunt in Warsaw, Poland, in 2014.

They last played Birmingham in support of Tubular Bells For Two - a pair of men who play the entire concept album between the two of them on stage - back in October 2017.

Gypsyfingers returns to the Midlands when they play The Cuban Embassy in Birmingham this Friday.