We are our own worst critics. Luke Spiller knows this as well as anyone. Despite churning out a successful run of crossover hits with The Struts for more than a decade, he’s still never sure if a song will land until he lets other people hear it.
“That’s one thing I’ve learned,” he says in this episode of How I Wrote That Song, “that you simply do not know. The only thing you can do… is keep pushing and pushing, and then something is gonna surface, that you might not even recognize the quality within it, until you really start to show it around and people react to it and get drawn into that.”
Take their earliest hit, “Could Have Been Me.” The track is from the Struts’ debut album Everybody Wants, and it elevated the band from UK club favorites to global rockstars. But Luke explains, “I remember when we finished it. I was outside having a cig with Ads (guitarist Adam Slack) and I was like, ‘Is this any good? …I mean, it’s alright.’ And that’s the funny thing with some of these singles. When they happen towards the end of your creative process of creating an album, by then sometimes you can be overtired, over traveled, and you really just don’t know what’s good anymore. ‘Could Have Been Me’ was one of those ones for sure. My hands were up in the air, like, ‘It’s a great song, but I don’t know.’”
It ended up not only being a hit, but Luke jokes that it’s “the song that keeps on giving.” High-profile placement in sporting events, commercials and movies exposed the band to an entirely new audience. In 2021, the song was covered by Halsey for the Sing 2 soundtrack – a children’s movie – and he noticed that “all of these little kids were showing up with their parents” to the Struts’ concerts.
“I thought to myself, have I got to tone the show down now?” he says with a laugh. “But then I thought, f— it, and I did what I did and didn’t dumb it down. And you see the kids’ faces, and they absolutely love it.”
Hear more stories behind the band’s most popular songs, plus Luke’s thoughts on musical ad-libs, collaborations and more, in this week’s How I Wrote That Song.