News August 30, 2018

Beloved “master of all trades” session musician Luke Liang has passed away

Former Assistant Editor
Beloved “master of all trades” session musician Luke Liang has passed away
Image: Brayden Smith (BCS Imaging)

Much-loved Sydney multi-instrumentalist and former Papa Vs Pretty member Luke Liang has died at the age of 28.

An outpouring of grief from the music community on his Facebook page remembers Liang as a “master of all trades”; a kind, funny and talented man who was loved by all who knew him. He was touring as a full-time musician while studying a law degree.

The former Papa Vs Pretty guitarist, keyboard player and vocalist transitioned to session work after the band’s break-up in 2014.

The extent of his work performing with the likes of Guy Sebastian, Jarryd James, Nicole Millar, Kim ChurchillAsta, Japanese Wallpaper, Joy., Jack River, Alex The Astronaut and many more has seen him touch the lives of many in the industry.

Friends, family and industry are sharing the Support Act helpline, encouraging all affected to reach out.

In 2017 alone, he played 216 session gigs – of which 26 were international – and performed alongside Alex the Astronaut, Amali Golden, Ashley Macedo, Asta, Dami ImDeep Sea ArcadeDom Youdan, Elle May, Guy Sebastian, Jack River, Japanese Wallpaper, Jarryd James, Kate MartinKLP, LenkaM-PHAZESMatt GreshamMontaigne, Nicole MillarRuelThe ShuffleTara Del Borrello, Thelma PlumTim McArtneyTom Jordan and The White Tree.

Liang’s former Papa vs Pretty bandmate Tom Myers posted yesterday:

“As some of you may or may not know, our dear friend Luke Liang lost his battle with depression two days ago.

I first met Luke in Rhodes shopping centre when I was 16 after a Papa vs Pretty rehearsal in Meadowbank. He was 18 at the time and of course the only one who could buy me cigarettes.

Luke officially joined Papa vs Pretty just before the writing and recording of our second album. He was intimidatingly amazing at his instrument and made our music stand out. I can still hear his playing on it today and its just as masterful.

I will never ever forget our car trips to and from rehearsals, hendrix, singing along to City and Colour, and the ever evolving ‘hi 5’. (My favourite was the ‘try to high 5 as little as possible’ one), 2nd and 3rd breakfasts, butter coffees, Luke’s full vegan Bolognese was an absolute thing of beauty.

After the band broke up, Luke became the absolute “go-to” session guy. Quite simply, he was the best. Keys/Guitar/every other instrument, If you were lucky enough to see Luke play, you’ll understand. My heart aches for all who shared the stage with him, I’ll bet they were the best gigs you’ve ever played.

Luke was perhaps the most impressive man I’ve ever met. Literally anything he turned his hand to he mastered (sometimes in a matter of hours), a willing listener and an incredible mate to all of us.

We are all naturally devastated, but we’re much stronger if we’re together. It’s been so overwhelming to receive so many well wishes and messages of support. Thank you.

Luke’s family is also naturally devastated and coming to terms with the loss. They have requested that sharing the news is done in a respectful manner so as to honour our memory of Luke.

If you need to talk, I am here.
If you want to just hang out, I am here.

I am so sorry for everyone’s loss.


As news of his passing reverberates through the industry, musicians, managers, promoters and others who have worked alongside Liang are posting their memories and sharing their grief with the community.

Support Act: 1800 959 500

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

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