“I think it’s everybody’s dream to be a musician but that’s all I thought it was. I didn’t think it would ever happen…” – Lewis Watson
It was a lovely, sunny day in Berlin, when we went to Privatclub to meet the talented singer-songwriter, Lewis Watson, from Oxford, United Kingdom. The van with the teams and Lewis arrived 5 minutes after we’ve got there and Lewis got out of the bus with a smile on his face and a Super Mario tee. He was very polite and apologised for being late (but they were almost on time). After saying hi to everyone, we showed him around the venue and the backstage area, ’cause we’ve been to Privatclub a lot and he had no idea were to go (nevertheless it felt a bit crazy, like showing someone else around their own house).
Welcome Back to Berlin, Lewis. You’ve been here a couple of times before playing shows. How does it feel to be back?
It’s lovely. Berlin has a certain energy about it that you don’t really get anywhere else and we just drove past three of the venues I played before. We played here last time which was great, so I’m really excited. Should be a good show tonight.
We’ve heard that the artwork for your debut album was really inspired by Berlin’s
abandoned fairground and those pedal swans. Have you ever been to that abandoned place twice?
No, so we went there to shoot the album artwork but I haven’t been back since. It was pretty creepy and we had to pay a lot of money to go on there and to do it. So I’d hate to go again. But it was great and it was a really cool experience to be able to shoot there
You said that back in the days it was the scariest place you’ve ever been to. Is it still the scariest place?
Definitely. Its just super eerie and it was cool but I was glad that I was with a lot of people
and it was day.
You just released your second studio album ‚midnight‘ last month. What inspired you the most for this record?
The album itself is written about love, really. About the good and the bad, before and after. The kind of struggles and the good times as well. I think that everybody has been through that to a certain degree. Depending on how intense it may or may not have been and so I kind of was able to search inside and sing about and write about scenarios that I’ve been in. As I said the good and the bad. I’m really really happy with it. It’s an album that we recorded in 2015, so I’ve had it for a while and so I’ve been itching to get it out and releasing it last month was a really good feeling. Yeah and people seem to really seem to enjoy it, so thats amazing.
For your first album you wrote about 90 songs and in the end you just picked out yourfavourites for the record. Did you do the same for the second album?
For the first album we had about 100 songs and it was eleven tracks long and twelve were the secret tracks so we still had quite a few tracks to pick from. So there are a few on the second album that were in that kind of initial badge of songs. You know we had an album that I was really happy without those songs but on the off chance I went into the studio with my friends, a band called Oh Wonder, and we just wrote six songs in a few days and I think four or five of them made the album. So we kind of nudged some of the older songs off the album for these newer songs. It was a really good problem, I guess, to have so many songs. Because it is tough to whittle down to just ten or eleven songs and it was quite tricky. But fortunately, we wrote a lot of new songs just before and I was really in love with them so we stacked them onto the album.
Do you have any favourite songs on ‚midnight‘?
Yeah, there are a few and it’s changing all the time, honestly. At the moment my favourite
song is ‚deep the water‘ which is track 3. It’s the kind of perfect song to really showcase the whole album. It starts off acoustic, very quiet and then the strings come in and the drums and the electric guitar and the backing vocals come in. It kind of showcases everything that is included on the album and so right now I’m really into that one. We’re playing it every night as well and it’s a really good feeling to play it and to see the reactions when we play it. So at the moment I think my favourite track is deep the water.
Have you ever wanted to be a musician when you were younger?
Yeah, I think everybody does. I grew up in a house that we listened to music all the time and nobody in my family was a musician and so I didn’t really have access to an instrument or anything like that. You know, I think it’s everybody’s dream to be a musician but that’s all I thought it was. I didn’t think it would ever happen and so when I picked up a guitar on my sixteenth birthday it was just like as a hobby and something I just really wanted to do. I never really saw it as an investment to my career. Yeah, at the moment I’m kind of living the dream and that is a really cool feeling.
Do you have any childhood heroes?
Yeah, I’ve got loads. I think Michael Jackson for me when I was younger was always a kind of standout figure because we always listened to his music and he was so exciting to watch and the songs are just incredible and timeless. People still listen. I was DJ-ing last night in the van after the venue and I put PYT on and everybody was like “Yes!”. It just goes to show how timeless his music is and so I think he was always kind of a childhood hero of mine. There are lots. I was into Heavy Metal when I was younger so, you know, the Slipknot guys are my childhood heroes – and Linkin Park. It was kind of those high energy performers that were my heroes. But I think the one that kind of remains today is Michael Jackson.
Is there anything on your list like a venue or a place you’d really love to play one day?
It sounds a bit cliché, but I already achieved that twice. So, I played in London a venue called Shepherds Bush which has always been that venue that I wanted to play. I’ve seen a lot of my favourites bands play there and we played there two and a half years ago and sold it out as a headline gig – which is nuts – and that was something that was a real bucket list moment for me. Also I supported Birdy at the Sydney Opera House and that was another one for me. I really wanted to play the Sydney Opera House and we played there three nights in a row which was amazing. So yeah honestly, those kind of dream venues that have been played. I’d love to play Red Rock in Colorado, because that for me just looks like such a cool venue and I don’t think it will ever happen or if it does it will be as a support, but fingers crossed.
If you could go back to the future and be able to do a time travel would you go back in time – see what the future holds for you – or are you totally okay with the present?
Hm, I don’t know. With those kind of films someday it always messes up and I’d hate to mess things up. I’m so grateful for where I am and I get to sing for living. Nobody gets to do that. It’s such a cool feeling. I honestly wouldn’t want to go back in time because I’d just be scared that I change something and I wouldn’t be sat here now. Maybe to the future but I’m kind of scared for humanity in the future, so I I’m just gonna stay I think. Although I think if I was actually given the opportunity I would struggle to say no, because I’d be the one of the only people who gets to time travel. I don’t know, who knows? Right now I’m gonna say no until it actually exists.
A totally different question: what means fashion to you?
Oh. See, I’d say that I’m not very fashionable. I take comfort over fashion and so … fashion to me is when I look at other people and I think ‘Whoa they look cool’ it’s because they are wearing what they want to wear which isn’t always what everybody else is into at that time. Everybody was slighting the Kanye stuff and I understand that, but he had some really cool cuts of T-Shirts that wasn’t like your standard T-Shirt shape and I think that’s really cool. I like oversized things. I actually really like an oversized tee or something like that. But I’m probably not the best person to ask. I just like what I like whether it’s fashionable or not.
Do you have any indispensable piece of clothing?
Yeah, I have a few. I have a jumper that I wear all the time. I bought it in Scotland and it’s
just like a cable net jumper made from Scottish sheep and it’s falling apart now and has
holes everywhere but it’s so warm. I don’t think I could ever throw it out. It’s like a baggy,
cream coloured jumper. It’s probably not very nice to look at but it’s nice and cosy.
What did you pack in your suitcase? Do you any travel essentials?
I am a pretty rubbish packer, honestly. Today I just realised that I only packed like four pairs of socks and I don’t know how this happened, because we’ve been on the road for over a month now and personally I’ve been on the road now since January. So I don’t know where all of my socks have gone. I’m wearing my girlfriend’s trainer socks at the moment because I just couldn’t find any socks. I’ll have to find a go and find a laundromat or somewhere to clean my socks. Or just go barefoot for the rest of the tour. So yeah, I’m the worst packer, really. As an essential … you need entertainment. So on this tour in a van – the day before yesterday we had a seven-hour drive and today we had a five-hour drive- you really need to be entertained. We got a lot of films and I’ve got a few books. I just bought a new Nintendo Switch which is really cool and it’s keeping me sane at the moment. Because being in a van for that long without anywhere to go is pretty tough. So I’d say essentials would be entertainment.
Do you have any pre-show rituals or even a lucky charm?
Yeah, I used to always have a pint of Guinness before a show. But I never really had any
lessons for my vocals or anything like that. When I got signed one of the first things they’ve done – because I’ve done a small tour, five days in a row, on the fourth day I was like ‘Wow, my voice is gonna disappear. What’s going on?’- so we went to see this lovely lady called Emma, who is basically an amazing opera singer. She was going to give me tips on warming up because that’s something I’ve never learned before. She said, “What do you do for pre-show?” and I was like “You know … have a pint of Guinness.” And she was like “You do what?!”. Because that’s the worst thing for your voice. It’s not only alcohol, which is the worst, but it’s also creamy, which is then like double bad. So since then I haven’t really drunk for this year apart from when I had a few days off. But alcohol is just so bad for your voice. I’ve kind of stopped drinking when I got busy with work and so I don’t do Guinness anymore. But we all warm up and tend to eat way more then we all should do. We all have a nice group hug before we go on stage and just wish that we have a good show. It’s just a lot of love with this band. These are like my best friends on the road, as well my family. So, pre-show ritual is just embracing them and warming up with them and making sure that we rock the show.
What was the most embarrassing thing that happened to you on tour?
There was one time in LA when my guitar tuner pedal was telling me the wrong notes. This trip to America we did – NY and LA in three days – was to find an agent in the US. It was a pretty big deal. We had to rock the shows and impress a lot of people. I tried my hardest to not view it that way but that was what it was for. So I stepped on stage in LA and Adam, the bassist in the band, he tuned the guitar before. I was saying hello to everybody and all the notes were wrong on my guitar and so I quickly panic tuned to what I believed was the correct tuning. We started the song and just nothing was right. It must have been just the worst from in the crowd seeing this guy playing nonsense on the guitar, because it was just incorrect. It doesn’t sound that bad now but in my head, I was just like “God … it’s over. We come here to get an agent and they gotta see this and just leave and laugh at me.”. But fortunately, after the show they all came backstage and they all said, “You know this was brilliant, it made you human and everybody was loving it”. But it was the most embarrassing thing I ever … also I’m rubbish with like my fly. My fly is always undone, which is bad. So now before I go on stage I always double check my flies, because that would also be embarrassing.
Thanks for the warm welcome and the lovely chat, Lewis. we’re looking forward to hearing from you in the near future again! Check out Lewis’ website for tour dates and more!
Stay tuned ..
xx smoke and echoes