Al Lewis interview 2010

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Singer/songwriter Al Lewis has just released a fine set of acoustic based tunes on the album ‘In The Wake’.

1. Could you tell us please what are you currently up to?

Filming a music video for ‘Make a Little Room’ on a narrow boat on the Grand Union Canal in two weeks time

Album launch Gig at the Monto Water Rats on the 13th of October
Supporting amongst others – Kirsty Almeida and Ben Montague on tour during October and November

Finishing off my second Welsh language album with David Wrench – who mixed ‘In the Wake’ – up in Bryn Derwen, Bethesda, North Wales

2. Could you take us through your new album ‘In The Wake’? e.g. story behind the songs, songwriting process etc.

It’s been 2 years in the making really – it’s an album of personal songs of what I’ve been going through in that period and beyond, themes which hopefully people will be able to relate to and empathise with.

There are a few co-writes on there with Sarah and Peter John Vettese. It’s always a pleasurable experience writing with those two, they are great songwriters who really inspire me.

3. How did you hook-up with Sarah Howells? Will she be part of any touring plans?

We met in 2008 after a gig one night – we’d both been to see an act who’s drummer was a mutual friend – realising we were both singer-songwriters from Wales, living in London we decided to arrange to meet again for a little jamming session. This then turned into songwriting sessions and then we decided to start gigging together too, people seemed to like it – so we carried on!

4. Previously you have released EP’s etc in your native language Welsh. Is the Welsh music scene vibrant and still attracting younger musicians like yourself?

I would love to say that it is vibrant but unfortuneately the picture isn’t so healthy at the moment as the recession bites and PRS payments are being cut severly, artists and labels are finding it harder to find the money to pay for new albums. I still think it’s a great and important scene providing a platform for younger musicians to grow and learn their trade and give them practice of working with Radio and Television.

5. How did the recent filming at Abbey Road go? What was it like to be in such a legendary musical building?

It was a wonderful experience – I was certainly fulfilling an ambition of mine in playing there. The atmosphere was electric and even though we were a relatively small group in such a huge room – I think we managed to get a nice intimacy to the occasion.

6. There are a lot of singer/songwriters and a ‘new folk’ revival at the moment. How do you plane to get your music heard above others?

Hopefully if the music is good enough it will get heard – I think if you have a strong enough personality and you are able to connect with audiences then you will do alright. I’m glad to see ‘new folk’ like Laura Marling and Mumford and Sons getting exposure – it bodes well for acts like me!!

7. What made you want to start a musical career and where/what was your first live gig like?

The reason I wanted to be a musician was because above anything else in life – it was the thing that gave me most pleasure!

I started off like most musicians in a band with some mates from school. Our first gig was at the local Football Club – the compere that night forgot our names whilst in the middle of introducing us – which was nice!

8. Has the internet helped get your music out there or in some ways e.g. illegal downloads has it made matters worse?

I think the philosophy of music being ‘free’ for all will have to end at some point as musicians have to put bread on the table like anyone else!

Though saying that – the Internet has definitely helped artists like me, who may be outside of the mainstream, in tapping in to a potentially much larger worldwide audience – who beforehand would have never had access to their music. I think we just need to find a fair way for musicians to be remunerated for their labours of love!

9. Who are your main musical influences and in an ideal world who would you love to tour with?

John Mayer was the guy who made me think – I want to be a singer/songwriter!……and I would love to support him one day – maybe in touring across America!

My influences range from Neil Young and Bob Dylan to more contemporary songwriters such as Bon Iver and Bright Eyes

10. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from music?

I love sport – my big passions being Liverpool FC and the Wales National Rugby Team!

Message for your fans…

Hello! Hope you’re all (both) well! Please keep the faith and keep buying music and going to gigs! Thanks x

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