Artist Interview: SG Lewis, how a live show is built
Debuted on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show and managed by the same team as Disclosure and Sam Smith, SG Lewis is tipped to be the next big thing in melodic euphoria, with his first London live show already sold out, we caught up with him to hear how his preparations are coming along...
Hi SG, what’ve you been up to today?
Wassup! I'm currently travelling back down south after playing The Warehouse Project in Manchester last night, possibly my favourite show to date!
Tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are today?
Whilst I was still at school I used to make really bad bootleg remixes and put them online (they'd get about 23 plays each or something), but after a while I began to produce my own original music. Whilst at Uni I started to put some music online under the SG Lewis alias, and began to incorporate influences from a lot of music I was discovering at the time, like Bon Iver and Mount Kimbie. Last summer, I made some songs in my bedroom, and the demos got into the hands at PMR records. After one meeting, we signed to them, and have been working together ever since!
We were big fans of your first EP Shivers, how’s your new one coming on and how does its sound differ? (Get it now on iTunes!)
Thank you! I've spent most of the past year in the studio, so I think that naturally the production has improved, and is a little more detailed and intricate than the previous releases. The overall feel is a little darker, and building the live show has made me consider how the tracks will sound live, so the new EP definitely has that thought in mind too.
"Hopefully as the live show progresses, DJ sets of mine will become an opportunity to share records I love with an audience of people there to have a good time."
With anticipations building around your first live show, take us through the process of developing your live sound from scratch? What do you have to change in your tracks to play them live? How are you going to be recreating your sound on stage and with what kit etc?
A couple of months back I sat down with a good friend of mine from University, Olly Paisey, and we began to plan how the live show was going to be executed. Olly is a technical genius, and was able to help me execute most of the creative ideas for the live show. A lot of my tracks include real instruments, like guitar and piano, so wherever possible we are going to be playing those parts live. We currently have no playback drums, and instead all the drum samples are all being played on an SPDSX by our amazing drummer Nick Moss. We also have a hardware compressor in the set-up, which is sidechaining the synth and keys parts played by Max Trufit. The sidechain is activated by a ghost kick being fed to the compressor from Ableton. I think the set up something that will hopefully continue to grow over the next year or so.
You’re managed by Method who also manage Disclosure, how is it hanging out with those guys and have you taken any tips from Guy and Howard as to how to build a live show?
Before joining method I was a big fan of Disclosure's music, so to become a part of the method camp has been amazing. Guy and Howard are hugely talented, and it's by no luck that they are where they are today. I know that they're both very proud of their live show, and I wanted to try and approach my own show in a way that didn't just replicate what they had done for theirs, as it's something they have worked really hard at, and I wanted to develop a live set up that was unique to my project. Having said that, watching how they execute the songs as part of a set was definitely an influence in my own live show - the fluidity between songs and transitions definitely help to turn the show into a journey for the audience rather than just playing songs live one after another, so there's an element of that in my own show.
What do you think you’re going to prefer, DJ or Live?
I think the two things are so different, and are both great for different reasons. Hopefully as the live show progresses, DJ sets of mine will become an opportunity to share records I love with an audience of people there to have a good time - whilst the live show will be focused solely around my own music. The ideal scenario would to be able to do both things at the same festival! I'll always love DJing, but right now I'm really enjoying the challenge that the live show brings.
Thank you SG!
You can listen to SG Lewis’ EP Shivers over on Spotify