VINYL NOISE MEETS LEWIS WATSON @ 110 ABOVE FESTIVAL

From posting covers online to becoming Lewis Watson; we talk 110 Above, Australia and that ‘Glastonbury aesthetic’ with one of the UK’s most anticipated singer-songwriter’s.

In the midst of a chaotic world, Lewis Watson seems to keep some grounded. Having ‘grown up’ together, his fans notably relate to his tracks – the many declarations of love, angst, hurt and all that lies between.

Returning with sophomore album, midnight, he turns his innocent, acoustic aura into a new, indie-rock styled outfit. Still, remnants of young Lewis glimmer through in a soulful collection of soothing melodies.

 

 

So how are you finding 110 Above so far?

I’ve just arrived, this is my first time! So Ethan who I was with, Ten Tonnes – I drove up with him and he said he’d played here two years ago and it was very different. I’m a big fan of a festival down in Gloucester called Barn on The Farm and I’ve been every year, even if I’m not playing and this has a real reminiscent feel of the early days and it’s just a load of people who love music and that’s the best thing you know? I think that is something that I love about smaller festivals – so yeah, so far I love it! We just met all the staff and they’re very friendly

Is there anyone you’re looking forward to catch this evening?

We’ll be driving back fairly soon after my set but ISLANDS are playing now and they supported my friends Amber Run and Will Joseph Cook who I just bumped into as well who’s playing later. And of course Ben Francis-Leftwich is playing later and he’s a wonderful guy so if I could stay I’d be seeing them

What song would you say gets the best reception when you play it live?

Depends really, because this year I released an album in March and it’s been great seeing the reaction from those songs because before I released my first album I released 5 EPs and a lot of those songs ended up on the album so I hadn’t really had that experience of playing a brand new song who’d never heard it before. So it was great at the start of this year kind of playing new songs before they were out and seeing the confusion in peoples faces but also the excitement. By the second chorus they were kind of getting into it. And now it’s really fun for me but also this year I’ve been doing loads shows solo – I spent a couple of months in the States and with visas and getting the band over would be far too expensive so…

You went to Australia as well didn’t you?

Yeah yeah, three times now! Twice this year. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining because I’m certainly not but it’s been a really tough schlep this year! But I went and played by myself and some of the older songs get a real reaction and I couldn’t bring the band here unfortunately so I’m playing solo today and I’m looking forward to playing a mixture of the happier newer songs and the kind of sadder older ones. I don’t know, I think into the wild always gets a very positive response. My new song little light tends to get a very positive response as well. I sing with my eyes shut all the time, it sounds so cliché but I get really into the zone – sometimes it’s a good thing but a lot of the time it’s not a great thing so I don’t really know!

Is there any reason for all of your song titles for being in lower case?

Uh yeah, it just looks better. For me, for this album in particular I had a real chance to do exactly what I wanted so I recorded the album before any label had any input. Me and my friend Ant, recorded the album with my band and really made an album that we loved and so off the back of that I really wanted to make all of the decisions for this record. The artwork was my choice and I headhunted this artist to paint this picture for me and it’s beautiful – I love him for it, it was hard work but it was great to really make every decision and I really wanted it to be more than the music – so everything was a real conscious decision with the way it was presented and the artwork and the colour scheme around it. I really wanted it to be so that it was with this album and that it was mine. The lower case thing was a decision I made early on – I don’t know; I’ve got a lot of stick from it but honestly I really like it

You can see it on a playlist though

Yeah and that’s another thing – it catches people’s eye and that’s what I did with the EP’s back in the day, I just called them these outrageous long sentences because I knew that whether they’d enjoy it or not they’d listen to it out of curiosity, “It’s got four sad songs on it by the way” why is it called that? Let me listen to it – and so for better or for worse I think it just makes it a piece of work whether it’s just the songs or I just try and make it a bit more than that basically

Since we’re at a festival, what would you say is the weirdest thing you’ve seen at a festival?

Plenty of people going to the toilet, just in the middle of paths. I played Boardmaster’s in 2014 and I played the Main stage and we played on the Saturday. I camped over with my dad to watch the Amber Run guy’s playing on the Sunday as I was supporting them later on in the year and there were hurricane winds and they had to cancel the second day! So we went to sleep and we woke up in the morning while the storm was happening and there were tents on the electric lines and tents, everywhere, flags, peoples’ clothes everywhere. That was really strange because the Saturday was so calm and nice and then we went to sleep and woke up and it was like a zombie apocalypse – it was a sharknado! So that was pretty strange and putting the tent down in that was impossible. But yeah I think that was the strangest thing although at Glastonbury I played the Rabbit Hole and the compare at that place is a real character, he’s called Hamish I think and he dresses up as a rabbit and just runs on stage naked in the middle of your set as well which is also quite strange. But that’s just the Glastonbury aesthetic

Finally, what is your top tip to surviving festival season?

Wet wipes! Always wet wipes – it’s so hard to feel clean especially if it’s raining which I hear it rained a lot yesterday! Old shoes and bed clothes because it gets chilly at night and you don’t want to have your muddy jeans from the day – you want trackies or a hoodie and are you allowed campfires here? That’s a controversial thing but if there’s one going go to that as you’ll meet some wonderful people – often there’s a guitar and you’ll find your next favourite artist! Last year at Barn on The Farm I didn’t know about someone called Jade Bird who picked up a guitar around the campfire and she’d just released her last EP last month and it’s incredible – but I didn’t know about her until I went to that campfire and it was a really enjoyable moment! So if campfires are allowed go to one as the people are very friendly!

Interview by Sacha Patston.

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