Rhys Lewis – From tour to studio with FAULT Magazine

Photography: Jack Alexander 

Words: Miles Holder

Late last year we caught up with Rhys Lewis  on his European tour, finished with his critically acclaimed tour, we were recently treated to new music in the form of single ‘No Right To Love You’. The heartbreaking tune encapsulates exactly why Rhys’ artistry in songwriting is so beloved; it’s intimate, he’s vulnerable and when performed live, it captures everyone in the room. Now back in the studio, no doubt working on even more hits, we caught up with Rhys to discuss his writing process, touring and all things FAULT.

 

You’ve just come off a whirlwind tour, what’s this stage of being a performer like for you? Are you in a rush to get back into the studio or will you be taking it slow?

Yeah, I’ve definitely got a case of ‘tour blues’ but I’m in a great place at the minute. I’ve never felt more confident and comfortable walking out on stage as I have the past few weeks whilst touring. You get into a rhythm playing the same set every night, you start to discover new ways of playing the songs, small moments that you can turn into something more memorable. And having the band behind me is really special for me, they are all way better musicians than I am so I’ve felt quite inspired playing with them every night.

But it’s been straight back to the studio for me. Finishing off some songs I started working on before the tour, and writing some new ones! The album is pretty much written but I feel like I’m writing the best stuff I’ve ever written at the minute so it’s hard to commit to 12 songs when I’m still in a bit of a zone creatively.

 

What tour dates really surprised you? Were there any dates which just didn’t go how you expected for the better?

They all did to be honest! I couldn’t believe how many people showed up to the shows, in quite random places too. We played lots of small Dutch towns and I was really worried we were going to be playing to a lot of empty rooms, but I was overwhelmed by the support, felt like my first proper tour in that respect! Highlights would be Rotown in Rotterdam and the last show of the European tour in Paris!

 

Any that went worse?

Belgium was the only show that was a bit though. I had a lot of sound issues on stage that were not there in soundcheck for some reason. It really put me off and I made so many mistakes, probably not that noticeable but once I’d lost focus I found it hard to enjoy annoyingly. Only about 80 showed up and it was rather large room so it didn’t look great either haha, but probs for the best considering I didn’t play so well…!

 

Do you do much writing on tour? Some artists like to switch off and split their performing and writing time and others like to do both at the same time, which one Arte you?

This tour I didn’t do any writing actually, we didn’t have much time off and when we did we all just needed to chill or do laundry (rock and roll…). The drives on this tour were filled with crosswords and Mariokart on the Nintendo switch. But on previous tours without the band I’ve had a lot of time on my own and I do really enjoy writing when I’m in that kind of situation. Being in new places every day you end up thinking quite differently, and the perspective you have on your own life changes. So I’ve found writing quite rewarding on tour when I’ve got more time by myself. I actually wrote Reason To Hate You and Bad Timing on the last support tour I did.

 

Some of your music is really heart-wrenching like ‘Be Your Man’ and ‘Reason To Hate You’ have really piercing messages, are they written from personal experiences?

Yeah sorry, they are both quite depressing songs! They were both written from personal experience, although I borrowed some emotion for Reason To Hate You from a friend who was going through something similar at the time. I told him about the song and he opened up about what he was going through and it really helped me get deeper into the sentiment of the song.

 

If so, how do you cope with singing about your lowest moments over and over again on tour?

It’s a very odd feeling. There are a few songs that are so personal that when I’m singing them I feel almost a bit embarrassed or vulnerable. But the writing process is actually quite cathartic, and by the time the song is out it’s not as raw or as painful a feeling as it was when I was writing. So I’d be lying if I said I still connected to the emotion of those songs every single night. Sometimes I really feel every word, other times I’m worrying about something random or my mind is miles away and I’m wondering what time lobby call is tomorrow morning. I try to stay present and connect with the songs and the crowd as much as I can, but I found this tour that some shows I just didn’t, for one reason or another, fall into that zone and lose myself in the performance. Maybe it’s partly because those songs are so emotionally draining when I do connect with them.

 

What else do you have planned for the rest of 2018?

Festivals, another tour, some time with family and friends, a few writing trips and maybe a holiday. I need to start learning to drive too, one of my New Years resolutions was to pass my driving test. Still not even booked a lesson…here’s to 2019…

 

What is your FAULT?

I think too much.

 

FAUL Magazine Playlist: What We’re Listening To This Week

JAY-Z  4:44

Hare Squead – Pure

Dan Caplen – Flat Champagne feat. Ray BLK

Rhys Lewis – I Know The Feeling

Vera Blue – Mended