PHOTO CREDIT: Gemma Martz
Adam Giles Levy
THE terrific Adam Giles Levy…
PHOTO CREDIT: Lorena Lucenilla-Lavapies
has been talking with me about his latest single, The Ghosts, and his brand-new E.P., Peninsula. I ask the songwriter what sort of themes influenced the E.P. and which artists he is inspired by; when music came into his life; if he has any precious memories from his career so far – he recommends a rising act worth a shout.
I ask him what he has planned regarding tour dates; which albums are especially important to him; if he has any advice for artists coming through; which musician he’d support if he has the chance – Levy ends the interview by selecting a great song.
Hi, Adam. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m well, thanks. This last week has been pretty full-on. I played three shows at the Live at Heart festival in Sweden; flew to Barcelona for a show and, as I write, I’m on the road to Rome for the start of six-date Italian tour.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Of course. My name is Adam Giles Levy. I’m an Alternative-Rock, Blues artist originally from Frimley Green in Surrey, England. My second E.P., Peninsula, is out on 13th September, 2018! I released my debut E.P., Unravelled, in 2016 and have spent most of the time on the road since then. I cut my teeth in music playing and recording in Vancouver, Canada. Before committing full-time to music I was a lawyer, believe it or not.
The Ghosts is your new track. Can you talk about the song and its inspiration?
I wrote this one during a tour of Spain. It was inspired by the story of a people’s struggle to save their town from a major infrastructure project - a struggle which they lost leading to their relocation. The reservoir that resulted from this project is a beautiful place but with undeniably shady beginnings.
The video is really interesting! Where was it shot and who came up with the concept?
I’m glad you’re into it. The video was filmed on location in a small village called Collbato in Catalonia, Spain with the spectacular Montserrat mountain as a backdrop. The video was directed by my friend and collaborator Diego Urruchi from Media Attack, Bilbao. He also directed the video for Unravelled.
We recorded the video straight after finishing the new album before my band headed back to the U.K. and Madrid respectively. We recorded through a strange weather front which gave us all four seasons in the space of twenty-four hours. There are even some scenes with snow in them!
The Ghosts is from your new E.P., Peninsula. What sort of themes inspired the songs on the E.P.?
The struggle between humans and nature; John Paul White’s reminder not to forget our roots; a book called The Good Father; confronting bureaucracy and a dream involving horses. In that order.
Which musicians do you count as influences? Did you grow up around a lot of music?
Right now, the bands I have most present in my day to day are Rival Sons, Fink; Deap Vally and The Picture Books. My most-recent download was a remastered album of John Lee Hooker’s material. I don’t recall a time when music wasn’t present in my life. The two albums which I remember most from my childhood are Rumours by Fleetwood Mac and the Les Misérables soundtrack.
Do you recall the moment you got into music? Was there a day when you knew this is what you had to do?
There have been a couple of key moments. The first one was seeing trumpet extraordinaire Wynton Marsalis at the Royal Albert Hall when I was a kid. My mum took me to see him. I think he’s still the only musician to win a Grammy for both Classical and Jazz music. I was blown away by that experience.
The second was seeing John Mayer at the Hammersmith Apollo when he was touring Room for Squares. Seeing a performer as gifted as he is, close up; I knew that I wanted to strive for that too.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gemma Martz
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I have dates confirmed in Europe all the way up to the middle of December. So, I’d like to reach as many new people as I can in that time.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Right now, I’d say recording the new album. My band and I tracked the new album over five days in a studio north of Barcelona, Spain. Alex Gamble, who produced my previous work, came over from Toronto to produce and engineer. Jack Usher (drums) and Joseph Rideout (bass) came over from the U.K. and Laura Solla (guitars) came to join us from Madrid. The studio was residential so we were literally together twenty-four-hours-a-day for five days! It was an intense and hugely satisfying experience. I’m excited about releasing the new album.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
I Forget Where We Were - Ben Howard
This is one of very few albums I can listen to front to back and want to put it on again as soon as it’s finished. Wicked melodies and tracks with dark undertones.
Head Down - Rival Sons
I bought this on vinyl the first time I saw Rival Sons live in Barcelona. Best live show I’ve seen to date.
Santogold – Santigold
I used to live in Bristol and loved it there. This album reminds me of that period. Good times.
PHOTO CREDIT: Candela Paos
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Hands down, Robert Plant. What an epic music life he’s lead! Massive respect for an artist who seems to have kept himself firmly in the present when it would have been easy to have leant on the music which brought him fame.
For the rider, I’ll take The Henry from Budgies Burritos in Vancouver and a bottle of Tripel Karmeliet (Belgian beer). Although, I might not make it out on stage after one of those…
Can we see you tour soon? Where are you playing?
Yes. It’d be great to see you at a show! All my dates are published on my website. I’ll be back playing in the U.K. in January 2019.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
If you want to gig, invest in getting a decent recording done to showcase your best songs - even if it’s just a couple of tracks done acoustically. It’s competitive out there so try and always put your best foot forward when you’re marketing yourself.
IN THIS PHOTO: Deap Vally/PHOTO CREDIT: Shane Lopes
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Deap Vally, a Rock duo from California. I played Sofar Sounds Barcelona with them and absolutely loved their energy. Their live show seriously rocks.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Yoga…and I like to read. I’m working my way through No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein. I hang out with my cats; try and see the family and friends that I don’t see very often. I ride my road bike when I can.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
I’d like Electric Man by Rival Sons
Follow Adam Giles Levy
PHOTO CREDIT: Gemma Martz