MIGHTY thanks to Pleasure Craft…
for discussing his new single, It’s Not Real. The songwriter (Sam Lewis) discusses his tastes and what themes inspired his upcoming EP1 (out on 25th October). I discover how the Canadian artist got started in music and how pivotal it was moving to Toronto.
Pleasure Craft highlights some albums that mean a lot to him and a few rising artists we should back; what he has planned going forward in terms of gigs; whether he will come to the U.K. soon – he ends the interview with a great song shout.
Hi, Sam. How are you? How has your week been?
Great! Release week is always crazy-busy but I’m excited to finally get this out there.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m an independent singer/beat-maker/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist. I live in Toronto. I study Jazz but I make Pop music.
It’s Not Real is your new single. What is the story behind it?
It’s Not Real was the first song I wrote for EP1. I wrote it in 2015 when I moved to Toronto from Salt Spring Island, B.C. That huge change in my environment was a bizarre experience. The song is about the surreal, unanchored feeling of starting out in a new city.
The track is from EP1. Are there particular themes that inspired the music on the E.P.?
The whole E.P. is centred around identity and expression. How people see me versus how I want to be seen. The uncertainty of It’s Not Real develops into a series of questions and ideas on the other songs and eventually finishes in a place of confidence and security that I’m in the right place doing what I’m meant to do.
Tell me about moving to Toronto. Was that a pivotal moment for you?
Looking back, it seems like a big change: from rural B.C. to the biggest city in Canada. But, at the time, I never really questioned my decision. I knew that I wanted to make songwriting a career and moving here was the first logical step in doing that, so I did it.
How did you start in music? Were you raised around a lot of music?
My parents are not professional musicians but there was always music playing in our house. My mum played classical flute growing up and was always very persistent in encouraging me to explore music.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I’ve actually already started recording EP2. It should be ready for mixing by the end of December. Also; I’m hoping to play a show a month in Ontario/Quebec in 2019, so booking that is a ton of work.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
The first live Pleasure Craft show last December. It had been years of writing, recording; mixing and planning leading up to that and it felt like the start of something really exciting.
Which albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense
That album/film is the best-captured live show there is. The energy and stage presence is huge. I reference that all the time when I’m working on our live set.
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
The album I listened to the most as a teenager. That album feels like another world that you step into when you listen to it. That music doesn’t try to be anything else; it’s not trying to be Pop or Indie or Hip-Hop. It’s not trying to cater to anyone and I respect that.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I am a very new artist myself so I should probably just shut up and listen.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
The release party is October 26th at The Rivoli in Toronto!
Might you come to the U.K. and play? Do you like the music here?
Yes! My dad grew up near Birmingham so I have a dual-citizenship. Definitely planning on making good use of that.
IN THIS PHOTO: Mouth Breather
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
My good friend Mouth Breather is releasing an amazing album pretty soon. You’ll be hearing about him soon, I’m sure.
Also; check out Lovers Touch. I played keyboard in that band for a long time before I got busy with Pleasure Craft but I miss playing those shows. It’s great music.
IN THIS PHOTO: Lovers Touch/PHOTO CREDIT: Emma Robinson
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I need to get out of the city sometimes. I love the high energy and the ambition here but it burns you out after a while. I need to see the west coast whenever 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).
The song Velvet 4 Sale by U.S. Girls is what I have on repeat right now, that whole album is amazing.
Thanks so much for the interview! Great questions.
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