INTERVIEW: chatting with Aussie's golden (and platinum) boy Dean Lewis
He's the Sydney boy seemingly living out a musical fairytale: multiple ARIA nominations, international success and a 3 x platinum single - and all off the back of a debut EP. But for singer-songwriter Dean Lewis this is just the beginning of bigger and better things as he puts the finishing touches on his heavily anticipated debut full-length, and casts his gaze to the next phase of his career.
His swift rise to success rode in via his breakout debut single 'Waves', capturing local and international attention with its powerfully raw tones and compelling vocals. But behind this intimate track was an artist steadily crafting and learning, writing countless songs and experimenting with his sound.
Most recently Lewis dropped his brand new music video for the fan-favourite track 'Chemicals' off the debut EP 'Same Kind of Different', and later this month fans can catch him performing back on soil at the annual Groovin The Moo festivals - but before the takes the stage, Dean Lewis had a chat with The Soundcheck about music videos, success and new music on the horizon. Interview below.
'CHEMICALS' MUSIC VIDEO (DEAN LEWIS)
TIANA SPETER: Firstly, thank you so much for taking some time to chat. It’s obviously a pretty busy but exciting time for you right now...not only are you currently working on your debut album (which we’ll come back to), you’ve also just released a brand new video for your divine single ‘Chemicals’. And I’ve read you talk about how this one seemed to fall from the sky – is it still a song you have quite a fond connection to?
DEAN LEWIS: Yes! It was a song that came really quickly on this road trip I was on, I wrote most of it in this hotel room then when I came back to demo it, I wrote the lyrics to the second verse in like 5 minutes. It was kind of like “the first thing that comes to your head, you use” kinda writing! Which I don't do as much anymore because you have to be really lucky with the right stuff coming down. But with 'Chemicals' it worked out really well.
TIANA: You have seemingly had an extremely swift ascension in the industry – but like all things, nothing’s ever usually as easy as it seems...one minute you’re a soundo working on the ARIAs red carpet, and next minute you’re walking the red carpet as a nominee. Is it still all a bit surreal or have you now been able to settle into this next phase of your career?
DEAN: You know It’s weird and it sounds bit cliche but its completely true in my case - I haven’t stopped to really appreciate anything. I mean when 'Waves' started going crazy and the views hit a million I spent a few weeks watching the numbers rise and it was really exciting, but I realised quickly that if I’m looking at the results of what I’ve done in the past, I’m not doing anything. For better or worse I believe that the next thing you’re doing is everything you’re doing, so I keep moving and think about how I’m going to make the next thing good!
TIANA: And now being quite ingrained in the industry and having had opportunities to travel overseas with your music – what are your thoughts on the Aussie music industry? Do you feel like there’s enough support and opportunity at home?
DEAN: It’s such an incredible opportunity! I think the Australian music industry is amazing - I have this idea that if you write a hundred songs, you’re going to end up with one that is good enough to open some doors. That’s how I’ve viewed it and how I still view it now! Also having a great team around you reallllllly helps too!
TIANA: You’ve had the chance to tour pretty extensively both at home and overseas, including your own national tour last year –what’s been your most memorable live performing experience (so far!)?
DEAN: My favourite memory, well it's constantly being surpassed and it's different every time! On my own tour it was selling 2 nights out at the Corner Hotel and playing to 1800 people in 2 nights! I mean 6 months before that I was opening for another band and no one knew who I was!
TIANA: And on the note of touring: have you got a bucket list artist or band you’d love to go on tour with?
DEAN: I just finished this 1 month tour throughout America opening for this incredible US artist called Brett Dennen. There’s not anyone particular I’d like to tour with! I probably wouldn't want to tour with bands I'm obsessed with because it would be so weird!
TIANA: Your music is often quite raw and poignant – when it comes to songwriting, how autobiographical are your tunes? Is it a cathartic experience to write these seemingly quite personal tunes?
DEAN: It feels really really good to finish something. That’s the best feeling ever for me! I like to start with something that’s real, and experience or a line I’ve thought up. But it depends on the song. Sometimes it’s just a moment.
TIANA: I've read elsewhere you taught yourself some Oasis songs when you were younger, and it’s no secret that you love Oasis...but was that the sort of music you grew up listening to? Were there any other bands you were into growing up that might be a surprise to your fans?
DEAN: My Dad taught me guitar and always had music playing. Nothing really surprising unfortunately, my dad just played all the classics - Oasis, Van Morrison, the Beatles and all that stuff!
TIANA: So as mentioned earlier, you’re also currently working on your debut album, which is expected to drop later this year – is there anything you can reveal about this one?
DEAN: Yes I’m so excited about it! Well I’m almost finished it! There’s only a couple more songs to record. There was this exciting little run of about 3 songs I wrote near the end that made the cut. I’m just so proud of all these songs. But I'm excited for people to hear them and also very nervous! Because you have your own thoughts about them, and then all of a sudden remember you have other songs that people love. You don't want to let them down either! But overall I think the songs on the album are an absolute step up from the EP - both from a songwriting perspective and from a production standpoint!
TIANA: But before the album drops you’ll be wrapping up your North America shows and heading back home for Groovin the Moo...what are you most looking forward to about coming home?
DEAN: I can’t wait to get back and see my family and friends and just maybe chill for a day! Life has been so so busy lately and it’s only going to get crazier this year! I can feel it!
TIANA: Thank you so much for your time! Can’t wait to see what comes next for you!
'WAVES' MUSIC VIDEO (DEAN LEWIS)
YOU CAN CHECK OUT DEAN LEWIS LIVE AT GROOVIN THE MOO FROM APRIL 16TH. MORE INFO BELOW:
DEAN LEWIS TOUR DATES Fri Apr 27 – Groovin The Moo Festival – WAYVILLE, SA Sat Apr 28 – Groovin The Moo Festival – MAITLAND, NSW Sun Apr 29 – Groovin The Moo Festival – CANBERRA, ACT Sat May 5 – Groovin The Moo Festival – BENDIGO, VIC Sun May 6 – Groovin The Moo Festival – TOWNSVILLE, QLD Sat May 12 – Groovin The Moo Festival – BUNBURY, WA
FOR MORE DEAN LEWIS INFO, HEAD TO:
BY TIANA SPETER