Photo by: Kristina Bakrevski
Electronic music is currently in the midst of a crucial and pivotal moment of change and as a result, we are seeing an explosion of outside influences some crafting together some of the most beautiful pieces of music we have ever seen. SG Lewis is a UK-based singer-songwriter, a resident club DJ and a modern day Michelangelo in this new electronic Renaissance. Lewis creates sonic masterpieces filled with intricate live instrument elements, a delicate color palette of deep, soulful vocals while being painted gracefully against a 100 BPM canvas. It's the kind of music expressed through soft hues of red light peaking through a screen of smoke in a dark room. Whether he would like to admit it or not, his fusion of R&B and deep house beats is the perfect recipe for new wave baby-making music.
EARMILK had the chance to catch up with the young producer during his last U.S. tour. We were looking to gain some better insight into what sparks this new wave of soul-filled electronic music. "Early on in my life, I would play guitar and write songs but in my mind, I would never feel I was good enough," share SG Lewis. "I would listen to people like Bon Iver and think, 'I could never be like him why am I even doing this'. But then, on the other hand, I would hear these local underground dance music and thought maybe I could try this instead."
Lewis began his career in the music industry as an engineer and sound student while working at various music studios around Liverpool. This is where he gained his knowledge and understanding of recording live instruments and producing various sounds. It was also during a period in the UK music scene where a lot of house music began seeing a resurgence in the underground clubs with early Justin Martin and Julio Bashmore tracks. Lewis jokes, "'Battle for Middle You' is kind of like a modern classic now I guess. People are still playing them because they sound just as fresh now as they did four years ago." Lewis went on to perform as a DJ at various clubs before signing with PMR Records.
In 2015, Lewis released his debut EP Shivers which found an unexpected boost in popularity after gaining radio support on BBC from Pharrell and Justin Timberlake. The two music icons chatted briefly about his single "Warm" and referred to Lewis as "a white boy with a soul like JT."
What could drive this Liverpool DJ to blend such soul R&B styles with analog club music elements?
"There was no conscious decision or some time where I had this eureka moment. Even though I was spending all this time in the club, when I actually sat down to write the music, I couldn't make it without wanting to put in complete chords. Adding in this songwriting element with analog beats was just a natural result of my musical influence at the time," explains Lewis.
The music industry is seeing a rising demand for electronic singer-songwriters from similar 'DJ turned live instrument performers' like Bob Moses or Justin Jay & Friends. Are we seeing this become the new direction of electronic music or is this something entirely it's own?
"I think the combination of the deep house and the singer-songwriter has created a very exciting time in music right now. Although, it's still in a very infantile state, I think there's still so much more scope left in utilizing new technologies to create new styles of sounds. There will always be the James Blake or John Legend creating brilliant song ballads and making people cry, thats always going to be consistent but I feel this emotional electronic music is a snapchat of the current musical time we are in. The 80's had their definitive synth style and now we have this." SG Lewis
Lewis also has an incredible knack for collaborating with the right type of artists that perfectly compliment his style of sound, such as Gallant, JP Cooper, Dornik and many others. "As a DJ, I'm always listening to different artists and trying to discover new music," shares Lewis. "It makes a track even better when you work with honest sounding vocals that you yourself enjoy. The goal is to collaborate with singers who can somehow help me create electronic music that's truthful and sincere."
His music is cleanly produced while being sexy, danceable and full of emotion. We honestly can't wait to see what SG Lewis has in store for us next.