Q & A: Benji Lewis
Melbourne electro-pop artist Benji Lewis is back with an emotive new single Never Leave You Lonely from his highly anticipated upcoming EP. We shot him a few questions about his evolving sound, musical influences, and what tracks he loved from the year just gone.
Your new single Never Leave You Lonely is a much more of a banger than your previous single Why, what inspired the change?
I had already created two of the other tracks of the EP, including ‘Reach You Where You Are’ which had the ambience and beauty I wanted. At the time though, through the writing and recording stages, I had some very helpful guidance and we agreed that it would be cool to mix it up, do something different. I’m super happy that we did, because the EP is now balanced and has a bit of everything, showing that my music won’t always be just the one genre or style.
What was the lyrical inspiration behind ‘Never Leave You Lonely’?
At first it was drawn from my own personal experiences and thoughts, so you’ve gone through heartbreak and then you come across someone who you’re liking and they’ve been through the same. It’s about that want and desire for them to take a risk on you, to trust you enough to just give you a chance, to believe that you won’t do what someone else did to them, because you’ve been there and understand how it feels. When co-writing this with the guys at MSquared, they could easily relate to the experience and feelings, so the lyrics came pretty easily.
We love the new single, when can we expect your EP or a tour?
My EP, ‘Hearts & Halos’ is set to release towards the end of March this year, I am so excited to get the full thing out there, it’s been in the works for a while now. Feels great to be releasing it and having people hearing it and loving it. There aren’t any live shows set just yet, but there are plenty of very cool features and collaborations in the works with artists, labels and producers from around the world, so keep an eye and ear out for all those this year. There are some exciting conversations going on though, about making some guest appearances.
You’re based in Melbourne, what other Melbournian acts should we check out?
I am in Melbourne, yes. Well there’s one act that has come out of Melbourne in the last year or two, they’re doing great things, loved their sound and vibes right from the start. They go by the name ‘Kllo.’ If you haven’t heard their stuff yet, you have to. They’ve got the perfect blend of keeping their music fresh, cool and beautiful.
What were you doing before you decided to become a musician/producer?
Now I am going to have to start this answer with a bit of a cliché really, “I’ve always sung, since I was a kid…” But really, I have. The styles may have changed, from jazz, to rock, to acoustic, to now electronic pop which has all the bits and pieces of the styles I love. My music has always been my focus, it did start as a dream, to then creating goals and to now really getting into it as a career, but it always came first. Everything else I have done and do around it, it’s all for my music.
Who are the biggest influencers on your sound?
I would say my biggest influences when it comes to my sound is revolved mostly around the vocals, so the likes of Eva Cassidy, Jeff Buckley, & Adele. But then when coming to creating my EP and really honing in on the direction I wanted to take my sound in, I wanted to bring the acoustic beauty and those kind of vocals and mix it with the styles and likes of James Blake and Sam Smith.
Did you always set out to create an electro-pop sound or did it evolve from something else?
Yeah well like I said, I was doing more of the acoustic ballad kind of style when I was doing covers. But then when it came to where I wanted to take my music, with my original material I wanted to blend that with the music going on now. So bringing all the vocals with the emotion and beauty I loved to the electronic pop and mixing it together. My EP ‘Hearts & Halos’ is the result, and I am super happy with what I and all the talented people involved in the project created.
With triple j’s Hottest 100 just around the corner, what were you favourite songs from the year just passed?
I do follow Triple J’s pages online, so I see all the artists and songs they share. There are two that come straight to my mind. ‘Hold’ from Vera Blue, so beautiful and cool. And Tuka with his take on ‘Big Jet plane’ by Angus & Julia Stone with those feature vocals from Thelma Plum, loved his arrangement and his own lyrics he added to it.