MEET: Lewis Rennie-Campbell
Weirdly, we actually met Lewis about a year ago. I was in Crofters Rights in Bristol, and so was he - except he was on stage with his band Those Molten Eyes, wearing face paint, being filmed. Fast forward a year and a few things have changed; for one, we were now actually in talking distance and not surrounded by a crowd. Instead, we were sat on a bench, having a coffee, and chatting music.
He’s an incredibly talented musician - his skill with the guitar is especially impressive - but we could have told you that before the coffee. What we learnt from that is that he’s also just a super chill, super decent, super positive guy. Enjoy the interview, we had a lot of fun.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m Lewis Rennie-Campbell and I’ve played guitar for 8 years. I started off playing Classic Rock, then I was in a Psychedelic Rock Band for about a year and a half. That band has just ended so now I’m just exploring my own sound and basically writing songs whenever and by whatever I’m inspired by at that moment.
So how would you describe your sound right now?
Right now, I’m still exploring - so exploring scales and genres, for instance I’m playing a lot of Blues and listening to more Eastern sounds which I’d like to incorporate into my music. If I had to describe my current sound though I would say I aim for tasty notes under a heavier, more spacey rift. I want things to be more cohesive than a bunch of instruments playing. My sound will definitely continue down a psychedelic path. I also want to do something that is very jangly and happy but my music always seems to come out with darker tones so I’ve started to embrace it. It’s like, finally after years of trying to get my own unique sound coming out, I’ve got something that sounds like only me which is all you can really want. People don’t seem to not like it either.
What influences you musically?
I’m influenced by whatever I’m listening to at the time. Right now I’m listening to a Thai Psychedelic band, Khruangbin, they’re from America but they’re Thai, Psychedelic Funk inspired. The name means engine fly. Also I love Unknown Mortal Orchestra, early Tame Impala and there’s this woman who is playing now called Fabienne Delsol. She’s inspired by 1960’s French Psychedelic music. There’s this song called I’m Going To Haunt You which inspired a song I wrote called Moon Baby, it has that same surfy feeling.
What are you doing in your free time?
I record in my room, I sing and I’ve started playing bass. I do a lot of reading as well cause books are just great inspiration, they get your imagination going. I used to really be into this one book called The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, but i’m reading a book called 100 Years of Solitude by Gardía Marquez right now which is really good. I also just finished a poetry anthology called Milk and Honey, but I feel like that’s what everyone is reading right now.
What does it mean to you to be creative?
I think it’s just adding your own flavour, because everybody has inspiration but it’s about having a thing unique to you with the result being that there’s no other description then ‘that’s his or hers’, or whatever. Like, if you hear Thin Lizzy, you’d instantly be like this is Phil Lynnot or it’s the same with Jimi Hendrix. There’s no better way to describe Jimi Hendrix than just saying his name.
Is there anything you know you do differently to most people?
I think because I’ve been self taught, I have a unique style with my solo stuff - I don’t think anyone could do it in the same style as me because of the way I go about it.
Who influences you outside of your music?
All of my relationships affect my work, whether it’s my friends or whatever. I just tend to write whenever I’m feeling any strong emotion, like I wrote something the other week about being hungover and that was literally just because I felt so weird. When I write music I always have a story I want to tell, like the setting for that song I just mentioned is a guy who’s woken up in his house with his partner, he’s left his partner in the room to sleep and gone for a glass of water. He’s just looking in this glass in the kitchen thinking ‘I feel so crap’. Every song has a narrative in my head, no matter how small or big it is.
What motivates your work?
Just literally any strong emotion I feel at that time. I think it’s a skill to look back on emotions and display those in hindsight. I think that’s something that professionals are really good at, but right now I write about whatever hits me at the time. That’s why I’m so sporadic with my music writing.
What challenges do you face trying to get your music out there?
It’s hard to get from the creation stage to the stage where people, other than just your friends, are listening to your music. But it’s easier in Bristol because its so small, everyone in the music scene seems to know each other. In Sheffield where I’m from its just way bigger so the chances of you just randomly bumping into someone just aren’t the same. Like there’s a band I like called Captain Sun and I went to the alternative guitar jam at the Old England and I got down from the stage and the frontman from Captain Sun then gets up and starts playing after me. I was just like “what the hell, what are you doing here, I just saw you play at the Exchange!”
Did you talk to him?
Wha, no! *Laughing* I didn’t want to fanboy.
So, bit more personal now, but what do you do if you need a cheer up?
I just get loads of chocolate. It’s a really simple one for me, I just comfort eat.
And what’s your favourite piece of Art?
There’s this American tattoo artist called Alexis Hepburn. I follow her Instagram account, disintegrationxvx. She does ridiculously good classic style tattoos but with her own twist to it. I’d love to get something in that style, everything is almost psychedelic, you can tell there’s a meaning to everything.
Last question…what's been your happiest moment of your career?
There was a gig I did with Those Molten Eyes at The Old England; I’ve never had a gig where there was that much energy in a room. I was the one who had organised the gig, so I got a friend called Jess to open and another band we knew called Sweet Tooth to also play. By the time we got up to play, everyone was properly vibing. There was one point in the set where our singer was like ‘oh come on, don’t be afraid, everyone come to the front’ so everyone was right at the front and I was in the middle of this guitar solo. I reached out my hand and this guy started shaking my hand, it was absolutely sick. Then, right at the peak of the song I wrote, a mosh broke out and it was just like, mate, I am the one who orchestrated this, look how active everyone is because of a song I wrote in my bedroom.
After talking to Lewis we linked him up with another creator, the talented Producer Daniel Brashaw. Together they’ve released the all new and improved version of Hungover. Stick with it, its a builder upper - (Lewis’ words not ours)
Do you want to collaborate with Lewis? He's game if you are! Just click on the button below, fill out your details and we’ll get in touch to see what we can work out.