Harvey Pearson*; Supplied
Chatting to Aussie brother-and-sister duo Lastlings for the latest edition of his 'talks' series, English musician SG Lewis goes deep on his own musical story.
For most of the last decade, the respective music scenes in England and Australia have eagerly watched the rise of both SG Lewis and Lastlings. With the former releasing numerous singles, EPs, and now an album following his signing with PMR Records at the age of just 20, the latter – a brother and sister duo made of Josh and Amy Dowdle – have seen their own musical journey result in the release of their debut album just last year.
With both artists slowly growing their respective profiles over a number of years, constantly turning heads at every turn, and slowly climbing the ladder of success the whole way, there’s a few parallels which can be drawn between them both. Thus, it seems only natural that Lewis and Lastlings came together at long last for the track “All We Have”, on the former’s recently-released debut record.
Now, the collaboration has borne even more fruit, with the artists coming together for a lengthy, long-awaited conversation. Taking place as part of SG Lewis’ talks series (which has previously included the likes of Nile Rodgers, Robyn, and Channel Tres), the latest edition with Lastlings is arguably one of the most memorable.
Across 40 minutes, the two artists go deep on all manner of topics, ranging from their formative musical experiences, Lewis’ time on the Japanese club scene, and both the ‘Family’ and ‘Fashion’ factors, and how they’ve impacted Lastlings’ music.
During the conversation, Lastlings also touch upon the importance of film and visuals in their music, with Lewis noting how the television program Normal People had influenced the writing of their collaborative single, “All We Have”.
“Josh and I usually play a movie in the background when we are writing music,” explains Amy. “One of our favourites is Blade Runner. I think that’s our all-time favourite movie.”
“I don’t know, I feel like studio’s are so boring, it’s just walls and how do you get inspiration from walls?” asks Josh. “So we just kind of like, yeah…
“I’ve really got to this point where I can’t, unless I am working on the production, finishing things, for writing now, I find it really hard to just go into a dungeon studio and do the thing now,” admits Lewis. “I keep trying to put myself in weird scenarios to write music. I am going to a residential studio in a couple of weeks, just to like… it’s a couple of hours outside of London, it’s super beautiful, but I am just going to bury myself in there and lose my mind.
“I felt like there was such a strong connection between even the canvases on Spotify, like some of the visuals that you include in your music, was there someone that you worked with across the whole album who sort of dictated how it looked? Or was that something that you guys put together yourself, or a combination?”
“We are pretty lucky, we have some pretty talented friends,” explains Josh. “So all the stuff that’s on Spotify and all the album trailer and stuff, we went to Japan to film. I guess it was all our visual inspiration and kind of our creative direction and stuff, but to actually pull it off and get our ideas onto paper basically, we needed our friends.
“Like Dylan, one of our close friends, is a really talented director and we went over with him to Japan and he was filming a lot of stuff and I filmed a bunch of stuff as well, and yeah, it was just a really nice collaborative process… and he has similar tastes as well which is good. And I think he always has our best interests at heart as well.”
Meanwhile, Lewis also touches upon one of the most notable experiences of his own across recent months, touching upon both the release of his debut album during lockdown, and an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden from his parents’ attic.
“I’ve been sat here, this is basically my parents’ attic, I’ve just put some synths there and stuff behind me,” SG Lewis explains, discussing the area he is filming from. “Basically, since lockdown, I live in London, but I live in a flat, and I lose my mind if I stay there, because I’m just locked down by myself in sort of a box room sort of thing.
“And it’s been so strange because all these things are going on, but I do the same shit every day. I will go downstairs and be like, you know, like the Times Square [billboard] that happened, or the James Cordon thing…
“Sorry, that sounded like such a namedrop as well, but yeah, I’ll go downstairs and be like ‘Mum, what’s for dinner?’ All these things are going on, but it just doesn’t really feel like they’re happening whatsoever.”
“‘What’s for dinner, mum?'” quips Josh. “‘I’m just on the phone with James Cordon, my friend James.'”
View the full interview above, or by heading over to the Rolling Stone Australia YouTube channel. Meanwhile, SG Lewis’ debut album, times, is out now, while Lastlings’ own debut album, First Contact, was released in November.