Now, after three albums, a record signing (LPW records for Movements in Space), and a semi-finalist place in the UK
Songwriting Competition contest, I feel I've finally found my sweet spot as an independent artist. A big part of that is my
partnership with Ben Haynes, who produced the record and plays all the instruments. We go back years and he's worked on
previous albums, but this time it's been far more of a collaboration.
It's a departure, lyrically, from my previous work. I have a reputation for being positive and upbeat - but this album picks through
some of the things that happen after a relationship has ended. It's about the 'no-man's-land' between relationships, based on
recent personal experience. We found the songs just flew out, with moments of sheer inspiration for both of us. With Devil
Comes to Dance, I was away for the weekend in the Hague, walking by the side of a river when the chorus just 'arrived'. I only
had my camera and e-reader, and no way to write it down, so I ended up walking back to hotel, writing it on the hotel notepad,
and then going all the way back again! We were really choosy about the songs we picked because we wanted it to be really
focused. There's no filler - and as a result, this is the most confident I've felt about any release.
Phil Lewis writes catchy, well-crafted songs with lyrics that connect with the good in everyone.
His latest album, Age of Nothing, shows a flair for combining these with '80s indie guitar, tribal
drums and a love of the Top 40. The result? Radio-friendly songs that stay with you long after
the first listen.
In a sense, the Top 40 was my masterclass, and still is. One of my fondest memories is the weekly family ritual of gathering around the radio on a
Sunday evening to listen to it. It didn't take long before I started thinking I'd like to make that kind of music. I wrote my first song when I was 12. It
was called 'U.F.O.' and it was about, er, a U.F.O. But in my defence, I was only 12.
I've been a bit of a pop music maverick ever since, taking my influences from the catchiest or most moving music, and not worrying about musical
boundaries. In my teenage years, I took a liking to rap and rock (I was even a breakdancer). Friends told me that I couldn't possibly like both,
because they were too different. Then Run DMC and Aerosmith released 'Walk This Way' and proved me right.
Songwriting and recording
I started booking time in local studios, working with musician friends rather than a band. I'm influenced by the craftsmanship of
acoustic pop song-writers like Crowded House but always go back to those Top 40 influences, from U2 and Tears for Fears
to The Killers, Miles Kane and Florence and the Machine. I've been songwriting now for many years and the common
thread running through people's feedback is that my songs are 'catchy' and stay in their heads. My songs draw people in with
rhythm and melody, then explore themes that connect with people's desire to be a better person, create a better world - without
being 'worthy'. They're hopeful songs, expressing my experiences as I go through certain stages in my life, and the universal
questions and feelings that go with them.
On 6th January 2010, my dad died, aged just 68, from Alzheimers Disease. Alzheimer's Disease is a physical disease affecting the brain - it's
a progressive disease, which means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged and the symptoms get more severe (for
more information about Alzheimer's, please visit the Alzheimer's Society website). My dad's struggle with the disease inspired the first single
from my third album. The Album was called "Ripples from a Small Pond" and the single was called "Dripping Away". All proceeds from the
sale of the single were donated to the Alzheimer's Society.