Oli Lewis 

Rising young UK talent drops some exclusives for 1 More Thing Patreon crew ahead of his debut album

With releases and appearances on the likes of Sofa Sound, Grid, Trust Audio, V Recordings, Zombie, and Commercial Suicide, Oli Lewis has made a massive impression in a very short amount of time since his breakthrough releases in 2020.  

Before the end of the year Rebel Music can be added to that list of respected labels as he drops his debut album What The Future Brings. Adding a whole new level to his already versatile and experimental sound, it keeps one foot dug deep in the foundations while the other foot is busy roundhouse kicking every ear in all directions. 

He’s kicking us hard with two Patreon exclusives right now, too. Free to download for the 1 More Thing supporters, he’s generously donated two crucial tear-ups: the trippy and political Everything Wrong In The UK and the brutalist jurassic jam Quetzalcoatl

You can check them out right here on a stream and Patreon subscribers can cop the downloads here. Read on to see where Oli is at as he prepares to wrap up a massive breakthrough year with his debut album and what comes up next…  

How’s life in Cornwall?

It’s this weird dual world. In the summer it’s this beautiful very picturesque area then in the winter everyone leaves their second homes, all the students go home, the beaches are so bleak and the only people left are the drunks in the pub. 

Quite a lot of that in coastal parts of Wales, too… 

Oh man you get battered by the winds a lot more than us. My dad lives in Rhoose, so I’ve experienced those winds many times. You get mental weather! 

The weather makes us! I’ve only ever been to Cornwall for holidays in the summer, I can’t imagine it being bleak!

Mate, don’t go near St Ives, apparently it’s heroin central. People keep finding needles and posting about them on bloody social media. I think councils put a lot people with substance misuse issues there. 

Same in the valleys! The authorities like to sweep these socio economic issues under the carpet don’t they?

Totally. It’s not like a city here where you can find a support centre or a shelter, it’s bleak. I really feel for people. How sad is it that these things happen in a country that’s meant to be wealthy or have some type of standard of living? We need more support for people. It’s fucked isn’t it? I don’t know how to describe it. Shit I guess. 

It’s the greed. I love the UK so much – the music, the humour, the people. But greed and political ideologies have been like a rot. 

My Dad tells me the 80s was a hard time and sadly it’s seeming along those lines now. We see it here so much with all the second homes. They come down two times a year and the property prices have inflated so badly. They build more, but they’re either totally out of anyone in my generation’s budget or they’re so shit quality and still too expensive. 

How does this affect you? I guess you’re 23 or 24 or something like that…

Yeah exactly that. It’s like old school Italy with multiple generations living in one house. I know people who have good uni degrees and they can’t even get a proper job let alone save for a house. Employers want people to be young but also have loads of experience. It’s tough. I’m lucky enough to live at home. I pay rent but it’s much cheaper than usual rent. All the young people are leaving Cornwall because there’s no opportunities and he people who do stay here end up getting sucked into an abyss of despair. 

Brain drain. Or they become drum & bass producers…

Haha. Yeah. To be fair I’d be doing this anyway, even if I was blissfully unaware of the world and all its shitness.  

You got an album coming out soon haven’t you?

Yeah man, What The Future Will Bring. It’s coming out on December 30 on Rebel Music. I got some other bits too – I’ve got some bits for Grid, I’ve got some bits for Trex, some bits for GZ Audio. 

Oh big up Guzi. Some of your earliest releases were on Sub-division weren’t they? 

Big up Guzi indeed. That man is patient and professional. I’d send him tracks, he’d sit on them for a while as they wait in the release schedule and in that time I’d have reworked the tracks so many times they’d be almost unrecognizable. But George has been very helpful and been full of advice and his mastering is amazing. 

How did you link up? 

Through Agro, I think. I sent him some music and he sent it over to George [Guzi] and he’s been very helpful. It’s mad because you do these tunes then send them over and then there’s a bit of gap in the communication for a while and suddenly things come out. That kinda fits the way I work because I’ll do a bunch of things and then suddenly go quite silent or life gets in the way or I learn something new and then I want to change every tune I’ve done because it’s not as good as I can make it any more. I must be a nightmare to work with. But I’m very grateful for people like Twisted, like Trex and George Guzi for being patient with me. 

I hear you on that self-criticism thing. Sometimes you’ve got to let things breathe. I’m constantly thinking, ‘Well that was shit!’ Then I’ll go back and read it a year later and it’s like, ‘Oh that was pretty good actually!’

Haha, yeah I do that. I’ll make a sketch and think it’s rubbish then come back to it years later and be like, ‘Why didn’t I develop this? All it needed was a bit of EQ!’ But being objective is so hard isn’t it? That’s the discipline and a skill. You’re either thinking, ‘Yeah this is great!’ or ‘Fuck this is awful’

Often within minutes of each other. 

Yes! It’s very hard to step back from your own art and have that sense of perspective. Especially with mixdowns. That can drive you crazy – something might sound off but you can’t identify that so you end up just fucking up the whole tune. Taking a break and having space from it is so important. It is what it is isn’t it. It’s that long steady circle of making mistakes and then suddenly something clicks and you’re like, ‘Ah cool – this is how it’s meant to go!’ 

Well it’s a system that works for you. There was an EP of yours we literally played every tune from on Vision

Yeah The Rock Your Body EP. That was pretty mad. But even that EP had so many things I wasn’t happy with on it. Just little things in the mix which I wish I did better. But if I compare that to my Tory Boy EP, for example, then I’m a lot happier with it and I guess that’s how it goes. I hate listening to my own stuff to be honest and pick holes in the decisions i’ve made and it bugs me to the extreme!

Any creative person will identify with that! 

Yeah I guess so. You can get stuck in hating your own stuff which is toxic as fuck and counter-productive. But imagine loving your own stuff too much? How big must your ego be to be able to do that? Balance is the key isn’t it? That’s why I do draw the line and release stuff or none of it would ever come out. 

Totally. Like your debut album… Did you set out to write a full album?

No, it began as an EP! I was sending things to Ben OB1 at Rebel Music and he was really enjoying them and asking for more. I was going in on those classic vibes. 90s drum & bass. No U-Turn, Virus, Reinforced. I wanted to channel those type of influences on a lot of the tracks. There are a few tracks which aren’t clubby at all and quite different. It’s been an interesting experience and I’m excited to see it out there. 

Amazing. And in the meantime, you’ve got some exclusive tunes for 1 More Thing! 

I have! Basically I had no idea what to send you and couldn’t pick just one so I chose two radically different songs, one is a slightly melancholic sounding liquid tune generally with an acapella that has typical R&B romantic styled lyrics that I juxtaposed with this documentary footage about food poverty and food banks – and messed with the negative/bleak words and phrases like “When you come around we’re on the wrong side every single night” to try to morph their meaning into being about being on the wrong side of the economic spectrum, it was just an on the fly idea I had to thematically keep the vocal in the song still because it sounded too empty without! 

I love that and such an important statement to make too. What about Quetzalcoatl?

The second song is called Quetzalcoatl – which i had to search on google to spell – it’s a weird wonky roller that bubbles along with this off kilter kick pattern and a bass that has a flow like a drunkard wobbling out of the pub after too many drinks, towards the kebab shop but also towards the floor. It’s also got an amalgamation of weird shuffling and splashy breaks ebbing and flowing throughout. It’s definitely a weird song that I think slunk along like a feathered serpent and Aztec art just generally looks pretty cool.

Look cool and play these Oli Lewis exclusives: Subscribe to 1 More Thing’s Patreon here 

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