The Verse’s Imara Williams-Simpson caught up with Lewis Capaldi at Komedia on 4th December 2017.
Lewis Capaldi played an intimate gig at Komedia on the 4th December 2017. The crowd, made up of all ages, arrived early to the venue, piling onto the street outside Komedia, eager to enter and watch the newly listed BBC Sound of 2018 Long List artist.
I: What sparked your love of music?
L: My brother, he was into bands and I was just copying him. So, he was playing the guitar and I wanted to play the guitar. I went to lesson for a wee bit, he kept playing and I gave up. He kept gigging and stuff and I got back into it when I was eleven. He was writing songs and that is what I thought you must do to be a musician. It all really stemmed from him. I just kept on and kept on and eventually, we’ve got to where I am now. I was just writing and gigging from the age of twelve to twenty. I’d never released anything before now and now it’s all kind of mad.
I: What’s your favourite part of putting your music out to the world?
L: It’s definitely that we get to come and play live, a nice aspect of music that I hadn’t experienced when we put out the first song Bruises is the reaction. Obviously, I have been gigging and writing and playing shows, but because I had never released something, I had never experienced that feeling of someone hearing it, your song, for the first time on record. Up until then, I thought I had experienced almost everything in music. I forget how good it feels to get something out and have people hear what you’re working on.
I: Congratulations on being announced on the BBC Sound Of 2018 Long List. What’s that been like?
L: It’s been mad! It’s been a nice stamp to the end of the year. I always look at the list in the years that have past, find musicians that were on it. Like, I found Frank Ocean on that list, now I’m a massive fan of him. It’s weird that I’ve been finding music on that list for so long, now I’m on it and it’s backed by the BBC. It just puts a nice bow on this year and sets us up for next year. It’s amazing what we’ve managed to achieve this year.
I: If you could let your listeners know one thing about you, what would it be?
L: Urmmm, I think…I don’t know. Maybe not to take me too seriously. With my music, so far, I’ve released a sadder song, so people may have the perception that I’m sad, which is not the case at all. It’s not all doom and gloom and there are happier songs on the way. Don’t take what I’m doing too seriously or anything I’m saying too seriously. I think that would be the case for most artists.
I: What was the process for writing your song Lost on You?
L: We had two days and the majority of the second day we wrote a different song. When I listen to the first song now I hate it, like I fucking hate it. For some reason, after that song was finished I just wanted to try something else. Up until this point, the only ballad I had was Bruises. David went on piano and started playing these cords. We wrote it in half an hour and ended up releasing that song. I had just broken up with my girlfriend six months ago, who I’m still friends with. One of the lyrics in the song is
‘hope you’ll be safe in the arms of another because I can’t take the way you love’
That was me, kind of saying, this isn’t working and I can’t handle it but I hope you can find someone else who can treat you better and do all the things I couldn’t do. We had that line first and then we just wrote out from there.
I: Is it mostly personal factors that you but out in your songs? Is that the main inspiration?
L: I used to be quite standoffish in terms of writing about myself. I didn’t want to put out too many personal feelings in my songs. Also, I used to write about the plots of films and make up stories, rather than writing about my own experiences. Now I feel more comfortable talking about my own experiences with other people.
I: Your music is full of so much heart. What is it like sharing that in front of a crowd?
L: It’s good and weird. You’ll see some people crying. Now when I am playing these songs, I’m playing them from a hindsight point of view. But now when people are coming to these gigs they might be going through these emotions. When I’m singing them, I’m happy singing
them, but it’s nice having people taking comfort in the songs. They’re going through something now that I went through.
I: What advice would you give to musicians who want to put music out?
L: That’s weird because I waited and put off putting music out for so long. I would write songs, record wee clips of them and put them up on sound cloud. No one really listened to them but it was nice having that. I would just say keep writing and gigging. Don’t worry about what people think, in terms of lyrics. Have a ‘fuck it’ attitude. If you like something, put it in and don’t worry about the reaction. Do lots of gigging so you get comfortable with it. Just devote every day to it, if you really want to do it.
I: What are your top three artists that you like to listen to?
L: Frank Ocean is up there. Paolo Nutini got me into how I sing now. My favourite bands are a toss-up between the Maccabees and the Kings of Leon. So that’s four.