We've been fans of British producer SG Lewis since he made us this very good Slumber Session way back in November of 2015. Combining a dual love of singer songwriters and getting his mind completely blown in nightclubs, his sound is bit like like if Bon Iver had gone to university in Liverpool and discovered club culture through a night out at Chibuku. After two EPs, 2015's Shivers and 2016's Yours, SG has taken a step back, honing his production skills for artists such as Ray BLK (Chill Out) and Dave (100M's) and deciding what direction he wanted to go in. Thankfully that was in the direction of seriously good music, his Toulouse featuring new single Times We Had demonstrating a bubbling, gurgling work of restraint, all warm and enveloping like sun on the back of your neck. We've heard the next one too (don't be jealous) and can confirm it only gets better from here, newcomer Cole lending his super smooth tones to an late night banger inspired by a Raymond Chandler novella. Blimey, SG, where've you been all our lives ?
"I'm now in a mindset where, I'm 22 now and I feel like I've learnt a lot over the last two years," he told us. "I've spent a lot of time in studios and, without any element of arrogance, I really believe in my ability as a producer to work on different styles." You heard it here first, readers. He believes. You believe. We all believe in SG Lewis.
Hello SG Lewis. It's been a minute. How do you feel?
I've spent a bit of time figuring everything out and I really feel… I used the word "bulletproof" the other day, because everything I'm making and putting out is music that I love. I felt like I'd shown certain things on the first two EPS and the last thing I wanted to do was exactly the same thing again.
Your music has always been more in the vein of songwriter than straight DJ or producer, hasn't it?
Yeah, absolutely. And from a songwriting position as well, even now, pushing myself to sing more. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I've never thought of SG Lewis as just a beats project. Songwriting has always been at the core of it and, when working with an artist, making sure there's some of their personality in the song.
Speaking of which, how did you come to work with Toulouse on Times We Had?
I'll do the slightly more PC version. So I'd been talking to this guy Toulouse. I thought his voice was amazing, his music was really sick. Anyway, I was at Secret Garden Party. I'd been playing, I did a really good set, but I had a flight the next day, so my tour manager was like, okay, we have to leave by half eleven, twelve. Next thing, I bump into my friend Dot [Major - London Grammar]. We have some drinks, get really drunk and I sort of run away from the tour manager. Come, three o'clock, I'm really pissed. The tour manager finds me, puts me in the back of the car. He's sat with my manager in the front and I'm in the back like a naughty schoolboy when this email comes in. My manager says, oh, I sent one of your beats to that guy Toulouse you've been talking to. He puts it on and I was just blown away. Like fuck! Losing my shit in the back of the car. I got my phone out and drunk tweeted "Toulouse is going to be huge!". When I woke up in the morning, I just thought, please be good, please be good, please be good. And it was. It was amazing.
And are we right in thinking you've worked with young gun Cole on the next one?
Yeah. He came down and I didn't know what I was expecting. He was 17 at the time but he's honestly just this hyper intelligent kid from North London. He comes in and he's been reading this book called Smart-Aleck Kill [a short story by Raymond Chandler]. I thought that's interesting. I started to make a beat and we just got straight into it. He was really quick with what he wanted. When I'm songwriting sometimes, I'll sit at the piano and go back and forth with an artist. Cole had the topic he wanted to write about straight away.
Is that how it happened with Dave and Ray BLK too? How do you know when something's an SG tune or a tune for another artist?
I think the reason 100M's is a Dave tune and not an SG Lewis tune is I very much facilitated Dave's vision. At the start of the session I was kind of playing jazzy chords, trying to pull him out of his world. But he knew exactly what he wanted to do. With Ray BLK, it was closer to down the middle. The beat is more typical me. But the thing that makes that a Ray BLK record is how forthright she was with lyrics and melody. I'm really excited about her as an artist.
And what about SG Lewis as an artist? Are you excited about him?
Super, super excited. We did KOKO, we did two EPs and I reached a point where I was like, "Where do I go from here?". I didn't want to put stuff out for the sake of putting stuff out. Not that I'd fallen out of love with music, but I had to find new things that excited me. So I stepped back for a minute. I fell in love with new kinds of music and I got better as a producer. It sounds like a cheesy thing to say but I really am making music because it makes me happy.
Times We Had is amazing and out now.
Text Matthew Whitehouse