TRNSMT Special: Lewis Capaldi on his debut album, festivals and staying funny on Instagram

Credit Cameron Brisbane

Lewis Capaldi shot to fame at the end of 2016 after his music was noticed on Soundcloud by his now manager.

One EP, two headline tours, four singles, and over 55,000 Instagram followers later, we caught up with Lewis to talk new music, supporting Niall Horan and playing TRNSMT two years in a row.

You’ve had such a good response to your latest EP Bloom and your new single Rush, when can fans expect your debut album?

I think the album is still a bit away off, it might be early next year it comes out. Just when things start to get as big as they can. I’m just recording just now and doing bits here and there between touring.

What has been inspiring the album?

I take things from personal experience mostly, there’s only so much you can draw from and when they’ve just happened you’re playing gigs and then it’s difficult writing songs. I think the ones that people seem to connect with are the ones that come from personal experiences and Bruises was that kind of one.

Do you think your sound will stay the same for the album or evolve?

The songs I’ve released are a bit more stripped than I see a lot of the album being, there’ll obviously be moments when its stripped back and just a wee piano and a guitar, but moving forward its more full production. There’ll be drums and stuff which we haven’t done, which is strange because I can’t play piano or drums, I can just play guitar. The next couple of songs I think will be fuller and lead in to the album. I think it’ll be a kind of hybrid between slower and more stripped back, and more full.

How does it feel to be playing TRNSMT this summer on the same stage as The Killers and Chvrches?

It’s amazing man, I think it’s in general a massive opportunity in the sense that last year it was my first UK festival slot, which was the King Tuts stage, and then to be able to come to the main stage its mad. I think that’ll be the first main stage I’ve done. They keep giving me the opportunity to do things like that, it’s really special. Not just me, Gerry Cinnamon too, I’m sure there’s a couple of others. I think that is really important especially with those from Glasgow. I think it’s cool there’s only two proper stages. It’s important getting to only have that going on, it can be a good thing, at others there’s more you can be doing and stuff you can see. I think only having those opens up the door a lot to people who are new.

What festival are you most looking forward to this summer?

I’m doing loads, I think TRNSMT. It’ll be special because its Glasgow and my fist main stage, and we have a full band. There’s also a couple in America, Lollapalooza, it’s so special. There’s one with Childish Gambino, I can’t remember the name. I’m just looking forward to going as a punter too, it’s like having a free ticket. I’m playing Reading and Leeds, I’ve always wanted to go to but never had the funds or was busy and yeah, I think to go be at that and be playing is class.

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How has it been going from just uploading songs online to supporting major artists like Sam Smith and having your own headline tour in such a short time frame?

Its mad, I think people say it, and it sounds cliché, but you kind of hope that something like that will happen and people will cotton on, but you never actually see it happening. To support Sam Smith or Niall Horan, I think its wild, but it’s definitely something you completely don’t see happening. This time last year I had one song out and even now I only have five songs, it’s all sort of happening so fast and I’m just holding on and riding the wave.

Do you feel like things are calming down a bit now, is it starting to feel more normal?

No! We’re preparing a new single, it’s just, everything is just as crazy. Things haven’t stopped, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, if things weren’t hectic I’d be worried. It’s 100 miles an hour. I’m enjoying it, it’s totally mad.

You’re hilarious on Instagram, do you think keeping that light-hearted humour is important when you’re in the public eye?

I think the internet is stupid stuff, I know it can be used for making big changes you know and arranging marches for change and stuff, but for me, I just use it to post stupid stuff and talk about stupid stuff. There’s a lot of seriousness and I think it’s such a weird thing, putting a photo of yourself up every day like I usually do. To take the mickey makes me feel better about putting that out and just having a laugh. I think the fact that there are people who follow me, and pay attention to what I’m saying, perhaps I should say more meaningful things, but I just think its funnier to use it like that.

You were writing songs and performing for nearly ten years before you were really noticed, what advice would you give to someone who’s still in that stage?

Just keep writing songs, that’s the main thing. I’m lucky that my brother is 6 years older than me and he started in bands when he was 18 so I was 12. I just started to parallel to him because he was doing it, so it was like I was copying him. I was lucky he was writing, so I was writing cause that’s just what I thought you did. Just gig constantly, even if it’s in the same places in Glasgow, or anywhere in Scotland. It’s really important to do that and then when it comes to doing tours you know how things work and feel comfortable doing it. Just write as many songs as possible and gig as much as possible. I used to stick anything I wrote on Soundcloud, which is how one of my managers found me. I’d write it, record it on my phone and put it up the same day, in the end there was around 90 songs on there. It’s a good exercise and by the last song I uploaded there was a massive improvement across that time, which is good to see. You don’t have to put them online as much as I was if you don’t want to be as embarrassed as I was, just keep a log. Even if an idea is bad you should finish it. Ed Sheeran has a good analogy, if you turn on a tap it’ll keep pouring with water and eventually it’ll be clear and drinkable, something like that. I think eventually you’ll go through writing bad to writing moderately good songs.

What’s next for you apart from the debut album?

I have a single coming sometime in June and then just gigging and absolutely going everywhere, it’s going to be good. I’m excited. We have a UK tour coming up then in October, November I go to America to headline. I’m just going to festivals in between. I can’t say what I’ll be doing after that really but I’m excited for it all.

Catch Lewis rocking’ the main TRNSMT stage on Sunday 8 July at Glasgow Green. Don’t miss out, grab your tickets now!

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