After introducing himself with a run of riveting releases these last few months, emerging Texas-based artist Lew Apollo now looks to cement his legacy to date with his captivating debut EP 'JUNGLE'.
Featuring the previously shared gems 'TROUBLE ON MY MIND', USE ME', and 'NEED YOUR LOVIN', his first collection makes for an incredibly powerful listen. Filled with rich and tender textures, a shimmering atmosphere, and his own mesmerising vocals at the helm, he is continuing his ascent as one of the more alluring names on the rise right now.
So with the new EP available to stream now, we sat down with him to find out more about his origins and what has been inspiring him most lately.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
I originally fell in love with piano at a very young age. My Father always played Beatles songs on piano which was so captivating for me. However, the first instrument I was able to express myself on was guitar.
What kind of music did you love when you were younger?
I was a product of my parent's musical taste. Old folk artists such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Simon and Garfunkel, and Gordon Lightfoot were my first musical idols just because that's mostly what I was exposed to! A few years older I was exposed to more of my Mom's taste which was gospel artists, as well as Prince and the Beatles.
What was the first album you remember owning?
My older brother always had a stack of CDs without cases. One CD which was burned said in his handwriting "Band of Gypsys"; I was simply captivated by the name. As a young kid I didn't know this was Jimi Hendrix but I remember this album as my first exposure to guitar driven music. I used to listen to "Machine Gun" off that live album on repeat for years. I'm still not sure how my brother wound up with that CD.
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
There are too many. But from a strictly songwriting perspective it'd be "Ooh la la" by the Faces. It's my favorite song of all time and I think it's the perfect song. The lyrics, structure, instrumentation, voice, tones, and all around feel fit together perfectly.
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
I try to always set a vibe, dim the lights, or go outside and put away any distractions. But, songs come when you're least expecting them. Sometimes it's a drum pattern that won't go away, a lyric, or a bass groove. The trick is to follow that little inspiration down that path as long as you can.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
I listen to so many from all genres. My favorites at the moment are Q, Greentea Peng, D'Angelo, Medicine Man Revival, and my producer BLK ODYSSY. I also always have my favorites Rival Sons, John Mayer, Beatles, Stones, and Nathaniel Rateliff in my rotation so I'm all over the place.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
I'd probably say the Rolling Stones just because they are still the biggest band on the planet and have made such an impact on everything in music. So many artists have opened up for them over the years that it's seen as a badge of honor. I have been a big fan since I was a kid and it would be such a surreal moment.
What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?
Having people at a live show come up and tell you that you've made their day. Seeing music that is so personal to me, impact others and have a similar effect is still unbelievable, a sort of magic.
And what is the most frustrating part?
The business side of music. Knowing that there are people and executives in roles that are simply trying to make a buck off a musician's creative mind. Even though it needs to be understood music is a business, some abuse their power.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
To just "do it". It seems simple, but too many people, including myself, shut themselves down or have crippling doubt before they create anything. Getting out of your head and setting aside your pride is incredibly important when you're trying to be in your most vulnerable state. Creating anything is scary because it involves shutting down insecurities, so it's important to stop thinking and start doing.
Can you walk us through the production process of your new track 'USE ME'? What does this track mean to you and were there any inspirations behind it?
'USE ME' was written totally in the studio the day we recorded it. It is really about the feeling of helplessness in relationships. The feeling of being stuck in an endless world of temptation and mental games. The intro and outro guitar lines inspired the rest of the song to be very atmospheric and have a large soundscape. The bookended guitar lines paint a western, desert soundscape with a hidden "vignette" of a song in the middle. We brought in the band Ley Line to lay down the haunting background vocals. Paired with my lead vocal this serves as a pleading call-and-response of feeling helpless.
Lew Apollo's new EP 'JUNGLE' is available to stream now. Check it out in the player below.