Hello! This is the third and final part of my interview with Lewis Young. I’d like to thank Lewis for being a swell dude and doing this interview, it’s been a lot of fun. There’s a lot in this part about his collaborations with the poet Matthew Hedley Stoppard, check out the video below for a slice of the tasty musical pie they offer.
Runt County, Adult Teeth Tees and the future.
Sean: I like that Adult Teeth covers a broad range of genres. In particular, I really like the album Runt County. You took something that a lot of people might consider inaccessible, like poetry and spoken word, and you put pop tunes and rock tunes on it. It all seems to fit together very nicely.
Lewis: It’s nice to hear that because that’s exactly what we set out to do. I’ve known Matthew for about five years, I saw him about four years ago doing a bit of spoken word in Leeds and I was just blown away. I just thought it was the most incredible poetry performance I’d ever seen. I realised that we needed to get a release out and try to get a wider audience for his work.
I tried to think about what would make people listen to it, because some people aren’t gonna buy a spoken word album or even listen to one online or whatever, so that’s the idea we came up with. Runt County is one of the things I’m most proud of.
I think it just kind of gelled together really well – we recorded all the music and he fit his words over the top of it. I thought it was gonna be the other way round but he insisted that was the way to do it. He just came in and did everything in one take.
Lewis: Bar a couple, but generally speaking it was all one take. He absolutely nailed it, every single performance was stunning. I’m just really happy with it, so it’s nice to hear that your reaction is exactly what we hoped for.
Sean: It’s surprising to hear that it came together in that way. When you listen to it, the music and words work together so naturally.
Lewis: I think we’re just really in tune with each other. It’s a strange thing. I had an idea of where I wanted to go with it and just went with that but I was surprised when he came in and he managed to make it fit so well to what we’d done. I thought there’d be take after take after take trying to get things right but he just nailed it. It was incredible – he’s just a very, very talented guy.
Sean: What is Adult Teeth Tees?
Lewis: It’s a new clothing company that was launched on December 1st as a label offshoot. The current designs are my own and not actually related to the label in any way – however there will soon be a section on the site for t-shirts using lyrics, ideas and themes from the acts signed to The Adult Teeth Recording Company. The idea is that the tees will make up gaps in funding the label and allow us to do more to get the word out about the music we release. Also, I wanted to get back into illustration and typography and the like, and making tees is a great excuse to do that.
Sean: What do you think of the music scene in Hull, and your place in it?
Lewis: I think it’s incredible. The city is largely forgotten about by the music press (and when we do get mentioned, every review generally starts with a reference to “The murky city of Hull” or similar), but the omission of the Hull scene is completely misguided. The music press would have you believe that you have to come from a major city to be any good, but in reality, that’s as ridiculous as it sounds.
The label largely works with Hull acts because the musicians in this city produce fantastic music that is almost completely ignored by the wider world. There’s no need for me to go “talent scouting” elsewhere – everything is happening right here.
Sean: Finally, what are your plans for 2015?
Lewis: A few definites for 2015 are: the new Foolish Atoms album (his third – I’ve heard the rough mixes and it could top his towering second release, which is no easy task); two new singles from La Bête Blooms (and a couple of UK tours too); and more standalone singles from My Pleasure, culminating in a singles collection. Plus, if everything goes to plan, Adult Teeth Tees will grow into something beautiful in 2015.
Whew! That sure was a whopper. Once again my thanks go to Lewis, and also to everybody who’s reading and sharing – I really appreciate it. The Adult Teeth Recording Company is putting out a lot of my favourite music at the moment, so I hope that if you weren’t aware of them previously you’ll give them a look.
This is the end of the serious talk, but it ain’t over ’til it’s over – part four of three comes out tomorrow. There’s a little bit about what we were supposed to be talking about, but mostly it’s about supermarkets.