Rising artist Charlie Lewin’s multi-genre debut album Up Late Dwelling has just been released. In this article, Minn speaks with him about his musical journey and what the album means to him.
The pre-release track “Flame Gang for Life” was the one that solidified my status as a Charlie Lewin fan. When I first contacted him for an interview, about a week or so after the track’s release, he mentioned that he could see from Spotify’s analytics that I’ve already listened to it 47 times. Even after the full release of his debut album, the song remains my number one favourite among many others.
Up Late Dwelling is an impressive album containing fourteen tracks that Lewin wrote when he was just 19. “I went through a period of around 2.5 years where I lived by myself in a flat whilst I was still in sixth-form college,” Lewin elaborates. “I absolutely loved it and had mates around most of the time to keep me company.
“But there were obviously some times where nobody else was around and it got really lonely, so I went through a bit of a tough time and started writing these songs” and it has now snowballed into this album.
One of Lewin’s favourite songs of the album also happens to be “Flame Gang for Life”. “It’s probably because it’s the oldest lyrics I have written,” he says. It’s an emo-rap song and the lyrics relay a sense of frustration with the progression of life: “F**K THAT!/ Growing up is a trap and I/ I want a little bit of love for the last time/ Getting old is a bore/ I don’t wanna live anymore/ But that’s none of your business at all.”
“Housewife Material” is also another favourite of his. “It’s a bit of a mental breakdown of a song,” Lewin notes. The song is backed by fast-paced Latin drums, emphasising the darkness of the lyrics: “Come on right into my flat/ I’ve never seen so many dishes piled up like that/ You must be a bore/ With you and all your whores in this space.”
Lewin’s third favourite is “Finally”. “Just because I love ambient music,” he says, “I listen to that genre of music every night when I go to sleep.”
Music has always been a massive interest for Lewin. “From a young age, [I’ve been] listening to Michael Jackson in the car with my mum and dad’s old clubland CDs,” he says. Along with his continuing education in the creative fields, Lewin naturally gravitated to writing lyrics in his spare time.
He also faced some setbacks in the run up to the album’s release. “First of all,” he begins lightheartedly, “my iMac is so slow nowadays and does a ‘system overload’ once every 5 minutes.”
He continues in a more serious tone, “life just gets in the way all the time like if I’ve got university work to do or got to go off somewhere for the weekend as I’d normally do (before Covid)”. Lewin also wanted Up Late Dwelling to come out six months ago, “but I definitely underestimated how hard it is to produce music especially as I’d never done it before,” he admits.
And this was where the lockdown became a good thing for Lewin. “All of a sudden, I had all this time that I’d previously missed out on! I made ‘choons’ every day in lockdown for at least six hours. It was so much fun to be honest.”
When I asked him if there was anything he hopes for his listeners to gain from his album, Lewin says that the album was a really personal project that he wanted to get released so that he could have something to show for that tough stage of his life. “It’s mainly for me, my friends and family and to just get some stuff off my chest. If that relates to people at all then that’s great!” he says.
Lewin concludes the interview with hope: “I’ve come to university and become a lot happier. I’ve written loads of properly good songs that people might wanna dance to. I wanna do a music video or two as well, but I’m also trying to focus on making the next album. I’m not sure what my dreams are yet, but I’m here to explore every option. Exciting times really!”
Pictures are courtesy of Charlie Lewin himself.