Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi is on the verge of something spectacular: touring the UK and Europe with Nina Nesbitt, selling out gigs in 24 hours and becoming a prominent feature in the charts. His live performance is mind-blowing and his chat even better; the ins and outs of Lewis Capaldi lie below in an extensive interview.
How is your tour going so far? Any particular highlights?
My keyboard man shat himself in Manchester. [Laughter]
Yeah shat his pants, not music related but he was playing Fifa and trusted a fart. I told everyone on stage in Manchester and then the night after in Leeds. There’s a bit in the set where everyone walks off stage and he comes back on by himself and starts playing Bruises, when he walked back on stage in Leeds someone in the crowd shouts “don’t fucking shit yourself”.
That is brilliant, such a highlight and very light-hearted.
Yeah well it’s totally got to be, the show is heavy enough as it is with all the sad music. But in terms of music, Manchester was a show that was fucking incredible.
And you’re playing Glasgow over the next couple of days? Looking forward to it?
Yeah, yeah, it’s going to be fucking class, so it’s Glasgow tomorrow, the next day and then London on Tuesday. Then after that we’ve got the Live Lounge.
Wow Radio One Live Lounge? Have you done it before?
Yeah Radio One, nope and I’m fucking shitting myself but yeah I’m also buzzing, should be sick.
So excited about Breach; your very newly released EP, it’s amazing, huge fan of the song ‘Someone You Loved’, please can you tell me a bit about your inspiration for it?
Personally I think it’s the saddest song I’ve ever written. I’m not in a relationship at the minute, haven’t been for the last year and a half, but yeah. It’s kind of that feeling when you start getting to know someone and things have been going really well but you’ve been reluctant to be as open as you like with stuff in the past and all that, and yeah, just that feeling where it’s like you finally go, cool, I’m comfortable, this is going great. Then as soon as you let them in something goes wrong or they fuck off, just that emotion where you’re like I was getting kind of used to this.
Such a good song, it nails that feeling completely.
Well thank you very much.
Can you pinpoint a particular moment in your career where you really felt like you had really made it?
I still don’t think I’ve made it.
No, no definitely not, the closest thing I think is that last show in Manchester. When you are younger and you start going to festivals I always remember watching people on stage and hearing everyone sing their lyrics back to them and thinking that must be the most amazing feeling ever. But it’s weird because, from my experience anyway and I was speaking to Nina about this, when you’re on stage and people are singing your songs back to you you’re kind of like numb to it, me anyway, I’m so focused on not fucking it up.
Yeah I can imagine you must feel kind of mechanical when performing.
Aye absolutely. I just really don’t want to fuck it up, it’s kind of like you don’t give yourself time to enjoy it and then afterwards you go ‘oh fuck that was amazing’. The other night in Manchester, I don’t know why but maybe because we’ve played the set so many times and I’d had a really stressful day. I’d been at a music video shoot, ‘Someone You Loved’ was coming out and everyone was stressing about stuff going on with the release which had to be fixed, so by the time I had got to the gig and on stage I wasn’t in the mind-set of ‘oh I need to play a gig right now’, I just went on and played and for some reason I was able to enjoy it so much more, it was fucking class, just because I wasn’t thinking about it as much.
And if it hadn’t been music what do you think it would have been? Did you go to university?
No I wasn’t smart enough to get into university, I was never bad in school I was just very, very fucking average, so bang on, Cs and a B, do you know what I mean? Just average. So I don’t know, not got a clue but the thing is for me I always knew I wanted to do music from a young age so I would probably still be doing music in some capacity even if it wasn’t this, which is everything I could of imagined and more. I probably would have gone back to college or something and then tried to be a music teacher or something. But my dad owns a fishmongers so maybe that.
So are either of your parents musical?
Nope not at all, but my brother is musical but they’ve always been very encouraging, yeah so my dad is a fishmonger, owns a couple of shops and my mums a nurse. Maybe I would have been an electrician, possibly some kind of trade.
Keeps you grounded though doesn’t it?
Aye totally fucking right, it would be weird if they were musical theatre people. [Laughter]
And so where does your inspiration come from? Do you find that it strikes in particular places, when you are doing things or with certain people?
It use to happen when I was hungover, if I was rough as fuck I would always be able to write a good song. I remember when I first started drinking when I was like fourteen and I would wake up the next day and I’d feel this kind of rough way but it was so productive for some reason, it doesn’t happen as much now but I do feel more like ‘oh I’ll just go write something because I’ve got fuck all else to do’. Then late at night, at like three in the morning, I’ll often feel productive and I’ll get a lot of shit done. During the day I’m fucking shite. But yeah, what I’m writing about is just personal experiences, my pals experiences and relationship stuff and shit.
It seemed like your career really took off in 2017 with your Bloom EP, do you feel like it’s been an absolute whirlwind since then? And how do you try and stay grounded going through something like that?
Yeah since ‘Bruises’ came out it has felt like a whirlwind but I was gigging since fucking eleven, I’m twenty two now and I wrote ‘Bruises’ on my twentieth birthday so yeah it’s been really slow and a bit of a slog and then since then it’s been a crazy. Kind of like Mario Kart when you go on the arrows [laughter]. No aye, it’s been mad and as far as being grounded, it’s just not taking it too seriously, it’s a bit of a fucking joke singing songs.
It must be quite surreal.
Exactly, like it’s not a normal thing so don’t take it seriously, it’s mental that it even happens and people pay to come see you. As soon as you start thinking ‘well this is just how it is’ then that’s when you become a bit detached from it all. It’s weird as well because everyone that I’ve met that has been like a big, big celebrity (obviously I’m not comparing myself to them) have been the most grounded people because I think that once it gets to a certain level you’re like this is all fucking mental and it’s not like a tangible real thing, so you just need to try and have a laugh. I know everybody who is in my band and we all take the piss, I get slagged off 24/7 by them, my dad and my family are like that, we are always slagging each other off and I think that keeps you down and grounded.
Yeah so true. And Your Instagram and twitter…
Honestly love it, makes me laugh daily but it’s such a contrast to your songs, do you find that your music is quite a good outlay of your emotions?
Totally. ‘Cos like I’m not very good at telling you what my songs are about, I’m not a sad guy at all, very much like the opposite. I think it’s so important to get yourself across on Instagram and Twitter because I think we are in a position now where people know the song but not really who sings it. I think nowadays people care less about who’s making the music and for me; the music and myself go hand in hand. I just want people to come to the shows and know what I’m like, I try to be as transparent as possible and aye I think a lot of people are bad at Instagram by just saying ‘had a great time playing Newcastle, Glasgow tomorrow’, I think how fucking boring is that, me talking about my pubes is a good respite from that.
Following that, you seem like a really great role model to talk about your emotions and reducing the stigma around it, especially with men. Is this an important issue to you?
Oh totally, personally there is a song out at the minute by a guy from Newcastle called Sam Fender called ‘Dead Boys’, he talks about it and he’s fucking class. It’s definitely is important. Like I’m not shy about it, recently I’ve been getting panic attacks for the first time in my life and for me it was like a no brainer immediately just to be like ‘oh by the way I’ve started getting these panic attacks’ rather than trying to hide it.
It’s so good to be like that.
I know totally and if I’m having a panic attack in a room with someone I’ll go ‘by the way I’m having a panic attack but don’t worry about it’ and for me it immediately makes you feel better when you just have a conversation with someone about it. I do think it’s a really important thing for young guys especially, I mean for everybody really, but just to talk about how you are feeling and to not keep it in, ‘Dead Boys’ specifically is a really good example.
100 percent. Why did you and Nina Nesbitt decide to go on tour together?
I’ve known of Nina’s music since I was like 12 and I’ve actually not told Nina this but she did a competition a few years ago when she was going on tour, you had to cover one of her songs and I applied and sent it in, whoever’s cover she picked would sing on tour. Sent it in, never fucking got it [Laughter]. But nah, I’ve been a fan of Nina for a long time and she was a very vocal supporter when ‘Bruises’ came out. Obviously we’re both from Scotland, she’s actually from ten minutes down the road. Yeah she’s fucking brilliant and the fact she’s brought out all this new music and it’s doing so good is cool as well.
Are there any other artists you would love to collaborate with and why?
I really like Ella May, she’s fucking sick. Scissors would be amazing or something weird, something people wouldn’t expect. Maybe Ed Sheeran because it would probably make loads of money and that would be class.
Yeah one song and you’d be sorted.
And he’s obviously very talented also.
Agreed. Anything you can reveal about what’s to come?
Well we just released this EP yesterday but there’s a lot more music coming this year than I think people would expect, trying to finish an album for next year, personally I’m not in a rush to do it but the record label might say something different [Laughter]. It’s almost finished I think but I write songs so much that I don’t like putting an album out, an album is such a final thing which is why I think, even when I do an album I think it will be like here is twelve songs and then I’ll be ready to release stuff two months after the album. I’m not going to wait about.
So you’re writing quite a lot at the moment?
Oh fucking constantly! Every single day.
Does it come quite easily to you?
No, not at all. Some days it’s just so fucking tough.
And do you sit down on those days and try and write or do you just wait until you have inspiration?
Well you try and you try and sometimes you don’t get anything, people say the best ones usually come naturally but I don’t know if that’s true because I’ve had some fucking slogs that have come through just constantly trying to write.
Do you feel like you have to go out and do quite a lot to try and get inspiration for your songs?
A lot of drinking. Drinking is good for it [laughter]. Yeah but totally because I’ve been writing songs since I was eleven and they were fucking shite until I was like seventeen because I was just going to fucking school and that was it. There was a year when I was going down to London, from the age of nineteen through to twenty; ‘Bruises’ was written towards the end of that time, I was getting more experiences, kind of living by myself for weeks at a time, so aye, that was fucking class.
Amazing. Do you ever dream of a pinnacle moment in your career and what would it be?
I think tomorrow, two nights at Barrowland Ballroom, an iconic venue in Glasgow and that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. So I don’t know after that, I always thought we’d do King Tut’s in Glasgow which is this venue which holds about three hundred and fifty people, my goal was to play venues that size and make a nice living off music, not even nice, just make enough money so that I didn’t have to get a job in an office that I wouldn’t be good at and wouldn’t enjoy. I’m doing that so anything else is a bonus.
Because it was a sell out in Glasgow wasn’t it?
Yeah both of them sold out in less than 24 hours.
That must be the best feeling ever.
Yeah fucking totally, mostly because of the monies. [laughter]
Favourite thing about Scotland?
Well in the part I live in it’s the chat, we’re all very weird and I think when people look at my Instagram they think it’s funny but they are like what the fuck is he talking about, he’s a really weird person. But that’s what everyone is like in Scotland, I’m not even the weirdest cunt, it’s bad [laughter]. I just love how everyone’s a fucking nutter.
Have you been to Newcastle before and any plans whilst your here?
Yeah I have, I went to World Skills in Newcastle when I was in college doing music and it’s basically this weird thing where there’s a bunch of bands from different colleges, kind of like a big battle of the bands and you get a bronze, gold or silver, it’s weird, anyways. We didny get through, no not at all so fucked it. And then we went oot in Newcastle; I’ve always had a lovely time here getting pished here aye.
Yeah it’s good for that, where did you go?
I canny remember what it was called but it was quite spicy whatever it was, it wasn’t like everyone was chilled oot and all that.
Yeah going out in Newcastle is all or nothing.
Yeah but that’s class, I like that shit. And then I played Think Tank February of last year so that was cool as well.
Oh nice. Okay so one final question: if you were sent to a desert island with a luxury, a book and a song, what would they be and why?
Okay a luxury… a toilet, don’t want to do a shite in the sand. A book, I don’t know, a book on how to survive on a desert island? [laughter]
You’ve got quite practical answers here.
Yeah I’m fucking getting off this bastard island, and my song: ‘Someone You Loved’ by Lewis Capaldi of course!
Oh winner, you can’t go wrong with those. Thank you so much.
No thanks for coming to talk to me, it means a lot.
Lewis Capaldi’s new EP, Breach, is out now.
Last modified: 19th February 2020