Rotterdam's Velvet Underground reveal a song from their forthcoming self-titled debut album and talk us through making it
Cai Trefor
17:30 10th April 2018

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Lewsberg, the hotly-tipped lo-fi psych pop band from Rotterdam, have shared the lyric video to the captivating, beautifully crafted new single ‘Carried Away’. Watch and listen on Gigwise below.

This band– who are a must for fans of Velvet Underground, Modern Lovers, and Galaxie 500 – eschew the ubiquitous reverbs and delays that a lot of bands leading the neo-psych revival use when referencing 60s music. 

Lewsberg’s evocative songwriting is presented in a much more pragmatic way. On ‘Carried Away’, a clean vocal, bass, and guitar is set to a gentle drum beat laid down on a 16-track tape machine. Thus, the limiting variables allow them to explore the avenues they go down to maximum effect.

The puritan yet not fundamentalist ways - a computer was used at some point in the process - means the recording is the truest reflection of the band they can give; they aren’t colouring anyone’s expectations of what they’re like live. Mistakes are kept and in turn it adds to the off-kilter, outsider mood.

Of going the analog route songwriter Arie Van Vliet says: “It sounds more whole whereas digital sounds like individual tracks” – and we can hear that on this track.

Similarly to like their nostalgic recording process, Vliet’s mentality is also very much removed from the haste and stress of the late capitalist world. The singer appears to have some views that give him a very balanced outlook on life, and ‘Carried Away’ gets its blissful edge from this person.

Of the track’s theme and feel he artfully explores the process of not succumbing to social pressure:

“For me, the song is about staying away from commitment,” he says. “And how staying away has two sides: your own side and the side of the people that are waiting for you. You should actually take our time to enjoy not being there. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of continually living to others expectations. Also it’s freeing to not expect too much from others, allow them to make mistakes; it makes life a lot easier.”

This lassiez faire approach to life means he’s freed from the shackles of reading too much into his emotions: “To me a good feeling and bad feeling should be embraced; they have same importance and most of the lyrics in our songs reflect this in a way,” he tells Gigwise.

With life continually throwing curveballs at people, it’s a very settled attitude to have. Plus, it translates well for fans of wanting to see them live: “On stage it’s a nice mentality to work with; if you accept everything you can never fail. Or well you actually can, but you can really enjoy the failure.”

Subsequently, at the shows, they don’t tow the line and the songs don’t repeat pop norms. The singer says they enjoy pop but like to play with it. On the recording you’ll notice the backing vocals from Shalita Dietrich are always one beat ahead or one beat behind, making it pleasingly disorientating. It's a display of imagination which is absolutely vital and something we’re seeing more and more of in the more lauded successful new guitar bands coming through: note Dokkum's The Homesick - who just put out a single on Warner offshoot Yala! Records - and Slovenia’s Lynch, too.

Of course, ‘Carried Away’ isn’t an isolated piece of work. The Lewsberg album is out this Friday and this teaser from it sits in there’ alongside some more frenetic songs. Hearing the escapist, blissful edge in this song plucked from the album early juxtaposed with other higher tempo’d meditations on life is one of the thrills of seeing Lewsberg live. The slow songs humour the band: “I like playing a super slow song halfway through a set to make people people feel uncomfortable.” he says. “If people leave the show I think we’re doing something right.”

There’s also an unpredictability to the shows that will definitely mean they’re worth seeing more than once. The singer says the respect they have for each other as musicians means no one is ever wrong. Meaning when Vliet tells me his guitarist Michiel Klein spontaneously played a noise solo for half an hour, taking up much of a set, he says “It was both satisfying and frustrating at the same time”. WMany lead singers would seek to control this, for Lewsberg the lack of hierarchy means an embrace of new ideas from all members.

With their provocative stage antics and mesmerising songwriting, stumbling across this band – who are definitely set to blow the UK away when they land in May – has been a real joy. It’s reinvigorated our sense that over in Rotterdam something is stirring, and something truly good is about to blossom. Those lives of people who need good live and recorded music and like some of the staples of rock 'n' roll appropriated brilliantly will love this band. Lewsberg are truly Ones To Watch.

Lewsberg are on a UK tour. They play the following venues:

2 May - London, TBA
3 May - Hull, Adelphi Club
5 May - Liverpool, Liverpool Sound City
6 May - Oxford, Library

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Photo: Press