Dracula Lewis

Interview by Brenda Bosma, photos shot by Lorenzo Senni.

So. We’ll be talking about all things abstract.
Okay. I like abstract. This interview will be pretty abstract for sure.

How abstract is the term ‘abstract’ to you?
The term ‘abstract’ is like a cage for the idea of abstract. I know that cage really well. That’s why sometimes I hate words. They can be like cages, especially when they are meant to define an idea, a sound, a vision.

Are you insulted when people describe your music as abstract?
No, I like it when people say that. I like it when music leaves space in your mind to find forms, when you’re free to explore, to float. That’s why I like dub: there’s a lot of space to it.

Would you yourself describe your music that way?
Back in the days, for sure. I guess there still are some abstract elements… I prefer abstract over improv. I like the term ‘free-form’. But I’m not free-form.

I’m form-free.

Sounds pretty abstract to me.
I told you so.

Do you have any ‘abstract’ listening tips?
Sure. Israel Vibrations, Same Song Dub. James Ferraro, Clear. Expressway Yo Yo Dieting, Bubblethug. Let me think… Solid Eye’s Fruit of Automation is a really good album. Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Eternal 1999… Israel Vibrations, especially that record, is just so good. Chants coming out of a really fucked-up echo chamber. Eternal delays. I just love it. There’s lot of space in it!

Your music has a soundtrack kind of quality to it. What kind of film would accompany it?
Laura Brothers (aka Out4Pizza) conceived some visuals for me. Her animated GIF is one of my favourite visions of my music.

And what about a movie with a narrative?
I don’t like that idea.

Maybe that would be too much of a form?
Yeah, exactly. Though I would like to work on a soundtrack for a movie called Reflections of Evil by Damon Packard – the extended version, three hours long. I truly love that movie.

Do you think you could create fitting music for it?
Yeah. I like that movie because it’s basically about one long bad trip. It’s hyper-psychedelic and at the same time really, really grounded. It’s everyday psychedelic.

Would you say your music is like a bad trip? Whoa, wait – that sounds terrible.
Yeah 🙂 That does sound terrible. I wouldn’t describe my music as a bad trip, not at all. But yes, I like the idea of a voyage with some eerie elements.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Driving my car, I guess. It sounds stupid but I like driving around in the hills late at night, listening to music, smoking. It’s trippy… And I listen to music 24 hours a day.

All kinds of stuff?
Not really. I hate Italian commercial radio.

That I can understand.
But I like Rihanna a lot. Destiny’s Child…

Pretty straightforward pop music.
Yes. There’s no shame in that. I like pop music. I like mechanisms, structures.

Do you feel the need to unravel those structures?
I like getting lost in them.

So, a hasty Google search doesn’t bring up much info on you – except about how there’s not much info on you. Is it your intention to remain kind of an obscure artist?
That’s also about space, it’s all about space. I like the idea that you can project your own vision on me, that you have the freedom to do that.

And what about your live performances? Surely we get to see the person behind all the mysteries then?
I’m a blurry person in real life. I’m out of focus.

That reminds me of one of my favorite movie scenes ever, the one in Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry when Robin Williams is out of focus. Also kind of a bad trip…
Oh, that movie is so good! That scene is so good!

When the girl says: ‘Daddy’s out of focus!’ Genius!

Thanks so much for the interview. And see you in Holland.
Please come and say hi. Even if I’m out of focus…

Dracula Lewis headlines the Hundebiss Showcase at OCCII, Amsterdam and Koffie5Euro, Rotterdam with Stargate and Primitive Art on 13 and 15 February, respectively.