Interview by Roxy Merrell
Photos shot by Laurence von Thomas

Lifestyle is the new obscure project by best mates Lewis Rainsbury and Luke Brennan. Before trying to prescribe a go-to description, here’s a disclaimer: expect the unexpected. Lifestyle aims to stray from anything you thought a band or duo production project might be – continuously evolving, open source, with no rigid members and no genre limitations. ‘Basically,’ Lewis, former front man of impressionistic indie band Vondelpark sums up, ‘I don’t like conforming’.

Having caught our eye with only a few lush, ambient tracks online, we called up Lewis for a late night chat, to try zero in and reveal the figures that make up the trippy silhouettes.

Sporting Life 02 © Laurence von Thomas

Hey Lewis. Where are you right now?

I’m in our new apartment, with some friends, in a place called Streatham, it’s south west London. I’ve been about the last couple of years… I’m definitely staying in Streatham for a good… good minute.

We’re looking around at each other in London thinking we need to stop like, being fucking degenerates.

Tell me about Lifestyle. Would it be fair to call you a duo?

A duo… Yeah. It’s been going on for quite a while. Luke Brennan, the guy I’m collaborating with, and I used to have a project a long time ago. He used to play in a punk band, called Zulu, so Luke brings his punk attitude to my electronic music production – somewhere in the middle we’re left with (I think) quite an Atlanta approach to making pop songs.

But at the same time, if you take Orbital, Daft Punk or Chemical Brothers… they may appear to be just two people, but it’s never is. There’s quite a few of us involved. We’re like Wu-Tang. Everyone’s doing their own thing. What we’ll present live is just two people, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say there were other people that help us.

Sporting Life 01 © Laurence von Thomas

How did it begin?

We didn’t consciously decide to start Lifestyle. I’ve been making music for years with different people – there’s about six people involved now. It originated with Hugo, a really good friend of mine and film director. Whenever we have time, we make tunes.

Is London an exciting place to be right now?

‘this is us, and fuck with it, squeeze it and twist it to suit you,’

I don’t know – fuck London. I love my group of friends, and we have our own world. It’s more of a worldwide project. It’s not really about London. It’s usually made when we go to other cities, that’s the most inspiring.

I think it’s like a coping mechanism, for everyone collaborating. We make stuff just to make ourselves feel like we’ve done something. We’re looking around at each other in London thinking we need to stop like, being fucking degenerates. We’re trying to put some positive action together. But now things are actually starting to get going.

Sporting Life 04 © Laurence von Thomas

Was that unexpected?

I don’t know where it’s going to go really. We’re just hoping it connects with people. Though we’re pretty on it, to be honest. We’ve been working on it quite solidly for the last six months.

I found ‘Lifestyle’ pretty difficult to find online, until I found ‘L1F3STYLE’. Is that the official name or…?

Whatever you want! Whatever you like. It doesn’t really matter. The band’s just called Lifestyle. We’ve got an interesting thing coming together, which will hopefully be more clear, in terms of releases and context, and easier to find; this portal site we’ve got called Eureka Garden.

What’s that about?

It’s just an online space. Essentially – quite a big concept to talk about, but in short – it’s basically a portal, not a platform, and there’s a difference between the two. We want to make a track that continuously evolves, and work with people across the world. Everyone can work on this one concept and give input to it. It’s not saying: ‘this is us’. It’s saying: ‘this is us, and fuck with it, squeeze it and twist it to suit you,’ and then whatever that eventually evolves into in five years will be what Lifestyle is.

Sporting Life 05 © Laurence von Thomas

Are you exploring something different with Lifestyle, than you were with Vondelpark?

It’s not conscious. The big difference is, we want to work with labels but we want to keep it more like a Fugazi approach. Down to the point of absolutely everything involved. Obviously at first you don’t have anything to compare it to. Now we only work with places and people we’re about.

We live quite a poor life, but I feel happier than ever.

I was young and quite naive [during the Vondelpark years]. What happened, it was cool, but we didn’t take it very seriously. Now, me and my life has changed so much, in terms of my actual practice. The way I live my life actually revolves around what I do. Before, I used to fit it in with a job and stuff like that, and now this is just me.

Is that why it’s called Lifestyle? It’s very fitting.

I’ll tell you what – I was drinking quite a lot about a year ago, drinking loads and taking loads of xanax, and all this shit. And one of my really good friends got really pissed off with me. He literally texted me just ‘Lifestyle…’ as if to say, sort your life out, sort of thing. And it just really hit home. It’s sparked loads of interesting talks, and is also a bit of a piss take, but I won’t go into it too much.

Sporting Life 06 © Laurence von Thomas

You’ve got a free mixtape lined up called Calm FM Survival Pack. Can you tell us about it?

Essentially, when I was last in Amsterdam about six months ago, I found a really good book, it was about survivalism. Every time I come to Amsterdam, it profoundly flips my perception of my life back in London. It’s really weird. It’s strange, too, because my dad spent a lot of time there too, in Amsterdam, in kind of formative years. I don’t know what it is about that place, but maybe it’s like in my blood. Point is, survivalism is an interesting theory in general. If you live your life on a survivalism wave, there’s not really too much time to like, enjoy London or nice things. You’re just trying not to spend any money.

Although the name is Lifestyle, and we like trap, and my favourite artist right now is Gucci Mane if not XXXTENTACION, a lot of the times the motifs and the shit these guys talk about are the things that are ruining the world – like capitalism. We live quite a poor life, but I feel happier than ever. It’s quite strange.

Why is that?

I just really believe in this project, I think. I really do. It’s pretty sick. There’s some really interesting people about and we have some good values.

Catch Lifestyle at De School, Amsterdam on 11 August.