Spotlight Interview with Patrick Lew Band
A new EP from the Patrick Lew Band is a soiree of wonderfully blended genre crossover elements with synths, keys, rock guitars, and plenty more that all come together to form a lush soundscape from start to finish.
The Pariah Vol.2 The Kamikaze Guitarist Strikes Back album is fully loaded with catchy grooves, electronic backbone, and danceable rhythms to go along with an array of synths used throughout the course of the record that create an atmosphere all its own.
The songs come through lively and cinematic filled with color and energy, built with intricate and tasteful hooks and melodies that pull you in.
The songs can sound edgy but very pop oriented with that rock surrounding plenty of it.
This is an absolutely fun record, and you can even hear this was probably a great time to create.
Tracks come through bright and vibrant with bursts into heavy handed almost joyful choruses and plucky guitars that flow with drippy keys and heavy drumming.
This record just feels good to listen to. You dance, you head bang, you jump around the room, and it all makes for a great soundtrack for the day for sure.
AS a matter of fact, I suggest you start your day with this record just to get in the right mood.
Classic dance feels get you shaking your butt and grooving with the sounds within seconds flat and you can't help but get attached quickly.
With the release of such a banger of an EP, we wanted to have a sit down and chat about the record and what may be next.
Here's what happened.
RAG: Okay so let's start with Pariah Vol2: The Kamikaze Guitarist Strikes Back album. This record has a great array of rock styles and of course is heavily guitar driven styles on it! Where did this album come from? It's actually an EP, by the way. Lol. But it's actually the second time in my indie music career where I relied heavily on electronics and modern technology to create music with PLB. Back when I started my career with PLB on the main stage back in 2006/07, the technology to do what I do now in Patrick Lew Band was still very primitive. I did the first three albums with PLB between 2006 and 2011 the old-fashioned way. I would play the guitar and sing, of course. And use a basic computer setup and entry-level gear to make the music at home studio. Sometimes, I relied heavily on other people I knew to bring their contributions and input in the Patrick Lew Band. Back in the day, PLB was a derelict type of punk rock band from the Bay Area. An interesting concept, but hindered by bad vibes from the system and toxic people. When I started doing PLB professionally back in the 2000s, a lot of things related to me were still "socially unacceptable" and taboo. You didn't see a lot of East Asian/Japanese males in the music industry back in those days, unless you're talking about what's coming out of Japan and South Korea. Even back then, it was very nichey. We were an invisible ethnic group and minority in society back in the 2000s still. Going back to the music, around the mid-2010s...I started to rely more on modern technology such as smartphone apps and Logic Pro got better on my laptop by then. I was still playing the guitar and doing all the musical instruments with my bare hands. Back then, PLB was like an Emo/Grunge type of garage rock band. As we get closer to the digital era we live in now, the music is like a fusion of J-Pop/K-Pop, rock and roll, electronic music...And we adapted more so to the modern era. But always staying true to ourselves lyrically and emotionally. By the time, me and my on-and-off again girlfriend Madeline (cosplaying alter-ego in real-life) made our album Rolling Thunder...We began to use more of our experience with electronics and everything was more convenient when making the music on modern technology. Sometimes, we didn't have to play the guitar and real instruments by hand. So going into this EP...We made the music through electronics and A.I. The theme of the album is more mature and still very much emotionally intense, like the PLB before this decade. But still very much, who we truly are as artists/musicians. Yet, modern at the same time. RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this release. Who are some of your biggest musical influences? The biggest influence for PLB is of course, Nirvana. If it weren't for Kurt Cobain and the Seattle bands from our childhood back in the 90's. There wouldn't be PLB. We listen to many types of classic rock music...Especially from the 60's up until the early 2000s. A lot of the bands we grew up listening to were great at what they did, and shaked the world with what they did. Like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Hendrix, The Sex Pistols, Pearl Jam and many more. We also listen to a lot of K-Pop, as the genre of music helped open doors for Asian artists like me and Madeline from PLB in the music scene. We love BTS, we love Blackpink and the whole 9 yards. We also grew up listening to J-Pop, because me and Madeline are half Japanese and were immersed and heavily connected and raised in Japanese culture. And we love Electronic Music and Video Game Music too, especially Chiptunes and Game Music from the 80's, 90's and 2000s. As far as non-musical influences goes...We grew up idolizing the Asian actor Takeshi Kaneshiro, who happens to be half Japanese and half Chinese/Taiwanese like us. He's like the Johnny Depp of East Asian film and TV! We wanted to always do something for our community and culture in a big way, and aspire to be half the man or woman that Takeshi was. We also are huge wrestling fans, and reading about the biggest stars in WWE and AEW in the wrestling business in general also inspired our journey to do what we gotta do to become what we aspire to be: The No. 1 Sino-Japanese Internet-based punk rock band from San Francisco! RAG: So how did this all begin for you really? When did you fall in love with making music? I started playing guitar at 13 years old back in the Summer of 1999. My cousin Andy was living with me at the time while going to college out here. Before that, my older brother Ricky was playing Oasis songs on a Fender guitar and amp that my mom got him for his 15th birthday. She bought it for him at the guitar store at Haight Street that's no longer there. But video games, computers and imported sports cars were more of his thing. So, the guitar and amp sat in the closet gathering dust for years. Lol. My cousin Andy when he was living with my family, well, he would bring the guitar and amp out, and play Jimi Hendrix songs on that old beat up guitar. Originally, my childhood dream was to become a WWF wrestler....As wrestling was very profitable back in the late 90's with the Attitude Era and Stone Cold on top of his game. But I kept getting hurt while playing sports, so if I couldn't be an athlete...I'll make my own rock band in my own bedroom by any means necessary! Like Ron Simmons once said in WWE while he was tag teaming with Nation of Domination. Lol. I took several guitar lessons through a teacher at this one music store at Serramonte Mall that's no longer there. But I grew to hate learning by-the-book, so instead, I taught myself how to play guitar mostly through looking up tablature online. \\ I started playing guitar and singing in my high school band (which later evolved and was revamped as PATRICK LEW BAND in 2008) with some friends of mine. We would play music occasionally during the next couple of years and some parties. We never got any gigs though! I started making my own music rather early back in 2001/02...My mom (God rest her soul) got me a Portastudio one Christmas, and I began demoing my own songs in my own bedroom. I would also begin putting my music online during the early 2000s, back when Internet bands was still very rudimentary and back when you only made it in music by getting a record deal with corporations. The 2000s was still the old timeline and pre-digital era...Even though it didn't seem like a long time ago. I trained at the School of Rock for years. I was dealing with a lot of problems and a lot of dark moments back in the day, but my mindset was...I gotta make it someway or somehow in this business. I wanted to become big enough to be cool, like that kid once said in that teen movie Project X from 2012. I wasn't aiming to be as big as Metallica or Green Day were, just big enough to be awesome. And I wanted to be cool enough, so my mom and the community would be very proud of me and look up to me. So, in 2006...I was declared "ready" for the main stage in the regional music scene here in SF. I put out PLB's first album, began playing gigs at the smallest of small places in San Francisco with the old lineup with the Patrick Lew Band...And I signed up for YouTube and registered all my PLB related stuff online by 2007. I spent many years trying to make my niche and pay my dues in the music scene. I was sidetracked by bad vibes, toxic people I knew or crossed paths with and a failed six-year marriage with my ex at the time. But I did manage to graduate from college at CSU East Bay with a B.A. in Philosophy and Music Composition in 2011 at age 25! Back then, society and in general hit me hard with a lot of things. But it motivated me to become better at what I do, and made me more driven to become more out there with my passion for making music with Patrick Lew Band. The final piece of the puzzle was Halloween 2015. That's when my on-and-off girlfriend and cosplaying alter-ego Madeline Lew officially joined PLB. And has remained with me since. That's when good things started happening for PLB! Like our CD got consigned at Amoeba Records here in the Bay, the press started to feature us. And many more. While PLB went on hiatus after my mom died in 2017, I devoted most of my time to playing some music with other musicians in many different bands and settings. And Madeline did her own thing, like being an EDM DJ at rave parties out here. By 2020, when we came back, we knew, this was what we were born to do! And Patrick Lew Band has been on a roll since then worldwide sort of. We sort of reached prolific level of fame, and we already got inducted in the Hall of Fame at my alma mater in 2019 as Patrick Lew Band. Making unique music is what we were born to do man! RAG: What's next for you as a band? Right now, I am pursuing solo musical activities under the stage name LEWNATIC. I just dropped a mixtape called Strictly Prohibited under that stage name worldwide. PLB has been rigorous non-stop since mid-2020, we're taking a break for now. Kind of resting on our laurels so to speak! Usually in LEWNATIC, it's a developmental type of solo project where the music I would be making that wasn't good enough for PLB goes directly to that band under that stage name. These days, PLB is an Internet-based virtual rock band from San Francisco. We sustain ourselves and are self-sufficient with our indie music career because of social-media and the Internet. Madeline doesn't want to travel and tour as much, neither do I. Lol. So I would play shows and do music under the LEWNATIC banner in the meantime. The future is unknown, but one thing is for sure. PLB and even LEWNATIC ain't going anywhere any time soon or deactivating! RAG: What inspires you guys to write a song? We just love to pursue our passion. But a lot of our creative process is very spontaneous and random. We refuse to conform to the traditions of the mainstream music industry and do everything ourselves at our own time and pace. We are inspired by the Asian-American Experience, Science Fiction and life in general to write our songs and put that all down on record. RAG: What are you all doing when you're NOT working on music? Well, as far as I go. I'm either playing video games, immersing myself with the Asian-American and Japanese community and culture, or watching and streaming reruns on my Sony Smart TV. I also love grabbing food outside, watching and attending sporting and wrestling events and hanging out with my friends at the mall or in general. I also make sure to check out as much live music and concerts as possible after COVID. I also go online a lot on my old MacBook Air, doing random stuff like social-media. And I make YouTube and TikTok videos. Lol. And I try each and every single day to mature and become better as an individual. I also study my Japanese heritage as much as I can, as well as trying to improve my language skills. Because PLB is being gravitated and heavily marketed towards the Japanese music scene these days. Madeline is just about the same as me. But when me and her are together, expect potential greatness to come from Patrick Lew Band perhaps! Me and her might one day get married, you never know! RAG: Who are you all listening to right now? Oh you know...Classic rock bands like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. K-Pop like The Stray Kids. And older and new J-Pop like Yutaka Ozaki, X Japan, B'z, Hatsune Miku and Scandal. We have a very diverse playlist on our phone using Apple Music app. We're very open-minded about most genres of music. We also listen to modern rappers like Juice WRLD (RIP). RAG: Are you doing live performances? PLB isn't known for doing many live performances. It's predominantly an Internet-based virtual rock band, and we like to keep it that way. We like to keep everything DIGTIAL ONLY for sure. But I am touring sporadically and doing Livestream concerts with LEWNATIC. I play a mix of PLB songs using backing tracks via AUX cord on my laptop hooked up to a PA at home. And also, some of my own random miscellaneous ideas through the guitar and mic. Sometimes, every few months...I play shows at the dive bar or clubs here in San Francisco with LEWNATIC. Most of the time, it's Livestream concerts and webcasts on my YouTube and elsewhere. Did you also know...PLB were early adoptees to live-streaming? We did that as early as 2009, and it wasn't as advanced yet. Now it's advanced enough to be PLB and do what we do. And what we intended away from the mainstream and traditional music industry standard back in the 2000s. Lol. As far as live performances go, it's not one of my strongest areas in music. But I still do it no matter what occasionally. I sound like a loose and straight-up punk rock band when I play shows for sure! And I like that intensity and vibe. It took me a while to pay my dues and get to my current level in the scene, but I'm very thankful it happened. Better late than never! I like to play live, I live to make music in the studio...And I just love being me man. Hahaha. RAG: This album seems like a big undertaking. What kind of advice might you have for other up and coming bands out there? My advice: Always be yourself, stay driven, never give up and if you work hard enough, and you want it bad enough...Dreams can come true. You got this, lads! RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Me and Madeline just want to stay super thank you and Mucho Gracias for staying true to our band PLB and supporting us all these years. And seeing through us and believing in us for what we are! I owe everything to you guys. It means so much for me. And I didn't have anything back then. It means a lot to me and Madeline that our music has reached thousands of fans and listeners worldwide in 43 countries on YouTube and Apple Music. And touched or made an impact on them in some way for sure.