Inspired by ’70s Italian film soundtracks, Frank Ocean and Lee Fields & The Expressions; 19-year old Lewis OfMan has composed music for Sonia Rykiel at Paris Fashion Week, produced/remixed several artists and sold his EP at the concept store Colette. We asked Lewis OfMan a few questions to find out the ultimate best way to fuel creativity, and how his first bedroom productions still help him with future projects.
MusicMap: What sort of music were you exposed to when you were growing up?
Lewis OfMan: My father listens to a lot of soul funk jazz and rock music so I was really exposed to these genres when I was a child, like Lee Fields & The Expressions for example, the positive energy and the great vibe of this band is a huge influence for my music. I also used to listen to 2000s French rap like Diams, Booba, La Fouine or Rhoff.
When did you start making your own music and what was it like?
I started to compose music on my iPad with GarageBand. There I discovered synthesizers: how to manipulate them and all in a digital way. I did this for two years, I even made an EP that is still available on Bandcamp called Disconsolate. These first moments of composition were incredible because I had total freedom. I tried everything I could with GarageBand, I had no self-censorship and no one was listening so it was just me trying some things. Today when I have some lack of inspiration I listen to the music I made before, it makes me remember that music is really about listening to oneself and just enjoying. I believe this is best way to make good music. Just to express your personality and trying to do it in the most transparent way.
What equipment do you use now?
Now I work on Ableton Live and I have like 5 synths. One is a Technics, it is the first one I bought in 2012, I really love it, this is the one on the cover of my EP. I made the song ‘Flash’ with it. I also have a Yamaha DX7 and this is my favourite, you can make unique and special sounds with it. This is the one I used on the song ‘Kythira’. I have another Yamaha it is the CS2X, not bad with a lot of ’90s sounds.
To make a break. To completely stop playing music for a weekend or even one or two weeks and just think. After these moments, when I come back to my studio, I do not know why but my ideas are unconsciously clear in my head and this is where I reach the best level of my creativity.
What kind of reception did your new EP Yo Bene get? Are you happy with it?
My EP had the duty to show the listener that I can go to many directions while keeping my touch. It is boring for me to play one specific genre. It seems that the EP is well received by the people that listen to it so yes I am quite happy with it.
Do you have any new projects in mind or things you want to do in the near future?
Right now I am working on many compositions for other artists, I love doing this because it is like an exercise, you have to understand the atmosphere of the artist and mix it with yours, allowing yourself some things you would not do if it was just for your project. I am also working on a fashion show soundtrack and this is my favorite thing ever.
Can you tell us 3 favourite albums of all time?
Frank Ocean – Blonde (this is a manifesto of the purest artist achievement, this is literally sublime)
Beach House – Depression Cherry (angels music, so intense I listened to it only like 3 times)
The Rolling Stones – Let it Bleed (for the origins)
Picture: Charlotte Robin