Rhys Lewis is addicted to online chess.
So is Square Mile – so much so we wrote a love letter to the game.
Lewis seems like a lovely bloke but would we hesitate to grind down his kingside and lay waste to his back row?
We would not.
He's also preparing to release debut album 'Things I Chose To Remember' – out 10 July.
But did you choose to remember your openings, Rhys? You'd better.
Great shout on Einstein by the way – if ever a man was going to reuse last night's dirty plates, it's the absentminded genius.
"Albert – are those my socks?"
What upcoming project(s) are you most excited about?
My debut album has been finished for a while now and it’s just been sitting on a hard drive waiting to be released. It’s a big milestone for any artist so I’m looking forward to finally putting it out.
I’ve spent so long on it that I think releasing it will also feel like quite a relief to move on from that material, I’m already halfway though writing my second album…!
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
I think the London show on the last UK tour was one of my proudest moments. I turned up to the venue and genuinely thought they’d put us in the wrong room because it was massive. But sure enough it was the right room and it was sold out too.
I remember looking out at the crowd at one point during the show and thinking ‘this feels like a proper gig’. It hit me that all this music I’d spent the last few years working on was what had brought this room full of people together, band, crew, audience, everyone. It was a ‘pinch-yourself’ moment for me, I felt very lucky and proud to have made it to that point.
If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?
I’d have a big studio in the countryside and not be in London. I love London but I feel like I’m only there because it’s where so much of my career has been based for the last five years.
If I could make it work I’d live in the Lake District or something and make records for the rest of my days.
What do you hope to achieve that you haven’t yet?
I’d like to produce albums for other people. The production side of making music is something I’ve gotten more involved with over the last three years whilst making my last EP and this debut album.
I’d love to produce someone else’s music, to know how being less attached to the songs might change the way you hear and shape them.
Outside of your family, who is / was your biggest inspiration?
I’ve become really good friends with my keyboard player, Aidan, who produced my debut album with me. I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for him and his musicianship.
He’s got the best musical mind I know so to be around someone like that, who’s not only an incredible musician but also a very intuitive and knowledgeable producer, is very inspiring.
Tell us something nobody knows about you…
I’m addicted to online chess…
How are you finding lockdown?
Lockdown has been, as most people would probably report, full of ups and downs.
I think the first few weeks I tried distracting myself from the outside world by writing and producing music, but there’s only so long you can do that before you have to engage with reality.
I’m quite anxious about the future and looking too far ahead can be overwhelming, so I’ve been trying to take each day as it comes and celebrate and enjoy the positive things that have come from being in isolation, cooking dinner every night being one of those things.
Best thing about lockdown?
Cooking dinner every night. In London I often get back from the studio quite late and end up being lazy and grabbing something unhealthy on my way home or eating cereal for dinner. Not good.
Here we’ve been cooking different meals every night, trying out new recipes and making the most of dinner time.
Worst thing about lockdown?
Top tip for surviving lockdown?
Get some exercise in every day and don’t read the news more than once a day.
If you could be locked down with one person, alive or dead, who would it be?
Amazing question, very hard to choose one person!
Bill Murray would probably be a good lockdown hang. He’s got some stories, quite philosophical and very funny.
But imagine being locked down with Isaac Newton or Einstein or someone like that, hard to know what they would be like to live with though. I reckon Einstein would be quite messy, we’d probably need a cleaning rota, and I doubt he’d be up for playing table tennis…
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
Really looking forward to seeing my family. I can’t wait to go to my parents house and have a drink with them in the garden and see the dog.
'Things I Chose To Remember' is out 10 July.