Lewis Coleman is a lifer. The Naarm/Melbourne art-rock musician released his solo debut, Method of Places, in 2020 via Ivy League Records. The album rollout hit a bump courtesy of Covid, but Coleman found solace working on new music in his bedroom studio.
The outcome is Offline, Coleman’s second LP, which is out on Friday, 27th October through Beloved Recordings. Ball Park Music’s Sam Cromack co-produced the record, which was recorded in part at Cromack’s Meanjin/Brisbane studio, Prawn Records.
Coleman will launch Offline with a run of headline shows in Meanjin, Eora and Naarm in December 2023 and January 2024. In the lead-up to the record’s release, Coleman tells Music Feeds about the people, places, sounds and emotions that influenced its creation. Pre-save/purchase the album here.
Lewis Coleman – ‘Courts’
Emotions and states of being
Lewis Coleman: This record was inspired by playful, driving, energetic and dry palettes of sound and delivery. During the period of writing this, it was a mix of anything that sounded like pouring your heart out or airing frustrations, while at the same time showing up for a good time. Anything that was cheeky, beautifully simple, or hot, saturated, woozy and full. Things that wove together complexity with catchiness.
Sounds and nostalgia
Lewis: On heavy rotation while working on Offline was the music of Katie Von Schleicher, Cate Le Bon, Dry Cleaning, Big Thief, Andy Shauf, Alex G, Weyes Blood, Porches, Perfume Genius, and local artists like New Gods, Snowy, Obscura Hail, Julia Jacklin, Possible Humans, and Focus Group.
I also looked back on my late teens and early twenties, morning train walks, which comprised of a lot of The Velvet Underground, The Beatles, The Dandy Warhols, Radiohead, Ball Park Music, Paul Kelly, The Kinks, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Wilco, and The Strokes.
Cabin fever in Melbourne/Naarm
Lewis: I wrote the majority of the record out of bedrooms in Thornbury and Preston, and recorded within those walls too, along with our humble, ramshackle and now departed Collingwood studio. I’m reluctant to mention the pandemic but it surely amplified everything – the wild repetition, intense yearning and feelings of love.
I wrote often in strong gusts of cabin fever-like energy from being cooped up for so long. I was lucky to be living with such lovely friends, special people who were hilarious and encouraging.
Prawn Records in Brisbane/Meanjin
Lewis: I had an extremely important stint at Prawn Records in Brisbane, five days I spent there with a backpack and a mattress. I worked through the days with my buddy Sam Cromack, who prior to this had been on the other side of the phone line for long chats, encouraging and discussing our philosophies of songwriting, recording and our musical lives in general.
During the nights at Prawn, I was left to my own devices, executing the ideas of the day then sleeping on the floor and waking up and doing it all over again. In that period, I cut the 17 demos down to 12 (always a liberating process), wrote and honed vast sections of lyrics and sharpened song forms.
It was honestly amazing. I think in the past, the tasks I was faced with would have taken me months, but I came back five days later with a track list and all songs essentially done, with just some extra bits to come home and finish.
Analog and digital tools
Lewis: I stuck to a fairly restricted selection of instruments whilst writing the majority of Offline. Often it was a couple of guitars of the woody variety, my trusty Kay Speed Demon Bass, an Ableton drum rack of samples I’d recorded during the previous record, and my voice with the saturation bumped.
I made some vibey presets in the laptop so I could quickly realise the vibe of the tunes. It eventually got to the end stage and I added some flourishes, proper drums, keyboards, radio samples, extra vocals from friends and siblings, birthday party vocals, and some beautiful strings from Emma Kelly.
I had a great time through the mixing process too, heading up to the wonderful, converted church sanctuary of Josh Barber, who took my music and glued it together with incredible consideration. I value his approach to life and work.
Offline – a document of life
Lewis: I’ve ended up with something I’m incredibly proud of. It captured a potent period of my life, and I stitched in a bunch of dear people within it. That’s why I’m so grateful to the art form. It’s an abstraction and a condensation of your life and people can find value in it it without knowing what it all means.
Lewis Coleman Offline Launch Shows
- Saturday, 16th December – The Bearded Lady, Brisbane QLD
- Saturday, 20th January – Waywards, Sydney NSW
- Saturday, 27th January – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC
Tickets on sale now