Interview with Punk Rock Artist Lewnatic Artist Interviews

Interview with Punk Rock Artist Lewnatic

MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us. What motivated you to start creating music? What age did you begin?

Lewnatic: I was always into rock and roll growing up as a kid back in the 90’s! Back in the day, I was mostly listening to my mom’s favorite bands from her era, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and my dad’s Motown records on the radio and through cassette tapes on the boombox in my bedroom. Later on, I began reading about all the classic rock bands on magazines and center folds about their back story, and how they got started and what they were all about!

I didn’t always have the most stability growing up, I was bullied in school and I struggled to find my voice and place in this world early on in life. To cope with growing up…I would turn to rock and roll music, video games, WWE (pro wrestling), and TV shows like 90’s Nickelodeon. I was one of the uncool kids in school too…I didn’t get the girl, didn’t have much going for me then. Regardless of what I was dealing with, my childhood wasn’t as bad as some people would speculate! I traveled with my family a lot for vacations to places like LA, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Hong Kong, and Canada growing up, and that definitely made up for being lonely and unheard in school and when I started going on social-media online back in the day!

Initially, I was playing sports when I was going to middle school. But kept getting hurt while doing so. Depressed, spending most of my time at home with very little to do…Back in the Summer of 1999 at age 13, my cousin Andy was living with me and my family while studying at a community college here in San Francisco. He would often Hendrix and Deep Purple songs on play my older brother’s Fender guitar and amp he left sitting untouched in the bedroom closet. That’s when I found my true calling! I was almost 14 years old then, and that’s when I picked up the guitar for the first time, and began playing music self-taught mostly!

I come from an Asian-American background (Japanese & Chinese) and back then, there was a lot of underrepresentation of my people in the mainstream. I wanted to start my own band, which I did, but a lot of the bands I played in locally didn’t last very long. Everyone around me was doing something opposite of what I was doing, I just wanted to break the f**king walls down and make an impact!

When I was about 15 years old and attending Wallenberg High School in San Francisco, I started a garage band that would later evolve into the Patrick Lew Band with some friends of mines. And with 56K dial-up Internet and our demos we’ve recorded at home on a 4-track, we began posting our music and hyping what it was about online! I think that was during the early 2000s.

In 2015, I also brought in Madeline Lew to the Patrick Lew Band…During a tough and trying time in my personal life. Madeline is actually me dressed as a girl, but in a fictional music marketing storyline, she’s my fictitious relative and former girlfriend. That’s what started to make music to be heard and exposed the right way, I suppose! The way it should always been.

And the rest was modern rock and roll history!

Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the musician you are today? Or helped mold the music that you create?

Lewnatic: Nirvana and the 90’s grunge bands like Pearl Jam from Seattle definitely helped mold me into the musician I am today! I grew up listening to that type of music, I can relate to how they handled their music and what they were all about.

I also loved listening to J-Rock/J-Pop (like X Japan), punk rock, chiptunes, rap, and American and British classic rock music (from the 60’s till the 90’s) as well too.

As Patrick Lew Band got more out there later on, I didn’t handle fame well and dealing with the public as strongly as the other indie bands in my region. It wasn’t always easy. The music scene and the industry itself had its toxic moments, so it was definitely a life lesson for me as a musician.

When I was doing my music earlier on, I wanted to follow the same path as most rock bands were doing: get signed to a smaller record label, tour and play shows in a van, and get hyped through social-media and music related press. But later on, as technology advanced and social-media (think Soundcloud and YouTube!) became more common, I said to myself, “man, F that traditional rock star BS” and made my band exclusively Internet-based. It was better for my mental health and more convenient for me for the most part. I wasn’t getting a lot of gigs booked, I had trouble finding reliable band members to fill the live band, so I was like…Shit man, I’m gonna do everything myself and take it where I needed it to be on this modern “alternative” platform called the Internet! That’s when live-streaming and being a virtual rock star became a more feasible option for me as an artist/musician for sure!


LinkTree: @patricklewband
Instagram: @lewnatic415

What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?

Lewnatic: I secretly and boldly want to become one of the GOAT’s one day as a musician, and keep doing what I gotta do. I wanna keep making music remotely at home, keep putting out new EP’s and songs online on Spotify and Apple Music, keep making YouTube videos and live-streaming my live performances virtually…I mean, I do virtual concerts and use my garage in my house here in San Francisco as a rock and roll stage! I want my legacy to be as one of those guys who did the “virtual rock band” alternative best since The Gorillaz. Also want to probably play a handful live shows in Rockford, IL area (I plan on relocating there with my future wife Amanda) whenever I can at the dive bars and all. I also want to use my music and lyrics to send out a positive message to the Asian-American community and anyone who felt like they never were a part of something big for sure too!

What’s the greatest concert you’ve ever been to or performed?

Lewnatic: The greatest concert I’ve performed definitely were all the once-a-month residencies I had at San Francisco’s DNA Lounge with Lewnatic until the pandemic first started, I’d say around like late 2019 and early 2020. They were also captured on video too by my friend and videographer James Conrad too, and those live shows I’ve done then were also uploaded onto YouTube. The greatest concerts I’ve attended however, as a fan of rock and roll, was The Who. I’ve been to many rock concerts in my lifetime, but The Who definitely sticks out as one of the best I’ve ever went to for sure! I always felt they were like the first punk rock band too. Well, their first three albums at least!

How did your band Lewnatic begin? What’s it about?

Lewnatic: Lewnatic began originally as a rap-metal duo with a friend of mines under the band name Benigneglect. Then, the pandemic happened and me and my friend went our own separate ways quietly in the music scene. Then, I began doing PLB (Patrick Lew Band) again after a three-year hiatus. That’s when everything started to fall into place for Patrick Lew Band, my musical creation and vision since I was in high school back in the early 2000s! All the bloggers and music magazines started to feature what me and Madeline were doing extensively, and by 2021, we were like “buzzworthy” in our own small type of way online even during a pandemic going on.

By 2022, I revived the Lewnatic project as a solo live-streaming and touring experiment. I basically consider Lewnatic as “Patrick Lew Band Unplugged,” taking away the science fiction kinda “Metaverse” themes and the cross-dressing character Madeline and focusing it mostly all on the music. In short, a simplified version of PLB, and it later became PLB’s sister off-shoot band. I began quickly playing a few shows with Lewnatic two years ago, then began hella putting myself out there online and on social-media to hype both PLB and Lewnatic.

To perform as Lewnatic…I use my guitar, my voice occasionally, laptop with backing tracks on the hard drive, and a virtual guitar amp. A lot of the backing tracks and beats are AI-generated, not gonna lie, but I add my own parts and instruments to the music right after too, while recording everything on Logic Pro.

By July that year, Lewnatic signed with Bentley Records too. And I made three 3 EP’s under Lewnatic since being signed to that record label. The music is best described as a dynamic and anthemic blend of 90’s grunge, pop-metal, classic rock, and J-Pop. Since I’m not a very good singer, it’s pretty much “instrumental rock” on the records. Just like how Lewnatic’s predecessor Patrick Lew Band was too!

What is your latest release that you’re looking to push right now?

Lewnatic: Currently, Lewnatic is working with MUSIC PR JAPAN to get our releases featured and hyped up in the motherland and abroad. We’re one of those indie bands that sort of became “Big In Japan” while maintaining our citizenship here in the States and currently residing in San Francisco, CA for sure!

What are the pro’s and con’s of having a solo project band? Would you ever consider adding members?

Lewnatic: I’d say the pros of being in a solo project, I feel complete independence and freedom from the pressures, the stress, and the constraints of being in another band with 3 or 4 other people. I been in bands before, and while the experience was fun white it lasted, it wasn’t always as what I’ve always expected it to be. Everyone was in their own world, and there wasn’t always anyone reliable to play music with. So I always loved the freedom of having a solo project where I can call all the shots and totally be myself, and have fun and a good time doing so.

The con’s about having a solo project would probably be like how I describe, “playing music in a one-man band is like playing a hard video arcade game by yourself on one coin.” It’s definitely very challenging to play music and do everything with just yourself and nobody else involved, but at the same time, it’s very rewarding. Back in the early days of Patrick Lew Band, it was hard to get gigs and do live shows without a band onstage involved, especially for what I was aiming for. But with today’s streamlined technology, it makes it easier actually nowadays!

I am honestly unsure about adding more members to Lewnatic based on personal and professional experience. I really love the whole idea of being my own boss in the music and in general! I am just selfish like that, and that is okay man!

What else are you working on? What can we expect to see and hear from you in the future?

Lewnatic: I am just taking my sweet time to make new music and new YouTube videos with Lewnatic. We’re still around. Since 2023, based on personal grievances with social-media and fame, I also scaled back my indie music career a lot too. Like how Pearl Jam did back in the 90’s in their own way too. While I might not tour or travel very soon, I find being a solo project doing a “bedroom producer” type of thang in the music scene most convenient for my music and in general. I will continue making new songs and records with Lewnatic, but at a more refined pace nowadays. I mean, I got a wedding with my girlfriend Amanda and adulting to do too! But I promise you all, you haven’t heard or have seen the last of Lewnatic at all! I will continue doing this until the day I die, I think.

Anything else you wish to say about yourself or your music? Any message for your fans?

Lewnatic: Thank you for everything to all my fans worldwide for tuning in whenever, and stuck around on Lewnatic’s social-media handles! I truly appreciate it, and am forever grateful for it!

As far as me goes, I’m happily engaged to my long-time girlfriend Manda Kay (former stage actress, writer/journalist) and while I haven’t always had the best with my personal life until now, I love this woman so much for sure! We plan on relocating to Rockford, IL together hopefully by next year in 2025 for sure. And oh yeah, I work at San Francisco Costco full-time outside of the music scene. I love me that Costco! Lol.

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