Most of us -having been the drummer for an internationally successful alternative rock band for over ten years then subsequently let go out of the blue for no reason- would more than likely curl up into a ball and drown our sorrows in lousy food, lousy booze, and self-contempt. Right? Well maybe I’m speaking for myself, because I know I’m not speaking for Steve Hewitt.
Hewitt was the man behind the drum kit for Placebo from 1996 through 2007, contributing to both album and song creation. After he was let go in 2007, instead of wallowing in his sorrows he set out on his own musical adventure and started Love Amongst Ruin. Prior to joining Placebo Steve had been in a plethora of bands(The Mystic Deckchairs, The Boo Radleys, and Breed to name a few), so he was a music lifer.
In 2010 the debut self-titled album by Love Amongst Ruin was released. On June 29th Hewitt will release the follow-up to that debut. It’s called Lose Your Way, and from the sound of lead single “Lose Your Way” it’s going to be a great return. I recently spoke to Steve about the album and what Love Amongst Ruin has planned for the rest of the year.
J Hubner: Hello Steve. So it’s been 5 years since your debut album with Love Amongst Ruin. Now you’re ready to release album number two called ‘Lose Your Way’. Within those five years, what have you learned that helped you go into the writing process of the new record?
Steve Hewitt: I think in the last 5 years I’ve learnt to write better songs, I think song writing is something that improves the more you apply to it. Also, I think I realised that I could take the time now and release a new album when I felt happy with it. Concerning the writing process, I seemed to have a clearer lyrical context this time which helped the songs and music come together quicker as ideas, obviously then I would refine them until they became the complete piece.
J Hubner: The new single, “Lose Your Way”, is a dark, pulsating track, and the video depicts decay. Sound-wise it reminds one a bit of early 80s alternative: New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Psychedelic Furs echo a bit in the sound. Who were you listening to that informed the sound on this album?
Steve Hewitt: Something I remain to do today as from the Placebo days is I still make music in isolation, I tried then as I try now to not be influenced by anything around me musically. I suppose it’s a personal effort to try and be as original as possible. Obviously that hasn’t worked!!!!!!
J Hubner: No, not at all! I think it worked. Maybe I’m just hearing the remnants of those initial influences when you were still soaking them all up back in the 80s. Either way, it’s stunning work. Though speaking of influence, what was the influence lyrically for you on ‘Lose Your Way’? It feels both of internal and external strife.
Steve Hewitt: It’s exactly that, the song ‘Lose Your Way’ is a view on how you can be in pursuit of something in your life. A goal to achieve or reach a point in a personal process only to suddenly find yourself, though surrounded by family and friends, lost! Like you’ve taken a wrong turn in your mind or your heart and because of that you no longer understand anything around you anymore. And the question is how could that have happened with all of the things around you that you rely on!
J Hubner: Can you tell me about the making of the album?
Steve Hewitt: After getting most of the ides together for the album, myself and great music partner Donald Ross Skinner (Guitarist in L.A.R) moved into Moles recording studio in Bath. We basically started tracking drums to the recordings I had made in my studio at home, it seemed logical to do as a lot of the ideas were well formed.
J Hubner: So who engineered the record? It sounds amazing.
Steve Hewitt: We started doing this with our great friend and long time partner in crime Paul Corkett. The worlds greatest engineer! It was Paul who suggested during these sessions that we should do a trial track with his friend and producer Dan Austin. So we decided to work together on Lose Your Way.
J Hubner: So it was obvious right away that Dan was the guy to produce?
Steve Hewitt: Immediately it was clear that there was a great creative vibe and for three days we went from strength to strength. It turned into a wonderful whirlwind of non-stop ideas and understanding each other which showed we were all on the same page. The result of that track which you’ve heard, cemented our working ethos for the rest of the album! The deal was done.
J Hubner: It sounds like you found a great producer and cohort in Dan Austin.
Steve Hewitt: Dan Austin is a very very talented man and fantastic to work with, I believe he’s going to a huge name in production for future music.
J Hubner: Besides yourself, who else performed on the record?
Steve Hewitt: The people who played on the album were mainly myself and Donald Ross Skinner. But my other guitarist at the time, Steve Hove, played some great parts on the record too.
J Hubner: Though there was 5 years in between the first album and ‘Lose Your Way’, you kept quite busy in that time. What other projects were you involved in between 2010 and 2015?
Steve Hewitt: Yes, I have been busy in-between these L.A.R albums, busy producing other bands that have approached me to do their records.
J Hubner: Who have you worked with on the production end of things?
Steve Hewitt: I produced a French band called LYS, I did their first album in Paris and then their second album at my own studio in Surrey. Then I produced an Italian band called Spiral 69, I did tracks on their last album “Ghost In My Eyes” and more recently played drums on and produced their current single “Exile Of The Heart”. I also recently went over to Italy to help promote their record and play shows in Naples, Milan and Rome.
J Hubner: Are you currently working with anybody? Anyone we should know about?
Steve Hewitt: At the moment I’m working with a great pop singer called DéDé, recording tracks and producing and most recently I am now working on a solo album for Paul Draper who was the singer in Mansun, I’m playing drums and it’s coming together nicely.
J Hubner: So do you enjoy producing?
Steve Hewitt: Yes, I love producing. After spending most of my life touring the world, to spend loads of time in the studio is a great pleasure.
J Hubner: What aspect of production do you enjoy the most?
Steve Hewitt: I love making music now with all sorts of artists who all play different styles of music it’s great to become so versatile musically.
J Hubner: So what’s the hardest part of producing artists?
Steve Hewitt: The hardest thing to do is work with vocalists from other countries who want to sing in English but have their strong accents. So it takes me a long time to get them to a point of acceptable vocal takes, which means sometimes I find myself teaching English pronunciation rather than recording vocals. It takes a lot of time but we get there in the end.
J Hubner: What’s in store for the remainder of 2015 and beyond? Will there be a tour?
Steve Hewitt: I’m just going to be getting the L.A.R. live band together and carry on working with Paul Draper from Mansun. I just want to see the reaction to this album while we look at our options. It would be so cool to get back on tour again, it’s been too long.
Lose Your Way is out June 29th, 2015 on Ancient B. Keep track of Steve Hewitt and all things Love Amongst Ruin at http://www.loveamongstruin.com/.