Rhys Lewis: "For me, when you say a problem out loud, it suddenly becomes a lot more manageable."
Tonya Antoniou | 18/07/2022
Within 4 years, Cavetown has become known for his bedroom pop and indie rock music, indulging fans worldwide. The Oxford-born singer-songwriter has found inspiration in honest writing, amassing over 2 million YouTube subscribers and 398 Million video views. Growing up with two musical parents, Cavetown has found inspiration from a young age. Fans of Cavetown will find no surprise in the indie sensation’s rise to stardom, with his roots channeling back to his YouTube debut In 2012 and Bandcamp. As Bandcamp became a staple in music exposure supporting upcoming artists, many found a home in the platform, taking control of their own music. Cavetown was amongst those utilising what Bandcamp had to offer. “It was a great way to get my music out and take control of my career right from the start.” I presume it was essential to have creative control of his music. “I think it’s super important for artists to feel that they are the center of their universe and deserve to grow it the way they want.”
It’s that creativity and self-confidence that found its way into Cavetowns new album. Following on from his fifth album Mans Best Friend, Cavetown is back, excited to share his new album with fans and the world. “It’s always exciting to show people new stuff I’ve been working on! My most recent projects are always what I’m most proud of, so I’m eager to see whether they resonate with people similarly.” I doubt his ever-dedicated fan base wont be able to connect with the new album. The natural evolution of Cavetown’s stylings since his debut self-titled album has seen no boundaries being described by critics as ‘compelling’ and ‘nostalgic’ with fans eager to hear what’s next, something I imagine Cavetown’s ready to see. “I’ve been working on the album for so long and touring a bunch lately that I’m ready for a bit of a break - I’ll just enjoy sitting back and watching the new songs live their lives out in the world.”
It seems a therapeutic process for Cavetown, being able to write so openly and then see the enjoyment it brings fans as I ask how important it’s been to be able to express himself and the meanings behind it. “Any music I write has always had the same function for me,” a form of therapy I ask as he agrees “it helps me bring thoughts and feelings out of my head into something tangible that I can make sense of.” There’s always a sense of relief in hearing how writing something so personal and vulnerable for artists like Cavetown can bring such calm and understanding both when being written and afterward from the reaction of fans when they receive it.
The reception Cavetown has seen over the past 6 years has grown into quite the fan base, with fans all over the world pleading for their cities to be part of Cavetowns tour dates. In the past year, Cavetown has sold tens of thousands of tickets worldwide, with an astonishing 60,000 selling out across the pond in America, although the figures as something he thinks about less.
“I guess I never really thought of it like that. A large number was never a goal or a dream or anything; I’ve always been more focused on improving my sound more and more. But it is cool that my little sounds have reached so many ears” it’s something Cavetown seems so relaxed about, with numbers not being of enormous importance “seeing big numbers like ticket sales and stuff doesn’t really evoke anything for me. I think I find it hard to internalise what it means.” When does it tend to hit you on the numerical side physically? “Once I’m on tour, and each number becomes a real person, it will properly sink in.”
Seeing fans not just sing back his lyrics but connect with them must warm to Cavetown, a physical bond to those who adore him and his music. But it’s no mean feat being so open and sharing such vulnerability. I wonder how he hopes it’s helped others around him, whether they are fans or new to his music. “I hope that people feel understood by the words I put together. I find that lots of thoughts and processing of things are all jumbled for me until they come together in a song and make sense. If that experience can translate to someone else, that’s cool and special.” I ask if he could see any improvement in people being more open and destigmatisation of mental health? He tells me, “I think with anything that has a history of stigmatisation, you can’t really ask for an instant fix. It is a long process of people growing and learning, which I think we’re already doing in terms of mental health. It’s very cool to see”
Words: Alice Gee