Ahead of his Live At Leeds set...

Lewis Watson has always been an independent spirit.

Placing his music online, the songwriter quickly became a viral phenomenon, with fans tumbling into his social media mentions.

At the centre of the hype, though, lay a desire to say something he felt was true, something that rang out clear and loud.

New album 'midnight' is out now, and it's a mature second offering from a talent who is barely out of his teens.

Set to play this year's Live At Leeds, Lewis Watson looked back on his touring experiences for Good Trip, Bad Trip.

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Best Trip…
We did a four day tour of Australia and then stayed over at our drummer’s uncle's house for a week - it was incredible. The shows were sold out and an absolute blast (Aussie crowds are really great to play to). We then rented a car and got to hike/swim/play pool/get drunk for a week in the Australian sun. They had a dog that could kick a ball if you asked him to as well - what a good boy.

Worst Trip…
It was during our festival run in 2013. Every weekend had us getting into the van and playing two or three festivals across the country. It was a blast and I loved it until we had a weekend where we spent more hours in the van than we did minutes on stage. It was the Wakestock/T In The Park weekend and we were about five hours into our drive to Wakestock when we discovered that the band who had rented the van before us had put unleaded in the diesel tank and it died on us.

We immediately had to cancel our performance and get a replacement van to take us to T In The Park. The replacement van came in the form of two Mercedes cars, so we had to pack in all of our gear (and ourselves) and drive 10 hours up to Scotland to play the next day. Worst trip, but a great gig. It went really well - we had the Sunday slot at 12:30 and a pretty full tent. It was worth it!

My favourite foreign venue…
I'm sure everybody says this, but it has to be The Troubadour in LA. It’s got such a rich history and it sounds so great. I went to see Manchester Orchestra play the night before I did, and it was incredible. The drums were loud, but not ear-piercing, the bass filled it’s own space right at the bottom of the mix, the guitars poked through but didn’t get annoying, and the vocals sat nicely on top of it all. It was glorious and sounded just as great when the set was stripped down to just an acoustic guitar and a voice.

It was amazing to play too - I managed to force a full room to be quiet in the softer parts of the set, and it allowed people to dance when appropriate. I love it!

I'm surprisingly popular in…
The Philippines. We played a festival there a couple of years ago but, even before that, people would always ask me to come to come and play there. I have absolutely no ties to Asia (other than loving their cuisine) but we felt so at home there. People sung along and a full field of people came to watch our set - it’s crazy. Also, I’m always getting tweets about being played in a McDonalds. Amazing, really.

Best or worst exotic foodstuff…
This ties back into the Philippines. Everybody was telling me to try the ‘Balut’ which is basically a half-developed chick within the egg. You crack it, drink the juice and then eat the fetus. Absolutely disgusting to think about and I’m actually feeling sick just thinking about it. One part of the Asian cuisine that I won’t be dabbling in...

Most interesting individual you've met on the road…
Probably our tour manager/sound guy/wine taster. He’s this Christian/electrician/hip-hop and soul producer from Rochdale and he’s amazing. He drives us around everywhere, puts up with our crap, does sound for us and makes sure that we’re all OK. He’s one of the best people to have on your side, but if you piss him off, you’re done.

He has so many stories from the ‘good old days’ when he toured as crew for Lamb and A Certain Ratio and he’s one of the most passionate people I know. He’s like our own Karl Pilkington and he’s just taken up photography too.

Worst on-tour injury, or infection, or accident…
I toured with tonsilitis once, and I know it doesn’t sound that bad, but it was the most painful thing I’ve ever done. My throat was so raw but I just couldn’t half-arse the gigs. I remember almost crying from the pain after every gig until the antibiotics worked and it passed. I’m a pretty sensible guy so we haven’t had many crazy tour moments that lead to obscure injuries. That one was pretty bad though.

My essential travel item…
Audio books. I get pretty travel-sick if I read in the van but, unless we’re watching Die Hard, there’s nothing to do. This is where audio-books are my saviour. I'm also a rubbish sleeper and sleep is so important for my voice, so audio-books allow me to drift off.

My essential travel tip…
Do stuff in the places you visit. Maybe not as important in the UK, but when you’re abroad and in a city for half a day, go and be a tourist for an hour. This is something that I’m rubbish at myself and regret when I get home. I’ve been to so many wonderful places but all I saw of them was the airport, the venue and the hotel - it sucks.

Go and walk around or get a taxi to that cathedral that everybody talks about. Go and eat at the gelato place, etc. You’ll regret it if you don’t!

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Live At Leeds takes place on April 29th.

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