A very friendly chap called Adam Lewis got in touch via the website telling us all about a duo that he was in called DAYS ARE DONE. We were so impressed with the content of the email, we decided to find out a little more about them. We arranged to have a chat and got together recently to do so, read on to find out what they think of each other, their hectic schedule and how they managed to wangle the opening slot at Michael Kiwanuka's album launch party....
Please would you tell us a bit about yourselves, who you are, where you're from and something that not many people know....
We’re Emmy Kay and Adam Lewis.
Adam: I’m originally from Tonyrefail in South Wales. I’ve played and written music since I was about 6 years old! I’ve also written music for TV and Film - I even managed to win a BAFTA a few years ago! Something that not many people know? If I wasn’t a musician I’d be a carpenter - but the idyllic sort of carpenter that makes chairs from a single tree etc…
Emmy: I’m originally a Northerner. I’ve been in bands and have been songwriting on and off for years. Something you’d know if you know me - I’m totally obsessed with dogs the dopier the better. Also I’m a bit obsessed with horror films, I find them weirdly comforting and watch them to calm down!
We’re both now based in the Kingston-upon-Thames area.
After being together only a year, you've managed to release 2 live EP's and have played over 100 shows, this rate of work must really take its toll on you?
Ha ha! Yes I guess. We made a pact when we started this band that we wanted to be as good as we possibly could live and the only way to do that is to play live as much as possible. Also it’s so stripped back with just 2 vocals and a guitar there’s really nowhere to hide! But it's really about doing what we love. We’ve definitely both made a lot of sacrifices and if we ever stopped loving it, we’d stop doing it. But at this point the sacrifices are all worth it. It’s made a little harder at this point as it’s just the 2 of us doing everything from writing the songs to designing the website, booking the gigs, plugging the single and everything in between! We agreed that we only wanted to bring other people in when we really needed it - we may have got to the point now where a little help would be useful!
What do you most enjoy about creating and performing your music?
Most of it to be honest. Writing wise, most of the stuff we write goes in the bin. We literally have 100’s of half written songs on our iPhones. We have to really love something to ever finish it! But when you hit on something you love there’s no other feeling like it. Performing wise, because we put on such an intimate show, just the two of us, its amazing to see and feel other peoples reactions. We played a show in Farnham recently supporting Sound of the Sirens and afterwards so many people came up to us saying we made them cry! We were really taken aback. You hope what you’re doing is resonating with people, but the only way to really know is to get out there and play the songs.
If you could have one of the following 'superpowers' Invisibility/Ability to fly/Laser Eyes/Super Strength/Mind Reading which would it be and why?
Adam: ability to fly, much easier to get to gigs!
Emmy: invisibility, I’m naturally quite nosey. I’d probably use it to spy on other songwriters to see how they work!
I understand that you supported the amazingly talented Michael Kiwanuka when he played his album launch show, how did this come about and how was the event? Did you get any feedback from Michael?
We contacted the promoter (who is a great guy called Jon Tolley - he puts on some amazing acts in our hometown of Kingston through his independent record store Banquet Records). We basically nagged him until he relented, haha! Luckily we had quite a lot of live videos online to pitch with. Michael and his band were so lovely - they all said they really liked our set, which was great. We all hung out backstage and had had a beer after the show too!
Your new single 'Turns to Dust' is out on August 12th and was mixed by Dave Eringa who has worked with some brilliant bands such as Manic Street preachers and The Who, how did you manage to get him on board? How did you find the whole recording process? Did he offer much advice to you?
Adam: We knew we had a minuscule budget from the start, so we had to pick and choose what we spent and what we saved. We knew we could record the song in my front room but that a good mix was essential. Dave was recommended to us. We didn’t think we could afford him in a million years, but we thought what the hell. He came back to us and said he loved the song and he’d like to get on board - and the mix came out better than we could have imagined!
The new song was made 'Track of the Day' on BBC Surrey and BBC Sussex as well as gaining huge support from BBC Introducing in Wales, I'm guessing that you sent your music to them via the BBC Introducing Uploader? What advice would you offer to a band who are thinking of doing this?
Yes we did and I’d definitely advise bands to do that. However you’ve also got to be proactive, its your career and the BBC get sent a LOT of music! You can do things to help yourself - like contacting the shows producers and saying hello too!
Let's say that Michael Eavis has asked you to name the 3 headliners for next year's Glasto Festival, who would you choose and why?
Gretchen Peters - a wonderful songwriter and performer. Flawless every time.
The original line up of Guns and Roses - something neither of us would probably get to see otherwise! What an album Appetite for Destruction is. It’s never aged.
Fleetwood Mac - when you have a band where their albums sound like ‘best of’ compilations, you can’t really go wrong.
We both think theres a massive gap between the amount of male and female headliners for a lot of the major festivals which should be addressed by the way!
Adam, please describe Emmy in just 3 words, Emmy please do the same for Adam....
Adam on Emmy: Driven, funny, calming
Emmy on Adam: pragmatic, laid back, funny!
Songwriting can be a real minefield, how do you approach it?
It’s a weird discipline because the first part, the initial part is almost a mystical thing and you don’t know where it comes from. That initial inspiration comes from (or seems to come from) nowhere, but then the actual craft of songwriting is the hard bit that comes later! Taking that spark and forming it into a song. We really don’t have a set way of writing, it could start with a melody idea, or some chords, or a conversation we had or overheard or a turn of phrase. We actually very rarely disagree on where a song is going, which is lucky! But we always schedule writing in and sit down and do it together.
You are a duo, have you ever played (or would you consider playing) with a full band behind you?
We’ve both been in other bands with other musicians. It’s defiantly a different experience! Never say never, but at the moment we’re really enjoying it being just the two of us, it's a very intimate show we put on and I think that's what people respond to.
I watched the video for ‘Turns to Dust’, the director has done a great job in capturing the emotion that you put into the song (some great vocal harmonies going on there too!), the one question that everyone will be thinking is 'has the decorating been finished yet'?
Ha ha! Unsurprisingly no it hasn’t! The video was actually filmed in Adam’s sisters house, which she’s having renovated. We made the whole video for £50 and it was filmed by our very good friend Gareth. He’s a photographer and rollerblader - I think filming skaters so much has given him a great knack of capturing a moment. It’s almost a kind of punk style - the moment is the most important thing and everything else is secondary!We just performed the song over and over and let Gareth filmed what he wanted.
Who would you say are your main musical influences? Do you share the same ones?
Our musical influences are quite different which is why the songwriting works so well. The influences tend to meet somewhere in the middle.
Adam: mine are people like Tom Waits, Neil Young, James Taylor, Rickie Lee Jones. More recent artists like Jason Isbell too.
Emmy: I like everything from Florence and the Machine to Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell. I’ve had the John Moreland album on repeat recently. Crossover wise, one of our favourite songwriters is actually a singer songwriter called Gretchen Peters - she’s fantastic and big influence on us both. We also both love Carole King and Fleetwood Mac.
I see you played at Ronnie Scott's recently, how was the experience?
We played in the upstairs room yes! It was definitely an experience being in a place steeped in such history, you can feel it all as you walk in the door. We had a similar experience at the Troubadour. It’s impossible to be in those buildings and not think about the Ray Charles and the Joni Mitchells that have come before you.
Most of your live dates are in or around the London area, are you planning on reaching out to the rest of the UK next year?
We actually just finished touring the UK with St Paul And The Broken Bones, playing places like Norwich, Cambridge and Brighton, which was a great experience. We’ve also played in Wales a couple of times. We’d would love to play more gigs outside of London. Its always lovely to see how you go down in different areas.
Lastly, London is a great place to see bands, could you nominate a couple for us to check out?
David Ramirez - a songwriter from Texas. His new record ‘Fables’ is really great. Also - the Low Anthem, one of our favourite live bands!
It was clear that answering the above questions had taken its toll on the duo, Emmy retired to the lounge for a lie down but before Adam could escape, we tied him to a chair and got the spotlights out ready for an intensive round of quickfire questions, here's how he got on....
Whiskey or Wine?
Burger or Kebab?
Stanley Kubrick or Alfred Hitchcock?
Electric or Acoustic?
Camping or Camper Van?
Summer or Winter?
Roger Moore or Sean Connery?
Pub or Trendy wine bar?
Xbox or Playstation?
De Niro or Pacino?
Leave or Remain?
God or Google?
We'd like to thank Adam and Emmy for taking the time to answer our questions, if you want to keep on top of their whereabouts, please do so using the following links to all of their social media sites;
Interview by Steve Muscutt