This is a first! Lewis Bootle (left) from Ware in Hertfordshire, and North London based Gecko (right), are two individual musicians, however they have written, recorded, and performed together, so we’ve grabbed them for a joint Q&A… call it a ‘BOGOF’ deal! Both play a similar style of troubadour guitar, with delightful lyrics and a playful sense of fun. Lewis has previously appeared here, in New Tunes #41, and also won a 2016 Award, while this is Gecko’s first outing, so read on to find out what birthday parties, the Mona Lisa, and mind reading have to do with musical storytelling…
~ The two of you are obviously great mates, so how did you both meet?
Lewis: During early 2016 I had a manager booking shows for me. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but the last gig she booked me was Gecko’s birthday gig. I sung him happy birthday and we became best friends.
Gecko: And the rest is (recent) history!
~ Who first proposed the idea of collaborating together, and does the one who agreed to it regret it yet?
Lewis: Haha, well I messaged Will (Gecko) #namedrop a few days after the gig and asked him if he’d like to write a song. He readily accepted, and voila.
Gecko: Then we met up and we wrote ‘The Seed’ together (*see Hollywood’s romantic scene of this exact moment at the end of the Q&A) and from then our musical relationship started to grow. In the words of Dappy I have ‘No regrets’.
~ You’re heading off for a few dates in Holland later this month, so how would you best describe your performances to people who have yet to see you live?
Gecko: I’m a singer storyteller. Playful wordplay, lots of animal references, and a bit of humour chucked in for good measure.
Lewis: Well, we both have different styles but I’ve learnt a lot from Will this past year on performance and stage presence, all in all I love to croon my heart out and make people laugh so expect some of that.
~ Your lyrics are certainly at the forefront of your songs, but where does the initial spark usually come from when a new track takes root?
Lewis: This is always the tricky question. Sometimes I will write out poems / lyrics to a beat / rhythm in my head, then add the music, or vice versa. Lately I’ve got into producing / writing at the same time so its more of a patchwork as I go along.
Gecko: It will usually be the concept that sparks my imagination. I’ve often got some melodic ideas and chords on the go and then when a story strikes I’m off. They can come from anywhere, one of my songs is about a character in the painting opposite the Mona Lisa at The Louvre feeling ignored. That came from being in Paris and feeling it was an injustice that this beautiful painting was completely invisible for the majority of the hoards of tourists attempting to take (bad) photos of Leonardo’s work.
~ Are there any other new bands or musicians local to you in the North London / Hertfordshire area that you recommend we check out?
Gecko: The Leano have been lying dormant for a little while, but I’ve heard some recent stirrings and it’s extremely exciting.
~ If you could each claim one famous song as your own, what would it be?
Gecko: The Beach Boys – ‘God Only Knows’, the melody is pure perfection, I find it hard to believe a human being constructed it, it feels so intrinsic. And there’s a good car horn tooting sound.
Lewis: Mine would be Heart Of Gold by Neil Young, because Neil is don and so is that song.
~ If you could curate a festival stage together, what bands/artists would you invite to perform?
Lewis: Frank Ocean, Chance The Rapper, and Grimes.
Gecko: I second Frank and I’ll add Randy Newman, Conor Oberst, and Andre 3000 to the mix!
~ Aside from music, do you have any other creative skills? (or obscure talents!)
Lewis: I can fly falcons!
Gecko: I can read minds, so I know what Lewis’ answer to the next question will be.
~ If you could each have a superpower for a day, what would it be?
Lewis: Be able to read minds.
Gecko: To fly like a falcon mate!
~ What are your plans for 2017 once you’re back from Holland?
Lewis: I have a London tour the first two weeks of March with a gig every day for 18 days… leading up to a full band show on April 5th at The Dublin Castle in London. Then me and Will are off to Scandinavia on a tour later in April, then another in May in Italy. Then roll on festy season!
Gecko: I’m currently crowd funding the recording of an album via PledgeMusic. On top of that in February and March I’m touring the UK with Harry Baker (World Poetry Slam Champion) & Chris Read (his Jazz musician sidekick). Dates and tickets are up at my site.
~ And finally… which actors would you each choose to play yourselves in a blockbuster film about your musical lives to date?
Lewis: Leonardo DiCaprio, however he would look rather old for the part.
Gecko: Kate Winslet
* Gecko & Lewis thoughtfully debate the line “can’t force the seed”.