On this week's episode of Elton John’s Rocket Hour on Apple Music 1, Elton chats with singer, songwriter and producer SG Lewis about his latest album 'Times', their mutual love for Channel Tres, Elton's memories of partying at Studio 54 and more.
Elton discusses SG Lewis' album 'Times'...
Elton John: 'Listen, thank you so much for coming on the show, loved the record so much.'
SG Lewis: 'That is such a huge honour to hear that from you, so thank you so much. I really grew up on a lot of your music. My mum was playing your records in the house and stuff, and she was so excited that we're doing this today.'
Elton John: 'I love the sort of music you make, and I'm really, really impressed with this record and we've been playing it a lot in the house. Tell me how you came to make this first album. You've got a lot of wonderful people on it, including one of my heroes, Channel Tres!'
SG Lewis: 'Oh, he's fantastic. Really, I read a book called Love Saves the Day by Tim Lawrence. It's a book that details the birth of disco in the seventies in New York, and I read about these spaces like The Loft and Paradise Garage, and the inclusivity and the celebration that would go on in those spaces. It just became such a huge source of inspiration and it made me fall in... Well, I was already in love with disco as a genre of music, but it kind of joined the dots of the history of disco for me and where it comes from, and it just became such a huge inspiration for this album. I wanted to create music that could soundtrack those same celebrations and those same inclusive environments in a sort of post-pandemic world, I guess.'
On Elton's days at Studio 54...
Elton John: 'Well, listen, I'm old enough, I was there. I mean, I was actually there! They were incredible joyous times because the birth of disco music was so exciting. It started at places like Le Jardin and then of course, Paradise Garage, The Loft. I was a big Studio 54 person. If I could have taken you to 54, you probably would never have come out because it was so much fun!'
On their mutual love for Channel Tres...
SG Lewis: 'I've known Channel for some time. So a couple of years ago, my friend, who is also my agent out there, basically we were on a night out and after our night out, we went back to someone's house and we were playing videos and I found this guy from Compton and he’s incredible... He produces the beats and the way he raps and sings-'
Elton John: 'I am the controller!'
SG Lewis: 'Yeah. He played the video for “Controller”. We were super drunk, and we were just like, "What is this? This is incredible!" So then he started working with him and me and Channel became really good friends. And we started going out a lot together in LA to Rhonda and all these different clubs and we just became super good friends.
Elton John: When I heard “Controller”, I freaked out because I hadn't heard anyone doing that with dance music, and I love him to death. And you've also got Robyn, who's another hero of mine on the record. I mean, you've got some great people on. You got Lucky Daye!'
SG Lewis: 'Yeah. He's incredible. I've been super lucky in that all the people that are featured on the record are just people that I'm a massive fan of. That's the only kind of requirement of people being on the record is just like, am I in love with that music? And even when I talk about the album now, sometimes I feel like I'm lying when I'm talking about these people being on the record, because I'm such a huge fan of theirs that it's still kind of super surreal to be like, "Wow. Some of these people that are on the record are people that have influenced my whole career."'
On the collaborators SG Lewis got onto his record...
Elton John: 'Well, you got extremely good taste because everyone who's on this record, and of course, Nile is on the record as well.'
SG Lewis: 'Of course. Yeah.'
Elton John: 'But the whole album is brilliant. And for all our listeners that don't know it, it's called ‘times’, SG Lewis. I would desperately like to do something with you as far as writing or doing something.'
SG Lewis: 'Really!'
Elton John: 'Yeah, absolutely.'
SG Lewis: 'It would be my absolute honour, honestly.'
Elton John: 'I've just done something with Metallica. During this lockdown period. I've been working with Gorillaz and people like that. I haven't been doing any Elton stuff, but I've been doing great stuff with other people. So I'll get you my email, email me and let's get together and do something, okay?'
SG Lewis: 'Honestly, that would be a dream come true! That would be incredible. I would absolutely love to!'
Elton John: 'Well, it would be great because I just love what you're doing and congratulations. And thank you for coming on the show!'
SG Lewis: 'Elton, thank you so much. Honestly, it's a serious honour. And thank you so much for playing the music on your show. And I can't wait to do something together.'