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DJ Audio Rage! The "Virtual" Rock Band Experience! { Official Fan Club of Patrick Lew }

The Patrick Lew Q & A Interview!
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PATRICK LEW INTERVIEW

June 18, 2005

 

Fans and long-time supporters of Patrick will remember him as the volatile and enigmatic leader of the underestimated J-Rock band Samurai Sorcerers, the brain-child of four high school friends from Wallenberg High. But what has Patrick been up to with the formation of him and Samurai alumni Eddie and Shawn's new group Silent Minister's Experience (SME)? He certainly has much to say about his new project.

Q: Your new band with ex-Samurai members Eddie and Shawn SME is actually a de-facto reunion of the Samurai Sorcerers. What led you to that direction?

PL: Around May of this year, I called Eddie up about jamming in a band again based on the advice of his older sister who goes to my college. We had to settle our personal and musical differences, so we decided to start a new straight up rock & roll band with Shawn.  We were basically teenagers (well actually I'm almost 20) and we wanted to stay away from the musical trends out there like new age punk and emo. So we put out a demo we made in a recording session at Eddie's house last October to at least get some music out from us.

 

Q: How would you describe the sound of SME?

PL: If the Beatles and Led Zeppelin had their grandchildren listening to Van Halen, Motley Crue and Guns N' Roses and their just a bunch of 10th or 11th graders in some ghetto high school filled with hip-hoppers.

 

Q: In your new band, you decided to become the lead singer and maintain your position as a guitarist by playing bare bones parts while Eddie and Shawn remain the musical section in the band. Why did you switch your position or made alterations?

PL: Well simply, I am not the best damn guitar player out there. I'm an amateur and I mainly play chord progressions, along with a few single-note melodies here and there. I never took the guitar playing skills that far, so I taught myself how to become a rhythm. I suck at leads, even when Eddie was absent for one of Samurai Sorcerers' live gigs I had to do leads and I sucked dude! So I wanted to become the lead singer in the band because I always wanted to express myself through lyrics and crap. But I do play guitar now and then, but I know if I played a lot of guitar on record, it'll sound choppy and Eddie would have to spend hours using ProTools to fix it up. So I mainly put on bare bones guitar, just basic chords. And rarely, a single-note melody.

 

Q: SME's self-released demo "The Blizzard of Sound" is made up of guitar beats/instrumentals, and it might be a dissapointment for fans that the record has no vocals from you or Eddie. But tell us some background on the new album.

PL: For me the album was a dream come true. But I'll get back to that later. We just recorded the album within a space of two evenings but when Silent Minister got back together for a jam session, so Eddie handed me a CD of the demo and he advised me not too overdub the music basically because he thought it was better to leave it just a bunch of guitar-based instrumentals. We made the album by just scratching out ideas in just one evening, but it was mostly an Eddie Blackburn type of album.

Q: Moving onto SME, how was the band formed?

PL: Well me and Eddie were also in another band called Samurai Sorcerers, but we had an idea to start a brand new project. A de-facto version of Samurai Sorcerers' "Psychotic Love" line-up without the gothic Asian girls playing in the band. We wanted to create a band of adolescent rockers who can actually rock it out with guitars and actually play. Eddie called my cell one evening in October when I was eating at a Chinese restaurant with my aunt from Taiwan, so we decided to form a local garage band doing studio work. Obviously we couldn't go on Craigslist.org and put an ad looking for musicians like we did before. So we hired our friend and Samurai bassist at the time Shawn, but he didn't go to Wallenberg anymore because he passed a G.E.D test. So basically, SME is a de-facto version of Samurai Sorcerers, without the Japanese pop culture influence and the Asian chicks in the band as amateur musicians.

Q: Why are you guys not touring?                                                                                                                                      PL: PL: Eddie and Shawn are too busy doing band work with their band Sapien and did a talent show recently, and because we all have a heavy schedule we can't be in a rehearsal area all at once. That's why we cancelled the "Blizzard" tour dates. Even when we recorded "Blizzard," we all shown up but we didn't really get a chance to finish the record because of a limited band practice schedule. We’re right now at this point a GARAGE BAND doing recording work.

Q: Was the idea for SME your idea or Eddie's concept of a REAL BAND?

PL: As a matter of fact, both of us. Me and Eddie were in another band from the start. I believe I was working on an alternate project to Samurai Sorcerers for a year before Eddie got into it. Eddie is a great guitarist, a true pro. I'm nowhere near as good of a guitarist as he is, but we realized some of our influences included Steve Vai and '80s hair metal. I remember the few times we did collaborated, we had good chemistry as guitarists. I basically played my ass off using power chords, and Eddie wailed away on his Les Paul like his idol Steve Vai and he sounded amazing.

Q: How satisfied were you with "The Blizzard of Sound?"

PL: Indeed. I was very happy with the way the demo turned out. Everytime I hear a song Eddie contributed or the ideas I gave him, it really made me want to listen to it over and over again on my iPod.

Q: What made it difficult for SME to put that record out?

PL: *laughs* It's very complicated man ya know. I remember at the time we cut "Blizzard," Eddie and I were supposed to do more work for the album. But it never materialized because Eddie was about to break with Tripwire and was playing live gigs while my Samurai Sorcerers band was pretty much dead. So me and Eddie lost contact for about eight months basically. I was working on Samurai, but the band broke up just abruptly. I would love to give most regard to Eddie's sister Morgan for giving me the advice to call Eddie about re-forming SME. I called him when I got home one afternoon, and we began arranging the plans to put the demo out and jam again.

Q: What guitars did you use for the making of "Blizzard?"

PL: I gotten a special birthday present from my parents, which was an Epiphone Les Paul guitar with a slick hot rod design. As for amps, I used a 10-Watt Marshall practice cabinet with clean tones and some fuzzy distortion, usually because I play along to power chords on the record. Eddie used lots of shit for the record, he doesn't have an amp but he mainly used a DigiTech RP200 Multi-Effects pedal and a Morley wah-wah footboard plugged into a sound system. But we had iMac Garage Band, so we used that to lay down the tracks when recording. I don't use any pedals on this album. In fact, I don't play much guitar on this record. I do, but Eddie had to repair lots of the damages I made when playing guitar on record. There would be times I fuck up a chord or fingerpick a string muffled out completely. So Eddie had to repair and doctor some of my amateur-ish guitar playing on the computer. We had a kick ass studio.

Q: What are some of your highlights in the band so far in a span of almost a year?

PL: Our biggest highlight was re-forming this band briefly to put out our long-awaited demo "Blizzard of Sound." But we never performed live or anything, but I would say getting back together for jam sessions was a great thing. But being promoted as a "Sexy Asian guitarist" was one of my accolades, because I got an opportunity to be a part of other great Asian musicians in bands to be sampled with the help of my friend Laren on MySpace.

Q: What kind of groupies have you gotten as a result of being promoted?

PL: Mostly Asian girls. Haha. Or Asian mixed breeds. Like Asian girls that are half Caucasian or half Hispanic. Mainly teenagers.

Q: How often do you and the band keep in contact during your downtime?

PL: Me and Bruce are most reliable because we go to the same college together. We're both 20 years old and graduated from high school about 14 months ago. Gosh, I feel old already! *laughs* But me and Eddie occasionally talk, but he's a real busy guy. Shawn and I don't usually have much in contact, although I respect the guy's mad bass playing. But I haven't talked to Shawn in a very long time. As a matter of fact, me and Eddie went to the c/o 2005 Wallenberg High graduation. What we do in the garage is great, because that's kinda reminds me of four dudes from the '70s playing in a band together. But since me and Bruce are most reliable, we mostly hang out whenever best we can in Frisco. Me and Eddie never really hanged out other than being in a band and playing music.

Q: What do you like most about being in SME?

PL: I loved jamming with these guys. I can see at this point, the band might be a temporary job for me at this point because Eddie has been quite the busy person. The only thing that sucked is we have lofty ambitions to make music, but we never really get together that often to play in a band. We did reunite just to put out Eddie’s idea for an album, but the problem is how to keep a band together from worrying about other things in life such as school and our other bands. In between the time when the band made “Blizzard” up until we reunited for a jam session, that was like one fucking school year passed on. We like promoting our music on our website and getting feedback from it, but the load was great. I’ve known Eddie and Shawn since I was finishing up 11th grade in high school, and we basically started a MOST excellent local Bay Area garage band together, but Eddie and Shawn are in another band Sapien doing their thing and playing talent shows. It's very complicated man ya know. I remember at the time we cut "Blizzard," Eddie and I were supposed to do more work for the album. But it never materialized because Eddie was about to break with Tripwire and was playing live gigs while my Samurai Sorcerers band was pretty much dead. So me and Eddie lost contact for about eight months basically. I was working on Samurai, but the band broke up just abruptly. I would love to give most regard to Eddie's sister Morgan for giving me the advice to call Eddie about re-forming SME. I called him when I got home one afternoon, and we began arranging the plans to put the demo out and jam again.  . I was very happy with the way the demo turned out. Everytime I hear a song Eddie contributed or the ideas I gave him, it really made me want to listen to it over and over again on my iPod.

Q: And last, what’s your plans and for the future with SME and yourself?

PL: Currently I’m working on my high school band Samurai Sorcerers as a solo project with a reassembled line-up. You can read our biography here @ http://www.starpolish.com/patricklew and we’re pretty much making an experimental kind of record. SME will sort of take a break but take a look at our website online, and we will try to jam more often as possible. Thanks a lot and power to the people!

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