Lewis’s love of alt rock began in the early 90’s with rock bands on the radio. He started buying tapes and “free” CDs from BMG. His friend Mark was a big influence, though, sharing MTV and his punk rock mix tapes. At the end of the decade, Lewis got into skateboarding and snowboarding about the same time he got a guitar and bass, so those scenes had an influence on his taste. MP3s and Napster opened a whole new world — he’d search for bands and get their bass tabs to learn.
Lewis dreamed of working for a record label ever since playing in Half Dug in high school. He studied music business in college and listened to a lot of independent music — turn-of-the-century post-hardcore AKA emo –and his favorite labels. Internships at these labels were out of reach and it was difficult to make connections in Minneapolis. He found work at Copy Cats Digital Media and started Write to Remember in 2005.
HALF DUG was a trio of arty, emotional teens playing in a basement in rural Minnesota, struggling to navigate relationships and be understood.
Lewis played bass guitar for Half Dug in St. James, MN from 2000 to 2002. His friends needed a bassist, so he taught himself how to play. Not satisfied with simply just playing root notes, he frequently experimented with harmonies and counterpoint to build tension. He wrote lyrics for and sang a few songs as well. Mike sang and played electric guitar, and Luke drummed. Mike and his home are at the center of this trio — the band took its name from the garden-level room in his home where they all hung out. His grunge- and punk-influenced songwriting is also the backbone of their music.
WASHING AWAY expresses a need for recovery & resolution; it’s a story that attempts to make sense of ruined friendships & tarnished memories.
Lewis started Washing Away in Minneapolis, MN in 2008. After the break up of Half Dug, he continued making music on his own as a reflective storyteller, writing an album’s worth of narrative songs while in college. The music is similar to his earlier band’s, but also draws on influences from indie rock and emo. Lewis had a concept to write songs for a series of music videos that would make up a full-length film. Though the partial screenplay was lost, he had recorded demos. Lewis later added transitions between the songs and split them up into four EP’s.
CASUAL GAZE‘s homonym & free attitude is both a tribute to dancers across the sexuality spectrum & a send up to pop culture ridiculousness.
Lewis started Casual Gaze in Minneapolis, MN in 2011 with the help of Steve on drums and Andrew on the boards. After many dance parties and DJ nights, he felt compelled to make simple, fast rock music with a good beat. He had a cheeky song idea that didn’t fit in with Washing Away, influenced by dance rock bands. This energetic music is signified by its buzzing, thumping groove and brash, contemporary lyrics.