Exclusive Interview with Patrick Lew Hayashi about Patrick Lew Band’s album “Rolling Thunder” and much more!

"Rolling Thunder" is an album you cannot miss!

Patrick Lew Hayashi is back with a brand new release signed Patrick Lew Band, “Rolling Thunder,” an exciting album that shows the incredible songwriting skills and artistic maturity of a truly unique talent! Excellent arrangement, a refined approach, and powerful lyrics make the songs of the tracklists rare gems of contemporary music!

Today, at Planet Singer, we have the great pleasure of discovering more about PLB with an exclusive interview!

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Hi Patrick, it is such a pleasure having you with us today at Planet Singer! We discover your music with your brilliant release, “Immortality,” such an incredible album, so we are thrilled today to discover more about your music and artistic journey. Let’s start from the beginning! How did you discover your passion for music?

Well, here it goes! I started playing guitar when I was 13 years old. My cousin Andy was living with me and my family one Summer as a foreign exchange student at City College of San Francisco. He was studying English at the time and while he was living with me, he was often playing the guitar and amp that my older brother Ricky left sitting dusty in the closet on his days off from school. He would play Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and a lot of blues-rock on that guitar! That’s when I found my true calling in life! 

Before that, I was always into rock music. My mother (God rest her soul) was into The Beatles and classic rock from the 60’s and 70’s. Before I ever got into the whole idea of playing guitar or making music! I was into cable TV shows, wrestling and video games. I was always into music. As a child of the 90’s, I didn’t have a lot of friends in school, so most of my days off were spent watching lots of MTV, VH1 and listening to the radio. Back when MTV and VH1 actually played music! 

I was initially into 80’s rock like Guns N’ Roses and Metallica at an early age. Then I became a huge follower and was very interested in bands like Nirvana and all the Grunge bands coming from Seattle at the time. Later on, I was also into bands like Oasis and Green Day. 

When my cousin Andy was playing guitar at the family home, I decided to learn how to play the guitar. At the time, I was going to Rooftop for middle school and I was going through a lot of problems with people there while I was about to graduate. I mostly taught myself how to play guitar over the years, then a few guitar lessons or so. My mother was supportive of me doing music, but it wasn’t expected to be a career or anything in later years! 

When I was 15 years old and going to Wallenberg High School, I’m guessing some time in the year 2001. I met some friends in class and formed an occasional garage band with them. That band would later gradually evolve into Patrick Lew Band (PLB) by the year 2008! By that time, I was going to college at CSU East Bay and studying Philosophy and minoring in Music. That’s when I decided, I had to be serious with this and make it some way or the other!

Your latest release, “Rolling Thunder,” marks another important chapter in your music career. Can you tell us more about it? 

Oh yes! In 2017, my mother passed away and I was doing Patrick Lew Band (PLB) full-time up until the end of the year. I was also branching out of PLB at the time, and I was exploring my talents playing for other local bands. I was basically recording and touring locally with other bands like TheVerse, Crazy Loser in a Box, and Benigneglect (formerly known as Lewnatic).By 2017, I was done and burnt out with PLB. My mother was gone, and I felt like I did what I had to at the time within a short two-and-a-half year period. Me and my sister Madeline (PLB’s bassist) were just done and needed to take a hiatus. Plus, I was working a steady day job at the time too and I was already playing in other local bands between 2017 and 2020. 

Immortality (2020) was originally intended as Patrick Lew Band’s farewell album. Me and my sister Madeline had all but closed the book on PLB because we were just done and felt we did what we had to at first. But not always the way we wanted it. 

By the time 2020 rolled around, the pandemic hit and after three years of me and Madeline doing some “soul searching” apart from each other. We decided to bring back PLB full-time on St. Patrick’s Day 2020 and began making music together again in our home recording studio.

Around this same period, a lot of turn of events besides the pandemic were directly deeply tearing apart and affecting the world as we knew it. Like there was the Stop Asian Hate thing, because of the rise of anti-Asian xenophobia, BLM and George Floyd’s murder. We also wanted to do something completely different musically, like keep some of our old trademark “Grungy” and “Punk” PLB style. But also keep up with the modern world at the same time as far as music goes! We began incorporating more K-Pop and modern musical influences into our music. Because K-Pop and artists like BTS and Blackpink opened doors for Asian people in popular music and culture.

By this point in 2020 when the album Rolling Thunder was being made, the band PLB began reaching new heights never seen earlier on. A lot of music bloggers and some magazines began writing about us. And we became way more out there! This wouldn’t have ever happened during our late 2000s and early 2010s heyday because we were very maligned back in those days in music and social-media.

Rolling Thunder was basically our comeback album! And rightfully so.

Your mother is Japanese, your father is Chinese, and you grew up in San Francisco! Your whole life has been for sure filled with colorful and stimulating inputs. How do you think this influenced your artistic vision?

Being Japanese and Chinese was always a mixed blessing for me for sure! But for the most part, I was always very proud of my ancestry! 

I used to face some racism and discrimination in school and the community for being mixed. There was a time back in the 2000s where I couldn’t fully represent my heritage and ancestry like I do now. I had to keep my mixed heritage a secret back in those days, even when marketing the band PLB in the music industry because people were scared “it might hurt my popularity and record sales.”

But I’ve always been very proud of my culture and heritage. I really do come from the Best of Both Worlds like Hannah Montana once sang. How it influenced my music and artistic vision? Well, back in the day. You didn’t see a lot of East Asians in the mainstream. We were either the Kung Fu masters or the nerds, if we were guys. Or we were the weird Sex Goddesses, if we were girls. These days, its changing a little bit. 

I’ve always wanted to breakthrough the glass ceiling as a music artist in rock music and whatever. But it took me some time to get there for sure. It wasn’t until the second half of the 2010s where East Asians became slightly more profitable in the mainstream and both popular and independent music. 

At first, I was like hiding who I truly am to please and follow society. But by that point, I was like able to be comfortable in my own skin to fully represent who I truly am and include that all in me and Sister Madeline’s music in Patrick Lew Band!

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Your song “Be Yourself” is another track that carries your trademark sound! Such great songwriting and a strong message behind the lyrics. What’s the story behind this single?

It was Madeline’s idea for sure! She and I were in the studio one afternoon, and we were jamming and experimenting with some sounds on our instruments. Suddenly, she was like, “Let’s make it into a new song!” I was like totally cool with it for sure. So we set the musical gear up in the bedroom, opened up Logic Pro on our MacBook Air and began creating the piece of music. She was singing in Japanese language, and she’s actually more fluent than me when speaking it or singing it too. We were like, “Let’s make a 90’s rock yet modern sounding song that carries positive energy and vibes.” That’s how it came to be for sure! 

We made a cool music video for the single with our videographer/photographer James Conrad on a Seek Thermal video camera. And it was uploaded to our YouTube channel a little earlier this year of course.

Where do you find your inspiration?

We take inspiration from many sources. I was always a Beatles, Rolling Stones, Nirvana and Metallica type of guy in the band. My sister Madeline from the band was always more into Queen, Lady Gaga, Stevie Nicks (from Fleetwood Mac) and David Bowie. We were primarily influenced by the Classic Rock (especially from Great Britain) from our mom’s era. But we also grew up listening to popular music (Western and Japanese) from the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000s. We also listened to punk and metal music too. We always try to take concepts and themes from what’s relevant, and creating music that is entirely unique and original. We write lyrics that we really didn’t think of too much as an important part of the music. Just so happens! Some people who listen to our band PLB can relate to it! I mean, we have thousands of stans on social-media and about thousands of listeners from 34 different countries worldwide has heard our music on their phones and computers on Apple Music/iTunes app. That’s always a beautiful thing that Patrick Lew Band’s music has reached out to 10,000 followers and stans worldwide! We’ve probably gone global nowadays!

The past couple of years have been tough on the music industry. Live streams substitute big stages during the pandemic, creating new ways for the artists to reach their fans. Are you planning to do any live stream?

We don’t really do too many live stream performances. We done some of that occasionally in 2020 and early 2021. Some of those live stream shows became PLB’s first live album released on Juneteenth this year called IN YOUR HOUSE!

But we also have day jobs outside of the music industry too. And been doing so for the past couple of years too. I work at Safeway to pay the rent and bills and put food on my table. And Madeline works at a candy store somewhere in San Francisco!

Also, PLB wasn’t always a big touring type of musical project. We are kind of like pulling a Beatles from circa 1967-70. Like how we’re doing it is, we make hella digital content online and a bunch of YouTube videos and Facebook posts to keep our audiences updated on social-media during the absence of live performances and touring. I don’t know man! I guess I prefer playing live music with other bands. Like I did with TheVerse and Benigneglect during those three years when PLB was on hiatus and only making sporadic public appearances.

My sister Madeline has stage fright and hearing issues, so that’s one of the factors why PLB doesn’t always play live shows. We’re like part studio recording band, part mixed media content creators. That’s what Patrick Lew Band does actively when it comes to being an active musical project.

If I ever did more live musical performances or went on tour again, it would be with another band of mines outside of Patrick Lew Band for sure! Recently on 4th of July this year, I did a live stream jam session with my good friend A.K.AYE (Filipino-American rapper) at his studio as a part of the band Benigneglect.

And talking about songwriting, you have a unique style that makes all of your tracks recognizable from the very first notes. Can you reveal your creative process? How does your music come to life?

We are usually very meticulous when creating music. 

Me and Madeline often just do the music spontaneously for sure when it’s just an idea in our heads and go along with it. So once we have an idea to create new music, we go about it and start setting up all the digital musical gear, guitars, amps, microphones and then we open up Logic Pro on our MacBook Air or old iMac from 2008 in the room. We would usually do a lot of overdubbing for each part-by-part like instruments and all that. If our new song idea ever needed lead vocals from either me or her, we would often double-track and filter our singing voice while it’s recording. 

When it’s done of course, we normally spend two or three hours doing the mixing. I usually despise the mixing process when it comes to music production. It’s like doing math, and it drains the hell out of us! And we’re both Asian and hella bad at math too! Once we are satisfied with what we came up with! Then it be time to put it out there on social-media and hype it up! 

We send the WAV files to Bandlab.com and master all the recordings. Then download the finished version via WAV file, and upload and post it to numerous websites for indie music artists like Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Soundclick, ReverbNation. And of course, we’d be hyping it up big time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram on our phone or computer! 

If we really like what we did for the song, we contact our digital music distributors CDBaby and began trying to get that piece of music out there as much as possible on Spotify and Apple Music. And sometimes, when we want to stay in the game and keep in touch with our audience as much as possible as well as making new stans of the band PLB, we go on the Fiverr app and begin looking at music promotion services and music related bloggers to put out hard work and passion out there!

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If you could collaborate with one of the artists who influenced you the most, who would you like to share a song with?

That’s a very good question. Not too sure about that. We would have loved to work with Andy Wallace. He’s our dream mixer and he mixed some of the records from some of our favorite 90’s rock bands like Nirvana!

As far as bands or artists goes, we were definitely very inspired by Nirvana, Metallica, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Green Day, Guns N Roses, X Japan, MIYAVI, BTS, Beyond (HK), B’z, Pearl Jam, Blink 182, The Sex Pistols and many more.

But we wouldn’t know if we’d be able to collaborate with them as artists! We’re like our own little family-owned rock and roll band regionally from both the Chinese/Taiwanese and Japanese community here in San Francisco! Just so happens! We’ve reached as far as we possibly could in recent years with what we can do! It might not be a mainstream or Top 40 thing, but we’re doing pretty well in the indies as musicians and artists! We were once amateur musicians in a garage band like how backyard wrestlers wrestle in their backyard. But we’ve graduated from being amateur to becoming semi-pro. Just like how backyard wrestlers like CM Punk, Jon Moxley and others went onto sign contracts with major wrestling promotions and wrestle on the big stage!

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Excellent songwriter, refined interpreter, and much more. How important is it for you to connect with your audience through genuine and honest songs?

My audience is very dear and special to me. So I do my best to accommodate them as much as possible with what I do. I would do anything to make them a happy customer for sure! It’s the business of being Patrick Lew Band. I’ve never had any idea I would become such a public persona and micro-influencer on social-media in the past! Not too long ago, PLB was a maligned local punk rock band and we’ve even received discrimination and racism in the music and entertainment industry for being true to ourselves. Just a few years before, PLB had only a few hundred followers on our Facebook page. Now we have a few thousand! It’s overwhelming at times, but I feel like stans of PLB has done so much for me and Maddie and we are very honored and privileged we’ve made it and paid our dues in the world of rock and roll music in the indies. That’s for sure!

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to continue making more music with PLB (Patrick Lew Band) in the future. I don’t see myself ever giving up my passion until the day I die really. I also want to continue collaborating and performing with other artists and musicians in other bands outside of PLB too, and I’ve been doing that with my friends in the band Benigneglect and Crazy Loser in a Box. I also hope to find stability, peace and the woman of my dreams in dating and relationships gradually too! My main goal as a part of Patrick Lew Band is to become the GOAT someday hopefully. And inspire and change many people’s lives as possible with what I do and make them better people.

Patrick, it was such a pleasure having you with us today! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

I want to thank you all for taking the time and reading. 10,000 stans of PLB can’t be wrong indeed! Be sure to check out what me and my sister Maddie do in the Patrick Lew Band for sure! We are also very easy to find online too, our music and all about us. If you search “Patrick Lew Band” on Google or Bing on your phone or computer. Chances are high, you will find like seven pages related to us and our music and our credentials! Keep the love going, my PLB empire. There’s only more to come and it ain’t over yet! We’ll always be here doing what we do till it’s all said and done!

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Check the links below, discover more about Patrick Lew Band and their music, and don’t forget to add their songs to your favorite playlists!

Spotify: Patrick Lew Band

Facebook: PatrickLewBand

Instagram: PatrickLewBand

YouTube: PatrickLewOfficial

IMDb: Patrick Lew Band

Soundcloud: PatrickLew

Bandcamp: patricklewband

Soundclick: PatrickLewBand

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