As the music industry continues to evolve, independent artists are finding new ways to achieve success on their own terms. One such artist is Patrick Lew Hayashi, who has been making waves in the underground rock scene for over a decade. With his band Patrick Lew Band (PLB), and later as a solo act under the name Lewnatic, he has garnered a dedicated following thanks to his unique sound and DIY approach to music production. In this exclusive interview, we sit down with Patrick to discuss his journey.
Teenage Garage Band Member
Patrick Lew Hayashi, also known as Patrick Allan Lew, is an Asian-American multi-talented artist who was born in San Francisco in 1985 to a Chinese father and a Japanese mother of mixed descent. At the age of 15, while attending Wallenberg High School, he formed a band called the Patrick Lew Band (PLB) in his hometown. His early years in the indie music circuit were spent playing in a garage band, and in 2005, he was briefly signed to an indie label based in La Jolla, California.
In an interview with Disrupt Magazine, Patrick reminisced about his early music journey and how he started playing guitar at the age of 13, stating that “the guitar was my first instrument. I started playing at age 13 back in the Summer of 1999. I also played bass guitar and piano.” Over the years, he played in several local bands in San Francisco, including TheVerse, Benigneglect, and Crazy Loser in a Box. He also filled in as a bassist for his friend Johnny Lawrie’s punk band The Tortured back in 2016.
The Birth of Lewnatic
In July 2022, Patrick signed a 1-year deal with Bentley Records under his band name Lewnatic. Lewnatic had been a touring and live-streaming experiment until then, but with the release of their first album under a record label (and its third LP) titled Rapid Fire worldwide on August 19, 2022, featuring six all-new guitar-based instrumental rock compositions with a strong City Pop and Anime-like theme, the band became official.
Reflecting on the band’s success, Patrick boldly describes Lewnatic as “a one-man rock and roll machine.” The band’s unique sound, a fusion of City Pop and Anime-like themes, has garnered widespread recognition, especially in the Japanese music scene. Patrick is a digital creator within the music industry and records all his guitar parts through an inexpensive Digital Audio Interface from PreSonus hooked up to his 2012 MacBook Pro running Logic. He recognizes the perks and privileges of owning a home studio, saying, “I practically renovated my 2-Floor family house in the Excelsior District in San Francisco into my own rock star playground.”
Towards the end of 2022, Lewnatic filmed an MV for their first single off their album Rapid Fire in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The music video world premiered in mid-October and amassed a decent number of views on YouTube. The MV for their single ‘We The People’ served as a #StopAsianHate and #BLM anthem during the post-pandemic aftermath affecting minorities in the United States.
Awards and Achievements
Being signed with Bentley Records was a significant moment in Patrick’s career. “When I signed with Bentley Records, I felt like the Patrick Lew Band saga was cemented officially. I got what I always wanted in my life. First, my music going legit, and second, getting my current girlfriend, Amanda (aspiring writer/poet). Those two things eluded me for a long time,” he reminisces.
Patrick describes himself as “the type of music artist that cares less about algorithms and the number of likes/followers on social media. But most of the satisfaction I have comes from the places related to music that showcases what I do or did in Lewnatic or Patrick Lew Band for sure!”
He goes on to explain, “My happiest moment was when Top Music Japan showcased the EP Rapid Fire as a featured rock album in the Japanese music scene! Of course, I’m partially of Japanese descent and proud of it too. So, it means a lot that I got to share my name alongside other heavy hitters from J-ROCK and J-POP on that same website, like Miyavi and X Japan!”
Apart from his music, Patrick has also gained recognition for creating a virtual band member and bassist named Madeline Lew, marketed as his younger sister, through modern smartphone apps such as FaceApp and Reface, alongside other digital special effects and sophisticated editing, such as cosplaying. He also started an Only Fans account to allow fans to have more intimate and personal access to himself, alongside Madeline.
In addition to his band’s success, Patrick has also received personal recognition for his achievements. He is an inductee to the 40 Under 40 Hall of Fame Class of 2019 at his alma mater, CSU East Bay, as Patrick Lew Band (alongside Madeline Lew). He was also the first-place winner of the July 2016 Akademia Music Award for the best experimental rock song, “Game Changer.”
In conclusion, Patrick Lew’s journey in the music industry is a testament to the power of determination, talent, and hard work. From his early beginnings in the San Francisco Bay Area to his current status as a rising star in the global music scene, Patrick’s story is one of perseverance and passion for music. With multiple successful projects under his belt, including the acclaimed Patrick Lew Band and his latest venture, Lewnatic, Patrick has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to his craft and his fans. As he continues to grow and evolve as an artist, it is clear that Patrick Lew is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry, and we can only expect more great things from him in the future.