Just in-case the name isn't familiar, Jeffrey Lewis is an American anti-folk singer/songwriter and comic book artist from New York and all around awesome guy. We had the pleasure to catch up with and ask him some questions! You're currently very busy supporting the likes of British Sea Power in America and Steven Malkmus & the Jicks in Europe. Firstly how are the shows going? And what’s it like to be supporting artists that are very different to what you do? is it a case of trying to win over the crowd every night or do you get a lot of hard-core fans coming to just see you? All of this touring in 2008 has been my busiest year ever, but because I generally do all my tour-booking myself, which takes a lot of work and emailing and organizing, I can never say "no" whenever some band offers to take me along on a tour that I don't have to organize, all I have to do is show up and play and get paid!  Well, pay is usually pretty minimal on these support tours, most of the time I can't afford to take my full 4-piece band and I've just been switching it up, like the Super Furry Animals tour I did solo acoustic, the Mountain Goats tour I did with the full band, the Cribs tour I did as a duo with Helen (my keyboard player), the British Sea Power tour I did solo, the Los Campesinos tour I did with the full band, and the Steven Malkmus & the Jicks tour I did as a duo with Jack (my brother and bass player).Most of the time I prefer to not even notify my own fan base and email list about these support tours, because a big part of the "pay" for doing these sorts of tours is that you get to hopefully play each night to venues full of people who have never heard of you, and thus make new fans.  The more of my own fans that come to these shows, the less room there is for new ears in the room, and besides all of the ticket prices are more expensive than my own shows would be so I feel bad if my fans pay more to see me than they normally would have to. It's always great to play to totally new audiences, the element of surprise is really on my side because of all the unusual things that are mixed into my sets on different nights, like the ‘History of Punk on the Lower East Side’, the spoken word pieces, the illustrated songs, the mix of quiet folk songs and loud garage rock songs, the History of Communism stuff, the re-arranged covers of Crass songs, the comic books, it's quite different to perform all of these sorts of things to an audience that's already fans, I always feel more pressure to constantly come up with new material to not make the fans hear the same stuff too often, whereas playing as a support band to new audiences I can feel a bit more confident that even if I don't play a particularly good set that night at least a new audience will hopefully be vaguely wowed by the jumble of elements, at worst.  Once the element of surprise is gone, I have to rely more on the quality of my songwriting itself, which I can do but like I say it's a bit more pressure on me.  And then of course, if I play a crummy set as a support band no one particularly cares, you're not who they paid money to see anyway.  As a performer onstage it's a like a low-risk gamble with potentially a high payoff if you succeed. As an accomplished artist how do you balance time between your music and your art? Do you consider yourself one or the other? I certainly know more about the craft of making comics than I do about the craft of making and recording songs, for me music is more about seat-of-the pants inspiration which might be there or might not be there, and comics and art are more reliable for me.  It's hard to balance the time because comic books take so much time and focus to create, and touring doesn't leave much of this kind of time available. It's a problem I haven't quite solved. How do you feel about the whole Anti-Folk tag that you often branded with? It's not something I consciously set out to be, I'd never heard of Anti-folk when I started playing shows, but I do think that it makes sense for me.  I would almost go so far as to say that it makes more sense for me than for most other performers who have been tagged with it!  I think the music that I make has a hard time fitting into a "singer songwriter" definition, or even an "indie rock" definition, "Antifolk" actually fits better, despite (or because!) nobody quite knows what it means. What kinds of musicians inspired you, or still inspire you, to write music? Also same goes with your cartoons. With music I think I'm often inspired by people who are able to make top-notch mind-blowing material without any of the tools or skills that most people would think you need to be at that level of artistic awesomeness.  Like, most people would not think of the musical or vocal skills of Lou Reed, Daniel Johnston, Mark E Smith of the Fall, Jonathan Richman, other people like that, they are not considered "world class" in terms of technical ability, but that never stopped them from making some of the most moving, imaginative, important music I've ever heard. I think it's inspiring because it really shows that the most important thing you can do as an artist is follow your own personal path, and not worry about whether you're "good enough".  Everybody is "good enough" at being themselves.  For comic books I suppose I have a similar taste for an element of "effortless perfection" although I do have a higher level of appreciation for the pure craft and technique. How do you feel about illegal downloading? Do you feel the impact of it? I probably feel a positive impact from it, if anything.  There've been tons of times when people tell me they have become my fan or have come to my shows because they stumbled across something on the internet, somebody suggested they check out a link to one of my videos on Youtube, or something like that.  Mike Watt, famous for his words of wisdom for independant bands, once said everything in the music biz breaks down to the two categories of "fliers and gigs".  The more widespread your "fliers" are, the more people pay to come to your gigs.  Seen in that light, downloads and Myspace and Youtube and albums themselves are all just "fliers" that hopefully get people to your shows wherever you play in the world.  And, unless you're the Beatles, shows are the most direct and important way to make a living. Do you have any more records in the pipeline? Lots of stuff, but not sure what'll become of it.  I've got about 20 songs that were recorded well over a year ago, before I even finished the Crass album, and a bunch of new songs that i haven't recorded yet.  Then I've got these 25 "low-budget videos", the illustrated songs which are mostly songs that are not on albums and are only performed along with the illustrations, and some work was done on making a DVD of all of this audio/visual material but it's yet another unfinished project on the backburner. Doing all of this touring in the past 9 months has really pushed all of this stuff further into the background unfortunately.  I really hoped to at least have a new single, if not a 6 or 7 song EP released by early September, but I don't know how realistic that is right now, none of the recordings are finished and it's already the end of June.  One thought was to make an EP or even a full album concentrating on the band material that my brother Jack contributes, a lot of the more rockin' stuff that we do is material I co-write with my brother, sometimes these songs are like 90% Jack's, and it might be a nice change of pace to do a release that focuses more on this end of our band's spectrum. What’s your favourite type of tree? Symmet-tree. The last time I did acid I didn't go insane, did I take it correctly? Probably.  Like I say in "No LSD Tonight", "I know it can be cool and fun, I'm just a bad example." [audio http://rapidshare.com/files/127897339/02_Video_One__I_Saw_A_Hippie_Girl_On.mp3] Download Once I Saw A Hippie Girl-Live by Jeffrey Lewis