Simon Lewis (born June 4th, 1981), known professionally as Corporate Christ, is a Welsh singer, producer, and author from Cardiff, UK. Corporate Christ (the act) was formed on 8th November 2011, taking its name from the idea of the almost religious dogma surrounding capitalism, and the hypocrisy of the money making nature of religions. On Social Media he has occasionally used the tagline: “Money is your religion. Religion only wants your money”, in reference to this.
“In the end you may as well die for your art. Every other form of death is observed as a tragedy.”
“The Pornographer” was the debut album from Corporate Christ where he addresses his difficult past growing up as a homosexual in a valleys town where that was not widely accepted, and about his battle with Schizophrenia, drug addiction and 5 years in a psychiatric hospital, as well as suffering from a serious bowel disease which almost killed him in 2012.
“The Pornographer” is a concept album. Whilst he was in hospital for those 5 years he felt all he could do was watch the world from afar like the director of a porn movie who has to watch all the action but can never take part. It was a bleak time in his life yet he says he is strangely grateful that the ordeal finally helped him overcome his mental illness.
Soon after being discharged from the psychiatric hospital he developed a serious bowel disease and needed emergency surgery to save his life. It took a long time to recover and whilst most people would despair at the endless bad luck, he instead focussed on his music. The first song to be recorded was “Emancipation” which explores the shallow, fickle nature of the gay scene. He says: “I think the scene is too focussed on sex and body image and if it wasn’t for the great friends I made, I would avoid the scene like a plague.”
The sound of the album was very much inspired by bands like Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, yet takes a lot of influences from dance music and electro too which gives the songs an almost pop feel in places.
In 2017, Corporate Christ released a Synthpop EP called “Adam Kadmon: When The Heart Implodes”. It documents the days and nights following the suicide of his ex-boyfriend. He says: “I couldn’t sleep and I would just collapse in tears almost daily. It was such a struggle and I battled with my own dark thoughts constantly.”
The album explores a softer side in comparison with The Pornographer. Much more emotive songs like “8 Hours Closer” and “Cabaret” express his feelings after the death; his insomnia, feelings of grief and a sense of just trying to “carry on”.
LIVES LESS ORDINARY: A STORY OF MENTAL HEALTH
In collaboration with Kalto Films, Corporate Christ produced a short documentary about his life growing up with Schizophrenia. He is very frank as he discusses being bullied as a teenager for being gay and the friction he experienced with his father. Filmed partly in his apartment and also in and around Cardiff, the documentary gives a glimpse into the real person behind Corporate Christ.
Born in Newport, Wales, Corporate Christ spent his early childhood in the village of Pentwynmawr. He describes it as a happy time. At the age of nine, his family bought a Newsagents/Post Office in a nearby village called Abercarn where they also bought a house. He made a few friends but in his teenaged years was disliked by most of his peers as his sexuality became more obvious to them. Secondary school saw him develop a deep depression as he was bullied for a lot of the time. He developed a habit of heavy drinking and taking prescription drugs around the age of fifteen.
Leaving school at aged sixteen he went to Crosskeys College where he studied “Music and Performing Arts”. He moved into a shared house in Newport with friends and began dabbling in illegal drugs; mostly Amphetamines, LSD and Ecstasy, but he also experimented with Heroin and Cocaine. He spent most of his weekends at TJ’s: Newport’s semi-infamous rock nightclub.
After a few months his mental health deteriorated and he experienced a deep psychosis that drove a wedge between him and his friends. He moved back to Abercarn where his mental health became worse resulting in several short stay hospital admissions.
In 2005 he moved to Cardiff and hung out mostly at gay bars and nightclubs. He used a lot of drugs once again; mostly amphetamines, Ecstasy and then Ketamine.
He had another major breakdown and was sent to a psychiatric hospital where he spent five years. He says it was the worst ordeal of his life though it gave him plenty of time to get sober, reflect upon his life and ultimately recover from his mental illness.
Upon leaving the hospital he was discharged to a rehabilitation unit in Cardiff. Within a matter of weeks however, his physical health rapidly declined after developing Ulcerative Colitis, a serious bowel condition. He was rushed to hospital where he received emergency surgery to remove his large bowel, leaving him with an ostomy bag. He lost 11kg in weight in just a few weeks.
After a lengthy recovery he began work on his debut musical release; The Pornographer. It’s a concept album exploring the voyeurism of life within a psychiatric institution. Unable to participate in the outside world he watched it through the screen of his phone like the director of a pornographic movie.
Eventually he resettled back into the community and made new friends, one of whom introduced him to Fred who he began a relationship with that was difficult and strained; though Corporate Christ says he loved him dearly. A few months later Fred took his own life leaving CC devastated. Experiencing a mixture of emotions he wrote “Adam Kadmon: When The Heart Implodes”, a Synthpop EP detailing his struggles with insomnia and feelings of grief. He made a music video for the song “8 Hours Closer” in collaboration with Kalto Films who he also later worked with on a documentary called “Lives Less Ordinary: A Story Of Mental Health” where Corporate Christ talks about life growing up with a mental health condition and his difficult relationship with his father.
He dubbed this period in his work as “The Dark Ages” but in the summer of 2018 he shifted focus into the “Renaissance” era of his work which marked a positive new beginning for him. He began work on “Marcelle” his first novel, and “The Death of a Dying Star”, his second full-length album, and he also began a degree in Popular Music at the University of South Wales, seeing resurgence in his motivation to create art.