Since the release of their debut single When She Was Mine in 2012, Lawson have racked up an impressive six UK Top 20 singles. Now, nearly three years on, the group are preparing to release their second studio album - the follow up to Top 5 debut Chapman Square.
With new single Roads due for UK release on May 31, we caught up with band members Andy and Adam to talk all things music.
Hi guys! You’ve been away for a while, what have you been up to?
Andy: We’ve been writing and recording our new album. We went to Nashville for about three months writing and recording and we’ve also been doing a lot of touring so it’s been a great year for us to get our creative hats on writing new material.
Adam: Our new single Roads was one of the first tracks we did out in Nashville actually. It’s got a bit of banjo and a bit of a county feel about it which was definitely inspired by our surroundings. The rest of the album doesn’t really follow as much in that suit.
How would you describe the new stuff?
Andy: I’d say there’s a quite a triumphant theme to the whole album. Quite big, epic and uplifting. We definitely took inspiration from a lot of our favourite artists and listened to a lot of old school stuff but I would say it’s not too dissimilar to our old stuff like Juliet and Standing In The Dark. It’s just matured a lot more. We’ve matured as people and I’ve matured as a song writer.
Adam: We got a lot more freedom with this record as well and I guess we just explored the music a lot more.
You’ve already racked up five Top 10s, is it nerve-wracking coming back with your second album after that success?
Andy: I think there’s always a high expectation with a second album and you have to live up to that, but I think we really enjoyed that pressure, we thrive on that. Especially myself as a song writer because I’m always trying to improve every day, writing new songs and trying new things. I definitely think the pressure helped. This is the best material we’ve made to date- we’re so excited for people to hear it!
Have you had the chance to perform any of the new stuff live yet?
Adam: We did three smaller shows to road test the new album. We played four or five of the new songs and it was great because we haven’t been able to go back and play the intimate venues in quite a while so it was really nice to get back to how we started. It was nice to see all the fans again and play gigs small enough to see the reactions close up.
Going waaaay back, what are your earliest memories of wanting to be musicians?
Andy: For me, growing up in Liverpool, bands like The Beatles and the whole Merseybeat sound in the ‘60s really inspired me to learn guitar and to write songs. I still feel Lennon and McCartney were the greatest songwriters of all time so that really inspired me to learn to write. Progressing on from that, I started listening to a lot of Phil Collins. We actually listened to a lot of Phil Collins recording this album – his drum sound is very recognisable. There’s a lot of people who have influenced us but for me, definitely that old school sound.
Do you remember the first single or album you bought?
Adam: That’s a tricky one!
Andy: We were talking about this the other day. When I was growing up it was the era of Oasis’ What’s The Story Morning Glory, the Stereophonics’ album with The Bartender and The Thief [Performance and Cocktails], Travis’ The Man Who…
Adam: I remember getting Robbie Williams’ Escapology album which was incredible. I got the live at Knebworth DVD too which was the first live DVD experience I’d seen. That just kind of opened up live music for me, I had no idea how big and epic shows could be. I think there was something like 200,000 people in that crowd and to see musicians performing like that and the things you can do with your set inspired me to get out on the road and start touring. I was only 10 I think at the time, so I couldn’t quite go out touring then!
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
Adam: We’ve done Wembley Stadium a couple of times which was absolutely incredible. There’s no feeling like that but for me personally, it’s on our last album tour when we played the Brighton Centre. It’s kind of my home town arena and back in the day I used to work night shifts there cleaning up after the gigs, so to go back and headline there was an awesome experience.
Andy: We definitely look up to bands like Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, One Republic, Mumford & Sons and The Script - bands who can tour arenas and stadiums all over the world because eventually that’s our goal.
You must get to meet a lot of musicians when you’re out and about - who has made you most star struck?
Andy: We’ve been really lucky to have some amazing experiences. Ronnie Wood was a big one - that was really good. And we did some dates with Bruce Springsteen which was pretty mental… and we’ve met Damian Lewis too!
Adam: (Laughs) On the day we met Ronnie Wood we thought our day couldn’t get any better. We were on tour and we’d just watched the first few seasons of Homeland and then we went to an event and we turned round the corner and there was Sergeant Brody standing in front of us!
Andy: He was telling us that he knew of Lawson! When we were chatting to him he said, “Oh yeh, I know you guys”, I think his kids had been listening to us or something like that – it was mad.
Finally, what’s your go-to happy song?
Andy: I think probably Rosanna by Toto. There’s a live video of Toto performing Rosanna and I still think that’s the greatest video of all time- the best of the best musicians and singers.
Adam: I know it’s stereotypical but The Killers’ Mr Brightside for me, once I’ve had a couple of beers it just feels so good, especially at festivals – you can’t beat Mr Brightside!
Roads is set for UK release on May 31.