Their debut record which was a lengthy 4 years in the making also hit the top 5 last year and as much as these boys may look like the generic boyband mould, they’re en-route to morphing their critics opinions.
After support slots for Will Young, Jessie J and Avril Lavigne, the boys are currently on their first headline tour and play at Sheperds Bush Empire this week.
The name of the band has quite a significant meaning. Can you tell us where it derives from?
ANDY: I had a big operation when I was 19 to remove a tumour from my brain. It was obviously a very serious procedure and I think I was in the hospital for about 3 months in total. Dr Lawson was the guy who performed the op so we named the band in his honour!
How did you guys form?
ADAM: We got together around 3 and half years ago. I’d just left music college in Brighton and wanted to start a band. I saw Andy’s Myspace page with a couple of acoustic videos he had up and really liked it so I dropped him a message.
ANDY: We got together in London and had a jam and invited Ryan along to join who’d I’d known for a while from the London music scene. Ryan and Joel were best mates from home so he brought him along too.
JOEL: Several shockingly bad rehearsals later, we finally started to gel and then spent the next 2 and a bit years on the road gigging up and down the country.
You predominantly write all your own music. How important do you think it is for an artist to have full creative control?
ANDY: It’s very important – particularly when it comes to playing live. I think you can only connect and give it your all when performing a song if you’ve written it yourself.
What have you taken from the experience you’ve had touring with some of musics most established artists?
JOEL: I think we take different things away from each tour. Jessie J was really helpful when it came to giving advice about conserving energy and pacing yourself on tour whereas on the Will Young shows it was a crash course in how to perform to a more older, chilled crowd.
RYAN: Then there are times when you’re literally just watching the artist you’re supporting and just learning from what they do on stage, like with Bruce Springsteen.
What can we expect from your live shows?
RYAN: I think people are generally surprised when they come and see us live. There’s obviously a pre-conception from maybe the way we look that we’re an all singing/all dancing boy band which couldn’t be further from the truth. We put on a proper rock show – big guitar solos, massive sing-a-long choruses and outros.
The music industry is always saturated in boy-bands. How do you differentiate yourselves from other ‘boy-bands’?
JOEL: We just hope that after time people will realise. It’s something we try not to let get to us but it can be annoying when people are like “What’s it like being compared to One Direction?” No offence to the guys in that band – they’re great lads and we’ve met them a couple of times now – but we really are like chalk and cheese.
ADAM: The bottom line is yes, we are boys and we’re in a band. But the connotation that goes with the word ‘boy band’ is you were put together by some record label, you don’t write the songs, you don’t sing live and you do dance routines. That’s not us at all.
Do you think that being a band of instrumentalists gives you a slight edge?
ANDY: I think in America they seem to be particularly into the playing aspect of the band, definitely. They’ll cheer and go mad for a guitar solo or if I hit a high note.
RYAN: We had a interview the other day and the presenter was like “if you’re not a boy band then what exactly are you?” I replied “Um … a band?”
Tell us about the album ‘Chapman Square’?
ANDY: It’s a very personal record. I wrote 95% of it about a relationship which I was in for a long time which sadly ended. I was going through a bit of a hard time and so I had a lot of emotions to draw inspiration from!
JOEL: We recorded it in Los Angeles and there was one song which Andy had to do about 18 takes of because he was getting so emotional singing it. I was like “Come here mate, let me give you a hug.”
RYAN: We had the majority of the record written before we even had a record deal so it’s nice that those songs have been with us for the majority of the journey so far.
What are the main inspirations behind the record?
ANDY: Real life experiences, relationships, break ups, girls …. Stuff that typical twenty real old lads go through. I like to think people can relate to it.
RYAN: We get into pretty deep conversations on the tour bus – like, really dark stuff – so there’s always something to write about.
There seems to be quite an American influence to the record and you’ve also been touring the States recently?
ADAM: We love America. We made the album there, we shot the videos there – it only holds great memories for us – and that’s why we’re so excited to be making plans to spend more time there this year.
RYAN: We put on 3 shows as a little experiment just to satisfy the demands we were getting on Twitter and we were blown away when they all sold out. It was an awesome trip and the audiences were great.
JOEL: We’re actually big fans of country music. We love bands like Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts, which is pretty strange for 4 young English guys but we just love the songs and how they each tell a story. Plus, those sorts of bands are awesome musicians too.
What else can we expect from you boys in the forthcoming year?
ADAM: Our biggest tour yet kicks off this month which we’re all really excited about. We’re going to a bunch of places we haven’t played before – Bristol, Norwich etc so it’ll be cool to go there. Plus we have some stuff lined up in Asia, Australia and back out to the US again.
RYAN: Next stop, the world!
Words: Shane Hawkins