British band Lawson stopped by Singapore for their promo tour for their debut album, Chapman Square which reached the #4 spot on the UK Albums Chart. The band has performed alongside fellow British band, The Wanted, Westlife and even opened the show for Canadian punk princess, Avril Lavigne. Urbanwire managed to catch up with two of the members, Joel Peat and Ryan Fletcher as reporters were split into 2 groups for the interview.

You’ve at least something in common with mutiple Grammy Awards-winner Taylor Swift if you idolise Brit band Lawson.

The country superstar was at their London concert just before last Christmas, and came over to after the gig to introduce herself saying, “Hi, I’m Taylor. I’m a huge fan and “Standing in the dark” is my favourite song.”

Lawson bassist Ryan Fletcher who recounted this to UrbanWire on Apr 7 at the Gallery Hotel,  said they were blown away. He added, “We’re just like what?! How are you introducing yourself to us? We’re just 4 idiots!” Receiving such words from their idol and an amazing songwriter was a huge compliment for the guys, who were in Singapore for their Asian promo tour.

Like many guys in their early twenties, the 4 British lads are themselves big fans of Swift. It explains why country music is a big influence in their debut album, Chapman Square, which was released last October. Besides drawing inspiration from her, the boys struck gold when their album was certified gold with over 100,000 copies sold in the UK just 4 months after its release. They’ve also had 3 sold out headline tours. What an accomplishment for the new band who listened to artistes such as Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban, when they were recording their album in America.

When it comes to choosing their favourite Taylor song, Fletcher and guitarist Joel Peat couldn’t stop at just 1, listing songs like “You Belong With Me” and her new single “22” as a few of their favourites. Peat freely admitted loving her albums Fearless and Speak now, while Fletcher complimented Swift on her song “Enchanted”. “ When the first chorus drops, it’s just huge!”

Just as elated were Lawson’s own fans at their showcase on Apr 6 at St. James Power Station. The packed crowd of 900, saw male adults among the young girls and teenagers who made the majority of the audience. The 8 songs they performed in the 40-minute set included faves “Taking over Me”, “When She Was Mine” and their no. 1 hit, “Standing In The Dark”. Temperatures rose visibly when frontman Andy Brown cheekily faked making out with Fletcher when they did a cover of Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger”, and when Brown later squatted at the edge of the stage and leant towards the crowd.


How it all started

The 4 British boys come from different parts of the UK. Frontman Andy Brown and drummer, Adam Pitts decided to meet after talking on MySpace. Brown brought in guitarist Joel Peat, who asked long-time friend and bassist, Ryan Fletcher, to join their band. Lawson was thus born, named as a tribute to Brown’s doctor, who did brain surgery on him when he was 19.

“We clicked as friends straight away, well before we clicked as musicians,” said Peat. Building the chemistry took them “a lot of practice”.

To prevent any big fallouts within the band, the boys also have a strict honest policy. “I know it sounds cliché but we are all like brothers, best friends.” “If someone is being a d*ck,” Fletcher shrugged, “(We’d) tell them straight away, then everything is out in the open, never any animosity,” Peat continued.


Musical Influences

When it comes to personal musical influences, John Mayer was a huge influence on Peat, whereas Fletcher is a more rock and roll person with influences such as Guns N’ Roses and Bon Jovi. Despite their different music tastes, they also have their similarities. “It was quite weird to find 3 lads that are into the same stuff that I was, ” Peat explained.


Hidden talents

Adam Pitts designed the stage show for the last tour in the UK for Chapman Square. Not only that, he also created the band’s logo and has actually piloted a plane!

Andy Brown’s hidden talent is catching fruits in his mouth, from any distance and in any quantity. It’s not as easy it sounds and it really takes skills to do it like he can. His record for catching fruits in his mouth is 15 blueberries, all without biting or swallowing.

Ryan is very proud of his drawings. Maybe that’s why he has so much body art?

Joel confesses that he enjoys cooking. Fletcher vouched for him by saying “I like his food. Solid food, great.” As if we need a reason to get even more envious of his girlfriend?

For those of you who don’t know, the Lawson lads are big fans of tattoos. As we were having our interview with the boys, there was a tattoo guy in the hotel room right then, ready to ink them when they get back. Fletcher shared with us that he wanted to get a paper airplane tattoo to commemorate this experience by getting “a little stamp”, with all the international touring that’s been going on for them in Asia, US and UK.

Another curious fact about Peat UrbanWire was curious about is his phobia of people touching belly buttons. It turns out the phobia runs in his family. “When my sister got her belly button pierced, my dad went mental cause he was like this is the most awful thing in the world.” He told us he had it ever since. “I can look at it. When people put a finger on it, it gets a little odd, I get a little queasy… nauseous… I can’t explain it.”

Fletcher may look the toughest of the lot with his broad shoulders and bulky biceps, but inside lies a soft and emotional person. I mentioned to him about his tweet the day before, where he tweeted the lyrics of American rapper Chris Brown’s “Don’t Judge Me”. Turns out he was “vibing out last night”. “All the lads actually laughed at me,” he said. He then told UrbanWire what was on his iPod. “I’m into a lot of Hip Hop and R&B. I think my favourite album at the moment is Frank Ocean’s “channel Orange”… love that album. Obviously bands like kingsley and maroon 5 as well.” The bassist has also “gone back” with music, listening to the Eagles, and country music by Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and Lady Antebellum as well.


The dream date

When UrbanWire asked which Lawson member they’d date if they were girls,  Fletcher immediately ruled himself out, and not just because he’s attached. He chose Brown who’s known to be romantic, whereas Peat gave his vote to Pitts because he’s a very loyal person. Only Brown and Pitts are still up for grabs ladies.

So who’s the big brother figure and who needs the most looking after? Brown takes the title for both! “Peat explained to UrbanWire, “He’ll leave his phone and his wallet. He is the big brother but he is also the one who needs looking after the most.” “Yeah cause he’s very wise, but he’s an idiot!” teased Fletcher.


Dealing with fame

The newfound fame hasn’t been much of an issue as they’re more easily recognised overseas than back home and only when all 4 of them are together do they get recognised on the streets. “We’re at a point where it’s really nice, it’s not too much, it’s not like Justin Beiber. It’s Justin-oungh to know that you’re getting good enough,” joked Peat. Get it?


Lawson’s filthy fans

It isn’t hard to see why girls are so attracted to them. They’re tall, well-built, charming, talented and have such cute British accents. The Geese, the name their fans gave themselves, have been very expressive and a little explicit when it comes to catching their idols’ attentions. Fletcher recounts some of the not-so-pretty stuff they’ve seen and heard from fans. “There are ones that I don’t want to repeat,” he said with a look of disgust on his face. It was sure hard to come out from his mouth especially when there are words like “Ryan slap me like you slap your bass,” and “Adam bang me like your drums”.

Other crazy things they’ve got from fans include chocolate boobs, grow-your-own boobs, and “mainly boobs” Fletcher nods. “I’m sensing a trend!” Peat joked. However, it gets “quite filthy” with gifts such as a mankini, a 1-piece male bikini, made out of sweets, that Fletcher received and Brown ate, and a disturbing book called “50 shades of Lawson”.

“It’s basically a picture book with various images they found, adult images if you will, with our faces photoshopped on. It was kind of weird,” Peat explained. That book has been haunting Fletcher ever since. “I still wake up in sweat having a nightmare about that, so thanks for that.”

The other thing that irritates them is attention-grabbing fans who “bring a bag of glow sticks… and they just keep throwing at you and you’re trying to play a song but you kept getting hit by glow sticks and it maybe hits your guitar and makes horrible sounds.” said Fletcher. “You should just wear the glow sticks. Wear them with pride.”

Despite that, the boys still gave compliments to their fans, especially the ones at the concert in Thailand, just before they came to Singapore. These used their iPads and phones to light up the concert venue, something really creative that they had never seen in the UK. “Everything else is great!” “It’s always funny when you get hit by a bra,” Fletcher laughed. Another good memory for him was when the audience threw condoms on the stage. “I looked down after the first 3 songs and I was just covered. It was hilarious. That made me laugh. So yeah, it can be good fun.”

The boys also named Singapore’s as one of the best crowds they had, describing our Singaporean fans to be really loud. “You’ll know within the first 10 seconds whether it’s going to be a great gig or not. Last night the crowd was so loud, like soooo loud. The Singapore fans are singing as loud as they could and it was awesome.”


Expectations from Lawson

Lawson hopes fans see and like them as a rock band, instead of a manufactured boyband. “We write music that is very personal to us and put ourselves out there. Every song and every thing we’ve done, every title, especially the band name. Everything is very personal to us.” Fletcher said.

As for future collaborations, you might expect to hear some female vocals and even some rap in their music as they’d like to work with female artistes such as Jessie J, Taylor Swift, and rappers like Wiz Khalifa and B.OB. They’re keen to take a direction similar to Maroon 5, unlike their album now, which is more similar to Irish band, The Script. That said, they’re very inspired by The Script when watching their documentary, watching them perform in big arenas around the world. “Our aspiration is to do venues like that all over the world, and that’s like an aspiration for the band ‘cause we pride ourselves on our live shows and performing our songs live. Touring is like a big thing for us.”