Bristling with promise, this young rocker has written the second chapter in his career
By Marty Paule
Chapter II, the title of the new EP from up and coming indie rocker Jesse Lawson, refers to a career interrupted and now resumed. Frontman and songwriter, Lawson got his feet wet as rhythm guitarist, co-songwriter and backing vocalist for Sleeping with Sirens, a post-hardcore outfit with a rabid following and international touring experience.
In October 2013 Jesse amicably split with the group to spend more time with his young family and refocus his musical ventures in a new direction. He didn’t stay out of the game long. Reconnecting with longtime friends, drummer Nick Welsh and bassist Adam Boyd, the trio meshed quickly, and the recorded result became the EP Chapter II—a hook-laden slab of modern rock featuring Lawson’s plaintive vocals and keen sense for a tight lyric. Jesse’s friend Mike Herrera (MXPX) served as producer and Dan Korneff mixed and mastered the release.
Chapter II is available for download on iTunes and Amazon. You can order a physical CD at www.TheJesseLawson.com.
You can also listen to Chapter II at last.fm.
Towering vocal hooks powered by guitar jangle and fuzz should help carve out an astonishing second chapter in Lawson’s career.
Connect with Jesse Lawson
Online at www.TheJesseLawson.com
Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TheJesseLawson
Instagram at http://www.Instagram.com/TheJesseLawson
YouTube at www.YouTube.com/TheJesseLawson
We spoke to frontman and songwriter Jesse Lawson.
The HUB: You put your music career on hold in the process of becoming a family man. Now that you've resumed your music, do you have a plan for balancing those two roles?
Jesse Lawson: For sure, it’s definitely way different extremes going from one to the other. Obviously my family’s wellbeing is always first priority, but my music career is still my job. I feel like I owe it to the fans to still be putting out music and traveling to play live for them. I am very lucky to have a family that supports what I do. It is also very nice to be able to include them in this journey. My daughter will get to travel more at a young age than most people do in a lifetime—if she wants.
The HUB: It's pretty slick that your new CD turns up in the final frames of the video for "The Road is Broken." Who came up with the concept?
Jesse Lawson: We shot the video before we released the album art. So I wanted to just show a quick glimpse of what was to come!
The HUB: Who's that singing backup in the video?
Jesse Lawson: Her name is Harlee Case, She is from my hometown and i would always see her playing little bar gigs. I knew I wanted to work with her at some point. I asked her to sing on the full record and she was completely into the idea. She will be on future records as well. Very talented girl.
The HUB: What's your strategy for getting noticed in the crowded field of indie bands?
Jesse Lawson: I definitely have a bit of an advantage because of my previous band. But because this is a different sound, I need to work twice as hard to keep my fans happy, but also capture the more "grown up" crowd. Personally, I just have to keep making fantastic records and let the music do the talking.
The HUB: What's your typical songwriting process; do the riffs or chords come first or are the lyrics the point of departure?
Jesse Lawson: I always write songs on an acoustic guitar first. Once I find a chord progression I begin to structure the song and from there write melodies, then last I focus on lyrics—the hard part.
The HUB: Who are the artists both past and present that you admire and who influence your music?
Jesse Lawson: Ryan Adams. NOT Bryan Adams—Ryan Adams. For me he is the best songwriter out there, solid records all the time. I am also a huge hip-hop fan. Another strong influence is a band called City and Colour (Dallas Green). The melodies that dude comes up with just blow my mind.
The HUB: Who does the band booking?
Jesse Lawson: At the moment I am running everything, but we were picked up by The Artery Foundation band management and we are currently looking for the right booking agent to be part of the Jesse Lawson and Chapter II team.
The HUB: When you went into the studio to track Chapter II, were the songs pretty well fleshed out or did the arrangements come together in the studio?
Jesse Lawson: Yes, I had been writing the songs a couple months before the studio, So I had everything set in stone ready to go. I like working that way.
The HUB: What does the ideal producer bring to the table in a recording session?
Jesse Lawson: Truth. If a part sucks, or the take isn't good enough, just tell the artist ‘Hey, that sucked.. lets run it again.’ It might be hard to hear but that level of honesty is very beneficial in the end.
The HUB: Is there a particular piece of gear you couldn't live without?
Jesse Lawson: Sounds funny…but a capo. I use a capo on just about every song. I love that it can completely change the whole vibe of a song. Simply brilliant.
The HUB: Where does Jesse Lawson go from here?
Jesse Lawson: Our next step is getting the full length record tracked and released; after that touring and festivals, so I will be seeing you all very soon!
JESSE LAWSON GEAR LIST
Jesse Lawson (guitar and vocals)
Adam Boyd (bass)
Ampeg SVT 2 Pro
Planet Waves pedal tuner
Kinnatone custom made Imperio Compressor
Kinnatone custom made Expelliarmus Clean Boost
Kinnatone custom made Pink Umbrella Fuzz
Source Audio Soundblox Pro Multiwave Bass Distortion
Source Audio Soundblox Pro Envelope Filter
Source Audio Hot Hand 3 Wireless Effects Controller
SansAmp Bass DI