I approached the Hawley in Camden to meet the lovely Liz Lawrence (alliteration not deliberate I’d hasten to add) The Hawley is one of my favourite destinations in Camden. However I leave that out just in case she feels I’m some crazed stalker or fan sometimes one in the same.
Anyway this is what happened when we sat for a beer and a chat.
Great to finally meet you Liz one of my first questions must be myself and a few of our readers know you used to be in a few punk bands what made you change your dynamic as an artist and would you ever do that type of music again?
Liz: I think if you speak to most artists they have a old band skeleton or two in the closet, I guess what confuses people so much about my punk band history is how much the music that I now make is different from that era.
But I suppose what essentially happened is that I started writing melodic, sensitive songs and the drummer from the punk band thought they were boring so I got the boot and went my own way, which at the time meant down to Devon to go to art school. I can’t imagine myself in a punk band again but can see the genre’s that I work within shifting and changing a lot throughout my life as an artist.
Danni: That sounds cool I’ve always thought when an artist get pigeon holed into what they sound like, people are saying there is no room to look outside the genre. So being originally from Birmingham how does London compare, can you see yourself staying here of do you enjoy touring and being able to travel all over?
Liz: I was born in Birmingham but my family moved to a small town when I was 5 or 6 years old, so in reality I was brought up in a town in the midlands, with lots of countryside and rivers and trees and farm animals etc. Then as I said I moved to Devon for a few years.
That sounds pretty cool (I interject)
Liz: But I always had a desire to move to London, in that old fashioned sense of the streets being paved with gold in the city of opportunity kind of thing. And I love London, I love Hackney where I live, and can see myself here for a short while, but I love touring, and am planning making an EP in Berlin later this year and also have a desire to move to New York, and normally once I’ve set my mind to something I do what I can to make it happen.
Danni: Well Hackney loves you too so I can see you being around a lot more, if this be the case I expect more meetings in The Hawley, so who are the other people who are playing in your band at the moment do they have a lot of creative in put?
Liz: At the minute, alongside playing solo shows I play shows in a trio with two brothers, Harry and Fraser. Harry and I also go out and do two-hander shows. Harry plays the Cajon and percussion and sings with me, Fraser his brother acts as a second guitarist and also sings. I think I like to approach a band situation with an open mind and attitude towards any ideas, it’s just good if all the players know when something does or doesn’t work mutually. Plus currently being a solo artist it’s always good to have an extra pair of ears to listen to any new material etc.
Danni: Yeah I understand you totally always great to bounce ideas off each other and it must feel like a solid family like environment, on the subject of creative in put how do you work best: under
pressure or relaxed environment?
Liz: No particular environment, I think it all depends, some times pressure can break you and you end up saying fuck this, I’m not writing this for some so-and-so from a label or whatever, but sometimes you can rise to the pressure and make a great tune just in time. Equally, when you have loads of time and all is relaxed you can sit and strum away for hours and come up with nothing, put the guitar down and go, oh well it can wait till tomorrow let’s go to the pub, and this can happen for weeks on end, until you realise you’re under pressure again.
Danni: Yeah, me saying environment made it seem like some wild science experiment that I wanted commentary this was not my intention, I know you have been writing songs for a while Liz do you get overly critical of yourself during this process?
Liz: Always have been, I throw away huge amounts of material, at least two songs a week i’d say and during creative buzz’s I can throw away 50 songs in a month. I have an old computer full of songs I never used, the problem is I refuse to put them on a hard drive, so I’ve got easy access to them in case one day the songs feel more appropriate. I throw away more than i keep, and at the moment i am looking for something very specific from my songs so I being massively fussy, which is good, but sometimes you need to just start keeping things and working over them.
Danni: Wow that’s loads I’ve stated a lot of musicians are too precious of their old work I have gone as far as calling some of them hoarders, I could not say that to yourself. What have been your highlights so far since you have been playing ?
That’s a funny question because I ask myself it all the time, but i can never pin point a moment or a handful that supersede any other moments. Sometimes the worst gig’s can be a huge highlight. But I guess I’ve supported some great artists (civil wars, ben howard, michael kiwanuka, Chris Rea, Ani Difranco etc.) and playing in some amazing venues. I’ve been to America, which was super cool too.
Danni: You’ve mention some great artists here, as a musician in London there is so much music around you has anything caught your eye of late?
Liz: Definitely Jake Bugg
Danni: Cool I’ve seen that dude did this track called Saffron that I’m pretty into I got very excited then, but yeah he’s got some moves. When I was 18 I really wasn’t as cool as this dude. So what is next for Liz Lawrence now as it seems you are picking up a lot of momentum?
Liz: Well I’m playing a lot of london shows over the next few weeks, and then on tour in Ireland for a couple of weeks then when I return I’m releasing my debut single Oo Song on the 13th of August, so fingers crossed for that.
Danni: Liz, not going to lie really looking forward to it in fact I have to ask as well, a lot of our readers are based all over the UK so are there any whispers of a tour any time soon?
Liz: There are indeed… Keep your ears peeled for October dates.
This will make a lot of them very happy thanks for that info so what is the new single you are working on and how did it come about ?
Liz: The new single is a light hearted anti-dote to a shit day, written and designed to encourage the throwing off of the shackles of bad feelings and just having a good old sing. It’s out on the 13th of August.
Danni: Awesome well thanks for you time today and for the readers where can we go to see you and hear more of your music?
Liz: Loads of places, www.facebook.com/lizlawrencemusic or
soundcloud.com/lizlawrencemusic and the video for the new song is
This has been Quenched Catching up with the multi-talented Liz Lawrence check her out.
Words by Danni Skerritt