Lawrence Bray is an independent singer/songwriter based in London. Inspired by such artists as Oasis, Stereophonics and The Beatles, Lawrence in a strong believer on the power of a good melody.
Lawrence recently recorded his debut solo EP Best Served Loud after leaving his role as front man/writer for ScenicLife. The EP is of good pedigree, being produced by Tommy Gleeson (ex frontman of Slaves to Gravity) and mastered by Pete Maher, who is known for his work with artists Lana Del Ray, U2, The Killers and Oasis.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Lawrence for a chat about the man and his music.
How would you describe yourself to our readers, who may not be familiar with your work?
Outgoing, confident, I don’t get offended easily so thus my humour is kind of like that haha…I sound like I’m trying to advertise myself for a girlfriend….long walks on the beach, holding hands .. nah, as I said I’m a very talkative guy and I try and get on with pretty much everyone.
You spent some time as the frontman and writer for indie/rock’n’roll band, ScenicLife. What do you feel are the main advantages of working solo?
Well there are benefits and holdbacks with being solo. The holdbacks being that when I go on stage I don’t have the power of a band behind me and with a bigger team there is potential for more people marketing the music so I have to work extra hard to get it out there. The benefits are the most obvious ones, no band politics, trying to keep everyone happy etc, no rehearsal costs cause I can rehearse at home. When it comes to just the music though I have complete freedom to try out ideas that I think would work. I don’t have to sell the idea first and in working solo I feel I’m more open to ideas….there is always a risk of staying within a bubble and you need an outside person (producer) to say, why not try this too. All in all I much prefer being solo.
Your new EP, “Best Served Loud”, was mastered by Pete Maher, who has also worked with Lana de Rey, U2, The Killers, and Oasis. Do you feel his input helped you to achieve the sound you were looking for?
I think when someone who has worked with all those great acts is mastering my EP it does a world of good, you have a complete diversity in his roster. You couldn’t compare the sound of Lana Del Ray to Oasis and that’s why we went with him…and of course he was a good price and has worked with huge acts.
You describe your music as being “indie/rock’n’roll – so who are your biggest musical influences?
I have lots. I love the great rock stars of the late 60’s/70’s from The Who to Hendrix and Bad Company to The Beatles. I also love a lot of Britpop bands, their swagger and the notion of a modernised 60’s. I love lots of different music but if I was to narrow it down and give to you 3 influences, I’d say Stereophonics, Ian Brown (Solo) and Kasabian.
As a singer/songwriter, do you feel it’s important to be involved in the entire creative process?
Well, as I think you have to leave some space for other ideas to flow. Of course be a part of it and you have to 100% believe in it so…yes I do think it’s important
Do you prefer recording in studio, or performing live to an audience?
I enjoy both…I get more nervous in a studio though cause that’s the product you can’t change, once it’s done, it’s done, so you’re making sure it’s exactly how you want it. I enjoy them both though
Who or what first insipred you to write music?
It was my obsession with Jimi Hendrix that made me pick up a guitar…I was fascinated by him until I got to the point when I thought “I can’t just listen to it, I need to be able to play it”. Now of course Jimi is on a different planet compared to me but nevertheless he’s a great idol to look up too. With regards to song writing it would have to be Noel Gallagher, the simplicity of it all yet the result is great. I love that about bands like Oasis/The Beatles/Stereophonics. All their songs are proper songs anyone can relate to regardless of your age. I try to emulate that to some extent.
Have you ever received any useful (or not so useful) advice from other people in the industry?
No matter what, you’ll always get advice that contradicts the advice given before. There is no single formula to making it in the music industry so I suppose the only advice you can go on is ‘enjoy it, work hard, and love your music’. I think one thing I would advise on is belief….100% belief in your music.
What message, if any, do you hope people will take away from “Best Served Loud”?
I don’t mind as long as it’s a positive one. I’ve asked people what they think the songs are about and they have given me completely different views than what the song is actually about. I think that’s great cause at least they’re getting something from it and its making them feel something.
We particularly liked the track, “Not Backing Down” – do you have a favourite from the EP?
I like them all but my favourite is ‘Fight It Alone’. I love the bass line, the harmonies, the cool lower voice on the second verse giving it this Ian Brown feel.
What should we expect from Lawrence Bray in the future?
Well, come Nov 8th I will be back with Tommy (Producer on ‘Best Served Loud’) to start another EP. So keep your eyes and ears open for that.
We look forward to that. Many thanks for speaking to us!
No problem, thank you.
Best Served Loud by Lawrence Bray is available to download on iTunes