After signing with Island Records two years ago, Pete Lawrie has been gaining public accolade with his two previous EPs. Now releasing his third next month, Pete discusses the influences behind his sound and how it's been like touring across the country this year.
CM: Your new EP In The End, is out next month on November 8th. How is it different from your first?
PL: Technically it's our third, because there was one that we released earlier this year but it was a limited release only available in Welsh record shops. That one was quite raw; two of the songs were recorded at home and I guess it was a bit more bluesy. On the second EP, there was some remixes on there and I did a remix myself with a rapper I love from Canada so that one was a bit more experimental with me just having some fun with the music I listen to for fun. So I guess this new one is much more song-orientated. The lead song is In the end.
CM: So this EP is much more radio friendly?
PL: I guess that track is, only in terms of a proper song structure with a verse-chorus and there are strings in it and things like that. So in that way, it has a proper chorus (laughs)
CM: You have said in the past that you get your rich musical heritage from your parents. How have they influenced your music?
PL: Well, they're musicians so when I was growing up, there was always music around as they were practicing and playing. At the weekends to unwind they would listen to what they would call pop music such as Nina Simone and Elton John. I guess in that way they have influenced me, just like how anybody's parents do if they are music lovers as they will have music on.
CM: In terms of artists, what are the major influences behind your music?
PL: I'm obsessed with music; I collect music and listen to music all day every day. The things that creep into my music I'm not sure though. I listen to a bit of everything; quite a lot of hip-hop. I absolutely love Paul Simon and the funkier side of things as well. So I guess the way I try to write lyrics and the instruments I use, they have influenced my music that way.
CM: How important is your Welsh background to you and the production of your music?
PL: I count myself as Welsh, as I grew up and spent the majority of my life in Wales, but I was born in Liverpool, my Mum's Scottish and my Dad's from Manchester (laughs). Also, a lot of the music I listen to is American and has American roots such as blues and folk. There is a lot of major music that comes from Wales; you could call it the land of song, but I don't sing in Welsh so I'm not too sure how much Wales is directly involved in my music.
CM: How long have you been working on the music scene?
PL: It's hard to say really because I got a trumpet when I was ten years old and ever since I have been obsessed with music. I guess writing songs, in the style that you hear them now, it's been about five years.
CM: Have you found it difficult to get commercially recognised?
PL: I'd never say it was difficult because I get to play music every day. I'd say it's was a long process. Like today, we got our first play on Chris Evan's Radio 2 Show this morning so things like that is amazing. Over time, you gradually see more people at the gigs and it's a slow process but I think I'd rather it be a slow process than suddenly have a big song and no one know who you are. I'd like to have a career basically and make a few records.
CM: It becomes important to have that developing process too
PL: Yeh, exactly. As I said, I love Paul Simon and in the middle of his career, he made Graceland which is my favourite record ever, but the production is definitely a departure from his folk records. If you look at people like Bruce Springsteen, he made big band records and then ones with him and just a guitar. I'd hate to be pigeon-holed and I'd like the second record to be different from the first. As long as you stay in it at least.
CM: You're currently touring across the UK, how is that going for you?
PL: I really love touring, I love playing a gig every night so it's been great. We've been playing with Corinne [Bailey Rae] on this current tour, and we're playing with her tonight at the Festival Hall. Her crowd are amazing; they are proper music lovers so they listen and really respect the music. It's been a real pleasure.
CM: How were the big festivals you played such as Isle of Wight and Glastonbury?
PL: We did a really small stage; we didn't play on any of the main stages so I'd love to go back next year and it would be nice to see it gradually grow to a bigger stage and a bigger stage the year after that.
CM: But there must've been a real buzz playing at the festivals though.
PL: It was amazing, yeh. I've been going to festivals since I was tiny so to say you've been playing at Glastonbury was amazing. It was daunting, definitely, but it was also amazing.
CM: Is your full album going to feature any songs from previous EPs or will it be totally new material?
PL: Yeh, there will be a lot of new stuff on there but all the lead tracks from previous EPs will be on the record. It should be out in April-May time next year.
CM: So what can we expect from you from the near future?
PL: I guess, the big record. I really wanted to just make the biggest songs as possible. One day, I will make a more acoustic record or blues record. But for my first record, I just really wanted to make proper songs.
Thanks to Pete Lawrie.