Interview: Lawson Hull Chats Tunes, Travel And His New Track ‘People Don’t Change’
Dreamy pop ahead.
Music 8m

We caught up with Newcastle based singer-songwriter Lawson Hull to find out what inspires his music and what it’s like being a chameleon of genres.

There’s something really soothing about the music of indie/rock artist Lawson Hull, and we’re clearly not the only ones who think so. His tunes have amassed over 200k Spotify streams the since his 2015 debut single ‘Who’s Already Here Belongs’ and seen him steadily begin to build a following around the globe.

The fact that Lawson has dedicated a lot of his time to travelling over the last few years is reflected in his music. Dipping from the wide spectrum of indie, his tracks linked by his powerful vocals and knack for delivering infectiously memorable melodies, shows us that though everything around someone or something can change, the core stays the same.

With an ability to write like this, it’s hard to imagine that Lawson Hull isn’t on the road to becoming a big player in the Australian music scene, though, check out our interview below and you’ll realise that he’s nothing if not a down-to-earth guy who loves playing music:

You’ve released four singles over the last few years, any chance we will be getting an EP or a full length anytime soon?

It’s not something I’ve thought about lately, but I’ve got a nice little catalog of songs coming along that could turn into something in the next six months or so. It could have something to do with having a small budget most of the time, but at this point in time I just want to get each song right and land some traction.

In those four singles, we can hear a broad range of flavours, from folk/blues, to synthy rock, through to big psych jams. What’s the style you most identify with? Where do you see yourself headed musically in the future?

I ask myself this every day! So many sounds and genres are relevant to me at different times and I want to do them all justice. It’s called genre FOMO.

I guess artists are always honing on their style. It’s trying to get that tricky sweet spot of familiarity and novelty. I think I want to stick to the simpler side of songwriting though, and build on tonal taste as I go – solid rock beats, shimmering telecasters and half-arsed lyrics, and just be classy about it. It’d be cool to be in a big old rock band, maybe The War on Drugs, playing sunset-driving, roadtrip-rock. Granduciel’s lyrics aren’t half-arsed though.

You wrote your tune ‘Nine’s Deadline’ in London, tell us how travel has influenced your writing?

Travel makes you want to write about everything at once, and you kind of have this sense of urgency to get it down. Travelling in winter meant my buddy and I were either singing some songs in a local pub or cooped up in the camper van because it was cold. Most of the time my phone’s on airplane mode, no wifi in the van unless we were parked close enough to a McDonald’s, so the downtime meant writing.

Once you’re back home again, you get all nostalgic and miserable because you listened to a Jezabel’s record that shaped your trip and now you’re all soppy and want to write another song or two.

How do you think Australia’s music scene stacks up to those around the world that you’ve witnessed?

90% of what I listen to is Australian. I can’t see life without it. We’re killing it over here and our bands are killing it internationally, too. But on ground level it’s a funny thing – you gotta work hard to get people listening or earn some notice. It definitely feels snobbish sometimes, and this will either contribute to you lacking confidence or hopefully becoming a little more care-free and resilient.

There’s a sense of equality in the Aus scene at the same time. Your mate who’s in some semi-famous act is still your mate. We’re pretty humble I’d say. In North America last year people got pretty hyped up on some of my tunes and it felt great cause they get excited about anything. If I can earn an occasional Aussie nod, I’m happy.

There’s a pessimistic feel lyrically to ‘People Don’t Change’ can you give us some insight into what the tune is about?

Haha. It’s an ironic stab at myself for always making big plans in the new year to make changes. I’ve realised a couple of the songs I’ve written lately are closely based around this theme of me always wanting to change. I guess ‘People Don’t Change’ happened to be the obvious sonic vessel.

I just wanted to write the simplest song possible and that’s what came out. I felt like merging back on the scene with a semi-happy song that didn’t make me look so grumpy. But hey, I had to put some real talk in the track too.

What sort of music were you listening to when you wrote it?

I listened to a lot of Middle Kids, DMA’S, City Calm Down. Just super solid bands. In production there was a bit of Hatchie going on, maybe some Japanese House.

Musically, there’s a dreamy/head in the clouds vibe to your tunes. Is music a form of escapism for you? Or is it something you use as a tool to confront life’s obstacles?

I could be classic and say it’s my escape, which it probably is, it’s just cringe to say. Songwriting definitely makes sense of things I’m not sure about, or helps me turn a page. I don’t what other people do to get away, but whatever’s coming out is real for the most part. Oftentimes it’ll be months or years later when I look back at something I wrote and go, ’oh, that’s why I wrote that’. Nothing’s ever clear in the moment with me.

There’s a lot of great music coming out of Newcastle right now. Why do you think it has become such a nurturing place for up and coming musicians?

I don’t know what it is about Newcastle. I’m originally from Queensland. When I got down here I was like ‘man this place is so nice, but where is everyone?’ Over the years I’ve learnt how utterly underrated it is. It has incredible venues that are really starting to get some good use. It’s a pretty small place, so you have to get to know the people around and get collaborating.

What’s coming up for the rest of 2018?

I’ll give ya another single or two. Oh and there are shows on the way!

Head to Lawson Hull’s website for more info and regular updates.

Words by Harry Webber September 5, 2018
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