Greg Laswell is playing at the Rock & Roll Hotel in DC on May 24 on his first full band headlining tour. We have TWO free tickets to give away to a lucky winner — Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and title your subject “Greg Laswell Ticket Participant: [your name]”. We will choose the winner at random by May 17 and send an email back with the pertinent information. It’s not necessary to win, but follow us on twitter for important updates, as people there will have a chance to win as well.
Greg’s third full length album, Take A Bow, came out May 4. It has already reached #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart and #21 overall. We got a chance to ask Greg a few questions about the new album, his music in general, and his life. Enjoy
KR: When and how did you get into music?
GL: By accident really. I joined choir in High School on a dare from my friends. The joke was on me when I fell in love with singing. At that point I had already been fooling around on my sister’s piano and a year later I wrote my first song called “Friends for Life,” a song about how we were all going to stay in touch after graduation. What’s the saying? Sentiment always ends up drivel? Yeah, it was pretty terrible.
KR: How was Greg Laswell – the artist – created?
GL: I started a small recording studio in my house to record an album for the band that I was in at the time. I absolutely fell in love with producing. It brought out a whole new layer of music in me that up until that time I didn’t know was there. I did a solo album shortly thereafter and never returned to the band.
KR: Who and what are your personal influences (musically and non)? What inspires you?
GL: I remember seeing Gregory Page years ago. There were only 50 or 60 people packed into a little club called Java Joe’s in Ocean Beack, CA. It was the first time I saw him play solo and I was mesmerized. On the way home I told my girlfriend at the time, “that is what I am supposed to do.” That story aside, musical influences are rare for me. I am more inspired after watching a good film than I am by music. And then there’s always the dose of good ol’ fashion pain. A very talented song-writer friend of mine recently asked me my opinion of his music. I told him he needed to get his heart ripped out. If you like writing sad songs, you’ll do much better if you REALLY know your subject matter.
KR: It looks like you’ve had a lot of songs used in TV shows. Was that an easy decision to make?
GL: I’ve been lucky. Yes.
KR: What are your thoughts on the music industry in its current state?
GL: For all the complaints that everyone seems to have so much fun talking about, there are positive aspects too. It’s like the wild west again. People still consume music one way or another. People still come to shows. Luckily it is not my job to figure out how and why.
KR: How do you think Take A Bow differs, or, progresses, from your previous material?
GL: It is the biggest sounding record I have done. Through Toledo reads like an open letter of heartache and I suppose Three Flights from Alto Nido was a sort of Act ll. Take a Bow is slightly more tongue-in-cheek at parts. The songs “Take Everything” and “Lie to Me” are examples of that. The subject matter is broader…. “Let It Ride” is a about my relationship with drinking. “You, Now” is a silly love song. “Take a Bow” is a song that I wrote to myself, strangely enough. The sad songs are still peppered in throughout though…. I mean, I’m not a silly fucking jerk. I think the overall theme of this record is “Oh well what do you know? I’m still standing! We…. are all still standing.”
KR: What specific goals were you looking to achieve with Take A Bow?
GL: That is a personal question and I’d rather not answer it. No, um… I want a lot of people to hear it. Each record of mine has done better than the last. I hope that continues of course. I write very theatrically so I’m excited to see what homes it finds in films.
KR: Name five songs you’ve been into lately and a brief note on each.
GL: 1. “Are We There Yet” by Ingrid Michaelson. This is my favorite song of hers. If you think you know her music, you don’t if you haven’t heard this song.
2. “The Good Doctor” by Brian Wright. Brian is a dear friend of mine. This song is my current favorite off his new record House On Fire.
3. “Duality” by Slipknot. Singer-songwriters have a LOT of hoops to jump through for me to like them. Heavy Metal doesn’t. I don’t know what the hell they are talking about but I don’t care. I like myself some fucking Slipknot.
4. “This is the New Year” by Ian Axel. Just listen to it and try not to like it.
5. And I know it’s not music, but George Carlin’s book on tape, “Brain Droppings.”