Lawrence: “Lots of energy, lots of dancing, lots of singing along…” (6/18 at Franklin Music Hall)

Summer vibes will be aplenty this Saturday night in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection when sibling-led soul-poppers Lawrence bring their Sounds of Summer Tour to Franklin...

Summer vibes will be aplenty this Saturday night in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection when sibling-led soul-poppers Lawrence bring their Sounds of Summer Tour to Franklin Music Hall, alongside co-headliners MisterWives and openers Winnetka Bowling League.  The NYC eight-piece band are currently touring behind Hotel TV, which dropped last year and includes “Don’t Lose Sight,” a song which you’ve surely heard, whether you realize it or not.  Earlier this week I got a chance to chat with sister and brother Gracie and Clyde Lawrence about the band’s recent success.

Izzy Cihak: I realize Lawrence has been making music as a group for a while now, but in the past few years you’ve really blown up to pretty crazy proportions. What have been some of the personal highlights of the group for you so far, whether experiences it has afforded you or reactions it’s received.

Gracie Lawrence: We’re so stoked and grateful to be experiencing a lot of excitement around the band right now, especially for our song “Don’t Lose Sight” and its debut onto the Top 40 charts.  Everything that’s happened in the past few months — playing our first Coachella, playing on Jimmy Kimmel, seeing people respond to the “Don’t Lose Sight” acoustic video — all of those things are truly wild and thrilling…  But!  With all of that being said, I think some of the moments that people don’t get to see are just as meaningful. Every night on tour, we stand on stage watching people in the crowd sing along to every lyric of every song off of our first, second, or third album, and that blows my mind. Seeing real people be actually affected by our songs —that’s as good as it gets.

Izzy: This is a super cheesy question, but I always have to ask it of bands that fall into this category: Do you have any favorite sibling acts of music history, aside from yourselves? There seem to be a surprising number of significant ones over a plethora of genres.

Clyde Lawrence: Some of our favorite bands are sibling bands!  The Beach Boys, The Bee-Gees, The Kinks, Oasis, to name just a few.

Izzy: How would you characterize your process of working together, if there even is a “process?” Or does it seem to be ever-changing?

Gracie: The process is different for every song… but usually Clyde or I comes up with something on our own — what we like to call a “nugget” of an idea — and brings it to the other one.  That “nugget” could be a melody, a thematic idea, a chorus, a verse, or an entire song.  It’s nice working with someone you trust, like your sibling, to identify whether that “nugget” has potential, or if it’s not quite hitting home for the other person.  After we work on it together, we bring it to Jordan Cohen and Jonny Koh, who are members of our band, and also our producers, as well as Jon Bellion, who also produced our last album.  From there it’s about identifying what the song really wants to be, or what best works to amplify that “nugget” and all of its potential. And then we bring it to the band to get them to play on it and give feedback… and then you hear it on an album or on tour!

Izzy: I usually try to avoid asking artists about their influences and, instead, ask them about some of their favorite albums.  So, what are some of your favorite albums, whether stuff you grew up loving or stuff you’ve discovered more recently?

Clyde: A lot of the stuff we grew up listening to is still some of our favorite stuff today.  Certainly just about every Beatles album, Songs In The Key of Life by Stevie Wonder, Sail Away by Randy Newman, Tapestry by Carole King, the Hitsville USA Motown Greatest Hits Box Set, East Side Story by Squeeze, Whatever and Ever Amen by Ben Folds Five, and Welcome Interstate Managers by Fountains of Wayne are some that come to mind.

Izzy: Have you noticed patterns in the kinds of people who seem to be most into your music?  You kind of have a retro sound, but it also seems like a lot of young people are into that these days.

Gracie: We definitely do have a lot of young fans and college-age fans, but something I’m really excited about is that we seem to have a pretty diverse audience.  We see people of all different backgrounds, ages, and genders come to the show, and I think it is because we have music that feels old-school in some ways and also new in some ways.  We see a lot of parents bringing their kids to the shows, or kids bringing their parents, or even their grandparents.  As a family band, nothing makes us more excited than seeing an entire family of all generations come out to a show or relate to the music.

Izzy: Hotel TV, which I guess could be considered your “breakthrough album,” has been out for about a year now.  Do you have a particular favorite album track at the moment, whether one you’re most proud of, one that’s especially fun to play live, or one that might signal where your future sounds may be headed?

Clyde: It’s always hard to pin down a favorite song because each of the songs on all of our albums are very special to us and represent something we were thinking about at a particular moment in time. So, depending on my mood, it could be any song!  Certainly “Don’t Lose Sight” comes to mind as a song that I’m proud of, in that it’s managed to reach a lot of people who hadn’t heard us before and act as an introduction to Lawrence that I think is a really good representation of who we are in so many ways. I also am particularly proud of “False Alarms,” a song that (like “Don’t Lose Sight”) talks about our experiences navigating the entertainment industry in a way that’s hopefully relatable to lots of people no matter what industry they’re in.  One thing that makes that one feel extra special is the amazing verse that Jon Bellion contributed to it, which makes me emotional every time I hear it.

Izzy: You’re on the Sounds of Summer Tour with MisterWives and Winnetka Bowling League. How did you all come together?  Are you all having fun on the road together?  I’m a fan of all three acts.

Gracie: We’ve been fans of MisterWives for a while and I think our teams just connected the dots from there!  There’s definitely overlap between us as bands — we both have a high energy set, horns, lots of dancing, and we’re both New York-based — but also a healthy amount of differences in our styles, such that the show, hopefully, feels cohesive but dynamic for the crowds every night.  Beyond being fans of their music, they’re also just really awesome people who we’ve become good friends with.  We’ve loved getting to meet MisterWives fans and hopefully vice versa!

We love Winnetka Bowling League too.  I think I found their music on the internet — that algorithm knows me too well!  I came across them on Spotify or the ‘gram and was really into what they were doing, and then Clyde and I met up with their frontman, Matt Koma, and really hit it off.  We’ve loved hanging with them — they’re so great and we’re lucky they joined us and MisterWives on the road.

Izzy: What can be expected of the live experience when you play Franklin Music Hall? Your live show has quite the reputation.

Clyde: Lots of energy, lots of dancing, lots of singing along, lots of silliness but also some more serious and vulnerable songs.  A mix of some of our favorite songs from all our albums, plus some fun covers.  There will be a giant red button on stage and a bucket full of ballpit balls, both of which will be used during the set.

Izzy: Okay, so this is also kind of cheesy… You have really amazing fashion. What does that draw inspiration from, and is there anything that you especially like to see fans wear out to the shows?  (I feel like people are finally starting to get dressed up again for concerts more so than they have in a long time.)

Gracie: Thank you!!  I love a clothes question.  We try to wear clothes as a band that we feel actually represent us and give you a sense of who we are.  I’d say the look we’ve honed in on is vintage, athletic apparel — or things that feel adjacent to those two key words, “vintage” and “athletic.”  We play music that feels somewhat retro, or vintage, but in a way that we hope feels fresh, and the goal is for our clothes tell that same story.  Also, we needed to wear things that were comfortable and not too hot because of the amount that all of us move around and dance our butts off on stage. Over the years it evolved from athletic apparel that I would mix and match from department stores to vintage shops around NYC, to, now, actually making our own line of Lawrence jerseys that the guys wear every night and sell at the merch table. It’s super fun to see lots of people in the crowd wearing our jerseys too… it feels like our audience is just an extended member of the band.

For me and Clyde, we like to wear things that still feel vintage and athletic, but are slightly different than the jerseys that the guys in our band wear.  Clyde wears a lot of graphic tee-shirts that have TV show references, or board games, or things he’s passionate about and always tops it off with a baseball cap of some kind (he’s probably our biggest baseball fan of the group).  I wear a lot of, mainly, vintage items that are athletic skirts, shorts, and shirts from the 70s or 80s that I spend months searching for before we go on our tours.  At the moment, I like to top everything off with a white or red Gogo boot, because wearing Gogo boots makes me feel better on stage.  Call me crazy, but I think I even sing better with a Gogo boot on.  And pigtails.  The power of fashion.

Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you after this tour wraps? How are you hoping and planning to spend the second half of 2022?  Anything you’re especially excited about?  I know you’re playing a few festivals later this year.

Clyde: We’ve got lots of fun plans for second half of 2022.  Certainly we’re gonna sleep for a while, that’s first on the agenda.  But after that, we’re gonna start working on new Lawrence music, maybe taking some of the recordings from all these tour dates and put out some new live recordings, plus we’ve got some other exciting projects that are sort of Lawrence-adjacent that we’re excited to make more headway on.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.