Joel Peat from Lawson

Joel Peat from Lawson

Lawson have enjoyed a pretty spectacular rise to success over the last couple of years, their debut album reached number three in late 2012 and since then they’ve managed to split their time between touring and producing a much anticipated second album. Fortunately for us, lead guitarist Joel Peat found enough time in his hyper-busy schedule to talk to us about playing the Troubadour, never selling your gear, and literally working his fingers to the bone…


MPS
It must have been a pretty crazy couple of years since the release of Chapman Square, what are you focusing on at the moment?


JP
We had a lot of fun touring that album, got to see some amazing places and played some really unforgettable shows! But recently we’ve been focusing on album two. We’ve been writing it pretty much since the release of the last album and we have been lucky enough to record it at Nashville Blackbird Studios. The studio was incredible and John McBride was kind enough to let us use all the amazing gear he’s collected over the years, such as a ’44 Martin 000-28 or his ’56 Strat through a Dumble amp… It really was the best musical experience of my life so far


MPS
What kind of work do you get the most satisfaction out of?


JP
Playing shows has the most instant satisfaction, it’s what all the other stuff leads up to and what we like to think has been the strongest part of the band for the past six years or so! But following on from what I was saying before, I feel like we learned so much from recording this album. Our producer John Fields allowed us to really play on this one, it was more about channelling individual influences and making great music that we loved. The satisfaction we got from listening back to the songs after a day of really pouring everything into them was like nothing else. It showed us how much we’ve come on as a band and it really feels like a true representation of Lawson… just can’t wait for everyone to hear it!


MPS
You’ve played some pretty iconic venues; the Bowery Ballroom, The Troubador, not to mention the Isle or Wight. Can you pick out a favourite?


JP
I think the Troubadour was a big one, I’d read about the venue in the stories of bands such as The Eagles and GnR, it was truly an honour to play there and the Bowery was a great gig too, the first John Mayer Trio gigs I’d seen online were there and I’d always wanted to play it. But I think my favourite gig was in my hometown of Nottingham. We played Rock City, which was where I went to see all my favourite bands growing up. Everything seemed to come together, the crowd was probably the best of the tour, we sold it out and all my family and friends were there supporting us


MPS
Who do you count among your musical influences?


JP
John Mayer is a massive influence for me, he came into the spotlight just as I was really getting into guitar at about 11 years old. I needed someone current that I could really latch onto and he was just that. I was fortunate enough to grow up listening to bands like The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac and my uncle used to get me to learn GnR songs and anything off Metallica’s ‘Black Album’, so it was pretty varied. I think Andy Summers, Mike Einziger and John Butler have been a big part too.


MPS
If you could go back to any musical era what would it be?


JP
Probably the mid 70s, just as the Eagles released ‘One of these Nights’ and Fleetwood Mac released their self-titled album. Those albums are timeless. I feel like I would’ve been in my element then, it was a great time for guitar!


MPS
What was your first guitar?


JP
I had a Westfield copy of a Strat, the fret wire was too long and it used to cut my fingers! It was pretty painful but I soldiered through, Ha ha! It’s still in my loft!


MPS
What guitar(s) are you playing at the moment?


JP
The past two years I’ve toured mainly ES335’s, I used a ’59 335 on the first album (not mine!!) I had no experience of vintage guitars so didn’t really understand what I was using, but I kept going back to it. It was coil tapped and cleaned up in a really special way. Obviously I couldn’t get the real thing so I got the dot reissue and the Bonamassa signature… which I love even more. Recently I’ve been playing Duesenbergs, they’re amazing guitars and so versatile!


MPS
Tell us about your Big Sky and Lex, what made you chose them?


JP
I added the Big Sky to my board having had the Blue Sky on there for a really long time. Once hearing all the extra reverbs on there and how much you could modify them, I was in! When we were out recording the album I found myself plugging into a Leslie speaker on pretty much every song. I fell in love with the sound and the way that through using the Trek pedal I could change the rotor speed whilst playing. The Lex was the pedal that captured this perfectly and sounded most like the real thing.


MPS
What else do you have on your pedalboard?


JP
I also have the Timeline and El Cap on there, I’ve used them on both albums and it was actually our first producer, John Shanks, who got me into them. Overdrive-wise I have an original Nobles ODR1 which is ace for lead tone, and then I use the new model, ODR, for rhythm. The original just seems to boost the lower mids more. I also have the Klon Centaur and a Blues Breaker. The Analogman Juicer is on there for all the Steely Dan tones and an Adrenalinn for when things get weird.


MPS
Is there anything you have parted with that you really miss?


JP
I had a guitar teacher a while back who always regretted getting rid of a ’69 Deluxe Les Paul because he needed the cash at the time and his advice to me was “never give anything up unless you absolutely have to”. It was only recently, I played one and realised why he felt that way! So I haven’t parted with anything really and hopefully wont have to!


MPS
Can you think of anything that really changed things for you, and why?


JP
I guess pedals in general to be honest, I think everyone’s guilty of becoming a little obsessed. It just opened up a whole new world for me. People always say that your sound is in your fingers and I do agree with that to an extent but it’s also in your ear, fiddling with things and fine tuning them to suit your ear is a massive part of what you sound like as a player. I always play better if my sound is right and I’m comfortable with it.


MPS

Is there any advice you can offer to people starting out on their musical journeys?


JP
I’d say just document everything, I always said I’d do it and I have to an extent but not as much as I’d want to. Whether it’s getting a friend to follow you to gigs or just taking a flip-cam around, it’s definitely worth it!



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