Unlike many musicians with a hectic tour, British pop rock band Lawson like to spend time getting to know each city they play in.
In Hong Kong, the quartet – vocalist and guitarist Andy Brown, Joel Peat on guitar, bassist Ryan Fletcher and drummer Adam Pitts – had dim sum with fans at Lin Heung Tea House, ate street food with local YouTuber Hana Tam, and took the MTR, taxis and Star Ferry.
On National Day, they watched the fireworks display from the rooftop of a mall in Tsim Sha Tsui. Brown even had his fortune told at the Wong Tai Sin temple.
“It said that we’ve been on a rocky road, been lost at sea, and now we’re heading towards paradise. But there is going to be competition,” says Brown, raising his eyebrows in warning.
Released three years ago, Lawson’s debut
“You know what? Every day when I wake up I look in the mirror, and I tell my reflection, ‘You’re my competition. Do not stop me today!’” Brown tells
He’s only half joking. At just 28 years old, Brown has knocked twice on death’s door.
When he was a 19-year-old computer science student, he had a brain tumour. It was successfully removed, but left him deaf in the right ear. Brown remained grateful, and named the band after the doctor that saved him. And then in March last year, he had liver failure.
It all happened very quickly. “We did a gig in
“I was this colour,” says Brown, holding up a banana. He suspected his drink had been spiked on a night out, and doctors said he might need a transplant. However, he avoided surgery and eventually recovered in hospital.
With their worries behind them, the band has learned if Brown doesn’t show up for dinner, then there’s something wrong with him.
While they had to postpone the release of their second album, Brown’s illness inspired several new songs oozing with optimism. We Are Kings, Under the Sun, and Mountains are energetic bangers that speak of revolution and change.
“We have paid our dues/we have earned our stripes...And now our victory is written on the wall” Brown sings on We Are Kings.
Performing the songs in Central’s Apple store on National Day, the band was surprised to learn they had a large fan base in
“We love those intimate gigs. It’s personal; you’re seeing into everyone’s eyes, like you’re singing to them,” says Brown.
As their popularity grows, the band tries to keep a clear head by going to trusted sources for criticism. One of these people is Brown’s father, who was the band’s tour manager in their early days and drove them to their gigs. It’s a two-way deal, says Brown: Dad gets his say on the music, the band can criticise the breakfasts he makes.
“He’s just honest,” says Brown. “I find it’s the best way to get better.”
Onstage, the bandmates make fun of each other’s mistakes. “If you ever hear anybody get introduced at one of our gigs, it usually means that person has recently messed up,” says Fletcher.
“Andy probably messes up more than any of us, but he’s the frontman, so we can’t introduce him!