Steve Lawson Biography:

“Britain’s most innovative bassist, no contest” – so says Bass Guitar Magazine of solo bassist and improvisor Steve Lawson. Twenty years, countless gigs, seventy albums, hundreds of collaborations…Lawson’s musical journey is full of unlikely measures. Lauded by press and public alike, Steve’s otherworldly cinematic soundscapes, improvised live with nothing but a 6-string bass guitar, an MPC-style MIDI controller and a bewildering array of pedals have helped make him the most celebrated solo bassist in the UK and one of the most prolific recording artists around.

Through touring the world as solo artist, sideman and clinician/educator, and across a staggering seventy solo and collaborative releases in the last two decades, Lawson has built an uncommonly dedicated following for his particular brand of melodic, ambient, wonky electronica. Audiences are drawn in by his friendly, warm stage presence, and left spellbound by the ECM-meets-Stones Throw vibe of his captivating, all-improv solo and duo performances.

Having recognised many years ago that the streaming economy offers nothing for the sustainability of niche artists, Steve’s pioneering Bandcamp subscription offering serves as, in his words, ‘an ever-expanding digital box set’ – releasing upwards of ten albums a year exclusively to his subscriber community, and complimenting those releases with a rich narrative that follows the process of making them.

“I still release albums publicly a couple of times a year,” explains Lawson, “but the unfolding nature of the subscription suits me so much better. My interest in the album as a standalone product is now secondary to my curiosity about seeing recordings as documentary episodes – still mixed and mastered and presented with the aesthetic framing of an album, but understood as part of a continuum that can’t be fully understood in isolation.” The steady growth of his community of subscribers bears out the suitability of this theory well.

“It flies in the face of all the advice given about music in the digital age, to avoid the most popular platforms and actively steer away from the possibility of a viral hit,” he continues, “but the sustainability of the music is the vitality at the centre of the project, not just a bunch of notes that exist to try and make money. This way I get to make the music I care about for people who are happy to talk to me about their experience of it, and to body-swerve most of the toxic nonsense that goes with being over-exposed.” Despite all this, Steve has graced to cover of Bass Guitar Magazine (in Oct 2015) and the pages of numerous other magazines and newspapers. His music has also been regularly played on BBC Radio 3, 6Music and numerous stations across Europe and the US.

Along side Lawson’s solo work, his creative restlessness results in collaborations on stage and in the studio with a wide range of notable musicians. Recent collaborators include Divinity Roxx, Beardyman, Reeves Gabrels, Jason Cooper (The Cure), Andy Gangadeen, Bryan Corbett, Andy Edwards, Emre Ramazanoglu, Mike Outram, Jon Thorne (Lamb), Rob Turner (GoGo Penguin), Jem Godfrey (Frost*), Tanya Donelly, Briana Corrigan, Mark Kelly (Marillion), Roy Dodds (Fairground Attraction) and more…. Whether improvising, song-writing or playing bass as God and Leo Fender intended, Steve’s desire to bring meaning and infectious enthusiasm to any project has him strongly in demand for all manner of projects. In between all the music making, he somehow finds time to give regular masterclasses at universities across the UK and Europe, and is working on a PhD, exploring the audience experience of his improvised music, due for completion in 2021.

No less a luminary than Victor Wooten once commented “Steve Lawson is a brilliant musician. I’ve known about him and listened to him for many years. He may not be one of the most famous bassists but he is definitely one of the most talented” – who are we to argue?

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