Steve Lawson Biography

Steve Lawson – wonky-beat-infused new-age electronica, post-rock, ambient-jazz, solo-bass… It’s a little tricky to pin down what he does, given that, as those hyphenated descriptions begin to tell us,

  • he’s the UK’s most celebrated solo bassist, who spends a lot of his time making very unbasslike noises.
  • He’s an ambient experimenter who likes pop tunes too much to go strictly soundscape, but is way too atmospheric to sit comfortably in the ‘instrumental rock’ category.
  • His electronica leanings produce some amazing hi-tech sounds, but even the beats are played live, and owe more to hip-hop than the usual sources,
  • making the eventual hybrid of jazz, electronica, ambient, new age and ‘new acoustic’ influences infuriatingly hard to pigeonhole.

It may be a deeply uncommercial move to be so diffuse, but Steve’s entire career – whether live or in the studio (and there’s a significant crossover between the two, thanks to Lawson’s focus on live recording) has been an ongoing experiment in making the music that means something to him, and then using the Internet to make that available to like-minded listeners. With over 100 solo and collaborative albums under his belt, there’s a definite ‘Steve Lawson’ sound to just about everything he plays on. Playful yet melancholic, possessed of a naive melodic quality whilst flirting extensively with dissonance and darker timbres to create this soundtrack to the inside of his head. He has through his completely improvised live show gained a formidable reputation as a fearless experimenter, creating music from the most unlikely influences and sonic combinations, taking the audience on an unforgettable journey.


This ‘music first, marketing later’ approach has lead to him being greatly in demand as a writer, thinker and consultant on the present and possible future of the music industries, splitting his teaching time between University and College lectures on looping, improvising and bass techniques and further lecture tours on the sustainability of making the music you love. He also occasionally writes biographies about himself in the third person.


With the twenty one year success of his on-going project to keep making the music that matters to him – and considerable acclaim by press and peers alike – the future looks just fine. When gigs stopped during the pandemic, he continued recording and has released 22 solo  and collaborative albums, most of them exclusively available through his flagship Bandcamp Subscription offering).

Steering into more conventional press bio territory, he was featured on the cover of the October 2015 edition of Bass Guitar Magazine, has received copious radio play from BBC Radio 3 and BBC 6Music, he has played shows with Beardyman, Julie Slick, Jon Thorne, Rob Turner (GoGoPenguin), Jonas Hellborg, Reeves Gabrels & Jason Cooper, Divinity Roxx, Bryan Corbett, Corey Mwamba and Thomas Leeb. He currently writes a monthly column for Bass Player Magazine, and is close to finishing a PhD looking at his audience’s role within the music. And it only gets busier from here… Enjoy the ride.


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I’m happy for this page to be a collaborative effort, so if you wish to add some biographical detail that seems relevant, or a quote of your own to supplement the ones in the box, you can do so in the comments below:

5 Replies to “Steve Lawson Biography”

  1. Not only is he all of the above, surely one of the finest bassists I’ve ever heard, but he is a really decent fellow who is clever, witty and charming. I’m very happy to have met him, and that he returns any of my tweets, because I honestly don’t know how he keeps up with his seemingly ever-expanding on-line universe!

    And as good as his recordings are, you really must catch him live to appreciate the spontaneity of his creations. Oh.. and he has a really cool family.

  2. “He also occasionally writes biographies about himself in the 3rd person…”
    That is a great line!

    Just discovering your stuff. Wow! Very inspiring how you are able to organize all that passion and creativity. Awesome.

    Best from Toronto,

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