What have you been up for the last four years?
I’ve spent most of that time starting a family, I’m a dad now, and I released my own solo record.
Why have you got back together?
It felt like a good time. We did a sold-out gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in 2018 for the anniversary of our first album – so people still wanted Lawson. Our songs were being streamed a million times a month on Spotify even though we hadn’t released anything for four years, so it felt like a good time to go for it.
Had you officially split up?
No. It felt like the right time to step away from the music industry because we weren’t enjoying it as much as when we first started. It also felt like the fans had heard so much of us we should go away for a while and have a little re-think.
Is this a difficult time to be making a comeback? You haven’t been able to do gigs or promote the record as you usually would…
The silver lining is that we’ve brought some joy to our fans – they didn’t expect our new album to happen. It’s more difficult in terms of promotion but we’ve been thinking about things very differently this time. We’re happy to let it grow organically on Spotify. The music world is so different to when we first released – Spotify didn’t even exist then and you needed to do more promotion. We want people to discover it naturally and enjoy the music. Hopefully we’ll tour next year.
Are you looking forward to doing gigs again?
Absolutely — the last time I did live gigs was with Jesse J around a year ago. It’s been a while. I’m still in the studio every day but we haven’t done a live gig for a while.
What have been the most memorable gigs you’ve done?
Playing Wembley Stadium twice in 2013 for the Summertime Ball – we did a 30-minute slot and it was when all our old songs were in the charts. Having that many people sing your songs back to you is unbelievable. We sold out gigs in Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Australia, which was mind-blowing as we’d never been there before. And we toured Australia with Robbie Williams, which was a highlight – he’s just a normal dude who plays Fifa.
What have been the worst?
We did some shockers when we first started. We started as a covers band playing pubs in London. We had a residency in the Clapham North pub in Clapham. We played there all the time. One night a guy who’d had too much to drink threw a pot plant at our drummer and covered him in soil. Our drummer’s car was also broken into that night so we never went back again.
You had liver failure – does that put you at greater risk of coronavirus?
I don’t know. I find myself in really good health so I don’t think so – but you can never be too careful as this is affecting people who don’t have any underlying health conditions. We’re being very careful in our house. I suppose I’ve been unlucky but I’ve also been lucky – I’ve survived the health scares I’ve had with the liver failure and the brain tumour. I just think everyone needs to be super vigilant.
What happened with your liver failure?
I was in hospital for three months, I was on the transplant list as my liver was right on the edge, then they put me on a strong dose of steroids, which saved my life. The doctors never told me why it happened. My theory is I got spiked on a night out but they said it could have been from an allergic reaction. In those days the lads and I were being invited to things and were going out to parties and drinking quite a lot. I don’t know what caused it but I’ve been teetotal now for five years.
The operation to remove your brain tumour left you deaf in one ear — how do you work around that?
I only hear in mono so it’s difficult when we get sent stereo mixes. It’s tough when I’m on stage as, when you use in-ear monitors, you can have certain instruments sent to your right ear and others to your left ear, and I’m not able to use any of that. It’s difficult but I count myself lucky. I was 20 when I had that operation and I’m 32 now — I’ve lived with it for 12 years so just having one ear feels like the norm now.
How has fatherhood changed you?
I don’t feel it’s changed me that much. I feel the same as I did when I was 16. It’s just unbelievable to spend this time with a mini version of myself and I realise how lucky I am. Maybe I’ve grown up a bit but I did that anyway with giving up drinking and getting married. It’s just about giving my son the best life I can as my parents did with me. He’s starting to love music, he’s singing all day.
Is he singing any of your songs?
No, he’s doing Humpty Dumpty, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Old MacDonald Had A Farm. I’ve got guitars and a piano in my studio so I’m sure he’ll be getting stuck into that when he’s older. At the moment he likes banging on his toy piano and drums.
Lovers is out now