Jesse Lawson is a singer/songwriter and musician primarily known for being a guitarist and songwriter during the early-era’s of Sleeping With Sirens, a group that has gone on to earn worldwide success. Lawson decided to part ways with the band in 2013 “to focus on family and [his] next musical venture.” Since leaving the band, he has released several solo efforts and has been busy being a dad, but as his kids continue to grow, he is now ready to return to the music spotlight.
Earlier this month, the ex-Sleeping With Sirens guitarist launched his brand new project, The Band Lemon, and he just released his debut single “Love You” on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14). We recently sat down with Lawson to discuss his new project, the debut single “Love You,” what he’s been up to since leaving Sleeping With Sirens in 2013, inspiration from The 1975 and much more.
You can read the full Q&A below.
Since leaving Sleeping With Sirens in 2013, what have you been up to?
I’ve been really busy becoming an old man. I guess fatherhood will do that to you!
I know you had children, released solo music and now have started a new band called The Band Lemon. Can you tell us how you balance fatherhood with writing and recording music?
Man, Dad’s guilt is real- so it’s been really nice to be home so much. I think the best decision was to build a home studio, so they get to be a big part of the entire process. It makes my time in the studio so much more flexible. I can dip in and out between loads of laundry! My girls keep me humble and it’s the best feeling in the world to see them starting to fall in love with creating music. They love to sing, write songs about kitties and rainbows and we just got them their own acoustic and electric guitars so they can jam out with me now!
How would you say your solo material differs from when you were writing and recording music with Sleeping With Sirens?
Ah Sirens was a good time! I learned so much from being with those guys. Back then I was at a very different stage of my life. Sirens gave me so much. But leaving the spotlight, having children and facing some of life’s challenges, changes you. So naturally, my songwriting has grown, evolved and changed directions as I’ve grown.
What inspired you to start The Band Lemon and is there any significant meaning behind the bands name?
My heart was pulling me in a new direction musically for quite some time. After Sirens, I got stuck in a negative personal space where I felt compelled to go down a road that I didn’t feel truly aligned with. Something felt off but I succumbed to doing it because I thought that was “expected” of me. I think I did my fans a disservice because my music was lacking my whole heart behind it. No one can fully deliver when they feel forced. And that is translated into the music and something I don’t think you can hide. With this project, everything feels different. It’s my baby. I feel whole heartedly behind it. I’ve obsessively worked on it. And I’m proud of it. As far as the name goes: I’ve always been a bit of a lemon so I may as well embrace it!
You recently released the band’s debut single “LOVE YOU,” can you tell us about the recording process, what inspired the song’s meaning and what was it like creating music during quarantine?
The song is about falling in love and accepting someone for exactly who they are and where they’re at in life. We are all broken or have been broken at some point but when you find your person who is willing to help you, fight your battles with you, and love you through putting yourself back together, I think that’s really what love is about. Superglue. Chezlani is my superglue.
The song gives me real The 1975 vibes, reminiscent of their song “Chocolate,” did that band bring any inspiration to your new project?
Absolutely. Matt Healy is an incredible songwriter. His hooks are so catchy, they just won’t leave you alone and Adam Hann’s guitar parts are so raw, yet simple. I love the contrast. I think that they’ve mastered what modern pop rock is and they’ve set the bar for the rest of us.
You recorded the entire song on your iPad by yourself with minimal help other than from your wife and your drummer friend, Michael Farina, can you tell us more about that?
Yeah, you know we were stuck at home with the rest of the country watching 2020 happen, and as an artist you have to keep creating to tame your beasts. We were set to get in a studio to record but the pandemic put a halt on everything. The iPad really is an incredible piece of equipment so I became obsessed with finding a way to record a professional sounding project from one. I consumed myself with learning, reached out to peers for advice, had many failures but just kept working at it.
When it came time to recording, Chezlani engineered the whole project. I feel lucky because she’s spent time recording in studios before so although we went through learning curves with the equipment she had the passion and vision to stick through it until we were happy with the outcome.
There were a few tracks that I wanted live drums on, so I hit up Mike and asked him if he’d be interested in working on some songs. He’s a sick drummer who I’ve always really respected and he’s an overall stand up dude so I was totally honored when he agreed to play on the tracks.
You wrote this track alongside your wife, Chezlani, can you tell us about that and what the experience was like writing with your wife?
Songwriting & recording is such a vulnerable experience, so it was much less stressful to have my wife alongside me. We’ve been working together for the past 5 yrs so the whole “work with your wife” dynamic is well ironed out. She’s not afraid to tell it like it is, so that saves a lot of time when we’re in the studio. I think in the past others have had to deal with my ego but Chezlani won’t have any of that. She’s pretty great at putting me in my place when I need it and reminding me that I’m not that cool. She’s a very creative, artistic person also. Having her influence on this project was a fundamental element of its outcome. She grew up in the industry and was greatly influenced by music by her parents who worked at A&M in the U.K. at the height of the Punk Rock scene. Her dad is a songwriter and her mother is a published writer so words come naturally to her….except for her version of describing sounds. I’m pretty sure she’s created an entirely new language but by now I’m pretty good at understanding her when she says, let’s add some duh duh duhs or waaaaamp woooomps!
Will this debut single appear on a forthcoming EP or album?
Yes, over the next few months I’ll be dropping more singles leading up to the EPs release in the Summer.
Anything else you would like to add and tell fans about what you’ve been working on and where can fans find you online?
I’m so thankful to my fans that have stuck by me from the beginning. They’ve been alongside me through this long, wild journey. I’m excited to share this new song and this project with them and to deliver some dope new music which I hope they love.
What can fans expect from The Band Lemon in the near future? Working on anything fun?
We just started writing the next EP.