Interview: 13th Law

13th Law

Recently I was able to catch up with Evan Lawrence, better known as 13th Law, to ask him the details behind his great new summer single “It’s Alright.” In the interview, this talented artist opened up about his music upbringing, he explained the differences in writing for Babyfang versus his solo project, as well as what fans can be on the lookout for as the year unfolds. 13th Law’s latest single, “LightRun” is out now wherever you stream your music.

Thank you for your time today! Let’s first talk about your new single called “It’s Alright.” The song tackles the theme of financial abuse and yet there are moments of reflection on your self-growth. What went into the writing process for this one?

Thanks for having me! Really grateful to have this platform. The writing process for this was honestly pretty sunset based. I say to paint the picture of those days you’re seeing a gorgeous departure of one of earth’s life givers; and memories good and bad start to flood your brain. The good ones come and began the playback and the bad ones sneak in there. I think it’s important to acknowledge the duality of things and sometimes end up pondering a bit too much on it. And this song is kind of an example of doing that and being, sort of vague but to the point also. The weight of society can cause of lot shitty situations as we’ve known since 7600BCE. So this song is more accurately a tribute to painting those memories (bad images) and surrounding them with flowers to ask a question that a portion of ourselves ask every day.

I understand you play in the band Babyfang that I also wrote the review about for In The Face Of. What do you find to be the major differences in your solo project for 13th Law, versus writing for Babyfang?

Shout out water gang! Shout out Babyfang! That’s me sending virtual love. But yes! We really appreciated that review. It felt really cool to hear someone say that we give “Beach Boy harmonies.” We appreciated the thoughtfulness in your checking out of the album! But generally I’d say that the major difference in between the two, are the sheer collaborative efforts we make to make the writing process smoother, whether that means jamming together or just hanging out and writing lyrics because one of us has to get on a plane soon so we gotta get it done! Generally though the songs in BF are done in a jamming way that then gets worked on. For 13th Law, it’s just me generally. And when I make songs I like to do whatever I can to make it sound like a coming of age film. Lol, or like a Sci-Fi or Anime film. Sometimes I like to work with producers but normally there’s only a few that I do that with to create songs that I actually use. Shoutout to: Muddi, ScottyWhite, Canteen Killa, & JRed.

How would you describe your music background and how do you feel that has influenced your playing style?

I will attempt to describe my musical background in a few different ways in order to efficiently convey the many sides of myself. <Clears throat> The first is as if I didn’t have a lot of time to explain and if we were in a real life, semi passing conversation: basically I consider myself an church reject Emo Jazz Boi saved by the love of Jazz Fusion & Alternative rock. It gives a good quick way into quickly wondering what I could mean by this which is that: I did not grow up playing music in church. My father plays bass and my family was very active in church, but my whole life I wanted to play guitar and by high school, bass naturally fell into my life in an academic studious jazz educational way <due to the high school I attended in Astoria, Queens, founded by Tony Bennett (Rip)> & whilst finding out about the jazz world; I continued practicing song writing and exploring different kinds of sounds with my continued independent guitar study. Mostly through the vessels of Jazz Fusion, alternative/indie/emo/math rock, Japanese rock, Djent, Jazz (proper), with a tinge of RnB n soul and funk and gospel via my parents. <In that order!>

Now in terms of my playing style. That’s a fun question because I sometimes find it difficult to place myself in one given sound playing wise. Having played in my own bands but also playing with a LOT of other people…It’s super interesting because I get to reinforce those principles I grew up with (sub)consciously while playing other peoples songs. I love low end in the bass. Like reallllly love the low end. I love catchy bass lines. I love when they punch hard and their presence is felt. I love slap bass too! And even a teeeeeny bit of tapping. And I absolutely LOVE a good driving bass line. When it comes to my own music I definitely take a more unrestrained approach in those regards. I’ll keep all of those things in my head but try to make them my own. Like literally my own. Mixing slap bass with emo rock isn’t unheard of at this point but to me it’s about a few things: Is this audience member or listener or mostly me (at first) going to go “ooo what was that” upon hearing it? Or smile a bit during their run up Riverside park? Will it absolutely smack super hard in hand with the drums? And when it does, is there also something in the cut deep back there that’s pushing these sounds to the front of the cage of the listeners mind? Can I shred on this? Should I shred on this? Will it be pointless?

I don’t know…sometimes it’s a lot lol. But! I will say for sure I aim to be hyper-identifiable in my sound as an artist, bassist and musician everytime I go to work on something whether it’s in the studio or on the stage: it’s fun discovering and reinforcing my own sound. I guess that wasn’t really a short way of describing it, but in a way it kind of is! haha

I think I read that you are a big fan of Radiohead. I’m also a fan of them, and I’m curious about which of their records were your favorite? Are there certain attributes you bring into your own writing based on this influence?

I love this question, it makes me feel like we’re conversing in real time when I see questions like this come into the fray! Haha To be honest my favorite two are: The Bends & of course one of [everyone’s] top three: In Rainbows. I love the anthemic rock route they leaned into on the bends, it’s definitely my number one favorite after I look back and think on it. Songs like “Just” and “My Iron Lung” have feelings in them that I definitely like to be in the room when I’m working on different songs. I think the rest of the EP will give better examples of this, [as well as the not so rumored follow up to this EP due for 2024, haha] but generally they’re one of my favorite bands so naturally their influence comes out a bit. Generally speaking too: the attention to multi-world-scaping parts swirling around each other is always a fun attribute to play with in a majority of the songs I write.

Your next single, called “LightRun” will be out next month. What do you hope people who check out your music will take away from listening to it?

Hmmm, honestly I just hope they get a sense of enjoyment out of it. A feeling, a whisper of wind in their ear and a tickle on their forehead kinda feeling. When I’m tinkering at home or in a studio with the hopes of creating something: I truly envision people listening to these songs and getting a familiar sense of nostalgia, satisfaction via knocking bass lines and most importantly the energy from the hypno-bag I get into when I write parts! And mostly and lastly, my voice is an extension of the soundscape of the songs. Something that’s obvious to all music listeners but only attained by like 49% of music where the vocals aren’t the NUMBER ONE focus. Though it’s extremely fun to train my voice, try new things for the songs that feel appropriate. But aside from the vocal point thing…each song I make will always be their own movie. I don’t want to ever feel confined by the boxes capitalistic music ventures have coldly created in order to sell harder. This music in its essence is water. The water we drink when we’re personally parched. The water we drink when the world is scarce. The water we reluctantly drink when we hydrate for the sake of hydration. The water after a slice of cake. Before or after a bowl of fruits and charcuterie boards. Ever changing only to its confines and sometimes even then. Still, unrestrained.

What are some of the projects you’re currently working on for the rest of 2023 and beyond? What should fans be on the lookout for?

Hmmmm…Definitely look out for the full record sometime next year, hehehe. Working on an all rap EP full of Indie Drill Rock….indie rock drill? The new Babyfang jawnnn too! We’re writing so we’ll prolly drop something next year or the year after. Some other things too but really can’t mention them yet! Til next time!