This is my interview with Issac Stryker (left, keys) and Shane Lawlor (right, vocals/guitar) of the band Electric Touch at their show in Cleveland, OH on April 18th, 2012. Pictured as well is guitarist Christopher Leigh (2nd from right). They are a wonderful and friendly group of guys and it was great to be able to meet them. Here are links to their videos for “Don’t Stop”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-z3GZaF9kE and “Magnetic”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxEyCQtmBQo.
CHECK THIS INTERVIEW OUT ON OUR NEW SITE: http://www.jbrinlinginterviews.com/
First off, how are you?
Shane Lawlor: Fantastic and wonderful! It’s great to be in Cleveland. I love it here. We’ve been here a few times before and it’s a great and beautiful city. I was actually able to walk around earlier and see how pretty it is. There are lovely people as well, very friendly people. So it’s nice to be back.
Are you guys enjoying this tour?
SL: I love it. It’s brilliant. Every day is like a dream come true really because we’re playing sold out shows and everyone else on the tour, Hot Chelle Rae are lovely fellas and they are so talented, so it’s great for us to be inspired by them. Plus, being able to travel the country in bus and playing our music, on our album which just came out a few weeks ago, it’s been a great year.
You mention your album, what has the response been like from that?
SL: It’s been really, really positive and we’re really pleased because we’ve worked really hard on it and really put our heart and soul into it and it’s our major label debut so it’s a really important one. So to have people really digging it and coming out to the shows and showing their appreciation on Facebook and what not, I think we did good. But we’re not satisfied (laughs) we’re going to work just as hard for our next one and we’re definitely really happy with the reception.
Along with the new album, Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney posted a link to your album when it came out. Was it strange to hear that artists like that from an entirely different genre loved your stuff?
SL: It’s wonderful. It’s just so strange and surreal because both of them are huge stars but it’s wonderful because we wanted to make music that connects with people, not a certain demographic or genre, just people that enjoy music, and we want to play shows to those people that like to have fun and see rock n’ roll. So it’s great when people are so talented like them say they love it. It’s lovely and even the average person on the street saying they love it is lovely too. It’s great to have support like that from legends really.
When you prepare to go on tour, what is the one none instrument item that you can’t leave without?
SL: There’s a few. Lots of socks (laughs). I won’t go anywhere without my iPad and laptop to keep in touch with home and fans. Some good books. We’ve been doing it for awhile now, a few years, so we think we’re prepared for everything that comes but there’s always something. There’s lots of things to keep you busy for the hours on the road when you’re not playing.
So you are from the U.K. and the rest of the band is from Austin, TX. They’ve have all played shows now where they’ve been to high school. Do you plan to do the same?
SL: Well they tore my high school down actually, says a lot about my high school (laughs). But no we have not been back at all as Electric Touch but I’d love to. I think later on in the year we’re going to go back, at least we’re hoping to because I think the music is very universal because it talks about real things that people go through no matter where they live. It’s the human condition and love that we talk about but there’s certainly an English vibe in there because I’m the singer or that I write the words. I’d love to see how it would go over there, I really would.
What’s your must have food on tour?
SL: You know I really like to eat what’s local, like the special cuisine to that place. Around this area, I’ve seen there are lots of corn beef sandwiches and gyros. But really I don’t bring anything special with me other than whatever is on the road that’s local, we like to try. Really when we’re at home, we eat the same thing and do the same thing so it’s nice when you’re on the road to experience new things.
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
(Issac Stryker joins the interview)
SL: Yes, practice, practice, practice. Never give up and never look back. Always be positive and surround yourself with positive people that inspire you. Follow your heart and follow your dreams because dreams do come true if you believe in them hard enough.
Issac Stryker: That’s perfect advice bud.
If you could give yourself advice 5 years ago, what would you say?
IS: I’d say ‘you don’t know s**t.’
SL: I’d probably give the same advice for aspiring musicians because even when you do it, sometimes you’ll get down. So I’d tell myself ‘follow your heart’ and ‘you’re on the right path.’ Just even somehow working harder or trying harder. I’d probably tell myself the winning sports teams for the past three or four years as well, get a few dollars on that (laughs).
When and where was the first time you heard one of your own songs on radio and what was that experience like?
SL: It’s an amazing experience. I was in the car in Austin, TX when it came on. It was about four years ago and it’s mind blowing really and you have to pat yourself on the back because it’s always something you’ve been trying to do and when it does happen, it’s very surreal. But it just makes you hungry for more really.
The band’s mission statement is “Tales of Ordinary Life in Glorious Technicolor,” why did you choose that?
SL: Because we like to write songs about things that are real and we don’t like to just make up a bunch of nonsense singing about what we don’t know. Ultimately, we want people to connect with it. We all live in the real life so that’s what we focus on and there is no better drama than that really. We’re a rock n’ roll band and it’s a lot of fun with big sounding drums and guitars and solos along with just jumping around on stage. The ordinary made us special and the mundane is really exceptional and extraordinary so that’s why we chose the statement because we want to talk with people and connect so that’s what we write about.
What bands or artists have influenced you most?
SL: Beatles, Stones, and The Kinks. We like a lot of modern stuff like The Strokes and that stuff too but certainly the vibe of the band comes from the classics and just trying to regenerate it for the 21st century.
If you could co-write with anyone, who would it be and why?
SL: John Lennon. It seemed to be so effortless for him and I love that. I spent many, many years just mimicking him and so it’d be nice to actually write with him.
IS: I always talk about wanting to work with Ric Ocasek. I just think that’d be really great between all the work he did with The Cars was amazing but I also recently found out he produced Weezer’s first record which is amazing. I just think everything he touches is really special.
What concert have you been to that changed your life?
IS: For me, seeing Muse live, I’ve seen them three times now but the first time I saw them, I just could not believe what I was seeing between the amount of musicianship, what they were able to do on stage, and the sound coming out. The first time was also less than 2,000 people in an auditorium and you literally could not believe what was happening. It was just incredible. Then I saw them at a festival and with the light show and music, it’s incredible.
SL: I saw Chuck Berry when I was really, really young and that was weird because I was so close to a hero and that was the first record I ever bought, by Chuck Berry. It was really the reason I started playing music and picked up a guitar. When I saw him, he was completely out of it, he really was. He was messy but being that close to a legend just showed that it is attainable and that he puts his shoes on the same way as everybody else. He’s not perfect or god-like, he’s just a regular guy with an amazing gift that spoke to me and at a young age, that made me want to pick up a guitar and play. I was definitely hopping around my bedroom impersonating him before I even learned a chord (laughs).
What was the festival circuit like for you guys last year? At the time, your album wasn’t even out yet.
SL: It was wild and crazy. I mean it’s extremely fortunate for us to be doing it, I don’t forget that for a minute. To us though, it’s just like every show, whether it’s 10 people or 10,000 people, we go through the same emotions when we play the songs but just on a grander scale. It’s just a little different because there’s no time to settle and treat it like a normal show but it’s really important with the thousands of people there. So you just revel in it and the moment your foot touches the stage, you just have to forget everything else and go for it. It’s also a great way to meet people from all over.
IS: It attracts so many people from so many different places, just the environment surrounding it of not knowing who you’ll run in to, and seeing all of these bands that have inspired you, it’s really fantastic.
Do you have a favorite song to play live?
SL: All of them really, for me. I love them all but “Dominos” holds a special place in my heart and I definitely like doing that one.
IS: That one’s great and “Do It Again” and “All the Love” are exciting for me. There are just so many ups and downs in a set so you get to experience multiple things.
Favorite place to play?
SL: Right now, it’s Cleveland. Every place is great though because growing up, you always dream of playing in front of people that want to hear you so I’m really not making it up. Every single night gives me the best feeling because we just get to do it. So right now, I’m looking forward to this show more than any other. The album is called Never Look Back and that’s what we do, we are always looking forward. Cleveland House of Blues, it’s on.
Who is your favorite band or artist that you’ve toured with?
SL: Hot Chelle Rae. They’re awesome. All the bands we’ve played with have been great. Evanescence are wonderful, The Fratellis are great, The Airborne Toxic Event were great, it was incredible to play with Bon Jovi, it’s all great. Honestly, it feels like home with the Hot Chelle Rae guys. They’re really talented and really, really friendly and we get along with them really well and it’s just nice and pleasurable.
IS: We’ve done like 30-40 dates with them now and I can tell you that I know almost every lyric to every song they play and it doesn’t get annoying. Even “Tonight, Tonight” which is on the radio all the time, it just doesn’t get old.
SL: I heard round the corner when I was just getting breakfast this morning (laughs).
IS: We love playing with them and hopefully we can continue to.
What’s your greatest memory as a band so far?
SL: Getting signed to Island Records was extremely vindicating. It just an incredible feeling. That was something that made me feel like we had really done something and we were about to hit the big leagues. That moment will stay with me forever.
IS: For me, Lollapalooza, I don’t know why but playing there the first time in Chicago, there was something really special about that.
What are your plans for future?
SL: Touring, we’ll be on the road quite a lot with promoting the album. We’ll be writing and recording the next one. We really want to be an arena band and the biggest in the world, that’s our aim and goal. We just have a lot of fun on stage and take the crowd for a roller coaster ride with us so just more of that, more of the same. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. We love what we do, we want to keep doing it, and we want to do it in front of more people. So, the future is definitely unknown and definitely unwritten but I think it’s going to be a good one and a good story.