The Tour Bus: Soul-Pop Band Lawrence on Van Life and Mobile Recording

June 28, 2017 | by Jon Simmons

Lawrence by John Beard

Clyde and Gracie Lawrence | Photo by John Beard


The Tour Bus is an ongoing series featuring musicians talking about staying creative while touring as well as offering mobile recording tips from the road. Today soul-pop group Lawrence shares their words of wisdom.

Where do you find inspiration for songwriting and creativity on the road?

It’s hard to write while we’re on the road, but there’s no shortage of inspiration. On the surface level, we’re constantly meeting new people, going new places and having new experiences, which provides plenty of material worth writing about. But perhaps more importantly, spending time on the road makes us think about the things that really matter to us and the family and friends that we miss back home.

How have your travels affected your songwriting?

Writing has always been something that we do in our alone time. And since we spend almost all our time in a van with six other people, there’s not tons of alone time. That said, we’re constantly listening to new music in the van, talking about music with the other guys in the band, and seeing other bands perform, which gives us lots of fresh ideas that we don’t necessarily have while we’re home. We have little nuggets of song ideas that we’re constantly bouncing off each other, and it’s always so satisfying to spend some time on an off-day or once we’re home taking all the bits and pieces that we’ve amassed and fleshing them out.

For aspiring musicians who are intimidated by the belief that recording is complicated and time-consuming, what tips would you have to “simplify” the recording process (even if it’s just for demos)? What works for you?

I think the best thing to do is to just always remember what it is that’s good about the song. What is it about that made you like it when you wrote it? Don’t lose sight of that, and make sure that all the decisions you’re making in the studio (and especially if you’re just trying to make a simple demo) are geared towards that.

What mobile recording challenges do you run into on tour, and how do you work around them?

These days, recording on the road is actually pretty easy from a technology standpoint (depending on what you’re trying to do). The challenges are more about lifestyle, like finding the time to record (not to mention a quiet space if you’re doing live sound) and taking enough care of your voice if you’re a singer—to be able to both record and perform without blowing out your voice.

Anything else you’d like to add about staying creative and songwriting/capturing ideas while touring?

Touring is a great time to learn about and experiment with plug-ins or software features that you’re not as familiar with. We have tons of free time while we’re on the road from city to city, so we spend lots of hours just messing around in the van with mixing ideas or effects so that by the time we get back into a proper studio setting, we’ve got some new tricks up our sleeve.

Catch Lawrence on tour.

Be ready to record your song ideas wherever you are. Download the Spire app, a free, multi-track recording app for iPhone.