Jesse Laz Songwriting Interview
Current City: Jersey City, NJ
Band Affiliation: Locksley
1 of 3 songwriters for the group Locksley.
Our Scattered Words: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Jesse Laz: In the past I would write songs like journal entries. I would start playing (talking about nonsense) until I hit on a theme I was feeling and then I would follow it through. I liked to finish a song in one session. I would always come back and refine lyrics or structure over time but I always felt it was important to have it in an initial ‘finished’ form.
Now, I mostly keep a little theme in my head and just work it over there. It keeps evolving and I add pieces to it here or there as they come to me. But it’s basically all in my head now. I don’t even sing or play an instrument. One of these days I’ll actually lay a couple down.
Our Scattered Words: Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Jesse Laz: I am constantly revising lyrics. I tend to think of a song as a living thing – it’s never really ‘done’ necessarily. Just in it’s current form.
Our Scattered Words: Licensing is huge part of making a living as a band now. Locksely has been very successful with licensing, from TV shows and Hockey teams to Guitar Hero. How do you guys manage that and what are your thoughts on licensing?
Jesse Laz: I’m actively forming them. Our success in licensing appears to be due to the particular kind of music we do. It’s upbeat and accessible. Good shopping music, I guess. I think there is work that is fine to license and work that shouldn’t be licensed. as long as you own your own publishing you always have the control over where it gets used.
Our Scattered Words: “Darling, It’s True” was released as a single by Steven Van Zandt. How did that connection come about?
Jesse Laz: He had played some of our other songs on his Underground Garage radio station (including putting ‘She Does’ on his Coolest Songs of the Year album he releases) so there was familiarity and we wanted to try a 7″, which is his vibe, certainly. One of the B-sides was a cover called ‘There’s a Love’ that is probably the real reason for the deal. He loved our version of that song.
Our Scattered Words: Band relationships can get tense over time, as can relationships with siblings. How have you and Jordan maintained a working relationship through the years?
Jesse Laz: It’s had it’s ups and downs. Like any long term relationship, we just keep communication open and avoid each other in the darker patches.
Our Scattered Words: Tell us about The Locksely secret shows and #WhereIsLocksley hashtag.
Jesse Laz: In time.
Our Scattered Words: What are you most proud of?
Jesse Laz: Broadly, my relationships. I have a number of very intense long term relationships (including with the guys in the band) that have managed to withstand some pretty extraordinary ups and downs. In terms of the songs I’ve written, all of my favorites are unreleased. Of the released songs, I suppose “21st Century” was my strongest. Though “She Does” has received the most coverage of the songs I’ve written.
Our Scattered Words: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Released: Everything’s changing and that’s fine with me.
Unreleased: If I couldn’t see what would colors be, only black to me or colors much more brightly?
Our Scattered Words: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Jesse Laz: Do it a lot. I’ve written so many hundreds of songs I don’t even know about half of them. Plus I’m making up songs everytime I cook breakfast, change my baby’s diaper, take out the trash. If it was socially acceptable, I would sing all of my interactions. “you got an-y ripe avocaaaaaadoos?”
Our Scattered Words: If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Jesse Laz: good question. At this moment I would say ‘Electric Warrior’ by T-Rex because I’m vibing on all of those sounds and would love to know how to make them. ‘White Album’ would have been special. And ‘Thriller’, because it’s Thriller.
Our Scattered Words: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Jesse Laz: Woody Guthrie
All interviews and Bonus Materials, including Jesse Laz, will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.
Bonus materials for Jesse include 3 music videos of songs he’s been enjoying lately.
Stay tuned for an interview with Jesse’s brother, Jordan Laz, coming soon.
Thanks for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words