Shotts Concert – An Interview with Leading Drummer Andrew Lawson

August 9 will see a packed house at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for the annual Worlds Week pipe band concert sponsored by Glasgow Skye Association Pipe Band. Providing the music this year are the legendary Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band under P/M Ryan Canning and Leading Drummer Andrew Lawson. Andrew has given a short interview to Piping Press about the concert, his corps and working with Ryan…..

How is the drum corps shaping up?
The corps is looking very good this season. There was some turnover at the end of last season. It’ll always be tough to see players go but we added some new players and have been putting in a lot of work for the concert and the competition season. There’s still plenty to do before August 9th but everyone’s very excited to be performing on the Concert Hall stage. Only six weeks away!

Shotts drum corps at the British Championships at Paisley earlier this year

Where do you think you are when compared to Shotts corps of the past?
Shotts is a band with a long history of excellence in drumming. It’s a big thing to live up to and it’s difficult to quantify where we are now in comparison.  We finished our first season very well and we’re working to build on that. The attitude of all the members is very much in line with what I’ve been a part of previously in this corps. Everyone works very hard and challenges themselves to always improve and bring their best to the corps.

What would you consider a successful 2017 season to be?
I think putting our best possible performance down in the arena and improving each time we compete is what I would consider a success. As far as results are concerned we want to keep the band as close to the top as possible and challenge for the win. There’s a lot of belief within the band and with all the extra work for the concert we’ll be very well prepared for all of the competitions.

Shotts’ bass and tenor section

Will you be doing anything to make sure there is a good balance between drums and pipes at the ‘Rise’ concert?
We’ll play a limited number of snare drummers per set and we also have a percussion section to give variation to the rhythm side of the show.

Have you been working on new scores for this year?
It’s been a very big year for scores. Everything for the concert is new as well as a competition medley. I’m really enjoying the creative side of the lead drummer role but I can say I am looking forward to a quieter season next year as far as writing scores is concerned.

What do you think of the standard of pipe band drumming in Grade 1 at the moment.
I think Grade 1 has a lot of depth. There are a lot of corps playing very well and I expect that it will be tight.

P/M Ryan Canning on the big screen after the band’s success at the 2015 Worlds

How do you and Ryan go about selecting tunes and working out beatings/ settings/ ensemble effects?
Ryan will start off with an idea or a tune to get things started. He opens up musical ideas to everyone in the band and then fits things together. He’ll send the pipe sergeants and me recordings for opinions and we discuss ideas from there. When things are finalised I start writing scores. Sometimes Ryan has an idea of a rhythmical effect for a part or a break and other times I take it away and see what I come up with. We have a good understanding of each other and naturally play well together, so we are usually on the same page when arranging music.

Get your tickets for the Shotts concert here