Formed in 2015 through the meeting of musical minds of Will Lawton and Weasel Howlett, the duo immediately set about writing and performing the music that would become the 2018 debut album, Fossils of The Mind. Described variously as making "a heady and hypnotic sound that's both highly original and hugely accessible" (Grapevine For Music) and "refreshing, fascinating and exciting," (Ocelot Magazine) the album was the perfect showcase for a set of songs woven from eloquent jazz moves and elegant progressive grooves classical charm, ambient indie cool, digital soundscapes and deft musicianship, sweeping cinematics and smart dynamics.
Organically evolving into a trio and, on occasion, anything up to a quintet, a change that they embraced by adopting the band name of Will Lawton and The Alchemists, a live album followed a year later recorded at the majestic Abbey House in Malmesbury and the debut album was re-released under the new name.
The latest release is the beat and bass groove-driven, chiming and charming Soul Sneeze which features the dulcet tones and deep philosophical thoughts of local poet Brian Reid on vocals.
Not only musically unique they also make for a remarkable bunch to watch live, from their exquisite playing and adventurous style right down to the way they look. Weasel taking the role of an elegantly attired, Edwardian gent, Buddy coming across like a children's TV presenter, Harki dressed in his traditional Indian finery, Ami offering some effortlessly cool, folksinger chic and the cool and understated Will sat at the heart of this sonic and sartorial storm.
The band continues to move from strength to strength and Will Lawton in particular can be found involved in many extra-curricular sonic collaborations, each one as adventurous and unique as the band that he now calls home.
The songwriting heart of The Alchemists, piano player and main vocalist, Will Lawton learnt to play by ear, intuitively absorbing music from his father, himself a self-taught jazz pianist. His songwriting comes from the heart and feels unburdened by any changing fad or fashion, whilst often exploring aspects of the human condition, woven through with strands of intellect and emotion. When not working as a singer and performer with The Alchemists, as well as numerous collaborations, he works as a music therapist.
Acting as the sophisticated engine room of the band is drummer and live sample trigger Weasel Howlett, creator of the band's ever-shifting drum patterns and changing time signatures, delicate percussive sonics and striking, tsunami beats. He draws his influences from everywhere and anywhere, everything from 80's metal to Eastern European folk music, from jazz to 90's punk. And from this eclectic range of taste comes a true passion and respect for all music allowing the band to draw on all manner of unexpected sounds and styles.
The exotically monikered Buddy Fonzarelli is bass personified and is just as at home powering the band via deep four-string grooves as he is dropping in the deftest and most delicate notes and gentle runs. After playing with numerous bands in London, including session work in genres ranging from funk and hip-hop to math rock and metal, he returned to Malmesbury assuming that his music days were done. But after meeting kindred spirit Weasel Howlett (at a baby group) he joined the band in time to play their debut album launch and has been a fully paid-up member of the band ever since.
Having graduated from playing the tennis racket as a 3-year-old to creating ethereal sound combinations via voice and piano, Ami finally settle on the more portable combination of 12-string guitar, bodhran and vocals. When not adding additional gorgeous tones and textures to The Alchemists she can be found playing her own gigs and composing scores for TV and film.
Playing the tabla drums since he was five, the classically trained, multi-instrumental Harki Popli has been adding additional layers of fluid rhythms and exotic beats to bands near and far for many years. He contributed to some of the tracks on the debut album and played at the Abbey House Session which became the live album. When space and occasion warrant, Harki can be found adding additional buoyancy and beat to the Alchemists core sound.