This band features Will Lawton (piano and vocals), Weasel Howlett (drums), Buddy Fonzarelli (upright bass), Ami Kaelyn (guitar and vocals) and Harki Popli (tabla).
The band were formed in 2015 when Will and Weasel started to jam, record and perform before releasing their debut album 'Fossils of the Mind' in 2018. The sound, the band and their following is constantly growing and evolving. Their latest release 'Abbey House Session' is now out on CD and vinyl with the full digital release due on 1st October 2020. This is a six track part studio, part live recording which was all captured in the library at Abbey House in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.
Will Lawton is the main singer, pianist and songwriter behind this band of musicians. Will learnt to play by intuitively by ear by his father who is a self-taught jazz pianist. His song writing is heartfelt yet shot through with intellect and emotion whilst constantly soul-searching, often exploring the human condition through music. He works as a music therapist alongside his career as a song-writer and performer.
Weasel is an exceptional and captivating drummer. He has the ability to twist your mind with shape-shifting drum patterns and plays with a rare sensitivity that embellishes the music he performs on. He has been making music of one kind or another for over 30 years and his evolving musical tastes have influenced the range of musical styles he now draws from as inspiration. From 80s metal, 90s American Punk, Pop, Grunge, Bitpop, 60s and 70s Prog (wizards and all) Drum n Bass, Eastern European Folk and Jazz, to Doom, Sludge, Power, Death and Prog Metal (yup he’s quite the metalhead). With a taste as eclectic as this comes a respect and passion for music in all its forms and an ability to weave them all into one show.
Buddy is bass. He loves sitting in the fat end of the music and holding deep grooves. He has played the bass for a long time. He started playing seriously when he moved to London for university and played in numerous bands and as a session player spanning many genres including funk, hip-hop, metal, math rock and post rock.
After moving back to Malmesbury he assumed that it was the end of his music career but a chance encounter with Weasel at baby group changed everything! He first joined the band as bass player for the album launch of Fossils Of The Mind in January 2018. Since then he has been embraced as an ever present band member moving from standard bass guitar to upright bass. Buddy now brings his full personality to the writing and performance of the music inspiring new songs like ‘Soul Sneeze’ and enhancing the early songs like ‘Fossils Of The Mind’. If you are lucky you may get to see Buddy preach during a live set and he once signed a fans bare arse after a festival gig.
Having played the tennis racquet from the age of 3, Ami soon realised that the pull for music was strong, so continued to explore other sounds on other instruments. She grew up with a piano in her house and created atmospheric melodies by blending the piano with her voice, weaving her vocals in and out and thus discovering another instrument. Ami finally settling on a more portable 12 string guitar and bodhran combo and has developed her own unique and captivating style as a singer-songwriter. She has performed at many festivals and venues across the south west of England and beyond both as a solo performer and as part of many collaborations. More recently she has been writing and composing a series of short scores for film and TV.
Ami has known Will, Buddy and Weasel for many years, having playing with and alongside them in various bands and at various gigs. She started to contribute to the music of ‘Will Lawton and the Alchemists’ in 2019 and features heavily on their forthcoming release ‘Abbey House Session’. She graces the music with her beautiful and ethereal vocals and atmospheric guitar.
The rhythm is strong and innate with this one. Having had his first tabla lesson at the age of 5 he is still only part-way through this lifelong journey of discovery. Classically trained, Harki has been involved in a number of projects and has been part of numerous bands, lending his fluid beats as a session musician to many artists.
Harki first worked with Will Lawton and the Alchemists when he performed on ‘Dharma’ on the debut album ‘Fossils of the Mind’. He appears again on ‘Abbey House Session’ providing some gorgeously, explosive tabla on a live performance of ‘Fossils of the Mind’. Harki joins the band live on their very special occasions, when the stage is large enough and occasion is grand enough – he is the cherry on the Alchemists cake who appears when the stars align.
The Alchemists is the perfect outlet for Harki and his hugely versatile instruments, blending and combining folk, world, Asian, acoustic and electronica. This all helps to make the genre of this band totally indefinable!!
A description of their music is best described by those that review them:
“There is something of the jazz approach at the core of the sound of Will Lawton and the Alchemists - interesting timings and intricate riffs hung on fluid, free-flowing musical structures - but there richly textured and layer music contains much more besides. Indie melodics, rock weight and progressive meanderings all add poise and power. They could be your best new find of the year” - Swindon Shuffle
“The music of Will Lawton and the Alchemists fearlessly dips its foot pedals into folk, jazz, drum and bass and a smattering of indie, all served up with intelligent piano playing, intricate drum patterns and a husky voice. Beautifully arranged music.” Dancing With Architecture
“Refreshing, fascinating and exciting. Perhaps this is what Tom O’Dell fronting Wilco would sound like if produced by Roni Size? Regardless of how chaotic this sounds, it works. I mean it really works.” The Ocelot Magazine