He may be one of the hottest properties on the glossy mag and tabloid music circuit but Andy Brown of Lawson remains refreshingly down to earth.
Ask him about Lytham - and That festival - and he’s transported back to when he was a kid playing on the beach there - and playing the club and pub scene as a teenager.
He’s still very much the little lad from Croxteth at heart. Born in Fazakerley, a word it’s impossible for any Liverpudlian to say without coming over all super scouser.
“I suppose that’s why it still feels like a local gig to me,” Andy admits. “I used to go there and Blackpool as a kid. When I was 15-16 I played the social clubs and pubs. There and in the likes of Manchester and Liverpool, too, of course.
“It was a good base to build on. You can never have too much live music and it’s great for bands to get the opportunity when they’re starting out because so many places have closed. There are nowhere near the social clubs around that we played.
“And now we’re at Lytham Festival. We’d love to stick around and just take in the vibes and the atmosphere but we’re travelling from London and one of the lads is from Brighton so we’ll be getting back there fast.
It’s great to have a bit of a chill out, some sea air, and with all the stuff happening outdoors you get a massive range of people
“It doesn’t mean we won’t enjoy it though. It’s great to have a bit of a chill out, some sea air, and with all the stuff happening outdoors you get a massive range of people.”
Lawson, made up of Andy Brown, Adam Pitts, Joel Peat and Ryan Fletcher, play the festival’s Pavilion stage at Lytham’s Lowther on Friday. Their gold-selling debut album, Chapman Square was released in 2012. Another is due.
“It’s brilliant way of life,” adds Andy. “It’s not just about playing the big cities for us. It’s bloody marvellous that we get the chance to play at the festival with all these amazing bands coming through. We’re the same as we always were. We all started out the same way, friends at uni, and the important thing is you stay grounded. We’ve done the O2 and Wembley and places like that and you never forget these things but I’d go back in a heartbeat to those days when we were just becoming better musicians. Although we’re still becoming better musicians - that never changes.
“Lytham Festival is a real buzz.”
“To know we’re appearing in the same festival which features Noel Gallagher is awesome. I was a massive Oasis fan. And all these other people at the festival too - they’ve had such long and amazing careers. It’s just privilege to be part of it.
“We’re still just normal people. It’s not just the band, and the artists, it’s the management and the record labels too. They’re a pleasure to work with.”
He’s now engaged too. “We’re looking to set a date. It was brilliant the way we got engaged, with TV and the music video. I wanted the memory for the rest of our lives.”
The Juliet singer tricked his new fiancée into coming down to the set of the band’s music video, for their single Where My Love Goes, to take pictures behind the scenes. Mid-song he broke character to ask girlfriend Joey McDowall to marry him. She said yes, of course.
He’s also fought back from ill health after a spiked drink or allergic reaction in 2014 may have led to liver failure. His body responded well to steroid treatment and the band continued to perform.
“I’ve had a couple of scares to be honest, liver problems - and I’m not a drinker - and I’m sure that was down to poisoning, a spiked drink, in London. But I feel great now, back at full fitness, and ready for anything. Including marriage once we name the day.”
The band still get mobbed wherever they go. “You just deal with it. I feel sorry for those in reality shows who are just thrust into the spotlight without the background of playing loads of gigs and working your way up or the support of band members and family.
“For us it’s still all about the music - and i love writing songs. I just keep on writing so our music changes constantly - just as we like it. We’re always listening to what’s out there and fitting in - it’s what you do to be a successful commercial artist. And never forgetting where we came from helps.”
n Lytham Proms - Preview, Pages 36 & 37