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April 2020

Pizzagirl: Do you remember the first time?

If retro, fun-filled teenage-angst sounds like your kind of thing, look no further than Pizzagirl.
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Published: 11:30 am, October 25, 2019Words: Sophie Shields. Photos: Neelam Khan Vela.
Pizzagirl: Do you remember the first time?

Fresh out of his Beatzeria, scouse crooner Pizzagirl is about to serve up his debut album 'First Timer' to a very hungry audience. Baking away in his bedroom turned studio for the last few years, Pizzagirl, or Liam Brown to his mother, has gone back to the 80s, 90s and early days of the internet for inspiration for his pop-heavy musical recipe.

Having been working his way around the Liverpool music scene for the past few years, a name change and a couple of EPs have made Pizzagirl one of the most exciting new artists to come from the Mersey shores.

"I think it's easy for people outside of Liverpool to compare you to Liverpool bands," he says. "I'm obviously really into The Beatles, you come out of the womb here with a Sgt Pepper top on, but there are lots of classic bands from Liverpool that have made a name for themselves."

After releasing EPs, 'An Extended Play' and 'Season 2' in 2018, Pizzagirl has concocted a unique sound unlike that of the legends that have gone before him. Blending his obsession with decades of pop culture, internet memes and his trusty Casio synth has resulted in this much anticipated 'First Timer' record and an upbeat, funky sound.

"It's appropriately named," he explains. "The first EP was called 'Extended Play', and that's a bit on the nose. I think 'First Timer' follows that theme. It's a bit sexy as well, first time like it's your first time you know, popping the album cherry so to speak.

"I thought it would be a nice name to look back on like, 'you know what, that was my first time, and I'm proud of this album', but I'll probably look back on it and go 'there was a very naïve move I made on that'."

When asked to pick three words to give a hint as to what fans could expect from the ten-track album, he pauses to think and replies, laughing, with, "rough, romantic and catfish. I feel like a lot of the songs are very misleading. There are a lot of songs on the album that might sound like love songs, but they aren't really.

"It's like a weird Frankenstein mash-up album. I think a lot of the people who like 80s music might like something. Kelly Clarkson is a huge influence on one of the songs, a bit of pop-punk, some Blade Runner, 70s ballads; I want to tick off the boxes of pop through time in this album and pay my respects in my most primitive way."

“It's a bit sexy, popping the album cherry”

Citing Ariel Pink, Yacht, Talking Heads and pop icons like Janet Jackson as his musical influences, you can see when he says it's a bit of a mash-up album, he probably means it. "I love David Byrne's witty lyrics, I want to try and rob that a bit. Stuff like that really interests me, like The Smiths, or the Foster The People song, 'Pumped Up Kicks'. That's like my twilight zone twist on these songs."

It's not only musical pop icons Pizzagirl takes inspiration from. Movies, particularly those from the 80s, and internet memes, play a huge part in his creative process. "Films that I like are usually accompanied by a great soundtrack. It's probably my subconscious, but John Hughes' films of the 80s always have good soundtracks." The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink immediately spring to mind. "I'd love to write a soundtrack one day, not even singing just the music."

"You look back at the 80s and 90s, and it was really fun and vibrant. I'm trying to bring that back into today's consciousness. I think people taking themselves too seriously is unattractive so I want to try and be as candid with everyone as possible and the 80s and 90s mean that to me."

Being born in 1998 might make his love for decades gone by seem quite odd but being brought up in the millennial internet generation makes everything from these eras so accessible. "The Internet is a big part of Pizzagirl it's like another member of the band."

"Meme culture and Instagram is the place I spend most of my time. I've got that screen time on my phone, and it says I use Instagram like 50 hours a week, I'm on it all the time.

"I love old internet memes. I once DM'd Tay Zonday, he was a really early meme and sang a song called 'Chocolate Rain' in his room; I messaged him on Twitter, and he actually replied! I love all these pastiche memes and really cheesy stuff."

Starting his career off going by the name Lumen, his new moniker definitely reflects his love for the cheesy things in life and his playful nature. "People ask me all the time, 'why are you called that?' and it's such a bland story. I didn't wake up from a dream, like Paul McCartney, I was just bored, thought of a name and stuck with it.

"I didn't want it to be Pizzaboy, I thought that would be too on the nose. I think Pizzagirl is more open to interpretation."

Claiming to not even being a massive fan of pizza, he notes that he does have a penchant for the controversial pineapple topping though and if Pizzagirl was a pizza, he would be pepperoni. "It's just a classic, a bit juicy, can get greasy under the right conditions, I feel like that's me because Pizzagirl is so silly."

“Kelly Clarkson is a huge influence on one of the songs, a bit of pop-punk, some Blade Runner, 70s ballads”

He talks about Pizzagirl as if it's his alter ego, a character that only exists in his music studio bedroom dubbed the Beatzeria. "I think it [Pizzagirl] is the person I'd like to be every day. I'm, I wouldn't say introverted, but I'm quite to myself day to day, but Pizzagirl is a fun, exaggerated version of me. It's fun onstage massaging that person out."

On stage is where Pizzagirl comes to life. Known to stand up there alone with his guitar - who he has named Denise - and his MacBook, he has the room eating out the palm of his hand with his zany synth-pop tracks. He muses how going from the comfort of his intimate bedroom set up to touring the UK and Europe has been a big step up for him.

"When I was starting off, I went to a couple of studios, and I just didn't enjoy it, and I was adamant from then I would always write for myself in my bedroom. It's just me usually in my underwear, pressing buttons, it's definitely an intimate thing.

"All these songs are on a computer in my room, and now it's at a point where people want to come and see me perform them, that will never not be weird.

A new album also comes with a new stage set. "I'm working on a band at the minute. I'm getting a drummer and bassist so the Mac won't have to do much.

"I hope that people like the transition, I feel like people have liked me by myself but these guys are cool too. I'm still going to be me, I'll probably be more me because I'll get to worry about less stuff. It's perfect timing with the album coming out too, I feel like it's a fresh start."

So what's on the horizon for the Pizzagirl adventure? "Hopefully a lot of shows," he muses. "Europe is a market I want to crack. America next year would be fun too. When I check my Spotify, it's mainly people in America who are listening to my music.

"I just want to gig a lot more, I'm in my room a lot, and I'm rocking a bit, my mind just cracks at home, twiddling my thumbs. A support tour would be good too. Just making sure I'm engaging with fans, I want to get to know them."

If all else fails, he's also come up with a backup plan to help with the self-promotion. "To sell out doesn't mean anything to me, I'm not ashamed to work with brands, obviously not to the point it will damage my reputation though. Domino's would be a good one, just me being a pizza delivery boy for the day or something. I'm just waiting for the call. I've got a specific phone in my house waiting for them to call me, but it hasn't rung yet."

He probably won't have the time to sit and wait by the phone with 'First Timer' making its way out into the world; everyone wants a slice of Pizzagirl. 

Taken from the November issue of Dork. Pizzagirl's debut album 'First Timer' is out now.

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