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Despite recording 10 LPs in his decade-long musical career, Andy Burrows is not what you would call a household name. But after co-writing number 1 singles and albums for Razorlight, and drumming for New York rockers We Are Scientists, Andy has just released his second full length record, Fall Together Again.
I was lucky enough to grab 10 minutes on the phone with the drummer-turned-singer to find out more about his melodic sophomore LP, and his busy career in general. After a brief chat about the weather and Lancaster’s geography, we begun.
So you’ve got a new record out and a tour imminent – are you excited about that?
Absolutely, yeah definitely. This particular tour is only sort of a fling with the idea of a tour. Hopefully there’ll be something a little bit more extensive next year.
And on your European dates you’re playing with Tim Wheeler?
Yeah yeah… he’s going to come and be my uber-special-guest support act. That will be a lot of fun.
Do you feel the most exciting bit is unleashing new music on your fans?
That’s always a big part of it, you know it’s always nice. The crowd are the best bit really, going around different cities and having people come along and hopefully enjoy themselves. It’s the bit you kinda look forward to as you’re sat in the studio in the middle of it all.
What inspirations have you found for Fall Together Again?
All sorts really. A collection of everything that’s happened to you since you were a wee boy. Some suggest it’s quite heavy on sort of McCartney solo, McCartney or west-coast America, and I never really understand why that is. I guess a bit of ELO, Beatles, George Harrison. I suppose anyone can go on forever about influences. But that’s the stuff I’ve consistently listened to whilst dipping in and out of other things.
Do you feel you’ve had different inspirations compared to the recording of your last album Company?
I don’t know if physically I have; I haven’t veered off down a heavy metal route, or jazz route or something like that. I think it revolves around the situations that are around, emotionally it depends on where you are and stuff because all that has a big influence on what it is you’re writing about. But I don’t know, probably a similar bunch of influences but just at a different time, a different set of situations.
When you started out as a musician, did you ever think that you would have a solo career?
No. I was always a drummer, dreaming of drumming in a pop group. So I think the past few years has been sort of a… yeah I never thought about it much.
Do you think there’s a different reception to having a solo career having been a drummer, rather than guitarist or leadman?
Yeah probably, I think people tend to be slightly put off by it, a drummer gone solo. Whilst one or two people have had a hugely successful career out of it, like Dave Grohl and Phil Collins, on the whole it’s not something that generally works. So I think there’s a little bit of a stigma attached to the drummer anyway. But yeah you plough on and just hope you sort of relay those preconceptions.
Does it feel liberating to be singing your own music?
It definitely feels good, it feels natural and it feels like the right thing. I don’t feel forced or strained. Sometimes it can be liberating: writing songs and getting them off your chest can be liberating. But I don’t really feel like I needed to do it, or had a desperate desire to be a solo person. The great thing about it, the amazing thing is being able to just express yourself without having to go through the shelter of a band, which is sometimes a great thing to have to go through, but sometimes not.
Is it ever tempting though to play Razorlight or We Are Scientists songs at your own gigs?
I have done in the past, I played a bit of ‘America’ and ‘Before I Fall To Pieces’ at my own shows, sometimes it feels like the right thing and sometimes it really doesn’t. It’s interesting. But I’ve never played any We Are Scientists; it’s probably a bit too rocky for my soft rocking crowd.
In hindsight of the critical acclaim you received for your solo career, do you reckon it was the best decision to leave Razorlight?
It was definitely the right decision, it had nothing to do with whether I would go on to do anything else. It was much more about personal and mental survival. But obviously I do feel happy how the past five years have evolved, being involved in lots of various projects and working with lots of people who I massively respect. So with that, it was no bad thing.
You mentioned some of your various projects: after the success of the Snowman and the Snowdog score, have you considered any more work in that same vein?
Yeah it’d be great to do more films, it’s definitely something I thoroughly enjoyed. It was quite an experience. They went very well and there have been a couple of things that have almost come about. It’s a very tricky world to be a part of and get in to. But I think when the right film and right opportunity arises, it would be brilliant, amazing, lovely to do a lot more.
Do you feel that the music industry has changed much since you entered it?
Yes definitely, I think it was changing when Razorlight were putting out our first singles, like ‘Rock N Roll Lies’ and ‘Stumble and Fall’, ‘Golden Touch’. All of those singles still had b-sides. I really feel like that was the crossover period when the internet and real records had their last stand. I think right now we don’t quite know where we are, when I feel back then we just about did.
Do you feel U2’s unconventional release of Songs of Innocence has had a positive or negative impact on the industry?
I don’t think it has a positive or a negative impact. It’s another example of something that has been huge and established for years not knowing what to do, which is what’s happening with the change. Because nobody really knows exactly how to play it when a juggernaut like U2 comes along and perhaps for the first time get it a little bit wrong. It’s just interesting. But I don’t know if it’s negative or not because at the end of the day, it just verifies that either they haven’t made a very good record or that we’re just in very changing times. I suspect the latter is probably a fairer call.
And we wouldn’t care criticise Bono would we?
I wouldn’t criticise Bono no haha.
Finally would you have any tips to pass on to any young Lancaster University bands?
It’s in the songs. If you have the songs and the delivery, keep going. If you know you’re good, keep going. If you suspect you’re a bit crap, give it a rest.
Very blunt but very fair.
Ha very blunt but very fair, well it’s only because it’s bloody tough. If you believe in it and you have great songs keep with the effort and ignore the haters.
Fall Together Again is out now to stream on Spotify or purchase from music retailers.