When Liverpool-based singer-songwriter Liam Brown answered the phone, he had been in the middle of recording a ‘heavy metal pop-punk riff’. “I was going through a weird angsty phase because I woke up late this morning and thought ‘you know what, I need to channel some more Kelly Clarkson’ so I played guitar and screamed down a mic for a bit” is his opening gambit, and possibly the best introduction to Pizzagirl you could ask for.
Though many are quick to put Brown under the label of ‘bedroom pop’, the Pizzagirl experience is more like ‘a weird old wardrobe full of different outfits and styles’. He likes the idea of having pop flowing through everything, a Jack of all trades, master of none approach — something perhaps best summed up by his misleading name. “I wasn’t calling myself Pizzagirl because I’m obsessed with pizza – in fact, I feel like I’ve got a normal, average interest in pizza. It’s like an anti-name, Liam is super boring, so I just wanted to spice it up a bit.”
He described it as a vehicle to be leftfield with ─ his mum hated it! But he’d noticed where people don’t go by their actual name, they usually use an abstract moniker as an excuse to be some weird version of themselves. “Nobody would like Liam, he’s a super boring guy, I hate him! I just sit in my room on the computer and if someone paid to see that they’d be pretty bored. It’s like Stars In Their Eyes – I’m Liam, this ordinary guy, and I go through this smoky screen and come out as the most exaggerated version of myself.”
Although now signed to Manchester’s Heist or Hit label, Brown still wants to have a DIY approach. Only recently has he sorted out his band, so it’s still a very ‘introverted’ experience. “I’ve never really written music for anyone. I’m just screaming down a microphone for hours and hours and seeing what sticks.”
He loves female vocals, taking every opportunity to use them on Pizzagirl songs. The internet has opened a bridge to bring in singers from around the world. “I don’t know if it’s to do with shyness, I just really like the idea of doing it all. I think I’m most relaxed and comfortable with music when it’s just me in the room by myself. I don’t like the idea of someone watching me, watching my every move because I’d just overthink it and probably make some bad stuff.”
Brown views his latest album, first timer, as quite rough, but feels like he’ll still enjoy its charm. “I’ve heard it so much now that it’s just flaccid. Like it’s become just noise to me, but I like the idea of it just coming out of this stupid room in Liverpool.” Despite Pizzagirl being 21, it’s hard to ignore the eighties influences in his music. He said how his mum, a child of the 80s, loves that era’s sound. He’d hear it on car journeys to school, and in the background while he was growing up. “It’s a good thing to wake up to because it subconsciously seeps into the writing process, and it’s a good well to draw from because the music is so colourful and proud.”
Pizzagirl is keen to incorporate other styles into his work, however: “For my mental wellbeing, if I did the same type of music every day, I wouldn’t love it. I like cherry picking what I like from different styles and making this weird Frankenstein mega-baby of pop. I love the 90s and early 00s, and UK garage. I love how camp and fun it is. I just love the idea of all these styles having pop roots running through them.”
Overall, Pizzagirl just wants people to enjoy themselves with his music, and with this album, he hasn’t taken things too seriously. Take Dennis, the third single from it, which he describes as “that friendly guy who everyone seems to like.” He wants people to see it as a fun experience. “The album is tongue-in-cheek; it’s not a super concept album or anything too serious. I’m being as transparent with myself as I can be. If I was in denial, not making music that I didn’t feel that I was proud of, then I would feel nervous, but I’m really happy with the songs and I feel like they’re a culmination of all the things I like in music.”
Pizzagirl’s debut album first timer is out now via Heist or Hit.