Interview: Actor & Gustaffson Frontman Andrew Gower

Andrew Gower -Frontman of Gustaffson - Liverpool Empire Theatre - Photo by Sam Fountayne
Andrew Gower at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. Photo Credit: Sam Fountayne

Liverpool actor and musician, Andrew Gower, has appeared in many acclaimed TV projects such as Black Mirror, Outlander, YOU and most recently The Winter King. Many may be surprised to know that Andrew is also a songwriter and frontman of Gustaffson.

In 2022 Gustaffson recorded their first EP, ‘The Jacaranda’, with Elbow’s Craig Potter at the helm in Blueprint Studios, Manchester. Released in August 2022, the EP has been played across local and national BBC Radio stations, including being Guy Garvey’s Record of The Week on BBC 6Music’s Finest Hour.

Alongside the EP, their first music video for the single ‘The Jacaranda’ scored a massive coup by starring legendary actor Sue Johnston and was recently screened on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch. It’s a beautiful video!

The band have recently released a new live single, ‘Champagne Socialist’, which was recorded on the historic Liverpool Empire Theatre stage. Impressively, it’s shot in one continuous take by upcoming director Sam Fountayne.

The track is a wonderful, modern blues, with Andrew’s emotive and soulful vocals keeping you gripped throughout. His coruscating lyrics certainly take no prisoners and give the song a real bite.

We were lucky enough to speak to Andrew to find out more about him and Gustaffson.

Andrew Gower - Gustaffson

Uncover Liverpool: Tell us a bit about yourself Andrew and your band Gustaffson.

Andrew Gower: I’m a Liverpool born Actor & Singer & Song writer/Musician. For the past decade I’ve been lucky enough to work consistently in Film, Television and Theatre in shows like Black Mirror, Outlander, Being Human, Carnival Row and most recently The Winter King. In 2020 I started writing and releasing music under the pseudonym ‘Gustaffson’. Last year (August 2022) we released our debut EP ‘The Jacaranda’ produced by Elbows Craig Potter.

UL: How would you best describe your music?

AG: I’d say our music is a blend of Rock, Folk and more recently Soul/Funk (a sign of things too come), but the foundation of all of our music is definitely in the story telling. With every song we think about our audience. What story do we want to tell them, lyrically and musically. How do we want to present it and serve it up without spoon feeding them. The best stories don’t have to be explained. Which I guess is what makes them universal.

UL: Tell us a bit about your new single ‘Champagne Socialist’.

AG: Our new single ‘Champagne Socialist’ was recorded Live on the Liverpool Empire Theatre stage. It’s our second live release since the EP. I’d say it’s Gustaffson’s most rock and roll track to date. It’s one of many new songs we’d love to include on a future album. Again presenting a lyrical message with memorable riffs and hooks. Dirty Vintage Rock and Roll. There’s a beauty in the imperfection and reality of a live performance. I’d say the empire stage is the lead character In the track.

UL: The video for ‘Champagne Socialist’ was filmed at a one-take at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. It looks incredible. How did that come about?

AG: It was recorded live in the theatre and shot in one continuous take by upcoming director Sam Fountayne (Fountayne Films). The video was inspired by the live variety acts of old (that were hosted on the same stage). A homage to artists like the Rolling Stones, The Beatles and the incredible Chuck Berry. We also drew inspiration from the film Birdman, wanting the audience to feel like they are on that historic stage with the band. I love the idea of being able to see these historic performances from the wings.

‘Champagne Socialist’ (Live at The Liverpool Empire Theatre) Official Video

UL: What’s your process for writing and creating music?

AG: Our process of writing music is forever changing. I think at its heart is collaboration. I’ve been writing lyrics since I was 15 and each story or song is always brought to life by the collaboration process. They are like little stories or scripts I carry around with me. They can be inspired by an instrument, a riff, a producer or even a piece of artwork. I’ve watched a lot of films of late and gone in the studio the next day with a clear idea for a song. That’s what I love about writing music – there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

UL: What do you like about Liverpool and the Liverpool music scene?

AG: I think the first that comes to mind when I think of Liverpool and music, is of course the history. The influence the city has had on shaping what we call ‘the music industry’. What I love about the city is we are a unique port. A city that survived a lot of hardship through telling stories. Stories that come in & out of the city on boats – just like when Rock & Roll arrived into the port back in the 50’s.

Gustaffson have alot to thank the current Liverpool music scene for. With huge help and support from venues like The Jacaranda and Phase One/Jacaranda record store. A venue that inspired our first EP and helped us arrange our bands launch. Now we are set to headline the iconic Cavern Club – which has been on the wish list for a very very long time. Bands will always return to Liverpool to perform or write music – because it holds such a weight in the music world.

‘The Jacaranda’ Official Music Video Starring Sue Johnston OBE

UL: You’ve got a headline gig coming up at The Cavern Club, what can we expect from the night?

AG: Our headline gig at the Cavern Club will have us play all of our latest music. That’s songs from our debut EP ‘The Jacaranda’, our new live singles (Northern Baby & Champagne Socialist) and a host of new music. Alongside our headline set we are excited to give the audience a proper ‘old school’ variety night. Special guests include: the screening of an award winning short film ‘The Entertainer’ starring Toby Jones & directed by Jonathan Schey. Music by Liverpool singer & song writer Martha Goddard and indie jazz singer Iris Holmes (who will be performing in the city for the first time). G33 from the amazing Girls Don’t Sync will be our DJ for the evening. The whole event will be hosted by TV/Radio presenter & Actor Cel Spellman. At all of our gigs we want to give our audience a whole experience: art that we believe and champion – as well as our own music.

UL: What does the rest of 2023 have in store for you?

AG: We’ll finish 2023 with a trio of headline gigs. Starting at the Cavern Club Liverpool (7th September), then the Peer Hat Manchester (22nd September) and finishing at The 100 Club London (8th November). Three of our favourite venues in the U.K. We will continue our collaboration with upcoming film makers and record a new live single in October. This will support our headline gig in London. We hope to record an album early in 2024 and to continue working with some of our favourite music producers.

Gustaffson’s single ‘Champagne Socialist’ is out now and can be streamed here.

Grab tickets for Gustaffson’s upcoming gigs here.

Follow Gustaffson on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest updates.