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Preston Music: Local musician thanked by Elbow for custom Star Wars figures

Posted on - 18th July, 2012 - 9:27pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Music

Andy meeting Elbow frontman Guy Garvey. Photo by Tom Martin/NME/IPC Media

Preston based drummer Andy Lyth has seen his email fill up with requests for customised Star Wars figures after creating them for the band Elbow.

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Andy, who works at Preston College and lives in Ashton, initially made Star Wars models resembling his sister as a birthday present. When he found out that she was working at Elbow’s Jodrell Bank gig, he arranged for the band to be presented with figures in their likeness, along with branded packaging to add authenticity.

The band were delighted with the figures and arranged to meet Andy in person to say thanks. Following this, they personally thanked him from stage at the gig and projected an image of his figures onto the Lovell telescope. Elbow have since posted a photo of themselves holding the figures online, causing a further stir amongst their fans. Their drummer Richard Jupp also tweeted Andy directly, calling him “a genius”.

We grabbed a moment with Andy to talk about the extra attention this has brought to him and his band, Johnny 5th Wheel and The Cowards, over the last month.

How many requests have you had for custom Star Wars figures now? I wrote a blog post about the experience and put my email address, inviting people to get in touch. I’ve been inundated with emails from people wanting to buy them. I’ve been thinking about it, as many believe I could make a lot of money. But I can’t sell them, there’s the chance I’d get in trouble with Mr Lucas.

The figures were projected on the Lovell telescope and big screens at Elbow’s Jodrell Bank show.

There’s been quite a number of emails since Elbow posted the image of themselves with the figures. Our blog post has meant we’ve been getting loads of views on the website. I even had a request from someone to make figures of The Proclaimers!

How did you make the figures? It must have taken hours!

It took a while but I don’t make them from scratch. They are repainted models. Sometimes I swap heads off other figures. I started with images of the band members on the card background. Part of their charm is that they are not perfect.

You seem to have developed a fondness for making things – your latest music video for ‘In My Laboratory’ features a homemade Muppet. How did this come about?

Andy also made a Muppet for his bands latest video. Meet Victor!

I’ve always been a fan of the Muppet Show and Jim Henson films. I’d thought about it before and looked into buying a puppet, but couldn’t find any good ones. When (singer) Lomax said he envisaged the video as being like an Ed Wood film, I thought that it would be great if it was done with a Muppet. I found some foam and made him from that. We called him Victor, after the doctor in the original Frankenstein.

We’ve been thinking about figuring out how to bring Victor into live performances. I’m playing drums though, so we’d need to find someone to control him.

Do you still manage to find time to make music alongside your character creations?

Being a fan, I like to include a way of including these things within the band. It’s brought our blog attention and marketing is an essential part of being in a successful band, so it’s all just part of the bigger picture.

Did you study art and design or is it just something your interested in?

A lot of people have asked if I studied art. I’ve always studied music. I looked into website design as a career path, but making things is just something I picked up.

Finally, I noticed you have a celebrity comment on your ‘In My Laboratory’ video…

It was (presenter and comedian) Adam Buxton. I sent him a link throught Twitter. He’s got a show called Bug where he looks at youtube clips and interesting music videos. It’s funny as we only have one comment on that video, but it’s Adam Buxton so it doesn’t matter!

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