What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
The first thing that yanked my ear was guitar, I started playing guitar when I was 16 per say (28 now) — which honestly felt I was super late to the game at the time. I initially fell in love with folk-artists like Iron & Wine, Xavier Rudd, Mumford and Sons, Bright Eyes, etc. — and just needed to learn guitar. Luckily, a girl I was dating at the time had some old beat up acoustic guitar in her garage. Said why not, took it, and started learning my favorite songs. I wasn’t one that started with bar chords / scales and basic intro to guitar things. I just looked up tabs to my favorite songs and would learn note for note. After a while, learn 1 song, 2 songs, then 3 songs — before you know it, you start recognizing repeating patterns and such. (First 2 songs I learned were ‘Boy with a Coin’ and ‘Naked as we Came’ by Iron & Wine). I didn’t learn music theory until a bit down the road, mainly when I dove into electric guitar (blues & rock) and started learning Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Clapton, Albert King, BB King, John Mayer Trio, Jerry Garcia ( I guess Weir too), Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters — list goes on and on.
I eventually got into electronic music around 2008. Dubstep was on the rise heavily at the time, so I got into Skrillex, Ganja White Night, Excision, etc. That led me into the more chill electronic side of things, so, I started diving into Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Ulrich Schnauss, Pretty Lights, Gramatik, etc. I was listening to Pretty Light’s Pandora station one day when ‘First Snow’ by Emancipator came on. It shook me up because I always divided genres into specific categories. Doug (Emancipator) found this way of taking mellow, organic elements and translating it through an electronic platform. It was something I needed before I even knew I needed it. It spoke to my organic roots of folk and blues yet gave the possibility of expanding in sounds more which you can do so in a live-piece band.
I discovered Bonobo and Tycho not much after obviously, and again, really admired their approaches as well. So, I got Ableton and started hammering away at it — rest is history.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Latest release as of right now (January of 2021) is Forest Blue. It was my first official ‘album’ on Loci Records, post my EP, ‘Pronoia’. Forest Blue was created before Pronoia was even released, being proper releases usually take a bit. Once you settle on your choice of songs, you focus on those. You mix, you master, you give to distribution which takes 3-4 weeks. Then, you have 2-3 singles all a month apart. Before you know it, the album was officially done 4-5 months before release. I created Forest Blue, mostly, before the previous EP was publicly out.
Forest Blue was an album I made with just a roller coaster of intentions and expressions. Some songs are love songs, some are dance songs, some are sad songs, some are happy songs. I feel the album as a whole is just a metaphor for how our emotions change and that’s okay. One emotion gives validity to the contrast, in this case, one song gives validity to the other. Can’t be happy without sadness, there’s no light without dark. ‘Forest Blue’ came about how I’m always trying to make it out to nature. No matter what I’m feeling. If I’m ecstatic, let’s celebrate in the woods. If I’m feeling down, let’s remedy it with a hike. Your emotions are the reflection of whether the trees are lush and beautiful, or if the trees are bleak and bare. Sometimes, if it’s how you’re feeling, the ‘Forest Blue’.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Like previously mentioned, you can’t not hear the influence Emancipator, Tycho, and Bonobo have had on me through a production lens. As for guitar; Iron & Wine, Xavier Rudd, Conor Oberst, John Butler to Blues legends like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page, etc. These are all my initial inspirations. The people that made me want to choose music as a career. As for now, everything is an influence. Any song I listen to, I’m inspired in one way or another. As of recently, I’ve been heavily into Kota the Friend, Elder Island, Maribou State, Anderson .Paak, Ludovico Einaudi, Walker & Royce — I don’t know. So much music, and the styles are so vast. Obviously, everyone on Loci Records can be considered an inspiration as well, it’s tough to not listen to a tune from a label-mate and not love it. At the same time, listen with an engineering curiosity. “Okay, that’s cool — I wonder how they went about that?”
As for non-music, it’s mainly just nature, dreaming of the positive effect my music will have, touring/traveling, and personal relationships. I do tend to spill my feelings from relationships (romantically/platonic) a good bit into my stuff. Life experiences translate very well through music.
I’m also a lover of Buddhist beliefs / intentions. I don’t expand on my speakers as much as I would like to, but I listen to a lot of Alan Watts and Eckhart Tolle.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Hrm, that’s tough. Well we all gravitate towards the same genre because we are subconsciously very similar people. Every time I’ve met an artist who makes similar music, the connection is always effortless and positive. Thus, the sound / intention can be somewhat similar from time to time. One thing I can say about my music is I do tend to have a bit more climatic tension more-so than other related artists. Even though my music can be considered, “chill”, I still tend to spill not-so-chill emotions into my music. I used to be insecure about it, but I’m just more-so embracing it now. Life isn’t always chill, life isn’t always bubbly and bliss — I’d be lying to myself and my fans if I didn’t express myself completely. I like to consider my music a full experience of life, at least from my experience. I always want to be an open book. Like I mentioned in my description of Forest Blue, I feel the album as a whole is just a metaphor for how our emotions change and that’s okay. One emotion gives validity to the contrast. Can’t be happy without sadness, there’s no light without dark. So, why not celebrate both?
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
That’s tough since my taste is always changing, but I’m a big fan of nostalgia so I’ll go with that here:
– The Shepherd’s Dog by Iron & Wine
– Divenire (Deluxe Edition) by Ludovico Einaudi
– Blues by Jimi Hendrix (it’s an official compilation)
Harry Potters *The whole set ;)*
Do shows count? The Office, all seasons
Starting At Zero: His Own Story by Jimi Hendrix
Game of Thrones
The Great Gatsby
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
That’s hard to choose because you can’t really have one without the other unless you’re a improvising jam band. That said, they both have their place. The studio is there to create art in an immortal sense. People can take my studio releases and listen wherever and whenever they see fit. Making music that I do, people use my music for multiple contrasting intentions. I know people that sleep to my music, people that work out to it, go on hikes, homework/studying. That’s what I’ve always loved about electronic music, especially without vocals, being people can make their own personal associations and connections without it being watered down by an obvious intention instated by the artist.
On the other hand, live music is very special and intimate. The performer is going off the audience while the audience is simultaneously going off of the performer. It’s this magical back and forth exchange that narrates the moment.
I can’t choose which I like better, both have their special place in life. Apples and oranges (in my opinion).
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Hrm, specifically in my music career? About 3 weeks ago, CloZee came to one of my private live stream recordings. She walked up to me and introduced herself like I had no clue who she was, that was pretty funny / heart-warming.
I didn’t find this story funny at the time, but now I look back and laugh. One of my first shows, I got asked to headline a Summer Camp Music Festival pre-party in Denver. With myself being new to the live industry world, I took any gig I got offered since I assumed the promoter / booking agent would be booking in my spectrum of music. I should have done more research, but long story short, I ended up following a band that was Metallica meets ACDC of some sort. A very high-energy rock band. I’m watching them in the crowd, seeing everyone hyped up — was close to getting sick because of my nerves. I was about to go on stage to a filled room of about 5-600 hyped up people and play my slow melodic music. Oof, it was tough. I swallowed my nerves, went on stage and simply told them I’m about to slow it down and put the night into reverse. To say the least, it could have gone over a lot better but it is what it is and I learned a valuable lesson.
Another funny story of young and naïve Andrew was I got asked to go on a small-tour with Random Rab in the ski towns of Colorado. Again, being very fresh to contracts and such, I assumed a hotel or Air BnB was included for some reason.
When I got to our first show on the run, which was Crested Butte, Colorado, I had the plan to sleep in my car within 8 degree weather — bundle up as much as possible. Money was super tight at the time and I had no choice. Nicely (and luckily), Rab came up to me after our first show and asked if I wanted to chill with him back at his place, followed by, where are you staying? Awkwardly, I had to admit to him the situation that I’m going to sleep in my car. Rab couldn’t believe it and insisted I stay with him for the rest of the run.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
That’s tough, I’d have to probably say Utopia. The vocal chop I do later-on in the song has such a unique rhythm that I haven’t been able to find in any other tune. I was super pumped on that.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
I have a new album nearing the end but no release dates set for right now. I will definitely keep my socials updated once I get more of an official plan. I’m stoked to get these songs out, but also making sure not to rush anything.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
I didn’t have a question I wanted to ask myself so I asked my socials for a free question. I got a handful of responses referring to psychedelic’s and if they’re a big influence in my music?
To answer that one, I can’t deny psychedelic’s has played a major role in my life path / production style. I’m 28 now, so I’m not taking psychedelic’s as frequently as I was in my teens and early twenties. But, there’s no denying that psychedelic’s has had a huge influence in my sound and simply the decision to go down a musical career path in the first place. I’ll keep it short and sweet but there were some very heavy experiences that convinced myself I was to go down this road of music and such.
If I do take a psychedelic of some sort, I’m never in the studio these days. Simply, because I don’t want to be inside (let alone in front of a computer). I’ll create some guitar melodies while fiddling around somewhere, maybe think of some song ideas, but I’m very rarely physically creating in the studio influenced under psychedelic’s.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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