Posts Tagged ‘Andy Bull’

Interview with Andy Bull

Andy BullIndie sweet hear Andy Bull kept us waiting a very long four years before releasing his much anticipated second LP Sea Of Approval. Hit tracks Keep On Running and Baby I Am Nobody Now did the rounds late last year and built a lot of hype around the record, earning him the title of ‘most blogged about musician in the world.’

Now the falsetto voiced synth wizard has proudly released Sea Of Approval, which has been met with world wide acclaim, and he’s sporting a national tour in celebration. We caught up with Andy ahead of the tour that kicks off in September at the Brisbane Festival.

You kicked off the Baby I am nobody now tour in October last year and played a few tracks off Sea Of Approval then, although the official album tour starts in September do you feel like unofficially you’ve been touring this album for a while?

Some of the songs we tried out last year, at one stage there were maybe four songs that we played live so that’s almost half the record I guess. But it feels like a new tour, I just feel like we’ll be comfortable playing these songs live. It definitely feels like an album tour, the venues are bigger which is kind of novel. I didn’t expect last year to be playing the Metro last year, so that kind of stuff makes it feel way more like an album tour.

The album has been very well received, do you feel like you are in fact swimming in a sea of approval?

It’s funny, you never ever do. It’s kind of what I was predicting when I called the record that because you never feel that way. It’s kind of complex, when you finish a project you automatically start thinking about how you’re going to do the next project so I don’t feel as if you reach a point where the work is done and you can just tick the box. And in terms of getting audience support, some people like what you do, some people don’t like what you do, some people hate what you do. Some people like what you do then they don’t, some people don’t like it then they come around, it’s not a very solid thing to pin yourself to. So it’s really nice when you get some praise, but there’s definitely an anxiety that comes if you start paying too much attention to what people think. So the sea of approval is something you should never really pursue. But first and foremost it’s nice to have a record finished. I did the best I could, there are elements of it that I’m really proud of, it’s not perfect but nothing ever will be, and the process of making it wasn’t perfect but I’m on the right path and I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing.

 Speaking of the process of making the album, is there a lot of trial and error creating an album that’s so densely layered?

Yeah for me there was a lot of trial and error, some of the songs I did many versions of. There were some other songs that I also trialed and trialed and trialed that didn’t make the record. That’s one way of making a record, there are instances where you work really quickly, some parts of songs and some key ideas arrive really quickly. But being on your own means that you have to do everything layer by layer, so you don’t always have the context of other players knowing if something works. In a band you can feel when something clicks because everybody is doing something and it just works. On your own the pace of that first discovery is different, because you’re doing it piece by piece. So for about 80% of this record there was a lot of trial and error, there were many versions.

So why did you keep us waiting so long (almost five years) for another full length release?

Over the course of the four five years I was really busy, I toured a lot. I actually recorded heaps of music in those four years, trying different things. I recorded a few EP’s but decided not to release them too.

 Why not?

I just didn’t feel like it was right, it wasn’t the right time, the ideas and songs didn’t work for me. I’m not sure I just didn’t feel right about it so I didn’t do it. But this record only took a year to work on, I sat down and said I’m actually going to start working, see if I can do a record for public consumption and once I decided to do that it took about twelve months from start to finish. So it’s not like I spent four or five years trying to come up with these ten songs, but over the twelve months I recorded maybe thirty or fourty songs and these were the ten I liked best.

 So I guess you’ve got a lot of songs in the song book for release down the track then?

Yeah because a lot of ideas in songs are good, the ideas are good but the song itself doesn’t work for some reason. But a good idea can last I think, if you try to put an idea into a song and it doesn’t work it might find a home next year.

Obviously the biggest news of the past few weeks was the passing of Robin Williams which is raising a lot of awareness of depression and anxiety, your lyrics suggest you may have had similar issues, do you think there’s enough support for artists and performers battling these issues?

There’s an understanding of what it is on a general level because a lot of artists and performers have a kind of vulnerability to them, so a lot of artists without stereotyping them can be a little bit up and down. So in the arts it’s not such a foreign concept that someone is anxious or depressed. But on a person by person level there’s not always a great deal of knowledge as to how to manage those aspects of a persons life, that’s a cultural thing I’d say rather than an industry thing, but I feel like it’s changing, it’s becoming more legitimate to speak openly about emotional states however there’s obviously a long long way to go.

This may be controversial but I would suspect that more people suffer from depression than statistics suggest, I don’t know the numbers but I’d say it would be closer to 1 in 4 men suffering from anxiety. I think in our society people aren’t very good at dealing with those aspects of their personality and it can come out in the form of anti social behaviour. In that regard there’s a lot of space for cultural understanding in our society, not just for anxiety and depression but just people’s emotional states in general. Everyone’s born with a mind that goes in every direction, and everyone has to learn to live with that mind.

 I know you’ve played on a few tracks with Bluejuice, were you sad to hear about them calling it quits?

Well Jake and Stav are close friends of mine I met them through music but they became close friends of mine outside of music. I met them when Bluejuice first started, it’s sad to see that party end but I have been watching them for ten years and people have to move on as well. I totally understand if they want to move on to the next chapter in their lives. They love the music, they’ve always loved the music and you can tell because there’s so much energy in their records and live shows, they give absolutely everything they have to it. I really admire them for that. But I suspect they just wanted to move on to the next chapter of their life and I totally understand.

Catch Andy at any of these gigs nationwide

SUN 07 SEP | THE SPIEGELTENT @ BRISBANE FESTIVAL, BRISBANE QLD

THU 11 SEP | TRANSIT BAR, CANBERRA ACT

FRI 12 SEP | THE CAMBRIDGE, NEWCASTLE NSW

SAT 13 SEP | THE METRO THEATRE, SYDNEY NSW

18 SEP | JIVE, ADELAIDE SA

FRI 19 SEP | THE BAKERY, PERTH WA

SAT 20 SEP | ROTTOFEST, ROTTNEST ISLAND WA

FRI 26 SEP | THE WARATAH HOTEL, HOBART TAS

27 SEP | THE CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE VIC ** SOLD OUT **

SUN 28 SEP | The CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE VIC

Interview with Andy Bull

Andy Bull

Indie sweet hear Andy Bull kept us waiting a very long four years before releasing his much anticipated second LP Sea Of Approval. Hit tracks Keep On Running and Baby I Am Nobody Now did the rounds late last year and built a lot of hype around the record, earning him the title of ‘most blogged about musician in the world.’

Now the falsetto voiced synth wizard has proudly released Sea Of Approval, which has been met with world wide acclaim, and he’s sporting a national tour in celebration. We caught up with Andy ahead of the tour that kicks off in September at the Brisbane Festival.

 You kicked off the Baby I am nobody now tour in October last year and played a few tracks off Sea Of Approval then, although the official album tour starts in September do you feel like unofficially you’ve been touring this album for a while?

Some of the songs we tried out last year, at one stage there were maybe four songs that we played live so that’s almost half the record I guess. But it feels like a new tour, I just feel like we’ll be comfortable playing these songs live. It definitely feels like an album tour, the venues are bigger which is kind of novel. I didn’t expect last year to be playing the Metro last year, so that kind of stuff makes it feel way more like an album tour.

The album has been very well received, do you feel like you are in fact swimming in a sea of approval?

It’s funny, you never ever do. It’s kind of what I was predicting when I called the record that because you never feel that way. It’s kind of complex, when you finish a project you automatically start thinking about how you’re going to do the next project so I don’t feel as if you reach a point where the work is done and you can just tick the box. And in terms of getting audience support, some people like what you do, some people don’t like what you do, some people hate what you do. Some people like what you do then they don’t, some people don’t like it then they come around, it’s not a very solid thing to pin yourself to. So it’s really nice when you get some praise, but there’s definitely an anxiety that comes if you start paying too much attention to what people think. So the sea of approval is something you should never really pursue. But first and foremost it’s nice to have a record finished. I did the best I could, there are elements of it that I’m really proud of, it’s not perfect but nothing ever will be, and the process of making it wasn’t perfect but I’m on the right path and I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing.

Speaking of the process of making the album, is there a lot of trial and error creating an album that’s so densely layered?

Yeah for me there was a lot of trial and error, some of the songs I did many versions of. There were some other songs that I also trialed and trialed and trialed that didn’t make the record. That’s one way of making a record, there are instances where you work really quickly, some parts of songs and some key ideas arrive really quickly. But being on your own means that you have to do everything layer by layer, so you don’t always have the context of other players knowing if something works. In a band you can feel when something clicks because everybody is doing something and it just works. On your own the pace of that first discovery is different, because you’re doing it piece by piece. So for about 80% of this record there was a lot of trial and error, there were many versions.

So why did you keep us waiting so long (almost five years) for another full length release?

Over the course of the four five years I was really busy, I toured a lot. I actually recorded heaps of music in those four years, trying different things. I recorded a few EP’s but decided not to release them too.

Why not?

I just didn’t feel like it was right, it wasn’t the right time, the ideas and songs didn’t work for me. I’m not sure I just didn’t feel right about it so I didn’t do it. But this record only took a year to work on, I sat down and said I’m actually going to start working, see if I can do a record for public consumption and once I decided to do that it took about twelve months from start to finish. So it’s not like I spent four or five years trying to come up with these ten songs, but over the twelve months I recorded maybe thirty or fourty songs and these were the ten I liked best.

So I guess you’ve got a lot of songs in the song book for release down the track then?

Yeah because a lot of ideas in songs are good, the ideas are good but the song itself doesn’t work for some reason. But a good idea can last I think, if you try to put an idea into a song and it doesn’t work it might find a home next year.

Obviously the biggest news of the past few weeks was the passing of Robin Williams which is raising a lot of awareness of depression and anxiety, your lyrics suggest you may have had similar issues, do you think there’s enough support for artists and performers battling these issues?

There’s an understanding of what it is on a general level because a lot of artists and performers have a kind of vulnerability to them, so a lot of artists without stereotyping them can be a little bit up and down. So in the arts it’s not such a foreign concept that someone is anxious or depressed. But on a person by person level there’s not always a great deal of knowledge as to how to manage those aspects of a persons life, that’s a cultural thing I’d say rather than an industry thing, but I feel like it’s changing, it’s becoming more legitimate to speak openly about emotional states however there’s obviously a long long way to go.

This may be controversial but I would suspect that more people suffer from depression than statistics suggest, I don’t know the numbers but I’d say it would be closer to 1 in 4 men suffering from anxiety. I think in our society people aren’t very good at dealing with those aspects of their personality and it can come out in the form of anti social behaviour. In that regard there’s a lot of space for cultural understanding in our society, not just for anxiety and depression but just people’s emotional states in general. Everyone’s born with a mind that goes in every direction, and everyone has to learn to live with that mind.

I know you’ve played on a few tracks with Bluejuice, were you sad to hear about them calling it quits?

Well Jake and Stav are close friends of mine I met them through music but they became close friends of mine outside of music. I met them when Bluejuice first started, it’s sad to see that party end but I have been watching them for ten years and people have to move on as well. I totally understand if they want to move on to the next chapter in their lives. They love the music, they’ve always loved the music and you can tell because there’s so much energy in their records and live shows, they give absolutely everything they have to it. I really admire them for that. But I suspect they just wanted to move on to the next chapter of their life and I totally understand.

Catch Andy at any of these gigs nationwide

SUN 07 SEP | THE SPIEGELTENT @ BRISBANE FESTIVAL, BRISBANE QLD

THU 11 SEP | TRANSIT BAR, CANBERRA ACT

FRI 12 SEP | THE CAMBRIDGE, NEWCASTLE NSW

SAT 13 SEP | THE METRO THEATRE, SYDNEY NSW

18 SEP | JIVE, ADELAIDE SA

FRI 19 SEP | THE BAKERY, PERTH WA

SAT 20 SEP | ROTTOFEST, ROTTNEST ISLAND WA

FRI 26 SEP | THE WARATAH HOTEL, HOBART TAS

27 SEP | THE CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE VIC ** SOLD OUT **

SUN 28 SEP | The CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE VIC

Groovin’ The Moo Canberra Review

GTM

So we were lucky enough to hit up Groovin’ The Moo Canberra on Sunday, for a wicked show of music featuring the likes of big acts such as Disclosure, The Presets, The Jezabels, with a host of rising stars like The Kite String Tangle, Vance Joy and Allday. To mix things up we have gone with an acrostic review, so here it goes:

C is for Covers – Pretty much every band mixed up their show, and in true festival spirit played some covers that got the whole crowd going. From Allday’s rendition of OutKast’s ‘I’m Sorry Ms Jackson’, to Loon Lake’s electrifying version of The Darkness’s ‘I Believe in A Thing Called Love’, and even Andy Bull’s retro classic ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’, each was epic and special. The  Kite String Tangle topped it off with his titanic and infectious cover of ‘Tennis Court’ by Lorde, complete with crowd groans.

A is for Andy Bull – who can definitely hit a high note. One of the best sets of the morning, he played a host of new songs, including his classic duet ‘Dog’ (originally featuring Lisa Mitchell), and major singles ‘Keep on Running’ and ‘Baby, I Am Nobody Now’. Obsessed with synth, he played the first set that really got the festival going for us.

N is for new songs - of which plenty were on display. Allday, Andy Bull, The Kite String Tangle, and Vance Joy all dropped brand new tracks which are yet to make it onto a record. Add the fact The Presets, Naked and Famous, Jezabels, Architecture in Helsinki, all ripped out tracks that have dropped in the last couple of months, and it was nigh on impossible not to get excited at all the new music hitting my ears for the first time.

B is for Burgers – If you had one of the burgers, you would understand why this gets a special mention in the acrostic review. Not only filling, but juicy and full of greasy goodness, they hit the spot. In fact all the food I saw looked good, Kebabs I can vouch for being yum, and the ease of getting drinks made the day a win for all over 18.

E is for Erratic Dancing – When it comes to dancing, Architecture in Helsinki took the cake with a freaking awesome display of whole band synchronised dance moves that made the crowd go mental. Special mentions also go to Hayley Mary’s kicking display for the Jezabels, the duo from The Presets, and the hip hop stylings of Illy. However the dance tent was were it was at, with Whatsonot, Peking Duck and Disclosure, sending the crowd into a fury of intense grooves, ensuring many tired legs by the end of the night.

R is for Rock n’ Roll – GTM has long embraced a good mix of pop, indie and heavy rock and 2014 was no exception. Parkway Drive were clearly a major drawcard and even though their music isn’t my thing, they put on a show. It is intense, fast and their fans are more than dedicated. But perhaps it was Loon Lake who summed it up best with the priceless and slightly ironic quote ‘Its bloody dangerous playing rock n’ roll”

R is also for rain-free - Yeah, so it didn’t rain. Which was a major plus as it had threatened all day, and despite the thermometer not climbing over 16 degrees all day, it didn’t stop people getting their short shorts and singlets on to dance

A is also for Attire – Once again the onesies where out in force, with cows, lions, stationary and  a host of Disney characters on display. There is nothing like seeing a slutty Alice in Wonderland hooking up with Crayola Crayon to make your day out at a festival truly memorable. Oh yeah, and the sick 12 hour line-up of bands that blew us away.

Interview with Andy Bull

Andy BullAndy Bull has released two singles that cracked the Hottest 100 in 2013, and with an impending album and Groovin The Moo appearance, we caught up with him to have chat about what 2014 has to offer.

You’re sets are awesome and full of great songs, but we’ve only heard EPs, when can we expect the album?

Ha-Ha, you sound like my record company. I’m in the process of finishing it now. I don’t want to paint myself into a corner, but I think best case scenario I’m maybe a couple of weeks away from finishing it. I mean yeah it’s not 100%, but I think we’ll be alright.

You hear about people like Chet Faker scrapping their album in entirety, are you a perfectionist, and have you gone to those levels?

When I heard that about Chet Faker, I was like wooah, man. I’m a perfectionist and that has a good side and a bad side, and I’m sure Chet will say the same thing. I mean you have this habit that you want to keep making it better. But at the same time you have to accept that no more work or perfecting is going to make it better. You really have to be wary that you don’t believe you can polish a turd. If you write a song that is kind of average, then you can work and work at perfecting those musical techniques, but if the seed of the song isn’t good, then it’s not going to be a good song. That means that perfectionism can also fool you into making you can make things better, even when the soul of the song isn’t there. If the seed of the song is not very good, then it can effectively fool you into thinking the song is better that it is, and that’s also bad.

You talk about polishing a turd, does that mean you spend more time focusing on the lyrics to ensure that the seed is good.

I mean if you are singing, then you have to like what you’re singing about, if you are going to sing about it. I discovered that the thing I like about my music is my voice. And the melody and the lyrics are always the most important thing. And you don’t want that to be true because it seems old fashioned. And I don’t want it to be old fashioned, I don’t want to be old fashioned at all. But it is, and you cannot escape that old fashioned element. I mean you can mix it up and try different techniques, I could write the best synth sounds and do the best production and all that sort of stuff but at the end of the day it’s still a song. And still a song I have to sing. So, if the lyrics aren’t good, it doesn’t matter how good the synthesizers are because I don’t want to sing it because it doesn’t click. If the song wont click if it doesn’t stick with you personally. And sometimes you will click with it in the moment but over the time it will grow out of it. Perhaps that’s what happened with Chet Faker. At the time when you write it your like ‘this is great’, but with some reflection you may be like, this is more of an old habit, or these are other people’s ideas. I don’t know if that’s what happened, but I know that’s happened from my own experiences.

Are we going to see more of that synth pop on the new record, like with your two singles or are you going to drop some old school sounds on us?

I used the synthesizers a lot. I love the sound of it, it’s sort of the in-between of sounding futuristic and sort of nostalgic as well. You know what I mean, there’s something pretty beautiful about it, but then it always has some sort of alien element to it. It’s very, very beautiful sound. I have been watching a lot of documentaries on synthesizers lately, and in the 60s these were huge big instruments that took up half a room and nobody wanted to use them. But then you could put a lot of heart and effort into them, and really love them. And now everyone has a synthesizer, you can get them on your computer or your iPhone, and just make music there. But I only use real synthesizers. So to answer your questions, yes there will be a lot of synth on the album, but there will also be other instruments.

Yeah, that kinds of brings me onto the next question, will you be doing all of the other instruments, the guitars etc. as well. Because traditionally you have been a one man band.

Yeah, but I did use a drummer. Carlos who plays with me live is sampled on the record, and he pretty much makes this organic sound with the drums. So I have used that, and made my drums out of his basically. Bu there are some guitars and stuff, but a lot of it is very electronic.

Outside of the music, where have your influence been coming from, have you been listening to other bands in particular?

As a musician you are always listening to what other people are doing, and you need to be wary of what the trend is. That doesn’t meet you need to be in it though. But yeah I have been listening to a lot of albums like Dirty Projectors, Blood Orange, Metronomy, and even Kanye West. They are the ones that have release records lately that I’m really listening to.

Wow you really love your synth.

Ha-ha yeah. But then I couldn’t sing like Kanye West because it wouldn’t sound write. I couldn’t even sing like Blood Orange or Metronomy, because they are different songs, and because the lyrics are very important to me. It’s important to find the key. I mean my voice is an instrument as well, and you have to ask ‘what are your strengths’? What does my voice sound good doing? And I think my voice is better suited to being explicit about neglect and shame and devastation Ha-ha. So I guess that is what I focus on in the writing.

You mention at your shows you have a very high voice. Have you ever just tried to put on a fake baritone or something just to mix it up?

Ha-ha believe me I have tried everything.

You are playing the Groovin The Moo shows, have you done anything to try and adapt your shows to the festival stage?

Yea it’s really different because people aren’t stuck in a room with you, they can just wonder off. So we are trying to develop a set that has a lot of flow to it. I think that this will really be in mind as we prepare to it.

The several times I have you seen you, you have been in small venues which really adds to the intimacy. How are you going to capture that on the festival stage?

I want to try and keep that intimacy, but it’s really hard to capture that in such an open space, so it will be interesting to see how that goes.

I loved your duet Dog, with Lisa Mitchell. Have you got any other collaborations lined up, perhaps with some of the artists on Groovin The Moo?

All those collaborations tend to happen quite organically. When those things happen they tend to happen when you’re with friends and hanging out together, it’s not like a record company thing. It doesn’t happen that way. So there are so many bands on the Groovin the Moo lineup that I think are awesome, and I would love to do things with. I actually can’t wait just to meet them all, it’s a bit like the first day of school if you get what I mean.

Aside from Groovin The Moo, and potentially an album later in the year, what’s planned for Andy Bull in 2014?

We have a lot of big things. So we have GTM which is quite immediate, and then finishing the record which is quite a big thing. I think once we finish the record that will set of a chain reaction of things. I imagine that once the record is done, I will be doing a lot of touring in support of that. I also signed a record deal overseas, so I will probably go there and suss that out a little bit. Really just to keep going and see where things take me really. I mean you work so hard, but so much of life is out of your control, so I will just see what happens and ride that wave.

Do you feel that because the record company has put a lot time and faith in you, there is more pressure on this record to succeed?

Yeah there is definitely pressure. What I have discovered is that a lot this is dependent on me because I am on my own. If I’m not working on it, nobody else is. There are aren’t other people working on finishing tracks, writing stuff and things. And as other people aren’t making this record, if I stop doing it, take a break, then progress on the whole record stops. So I have to keep working on it, that there is a lot of pressure on me, but I have to remain pretty mellow and not let the pressure get to me. I don’t think pressure to succeed or finish is good. You kind of need to be calm, mellow and a bit humble if you want to be able to finish.

Or you might just end up writing some angry punk rock?

Ha-ha yeah. You really have to let your mind wander, and that takes time. It was said to get an hour of good writing, you need to be alone for four hours and you need to be able to let your mind wander.  You have to kind of create a space where those pressures and worries don’t really exist, or something like that, but it’s really essential not to let it get to you.

Well we can’t wait to see the end product, and to catch you at Groovin the Moo, thanks for your time.

Ha-ha me neither, hopefully it isn’t too long a wait. Thanks

Andy Bull – Keep on Running

andybullcatch_440

Andy Bull has been a little quiet of late, so we were ecstatic to hear he’s back with a belter of a new tune called ‘Keep On Running‘.

Armed with a heavy but grooving opening baseline, ‘Keep on Running’ kicks into gear about 40s in with the first chorus, where it develops into a melodic explosion of keys, drums and vocals. The most incredible bit, and probably the main catchiness contributing factor is strangely what sounds are not played. The use of silence and breaks is what really makes this track. Add the awesome synths, rolling keys and the jolty beat in the later end of the track and its easy to see that Andy Bull has produced a fine tune. Its light, easy on the ears and super catchy, and considering that he not only recorded it, but produced it himself, a phenomenal effort.

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