*Andy, where are you at the moment?
At my house in South East UK, specifically my studio building.
*How does the Corona crisis affect you?
How long have you got? In terms of work – I’m unable to rehearse and tour/play live shows, or write and collaborate in person on musical projects. So that side of my income has been completely stopped for the moment. Personally it’s having a huge impact. Obviously everyone’s in the same boat to a large extent. Right now we’re in self isolation mode. Due to underlying health conditions I’m having to distance myself from my family inside my own house (separate bedrooms/bathrooms/mealtimes etc.) which is very hard. I’m thankful for having a garden in which to spend time with them without being too cautious or worrying too much.
*How do you estimate the effects of the corona pandemic on the music industry?
Live promoters and venues are going to find it tough without the valuable cash flow for sure, and all the associated businesses like PA companies, travel operators, events and tour hire etc. as well as all the artists. Streaming is probably going to get a boost and possibly music sales too since the escapism side of being in lockdown will become a necessity.
*What do you do with the time you involuntarily gained?
I’m lucky that my studio is in a detached building across from my house at the top of my garden, so I am able to continue to be creative and write music. I would probably go insane if I wasn’t able to do that. I’ve been cooking a lot of food for the family and trying my best to keep things moving forward, helping my wife as best I can to raise our little girl without too much disruption to her days. Dog walks in large empty forests.
*What projects are you currently working on?
I’m writing songs for the next Mamas Gun record, some for a solo record I hope to put out some time in the next ten years (!), and a song/production for a new Japanese singer called Anna Takeuchi.
*What does music mean to you in times of crisis?
Escapism, catharsis, sanctuary, a lens, answers, philosophy.
*Which music, which albums are you currently listening to and can you recommend?
In the past week: EWF – Last Days And Time, Money Mark – Mark’s Keyboard Repair, Joni – Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, also been tracking down the songs I liked from the series ‘The End of The F***king World’.
*Are you currently planning special online offers for your fans, e.g. online shows?
Been talking about it with Shawn for YGSF but deciding on what would be the most appealing for all concerned, rather than just getting our acoustic guitars and pressing record on a phone. It’s a bit saturated at the moment with dj’s and musicians performing on every digital street corner. Gotta stay classy y’know? Hahaha…seriously though I’m sure I’ll end up doing something…
*How do you think it will go on for you?
We’ll get into a place where restrictions are lifted and then clamped down again…so life will become a series of stops and starts until normal service is resumed, I would say in about a year’s time. If touring is in hold for a long time, then I would probably need to look at doing more work in other sectors. Last year I did some commercials and wrote music for TV so I would possibly look at doing more of that. Either that or become a rent-boy for rich millionairesses!
*Do you have a message for your fans?
If you’re reading this then you’re possibly interested in what I have to say. Stop reading now, I’m really not that interesting! Hahaha. On a serious note…this virus has been and continues to be devastating in so many ways, that at times it’s breath taking. So many people lost and what’s worse so many unable to congregate and mourn properly. It’s a sobering time and we do what we must to get through it and to me it’s a comfort to know that we’re all in it and facing it together. Anyway I hope wherever you are, you’re seeking out the joy in all the ways you can and keeping safe.
*Andy, I have also a few questions about your musical roots. What is your earliest musical memory?
Headphones/cassette deck/Hot Chocolate – ‘You Sexy Thing’.
*Which artists and bands have influenced you?
Such an huge question. But here are some that have influenced me directly as a singer and writer: Beatles/ Prince/ ELO/ Jellyfish/ Joni Mitchell/ Queen/ Kate Bush/ Sly & The Family Stone/ Bill Withers/ The Impressions/ Andrew Gold/ Lewis Taylor/ Jimmy Webb/ Burt Bacharach/ Elton John/ Jimmy Scott/ Scott Walker/ Marvin Gaye/ Gil Scott Heron/ Shuggie Otis/ Michael McDonald/ Hall & Oates…
*What was your first instrument?
*When did you decide to become a professional musician?
Around about the age of 15 when my bedroom had become a mad scientist lair of wired-up old hifi systems and guitar amps. I wrote my first song when I was about 10 – on a reel to reel 2 track which I bounced down to cassette and pissed my family off with for weeks. It was a total rip-off of Midnight Oil’s ‘Beds are burning’, haha.
*What did your parents say when you told them that you wanted to become a musician?
They encouraged me right up until Ieft home. From that point it was a struggle – they would ask me every year when I was going to get a proper job. After I turned 30 (11 years ago), they stopped asking and became resigned to the fact! But they’re prob my biggest fans now, bless them and they love coming to shows.
*Which profession would you have chosen if you hadn’t become a musician?
I honestly couldn’t tell you but at the age where I was starting decide what I might want to do, I was interested in languages and criminal law. Ha!
*Do you remember your first gig? Where was it and how did you feel?
It was at my secondary school as part of something they called ‘The Rockfest’. I played guitar on a cover of ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn’ (oh dear). I was pretty nervous, because I didn’t want to mess up. I didn’t mess up but I remember coming off stage and having the biggest adrenaline rush ever. I was hooked.
*What was it like when you first held an album of yours in your hands?
Very special. I remember when I’d finished mixing the first album of songs that I ever wrote (an album called ‘Routes to Riches’) – in LA at Ocean Way – and they gave me all the mixes on a Studio CD-R copy. That day was the day Barack Obama was voted into office. Wow, that makes it feel like a long time ago.
Thank you very much for the interview! We wish you and your family all the best for the future and especially health.
Photo: Yvonne Schedemann
This interview was published for the first time on March 26, 2020