I’ve got a little treat for you today in the form of an interview with the incredibly talented Andrew Foster – a man who creates fantastic sounds from his home-built studio on the South Coast of England. Having already received some love from the likes of the BBC, I managed to get him to stoop to my level and have a quick chat;
Who are you, what are you and where are you?
I am Andrew Foster a name I didn’t choose but that has six letters in each word which makes it ergonomic to the eye for graphic design.
I am stardust that has evolved into something that can operate electronic equipment and play instruments, and I am currently near Brighton.
Why did you start making music? Who were your first great inspirations?
The 90’s and it’s over the top hugeness was and still is a huge inspiration to me. Nirvana, Oasis, Britpop, the Acoustic movement, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Indie dance crossover music, top of the pops. I absorbed all the pop culture back then and wanted to use that vessel to express my own place in the world and document what was happening. As soon as I learnt a few chords I was writing so the pursuit of the song happened very quickly yet late in my teens.
Most songwriters see themselves as outsiders… the minute they don’t they normally run out of things to say unless they channel themselves differently. Therefore the reason I started is because I was finding a voice for myself because In real life I was slightly clumsy. In music I wasn’t and I still am on that pursuit for communication.
Noel Gallagher was a huge influence on a teenage me and although I don’t sound anything like him I still enjoy watching his thirst for making music. I used to record the charts religiously every week and this is why I am not scared of pop music and still have respect for it.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s always a difficult question because you don’t want to say an artist or a band then you’ve already created something in the listeners head. I am a songwriter but I try to avoid some of the certain expectations of the love torn troubadour. That said I still have elements of folk and traditional song writing but on the records try to mix it up with psychedelic, electronica and pop. David Bowie is an obvious genre leaping comparison but I don’t actually sound like him. Stewart Lee the comedian once said it’s hard to not be influenced by what hit you as a teenager and I agree with that to a certain degree but I also like to search musical landscapes for certain “hues” then use them for my own style of writing. So call me the hue-thief…..
Tell us about ‘Science & Magic’ – what’s you intention with the album? Is there a certain message you’re trying to get across?
The lyrical themes I tend to gravitate towards of late have been Space, Science, what place religion has in society, what it means to be alive, and the environment. All these things are from the perspective of a man living in England. Science & Magic explores themes of rationality, frailty and the wonder of being alive, but also a celebration of the unexplained myths hence the name ‘Science & Magic’. Songs such as ‘Sea Of Thought’ ‘Heartbeats’ and ‘Modern Day Messiah’ deal with faith, being human, and being aware of false prophets…..whereas songs such as ‘Dreamscape’ and ‘The Garden’ deal with dream-state and painting metaphorical pictures.
Where should we be looking to find new music? Who is worth keeping an eye on? (Besides yourself, of course)
As I get older I find it difficult to wade through the noise in order to get to the music that will make a mark on me. I’m sure this happens with everybody over time but I do believe it’s hard to tune in through the white noise of promotion, buzz, false movements and ‘The Emperors New Clothes’ style bands.
That being said I’m very much a believer in new music and although I may crave a deeper meaning in my music nowadays, to me the pop song, and the hope of finding a new band or artists to fall in love with, still excites me greatly. I have a wide range of taste when it comes to music, but in terms of new bands then I think Kassassin Street are a force. For me they hark back to my youth when a band had an ethic, a strong sense of identity, and they also carry deep lyrical messages underneath their psychedelic dance rock. I love this psychedelic movement currently happening but for me the vocals in a lot of the bands let them down. You can’t just sound like you’ve done a field of magic mushrooms and claim your making art….you’ve still got to convey the emotion sonically.
In terms of pop then Flyte are a fantastic intelligent example of it which I’m sure everybody will love then immediately hate because its pop. Which is slightly irritating but that’s the way it works! (Yes they are – see yesterday’s review!)
I read a lot of music press and can spend ages wandering around Spotify so I discover things by accident a lot. The quest for the song is still one I love.
What does music mean to you?
Everything… cliché I know but I still believe music can change perceptions, heal hearts, fix broken minds, empower, enrich and enlighten you. I now know that it doesn’t necessarily affect everyone the same way like I used to when I believed everybody in the venue understood the gig like I wanted them to. I think most people let it wash over them and take in a little of what they want like an emotional siv, and for others it becomes them. I am the later and music to me is the documentation of being human.
How important do you think BBC Introducing and similar ideas are for helping young musicians get their music heard?
I do think it’s a great idea and BBC Introducing have been very good to me giving me live sessions, airplay, and interviews. The BBC tag gives what you’re doing kudos in the eyes of other people so for musicians starting out this can turn eyes towards you which is what we are struggling to do in this climate today so it’s incredibly important that BBC Introducing, Tom Robinson and the like stay doing what they do.
What is worrying is that now it appears there seems to be bands that already have huge financial backing coming through not necessarily from the BBC but under other schemes… under the moniker of “unsigned” that are quite frankly not and I know that to be true. The ways in which bands need to be promoted now is so vast that even major labels have to saturate every avenue with their “product” and this sometimes means the little guys are STILL getting trodden on in the race to be heard, even in the start-up schemes. This isn’t new though and I don’t want to sound like an old man when I say it’s always been the same but now there is even more white noise it makes it even more difficult.
What are you hoping to achieve with your music?
Expression, connection, and to put emotions into 4mins that people can relate to. I want to create a world for the listener in which they want to spend time in.
Why did you decide to work as a solo act? Would you ever consider being part of a band or another project?
Most of my music starts with me, an acoustic guitar, a joss stick, and an iPad. No cigarettes as I’ve given up, so I am pretty much a acoustic hippie underneath the production. The live show is just that, the raw elements of the songs performed as I wrote them and the records are always much bigger. I have had a band around me but the cost of touring is so big that it’s just not viable for financial reasons when I can easily tour the country with an acoustic on my back. Maybe in the future I will strip the music back so that there isn’t any difference between the live show and the record but with ‘Science & Magic’ I wanted my imagination to run wild. It’s actually tamer than originally planned with some dance tracks being taken off near completion!
Where can we see you live in the next few months?
There’s a few coming up before the year is done including a support with Turin Brakes which I’m excited about as acoustic acts go they are amongst the best.
November 13th Bedford Balham London
November 15th Supporting Turin Brakes at St Pauls Centre Worthing
November 21th Reykjavik 101 Southsea
December 28th Supporting Mark Morriss (Ex The Bluetones) at The Cellars in Eastney
Who is your least favourite cartoon character?
Anything you’d like to add?
….who shoots at Bugs Bunny….its madness….
No thank you!