Sunday Sessions 1 - Chris Andrews

By: Emma Corcoran

'Behind all of my music, I want there to be a certain power; I want my music to have dignity and force... When I sing, I always want to show some deepness.' says Chris Andrews, an emerging Indie/Folk/Americana singer-songwriter with big dreams and a bright future.  

Chris Andrews is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and he studies Spanish and Management as a fourth year student. An active member of Music is Love, Chris works behind the scenes doing tech, but also performs often at their weekly Open Mic events held at the Byre. Chris first became interested in music at a young age, and what started as a hobby quickly developed into a undeniable passion. Now, with two music videos newly released and many more to come, Chris is a definite aspiring artist to keep under your radar, and we are excited to watch his music career take flight.

An interview with Chris Andrews:

ST.ART: I thought we would start with the basics: how long have you been performing and playing?

CA: I actually played drums growing up; I was a jazz drummer all through my childhood. My dad was a drummer, and my dad’s dad was a drummer, so I was always playing the drums. It wasn’t until maybe my Junior year of High School that I even picked up a guitar and really started playing, but it wasn’t until I got to St Andrews that I started writing my own music. I remember the first song that I wrote was about a hike that I went on my first year here, and then from then on I was just writing songs all the time.

ST.ART: And how do you approach songwriting?

CA: Well it sort of changed. At first, growing up as a drummer, I was always interested in the melodic and rhythmic elements of the song, so I would start there and be noodling or whatever, getting into sort of a groove, and then base the song off that. But probably in the last six months, that totally switched. I was just realising that my songs were feeling a bit empty and a little hollow because the lyrics were having to conform to the structure of the music, so I started free-writing. I started really focusing on my writing this summer actually. This summer, I lived in LA and I was waking up every morning and doing something I call ‘object writing’, which is to write about an object for ten minutes, just totally free-writing, doesn’t even have to be sentences. I think my appreciation for lyrics skyrocketed then, and I think my lyrics got better. Now, I start with the right message and go from there. It’s been really rewarding focusing on my writing; it makes performing way more comfortable, because there’s a difference between it sounding good and it feeling good.

ST.ART: Where do you take inspiration from?

CA: You know, it’s always changing. Again, I split it up between the melody, rhythm and lyrics. Lyrically, I write the best when I’m listening to Bob Dylan; I like his rambling, and that’s always inspired me. In terms of messages, at least with this album that I’m working on right now, it’s about going into new places and exploring unknown territories and being excited about it rather than scared about it. That’s the consistent theme. And then melodically and rhythmically, my main influences would be Ben Howard, Leif Vollebekk, Dave Matthews, Simon and Garfunkel, Damien Jurado… but it’s always changing. I’ll take just a little idea from a random song, and it will be enough: a little kernel that you can work on, and that’s all you really need.

Behind all of my music, I want there to be a certain power; I want my music to have dignity and force. That just came naturally. When I sing, I always want to show some deepness. Like, do you know Shakey Graves? He’s got sort of that strong core. It’s like a backbone for his music, rhythmically but also the force of his voice. He’s an amazing guy.

ST.ART: How do you think you would describe your sound then?

CA: When you ask me that question, I imagine my sound as what I wish it would be, and it’s not there yet. I have so much more that I want to do with my music and I haven’t really even done much at all. My ideal sound, and what I hope to achieve, is like rambling but also really deep and echoing and reverberating the space: a lot of space, just echoing.

ST.ART: What is the first album you bought and the last?

CA: There’s a band called Ton-Taun and they were my favourite band growing up. They were actually two grades above me in High School, and I remember going to all their shows. It was originally a group of five people all in my High School, I think. Then a few of them dropped out, and the band was sort of reconstructed, and people went off to college, and then all of a sudden the lead singer who I respect so much just dropped everything and dedicated himself to the band completely. He came out with another album recently, and it was just phenomenal, so good, so I bought that album. The first album I bought… God, it was probably something terrible. I can’t remember, but probably something terrible.

ST.ART: If you could perform on any stage in the world, or anywhere, really, where would it be?

CA: I would love to play at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, or the Gorge – the Gorge is crazy. Oran Mor in Glasgow is pretty cool; it’s like this old church. Those are actual venues, but in terms of places to play, it would be pretty cool to play on the longest spiral staircase in the world. I bet that would sound amazing. I would love to play there, wherever that is. Or like a really long tunnel, the longest tunnel in the world: the smallest, longest tunnel. I would love to play there.

ST.ART: What is your most memorable performance?

CA: I don’t know if you could call this a performance, and I have a couple that are pretty memorable for me, but one of them, I was coming home from Christmas break, my first year here I think, and at the time, my family was living in a small little cottage in Michigan, and when I had just gotten home, the power went out. It was freezing cold and there was like six feet of snow outside, no lights in the house, so we lit some candles and I played, just with my family. That was very memorable for me. In terms of a more official gig, there was a ‘Living Room’ gig that Music is Love put on last year. It was the day that I finished my exams, and I didn’t even know I was going to play, but they needed someone the day of, so I played three songs. It just felt so good, I don’t know why. I think because I wasn’t stressed at all, I could put all of my energy into it. It was nice because everyone was listening, not that I expect everyone to listen at every concert, but when you’re just sitting in a living room with everyone there, and that’s the focal point, it’s nice. And I remember stepping three or four feet away from the mic, so I wasn’t even using it, but everyone could still hear me. It was just cool to me that everyone was there and it was pretty much unplugged.  

ST.ART: What are your plans for the future?

CA: Hopefully more music videos to come. In August 2016, I’m going to be running across the United States with my friend. Along the way, I’m hoping to release my first album. The ideal way I look at it is if there’s some traction with the run, then maybe I can piggyback on that a little bit and put my music out there and see where it goes.

ST.ART: Do you have the route calculated already? How long do you think that will take?

CA: We’ve carved out nine months. I don’t think it’ll take that long, but that’s how long we’ve given it, just because we want to go slowly and we want to take advantage of being in the places rather than being totally exhausted or risk hurting ourselves. And hopefully, I can bring my guitar with me and play music along the way, because I think that would be pretty cool to have a little cross-country tour on foot. I think that would be pretty unique, maybe the first time anyone’s ever done that.

The story with the run is that we’re trying to do it for a purpose to help other people. We’re trying to spread the message that we’re using our phones a little too much and we need to have more face-to-face interactions. If I can hop onto that and if we get any momentum and not distract from the real message, that would be great. 

ST.ART: Is there anything else that you’d like to share or add?

CA: On December 4th, I’m opening for Fat-Suit at the Union. It’s gonna be cool, Fat-Suit is awesome. They’re very organised, and I’m kind of intimidated by that, but I’m excited. I just went to a concert last week and it got me pumped up, because I want to treat it like a real gig. Normally I roll up to open mics or even live lounge not really thinking about it, but I think it would be really fun to put in some time and treat it like a real gig and try to engage the crowd a little more. It should be great.

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Watch Chris's music videos here: 

Chris Andrews - St Andrews Sessions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5r1BCWvTwU&feature=youtu.be

The Wolf: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xOuQGomjC8

Check out Chris's Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/Chris-Andrews-1156242394404010/?fref=ts