Posted On 01 Jun 2018
Americana singer-songwriter, Andy Sydow, recently premiered his new music video to the title track, “Reasons For Departure”, in No Depression, one of the nation’s most prominent and broad-ranging music publications. The new track continues to showcase Andy’s personal songwriting His lyrics are relatable and honest – a common effort in his music. The music video was crated and animated by Greg Carr, who also is the artist behind the album artwork. For the music video, Carr drew hundreds of sketches and sequenced them together. With the visuals and the music, this music video connects the lyrics and feeling of the song to the audience. This is the second single off his newest album, “Reasons For Departure,” released on May 11th.
Learn more about Andy Sydow in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time, Andy! Where does this interview find you now? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
I just finished up a phone interview with Music Friday Live, now I’m sitting in the Sheridan Hotel lobby in downtown Denver waiting for my gig to start.
Overall, how do you think 2018 has been treating you and your music career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it?
2018 has been the best year so far. There are lots of moving parts with my career right now. It’s getting to be stressful at times, but I like that. My biggest goal this year is to put out new music and build my brand. I just released Reasons For Departure a week ago, so now my biggest focus is promoting it and booking as many shows as possible.
Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
Yeah, music has always been a huge part of my life. There was a lot of musical instruments around the house as a kid. I think the first experience I can recall is my mom writing the fingering under the notes of Little Drummer Boy so I could perform it for our family at a Christmas talent show. When I got a little older, my dad started taking me to the Boulder Theater to see acts perform on the eTown radio show. As I got more and more into it, we started going to eTown most Sunday nights.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? Has there been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
I wouldn’t change anything, but there have certainly been challenges. When I got started, I didn’t realize I was going to have to actively learn new skills that don’t always involve music. For instance, I made my first promo video a few weeks ago. I’ll admit it’s not great, but it’s a necessary skill when you’re trying to grow your brand and promote yourself.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today? If you don’t think that it has affected you at all, why is that?
I’m Colorado through and through. I was born in Houston, but I’ve been in Colorado since I was three. Anyone is going to be influenced by their physical environment at least somewhat. The music scene in the Denver area is very diverse and there’s always something going on. I live 5 miles from Red Rocks and not too far from downtown Denver, so there’s no shortage of music. Plus, having mountains in your backyard can only be a positive influence on the creative process.
I find it interesting that sometimes musicians choose to go by something other than their own name, so why did you decide to go by your name?
Because that’s who I am. Even though I may write songs about someone else or someone I used to be, it’s still me writing and singing and I like that to be represented. Also, I think just being influenced by a lot of artists using their name growing up such as Warren Zevon, Eric Clapton, Henry Butler, Vince Guaraldi and Anders Osborne played a role in my decision to go that route.
Let’s talk about your recently released album “Reasons For Departure.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? How long did it take to make?
We started pre production with producer Chris Daniels (of Chris Daniels & The Kings) last January (2017) and went into the studio the next month. We recorded the drums, bass, keys and rhythm guitar live in one weekend. From there, it took many more hours to lay down the vocal tracks and overdub other instruments. Chris was quite the vocal coach. He kept pushing for a better take. I think it took 24 hours in the studio just to get the lead vocals down! That was a surprise for me and how I’m used to doing things, but I’m really glad we did it the way we did. We finished recording by August and I had the hard product in my hand by mid-December.
What was the inspiration for your lead single “Reasons For Departure”? How creatively involved were you with the making of the animated music video for it?
It was inspired by lost love for unknown reasons. Sometimes you’re in a relationship and you think everything is going fine, but to the other person it’s not. Then like the blink of an eye they’re gone and that’s that. Not all my songs are literal interpretation of my life, but this one is.
I wish I could take responsibility for the music video! I don’t have that kind of talent. All credit goes to Greg Carr on that. He videotaped me playing the song a few times against a green screen, then he watched the video and drew nearly 1,000 animated pictures and sequenced them all together like a flip book. If you haven’t seen the video, I highly recommend you check it out! It’s a real work of art by Greg.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for you? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far? Do you have any upcoming shows this summer?
Any show where there’s a good energy in the audience. I love festivals, small club shows and national openers all for different reasons. The festival vibe is really cool because everyone is in an easy going mood and is really there for the music. Playing a small club is great because usually that means it’s your fans who came to see you and I’m always grateful for that. National openers are a chance to really create an impression and present your music to potential new fans.
My favorite performance so far… hmm… I think it’s a tie between two shows. I got to open for perhaps my favorite musician/songwriter, Anders Osborne, in Nederland on New Years Eve. That was insane! It was a packed house and I could hardly believe what was happening. The Reasons For Departure CD Release show last week was great too. We headlined the show and packed a small club in Denver filled with supporters and friends. That was really special. The band was on fire that night, too!
We’re about to hit the road to support the album. We start out in Denver at Denver Day of Rock Festival on May 26, then we head north to Saskatoon and Edmonton for about a week. We’ll circle back around through Washington and Idaho before heading home. We’ll be back to cover Montana the last week of July. I play pretty much every weekend in some capacity or another. When I’m not fronting the Andy Sydow Band, I play a lot of solo shows and dueling piano shows. Sometimes I’m a sideman for other artists as well.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
I have my opinions as does everyone, but I haven’t been compelled to write too much about the current climate. I can’t say why that is. Maybe I’m too attached to the situation right now to write about it with a clear head. I write about what I’m passionate about in the moment and try not to force anything. I’m sure something will come out of me at some point.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all?
Yeah, it’s tricky! I feel like I’m usually pretty on top of it, but I was just realizing earlier today that the call-to-action on my website is still for the Reasons For Departure music video, and it needs to be changed the new album now that it’s out.
I’m constantly making facebook banners or tour posters and putting filters on funny faces trying to always have something up-to-date and interesting to say on my socials. I actually really enjoy it, but it does get to be a lot of work and it’s easy to let something slip through the cracks.
Who are some of your favorite artists, or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
There are so many. I’m a huge fan of Anders Osborne’s work. I think he’s one of the artists out there right now who is absolutely on fire. He’s writing excellent lyrics, has an unbelievable voice and can totally shred on his instrument. I love Jason Isbell, Jackie Greene, Dawes, Randy Newman… I could go on all day. I think having Anders or Randy produce a record for me would be really cool.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you?
A waterproof, permanently tuned grand piano!
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on?
I’d love to go back in time and have my music on That 70s Show or How I Met Your Mother. In current realistic times, it would be a dream come true to get a song on Nashville. The music on that show is excellent!
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
Something relatable. That’s all I can really ask. The magical thing about music is there’s something for every mood. If you’re sad, there’s a song for that. Not necessarily to cure the sadness (although maybe) (add comma) but just a song that you relate to every time you feel that way. It’s the same when we feel happy or melancholy or ecstatic. I want to provide THAT song for the listener.
Where can our readers connect with you?
Feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website, www.andysydow.com
I hope to see you at a show!!