A couple of years ago, Pop ‘stache got an invite to Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta, a staple of the local and southeastern music scene, to check out a bill the featured eletronica crooner Kyle Andrews. Meeting this unassuming, genuinely nice dude before he took the stage would never prepare one for what was to come. That was a commanding performance featuring adept musicianship and a laser light show that would rival nearby Stone Mountain. He turned a half-full, side room into the main event, complete with impromptu dance floor. Simply point, Kyle rocked and still does.
Fast forward to present day: Kyle has grabbed the attention from the blogosphere with his latest release, Brighter Than The Sun, mastering his pop, but not really pop, electronica-guitar melting pot of awesome. Soaring to new heights, literally, Kyle took some time to come back down to Earth and chat with us about his new album, marriage and regrets of never going to sleep-away-camp.
Pop ‘stache: How, when and why did Kyle Andrews go from Kyle the person to Kyle the artist who launches cameras into space?
Kyle Andrews: It’s been a steady evolution. I’ve been producing music for more than half my life. I started out with a four-track tape machine in the ’90s and have been in love with recording since. I’ve been fortunate enough to have that passion turn into something more than a hobby, and even more amazingly it has brought so many creative people and amazing experiences into my life.
P ‘s: How do you approach songwriting?
KA: I focus on the production side first, that allows me to create on a more instinctual level and not be slowed by any self consciousness. I’m always searching for a fun keyboard sound or drum rhythm that will inspire me and unlock the rest of the song. From there it’s usually apparent what sort of lyrical tone would work with the music. I’m after something honest that will suit the rest of the sounds and work as one.
P ‘s: What part of the job do you dig more, playing shows or creating the music?
KA: I really do love playing shows. At its best, performing is very in the moment and is pure expression. That said, I’ll always be in the studio. I love recording. I could record 20 hours a day (and do sometimes), and be perfectly content.
P ‘s: What’s your favorite moment as an artist to this point?
KA: Making the “You Always Make Me Smile” water balloon fight video and most recently making “The Way to Wonder” space video. Somehow making music put me in these fun and challenging situations. I wouldn’t normally find myself having 120,000 water balloons thrown at me or racing cross state to track an iPad that just fell from the stratosphere.
P ‘s: What’s the best (sharable) tour story you’ve got for us?
KA: I never went to camp as a kid, so for me, touring is like sleep-a-way camp. You stay up late goofing off with your closest friends. It’s hard work but also a lot of fun. (i.e. can’t tell you the best stories)
P ‘s: How does Brighter Than The Sun differ from stuff you’ve done in the past?
KA: This album was more collaborative than in the past. I had more live performance from real people where in the past I’m usually programming every little thing. The biggest thing was having live drums. Doy Gardner plays in my band for shows and I really wanted the energy of live drums on the record. So there are drum machines and stuff I programmed, but on top and more pronounced is the live feel and energy of his playing.
P ‘s: Now that the record has released, are you happy with how it turned out and how it’s been received?
KA: In many ways putting out a record is the end of a creative process. There is a moment of identity crisis because you have your head so wrapped up in the songs and production, it dominates your headspace. After it’s out there is a little bit of withdrawal. It’s awesome to see people respond to it, to read reviews, and get an outside perspective on the album but its not nearly as fun as actually making it. That said, I am really happy with how it turned out and feedback has been amazing.
P ‘s: Do you have a favorite track on it or is it like a parent not being able to pick a favorite child…or at least say which one’s their favorite out loud?
KA: For me it’s like these songs are each different aspects of my personality. So in different moments it’s about what am I relating to the most. Right now, I’m appreciating how much work it was to write “Lion.” The original chorus came very quickly but it took a long time for me to sort the rest out. That determination resonates with me as important and worth pursuing.
Check out Kyle’s side project featuring the new Mrs. Andrews, Resort & Spa.
P ‘s: You recently tied the knot—congrats. With that and the album, you’re on a pretty decent hot streak. Has your, now wife, influenced your songwriting and do you think married life will?
KA: Thanks! This album is very much about leading up to getting married, a lot of the songs are about building a life with someone and the commitment it takes to make it all work and grow into something awesome.