A Q&A with Andrew Spice

A Q&A With Andrew Spice

Piano-based indie pop, from Toronto…

What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
‘High Park’, the first single from my forthcoming album. It was inspired by grief about the loss of a relationship, and the way I healed from that by taking my dog to a beloved place in Toronto. ‘High Park’ also means the beginning of a second chapter in music, as I released my debut album in 2003 and then took a long break to become a clinical psychologist.

What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
I had to rejig a music career that had been dormant for 20 years! I had the utmost faith in my new songs, but getting people to remember me and listen to them was challenging at first. Once I had the right team together, it was smooth sailing.

Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
Matthew Barber produced this song, and the entire album. I can’t overstate how much he brought to the process. He was one of my heroes during my initial music career in 2003, and certainly remains one today. Matthew was the first person I played my new songs for live, at his house, my hands shaking, and he helped me to feel comfortable and confident about going into the studio again. Musically, Matthew brought a rock sensibility to this album that was so new and exciting for me, given that I had been accustomed to playing solo with a piano. The record has such a range of intense emotions that we needed exciting drums, electric guitar, strings, and more – and Matthew had the perfect instincts for all of those contributions.

What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
A sense that they are not alone. These songs were written from a very dark place, and if a listener is feeling the same way, I would want them to know that someone else has also experienced that sort of anguish and has survived.

How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
I usually get melodies during that liminal space between sleep and wakefulness. I’ll record that into my phone in the moment; if I don’t do it right away then it is forgotten forever. Lyrics come all the time, and I have a dedicated notebook to write them in by hand. The piano parts come while I’m in a flow state just playing. Then it’s a process of matching everything up. Sometimes all 3 elements arrive at the same time with a singular purpose of being a certain song; other times it takes longer to figure out which of the puzzle pieces fit properly with each other. When I have a finished piano/vocal demo, then I present that to a producer and see if it’s a good match. The piano and vocals are always the foundation, and then it is a question of how that producer might bring that song to life.

A Q&A With Andrew Spice

What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
Artists like Kathleen Edwards and Sarah Harmer, who have taken hiatuses from music and came back with something magical. That’s inspirational and it is what I am aiming for with this album. Tom Odell, because he is a phenomenal talent and his recent material has been on a similar emotional wavelength as mine. Tori Amos, who is the reason I started playing piano in the first place.

What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
For me it’s really about connecting with the fans. I’ve played shows in friends’ backyards that were phenomenal, and larger theatres that weren’t so great. There are certainly venues that I respect greatly, but I’m less focused on the environment and more focused on the people.

If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
‘High Park’ – it’s the only one available right now! But actually, one reason I chose this as the first single is that it is fairly representative of what I aim to do musically: vulnerable and honest lyrics, piano and vocals at the centre of everything, a lush arrangement that hopefully pleases your ear, and catchy hooks that I hope you remember.

What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
To make one genuine fan at a time, and to make music that helps people in some way.

Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
It’s never too late to make art again!

For more information about Andrew Spice visit andrewspice.com


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