DK: What gave you the idea for "Hey Tina"?
AD: The story of the song is pretty straight-forward, it's a narrative song and it's just an ode to the power of parties to make all the crap that happened in your week go away. So in the song, I'm trying to get my hypothetical friend Tina to go to this party because I know she's had a bad week, but the lady won't PICK UP HER PHONE! So I'm singing to her outside her window. I think I was at a party after having a crappy, stressful week and I immediately felt better and I wanted to capture that feeling and articulate that in a song. I wrote the song the weekend after that party. "Crush on You" was in heavy rotation on my iPod around the time of that party, so that seeped in for sure...just a little bit. The song is not about methamphetamine. I didn't even know that Tina was a nickname or code for meth until very recently, months after I wrote the song, because I've never really wanted to do meth nor needed to refer to it in code.
DK: With influences from Grandmaster Flash, Beastie Boys, Michael Jackson, Prince and Poison, what aspects of these artists have you incorporated into your sound?
AD: Well I'd say I make idiosyncratic pop. I make pop music, but its music how only I would conceive of it. It may not be easily translatable to other people, but I try to be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible while still doing what I do, but both producers I've worked with have pointed out just how "Andy D" my songs truly are. I don't have formal training or impeccable music theory, but I write the songs how I think they should be in a way that feels rite to me. The Beastie Boys and their old school rapping style (also like Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five) are obvious in my flow and the party themes of my songs, though I don't have two other guys rapping with me, so I have to do that all myself and its a workout! Prince is my favorite artist ever. His song craft and talent are incredible. I would do what he does if I could, but I'm not that talented at shredding the guitar or singing, so I have a metal guitarist play with me and I rap, because that's what I'm good at. Prince bringing that overt sexuality to his pop music is what really inspires me. He gives me the confidence to do the same, but in my own way, with my own style, and informed by my own anthropology/gender studies-considered background. Poison and all the radio pop metal of the late ‘80s and early nineties had these really catchy, great riffs, and my guitarist Lord Midnight has studied his metal of all types and subgenres to bring a metal pop-sense to my songs. He and I are setting out to prove that hip-hop and metal and funk and rock can all be combined in ways that don't equal Nu-Metal. We just aren't that aggro.
DK: What can we expect from this album? How has your sound evolved from your first record?
AD: On this new album, I feel that the song craft and themes are more mature. I'm still raunchy and sexual, but I feel I know what I'm doing more now and that it shows in my songs. My approach to sexuality has always been at the college level I feel, both in it's social sophistication and base ribaudness, which I think encapsulates the college experience nicely - it's the place where most people engage in the most high-brow AND low-brow activities they will ever do in life. So I try to keep that approach steady from the first album, but now I've added this level of mythology and mysticism, which is a major interest of mine. Songs in the Key of Magic really has a lot to do with actual magic, from Norse Mythology to Harry Potter to Aleister Crowley to Merlin to Lisa Frank Trapper Keepers to magical thinking - it's all in there. I stand by my first album, but I think this new album is a better collection of songs. It was recorded here in Bloomington by Scot Gallop at Hardlight Studios and really knew how to capture my live show for Songs in the Key of Magic, which was our main goal. This is also a collection of songs that it is more difficult to stuff all in one genre. I tend to think genres are limiting at best and ridiculous at worst. I try to be as eclectic as a musician as my tastes in music are as a listener. I want to blur genre lines as much as possible. I feel it is the zeitgeist rite now, that people don't define themselves with genres of music anymore - there are no proper punks or Hessians anymore really because everyone listen to everything pretty much. So the songs on this new album are not as easily pegged as hip-hop or electro or rock as on the previous album.
DK: Why did you leave Brooklyn for Bloomington? What's the biggest difference between the two, besides the delicious pizza of course?
AD: Actually, Bloomington is a crazy pizza-having town. SO much pizza. I think it's the college towniness, but some of it is VERY good. Well I'm from Indiana originally, and when I left Brooklyn, I had lived in NYC for 8 years, so I figured it was time for a move. I knew I needed to tour to get this music thing going, and it's easier to do so from Indiana. When my now-fiancée got accepted to IU for her Masters of Library Science, I didn't hesitate, we were out of there. I love Brooklyn and I cherish my time there, but by the time I left many of my friends had already gone, and it was becoming increasingly unlivable for artists. Rent got so high, it took most of my time to make rent, and so I had less time to enjoy what is great about that city. Also it's nigh impossible to tour from Brooklyn. It's very expensive and inconvenient to own a car there, and in Indiana you pretty much have to have a car to get around, though I ride my bike a lot. So it's been easier touring with a car in Indiana, and the scenes in Bloomington and Indianapolis are actually more receptive to me than Brooklyn ever was. There's just so much going on in Brooklyn and people are so busy, it's hard to get people to shows. I think being more laid back in the Midwest is better for a musician like me.
With an upcoming tour, a new record dropping in March on Roaring Colonel Records, don’t be surprised to hear this quirky artist (think Har Mar Superstar) making the rounds sometime in the near future.