Essentially Pop Talks to Andy Ruddy
Andy Ruddy is proof that you can take a man out of a northern town but you can’t take the northern town out of the boy.
Although now living down south, he grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire, and draws upon the rich musical heritage of his hometown.
Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andy releases his debut EP, ‘On This Great Day’ on the 29th of this month. It’s a stunning montage of contemporary acoustic indie/folk, drawing you in and submerging you deep into a cool well of mellow magical music.
‘On This Great Day’ has been produced by Fraser Smith (formerly of Shed 7), and it’s a blend of old and new, youthful exuberance and ambition, merged with nostalgia. With that in mind, we thought it was high time the world got to know about him!
Andy! Give us your life story in a nutshell!
Born and bred in Bradford to Glaswegian parents. I had a very confused accent as a child before the Yorkshire accent won the day. Studied Law at the Uni of Manchester. Songwriting was my favoured procrastination technique. I wrote 2 albums’ worth of stuff which probably tells you alot about what I thought of the degree. You could say I’m on the run from the Law.
Haha! Your Twitter bio describes you as Bradfordian – do you feel Bradford and West Yorkshire as a whole has had a big influence on your music?
It’s been a huge influence. I was blown away by the songwriting talent in Bradford as a teenager. It’s such a gritty and characterful place. I remember many of the bands having a very direct style lyrically and that resonated with me going forward with my own music.
Give us the background about the “On This Great Day” video. What’s the inspiration?
It’s quite a surreal portrayal on how different people perceive time and I liked (director) Mat O’Brien’s idea about using old-school pocket watches. Some people are constantly in a rush, some people are running the clock down willing time to go by. ‘On This Great Day’ is a song about being brave enough to live your own life and resist living by others’ time frames. We wanted to play those pocket watch visuals off the musical narrative in a cinematic way.
Who are your musical influences?
Neil Finn and Peter Gabriel were my earliest musical memories. I’d say both are subtle influences melodically. I remember being transfixed with Damien Rice’s ‘O’ and David Gray’s ‘White Ladder’ as a teenager. Also, Aqualung, Elton John and Coldplay were the reason I stuck at piano. So yes – heavy metal music is basically my thing.
Love Neil Finn! You’ve got your first EP coming out on the 29th. How would you describe it? Genre, favourite songs, themes…is it a concept album or are all songs stand-alone?
It is an acoustic guitar-led mini-concept EP in a way. The first track is from the viewpoint of a 16 year old and the last track is from that of an old man. The first 2 tracks are full of youthful exuberance- the final 2 are reflective.
It’s a mini-timeline – and my album is the full extension of that idea. ‘If The Years Are Kind’ is a brand new track and is my favourite on the EP.
What advice do you have for others about to start on their musical journey (cheesy!)?
Never judge yourself or your ideas too harshly. I read a book recently called ‘Creativity Inc’ by one of the main men at Disney-Pixar. It said that every idea essentially starts as a ‘bad’ idea in its early stages. I find songwriting very similar. Your job is to stay positive about its potential, protect the idea and develop it before judging it.
Tell us one of your hopes and dreams!
Bradford City back in the Premier League. Oh, musically? Continuing to write and record songs is the dream because that’s what I love. But I’m proud of the album and lots of people hearing it would be a bonus.
Thoughts on TV talent shows as a means of kickstarting a career in music?
It depends on the nature of your talent. For popstar types it is a legitimate route. For singer-songwriters, it is riskier territory.
How important is your social media presence to you?
Social media is hugely important nowadays for any musician. I try to focus on quality over quantity so it can be tricky keeping up the pace. But as a platform for sharing music, it is fantastic.
How’s Bradford City going? How do you rate their chances?
It’s early days but I saw them win away at Crawley the other week and was very impressed. And we beat Leeds the other night which was a first in my lifetime – so its looking good!