Back in April we wrote about ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’, the latest single from Andrew Reed & the Liberation, that comes with a super trippy music video that will get you thinking. We were so inspired that we sent off a few questions, and we’re very happy to say that Andrew answered them in even more depth than we’d ever hoped. Hope you enjoy his responses as much as we do.
Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you!
It is my pleasure! Now I will try to impress you with my IQ of 40! Ha! Really, the truth is that when I try to impress people, normally don’t… So I just do my thing and tell it the way I perceive it! Holding nothing back! And usually the truth about things is more interesting than anything I could make up! Ha!
You wrote your album, ‘Twisted World’ while isolating in the Appalachian wilderness. What were the greatest things you learned from that experience, and how – apart from the album – have you been able to apply them to your life since then?
Just to be clear, I FINISHED recording it in the wilderness! The event or fuel for the song happened years before with wife #1 when she locked me out of our apartment after a morning band practice and a double shift as a waiter! My things were thrown outside and the door locked…when I came home to the apartment around 1:00am! That anger or feeling of injustice after working so hard to be a “good provider” created the energy for the song! As far as my wilderness life, it continues! And I appreciate the question! Nature, I suspect, is our guide to how life “actually” works on this planet. I think Nature is the truth! And you can have all kinds of cute and clever ideas about life, but when you’re hundreds of miles from the nearest town, without anything to eat or shelter, you learn what reality is! And it doesn’t give a rip about your fancy philosophy! It cuts through all the societal rules and traditions… The wilderness and the loneliness of a hermit-type setting, is really the way most seeking truth or spirituality take. That makes sense to me as “society” is a made-up thing. I find that there are no problems in Nature…and that all works perfectly! It is a perfectly balancing system of birth and death, light and darkness, a constant oscillation of vibration and variety! “Problems” are mere projections or perceptions in my humble view. Life is automatic and it is all worked out…and is quite clear…and there is an Intelligence behind Nature! All is pattern and random does not exist.
The video for ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’ is quite the trip – the religious imagery, the psychedelic colours, blurred footage – what was the concept behind that?
The song is about “the Great Certainty” – Death! Death has a lot of ritual behind it! It is something that most human beings fear, and thus repress. From my own near-death situation after being swept overboard on a fishing boat in Alaska, I perceived that Life continues! And that is a good experience! Oh, there may be a brief period of darkness, but I suspect that this “floating set of eyes” in which I experience the world will still exist! “Hey, I’m still here! Ha! Death is one of the richest topics one can confront! And if one learns to not fear it, great energy to live is freed up! I live quite recklessly and with great abandon! And it pays off! It is a good life when you leave the “huddle masses” behind and say, “Hey, I’m going for it! I’m going to literally throw my life away on what I love! There is no real risk in this deal!” That’s living!
Who or what has been the biggest influences on your sound? Back to ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’. Sonically it reminds me of some of my favourite rock artists of the 80s – Psychedelic Furs, Simple Minds, Joy Division/New Order, U2; am I heading in the right direction here or am I completely off beam?
You got it! Though I didn’t plan it to sound like those artists…as songs “just happen” for me. And then it is a matter of finding cool sounds, through vast experimentation, and letting the words come organically…even if it takes 10 years to complete the song! I don’t let “trends” or what is “hip” dictate anything. I just like music that touches me or sounds cool! And then “let go” and “let it happen!” All recorded organic in the moment and not being over-rehearsed or perfect technically!
What has been your experience of the Covid 19 pandemic, and have there been correlations between your self-imposed isolation and that which we’ve all gone through the past 2 years?
I’m so used to be in the wilderness that I really didn’t notice it that much! I sit, observe reality (Nature), write what comes to me, usually in high-vibrational states, and then hunker down and record! The recording experience is my main focus…and my best concerts have been to an audience of forest of trees! Ha! The Pines and Oaks love a good show! Illness and sicknesses come and go… History informs us of that…and if I am one of the ones that dies from it, then I can be useful and be used by Nature to feed and fertilize the Earth! Ha! Nothing is ever wasted in Life! Waste isn’t even possible! Yet, I go on! Without scar or regret…
Now we seem to be moving (slowly) into a post-Covid world, what does the future hold for you and your music?
I’m feverishly trying to get these thematic “trilogies” albums (sets of 3) out! All are concept art albums with the similar style and an organizing theme. When I got on with INgrooves and Universal Music, we pulled my entire catalog of songs down from all the major music platforms! So that all could be re-released, with perhaps a bigger bang! SO now it’s a matter of releasing my prior music as well as cool new prog rock as well as more acoustic music…but not so much at a time that people choke on it!
What is the songwriting process for you? How do you come up with a song? Which comes first – the concept, the words, the melody – or do they all happen together?
I have no formula. Except that I go into these “high vibrational” states…and I find myself so inspired by Life! I get up in the morning, light a candle, grab a cup of coffee and sit on the couch with the windows and doors open (if not winter) and just let my mind go with guitar in hand or keyboard ready! And I always have a recorder, usually my iPhone! Sometimes, a song will come when I’m at a campsite…with the fire crackling and all the animals smelling my food! Songs “happen” spontaneously, life “gifts,” at weird times so often!
I asked about the influences on your sound, but who or what have been the greatest inspirations in your life?
That is a great question. There are so, so many. For lead guitar, I love Jeff Beck! Acoustic, Cat Stevens or Gordon Lightfoot. Blues, John McVey who I produced and recorded a couple albums with. I like the Weeknd and Taylor Swift too as far as modern music! Portugal the Man too! R.E.M. is another group I love! And Blue Oyster Cult! Way cool stuff! Jethro Tull for prog!
Do you have a preferred musical instrument brand, and if so, what is it?
Regarding acoustics I play a lot of Martins, but some Gibsons too. Electric – Gibsons – Les Pauls, SGs, 339s. But sometimes I love Strats and Teles! I used to be a bit of a guitar snob. Now I love them all! I just love guitars! I love el-cheapo guitars and weird pawn shop guitars! I play for hours every day unless I’m traveling and playing is inconvenient! To me, practice is not about getting better…as that is like trying to postpone happiness for a future date! That’s a ridiculous idea to me! I enjoy the NOW! The Zen of the moment! So I enjoy practicing! It is not work! And this way, I am completely satisfied in the moment! As well as when I arrive at the Destination! Ha! I get BOTH with that type of consciousness! For pianos, I play Yamaha baby grand.
What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
Just Life questions really… Ideas about how life works. To me, the best question may be perhaps, “How best to live?” With that question posed, I find that singular explanations are insufficient, as all topics are infinite. So all answers are incomplete at best and are a dead stop. The zest of life seems to be in the questions and the quest! That is where the conflict, struggle and action are! “How best to live?” I suspect, that it has to do with coming into a consciousness of complete self-acceptance, knowing that there is nothing really to fear, nothing to regret or feel guilty about…that you are perhaps happy all the time…but just may not know it! And that, like Nature, all unfolds perfectly. Like a flower blooming when it is time to bloom, beyond command. Then, after its season in the Sun, if curls up and goes back to the Earth… No problemo! Life just cycles! Ha!