Andy Spearpoint was the front man of indie funk rock gods New Fast Automatic Daffodils. With live gigs still uttered in certain circles as being the best of the period it is pleasing too hear Andy is working on new solo material that he has released on his Bandcamp account.
Gigslutz caught up with Andy for this interview where he discussed his current music output, reissues and his current listening material:
Hi Andy, you’ve recently released some solo material on your Soundcloud account. Could you please give some context behind the tracks?
I’ve been thinking about ways of performing for a while. I live in rural Ireland and I’ve not found anyone locally who shares my musical interests so it had to be a solo enterprise. That led me to working with drum machines and samplers, which is where Channel 64 came from. From there I got interested in improvised electronic performance having met a sound artist by the name of Slavek Kwi and that’s been the start of a whole new journey. Black Moss comes from that. I’ve done a few short, semi improvised performances of that material recently using samplers, loopers and a very odd rhythm synthesiser along with vocals and sax which get input and manipulated via the various machines.
Where were the tracks recorded?
I have a shed! After a lifetime in terraced houses I now live in an old cottage surrounded by fields and can make as much noise as I like. The shed is my musical spaceship. It’s all recorded on my laptop and I spent a good part of lockdown brushing up my shonky production skills.
Do you have any musical influences that encourage your creative juices?
Far too many and they surface is unexpected ways. I’m trying to leave that stuff on the shelf though. A big part of what I’m doing is about trying to explore my own musical voice but the stuff that you’ve listened to in the past inevitably comes through. Channel 64 reminded me that I’d listened to a whole bunch of Dub in the past but it gets heavily filtered in the process. I’m trying to make what I do a lot more focussed and about exploring sounds as much as anything. I’m studying for an MA in composition at the moment so listening to a really broad range of contemporary and experimental music and that’s starting to come through, though I’m so bloody busy that not a lot has been recorded since the summer. To My House is the most recent project and that was a commission from a local arts centre. The second half of that heads off somewhere strange..
Do you play all the instruments on the tracks?
I do! I used drum loops for the Autocrats project for various reasons and that’s my one reservation about it.
What is your musical workings at present when recording new tracks?
Experiment. A lot of them come off the back of improvised sessions. There’s a real freedom to it. Often they’re rubbish but every now and then I hit on something that I like and then I’ll go back and work them into recording and/or performance pieces, though always with the aim of keeping them loose to an extent. I’m over the idea of ‘songwriting’ I think.
Are you hoping for a physical release of your material?
Well we’ll see. I planned on doing some CDs but most of the people buying them would be in the UK and post Brexit, sending any volume of stuff by post from Ireland is a huge pain in the arse and involves paperwork. I’d make myself hugely unpopular at the local post office.
What about live gigs, do you have any plans to play live?
Most definitely. I’ve done three outings recently which has been really interesting and I’m finally starting to meet people in Limerick with similar interests so there’s more to come.
I hope you don’t mind me echoing back to your New Fads days. We’ve seen some activity with the bands material of late including some reissues celebrating PIAS 40th anniversary. What prompted these re-releases and the reissue of the famed Kitchen demo tape?Also there’s been rumours of a sensational live concert release at some stage. Can you go into detail about this and what’s happening with this release?
Well the PIAS stuff was all their idea and it was nice that they did that. We’ve a release of our own on 17th November! We recorded what turned out to be our last ever gig at the Hacienda in ‘95 on ADAT. A while later we were working it up when the studio got robbed and all the hard drives were lost. We thought that that was the end of that but then a few months back Danny, our sound engineer was having a clear out and found the original tapes. He’s been Elbow’s sound engineer for years and really knows his stuff. He did a great job with them and we now have a quality live album of a good performance of us actually sounding like ourselves, which was not always the case with some of our studio releases. I’m delighted. The power is really there and it’s a reminder that we were a stonkingly good live band.
The kitchen demos are a blast. Parts of it make me cringe and or laugh but the jittery energy is all there. From there to the Hacienda recording is seven years and a whole load of learning and playing. Fun too. A lot.
Finally, whats on your turntable at present?
A right mix on the virtual turntable. Our house is tiny and my vinyl collection was pretty shagged so that got donated to my daughter when we moved!
On the ‘art music’ front I’m listening to a bunch of Ligetti, Popol Vuh’s soundtrack for Werner Herzog’s film Aguirre, Laurie Anderson, Richard Skelton, Laurence Crane.
On the rock and roll front check out YouTube for Bo Diddley live 1973. Four minutes of intense one chord guitar shagging genius. A reminder of the power of simplicity. I’ve been re listening to a fair bit of Linton Kwesi Johnson too. Oren Ambarchi. Horse Lords.
Four Brothers for some gorgeous Zimbabwean pop and I drove back from Limerick the other day with all 29 minutes of Mario 1 and 2 by the king of Congolese rhumba, Franco. One riff all the way…
Andy Spearpoints music can be found via the following link