Having been playing solo and in various line ups for years, Andy Thomson – aka Fuzzystar – was selected for The Guardian’s Edinburgh Alternative Music Playlist last July, and is now set to release his new album. With offerings oozing scuzzy, uptempo indie-rock, with infectious, reverb-strewn hooks reminiscent of The Cribs whirring alongside Thomson’s smooth, impassioned vocals, it’s sure to be a treat for the ears.
With his new album out this month, we caught up with this fuzzy, starry artist to find out more…
Hi Andy, welcome to Gigslutz! Can you tell us a bit about Fuzzystar?
So it’s been a solo project ‘with people’ as much through circumstance as opposed to an intention. A couple of times, it’s come close to being a solid band for a wee while, but usually real-life commitments and calendar differences have got in the way rather than any musical bust-ups. We’re currently in around band version 3.0, but it’d be hard to actually calculate how many people have played a gig now…
Your new album Telegraphing is out next month – what inspired you to write the album, and what are the main themes running throughout it?
The songs on it were written individually at a bunch of different times in my life, like bookmarks or snapshots of what was going on. Some are quite specific to moments, others are more composites from over a longer period. I guess the themes are friendships, relationships, people’s expectations of each other, falling in and out of love, moving away from your friends – all stuff that often happens in your 20s, or at least it did to me.
You’ve previously mentioned your admiration of the likes of Mazzy Star and Big Star, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I usually return to stuff that I enjoy the lyrics of, or that feel like they have some kind of personal or emotional centre. Over a longer period I would say people like John Martyn was a big one in terms of songwriting and being musically interesting. Evan Dando initially made me want to play poppy tunes on the acoustic guitar. Other songwriters that articulate something deeply personal, people like Mark Mulcahy, Josh Rouse, Ron Sexsmith and Josh Ritter. On the louder side, bands like Dinosaur Jr, Frightened Rabbit and The National for their different musical intensities and own unique styles.
Having played in solo and various line ups over the years, what inspired you to start the new Fuzzystar project?
It always felt to me like it was moving towards a bigger sound. Whilst a lot of the material can be played stripped down acoustic, it definitely felt like newer material would work with a fuller arrangement and I always wanted to do something that sounded bigger than just me. As much as I’d always like to be able to play solo, a lot of maintaining that was also out of necessity than any choice at the time.
If you could collaborate with any musician, past or present, who would it be and why?
I think I’d choose Neil Young. Mostly just because some of his songs are masterpieces. It’d be between him and John Martyn for my Desert Island Disc. I love the range of music that he’s made and the way he’s pursued his muse without any regard for constructing something based on what people want or expect from him. How he’s sometimes valued the vibe and the mood over technical perfect take as well, I think there’s a lot to be said for that.
And if you had to pick three words to describe your sound, what would they be?
Scuzzy, melodic, story-pop (sorry, kinda shoe-horned an extra one there!).
As we’re a website that focuses on new music, could you tell us any other upcoming bands or artists that you’re particularly excited about right now?
I’ve been playing Margaret Glaspy’s record from last year loads, really love the mix of styles and lyrics. I’m also pretty excited about the return of Land Of Talk and the new album, I love Lizzie Powell’s voice and songs – they should be much better known than they are!
Recently and more local to the Edinburgh music scene, Modern Studies album has been a favourite of mine along with Meursault’s new record. Ghost Writer are a great new band out of Falkirk, their first EP Outskirts Vol. 1 is full of addictive, poppy, guitar hooks.
And what else does 2017 have in store for Fuzzystar?
After the launch shows coming we’ll be planning to tour the record over the Summer, hopefully some festival dates. Always fancied doing some house concerts or live-streaming stuff as well… So, maybe once it’s out, we’ll look at trying that too!
Huge thanks to Fuzzystar for answering our questions!
Telegraphing, the upcoming album from Fuzzystar, is out 28 April via Satellite Sounds.