Thursday, May 01, 2014

Meet Andrew Huang ("A Genius!" Says I)

I don't think I'm prone to hyperbole, so I truly mean it when I say that Andrew Huang is the type of brilliant, creative talent I believe makes the world a happier place. So, when I decided to make a book trailer for the 14 Fibs of Gregory K., I knew I wanted him to create the song for it. And he did, and it makes me happy EVERY time I hear it.

I've followed his music for years - from his albums on Bandcamp (many owned by this family, I must add!); the amazing Songs to Wear Pants To; all of his fantastic videos. He a multi-instrumentalist who crosses genres and styles and does stuff like make music with 1000 pairs of pants or puts e.e. cummings to music or rap in which the only vowel he uses is the letter E:

(All proceeds from that song, by the way, benefit Habitat for Humanity. So, like, he's a good egg on top of his ability to dismiss all vowels besides E with the line "these excess letters - delete".)

Anyway, I interviewed Andrew via email and now have a chance to share it with you. And please - check him out at any of the above links. You won't be sorry.

When did you discover your love of music? 

Summer by Andrew Huang
I have been experimenting with a lot of musical stuff since an early age, whether it was plinking away on the piano or recording myself on a tape deck. I always considered myself more of a visual artist though until my teens when I started being introduced to music outside of the pop and classical that I grew up with - stuff like punk rock, trip-hop, bebop, cool jazz, weird underground electronic stuff... I realized I loved it all.

Your song challenge videos/songs are incredibly creative. How do you even approach something like "make a song only using the sounds you can make from 1000 pairs of jeans"? Or "only use water sounds." I mean... seriously?

Those found sound videos are fun. It's really a process of discovery. I might have an inkling of where I could take something, but I basically start out by trying to get every possible sound I can out of whatever the challenge calls for. Usually, each sound I can make ends up translating in my mind into a representation of an instrument - tapping a box might work as a snare drum, for example. And then it's back to the normal matter of arranging a piece of music. The palette is limited depending on the materials of course. Most often in these kinds of pieces there isn't something very suitable to use as a bass.

You make music in so many different styles and genres. Do you have a favorite?

Couldn't ever pick a favorite. What I listen to changes all the time. In terms of what I create - sonically speaking - pop, rap, and the wonderfully broad "electronic" would form the backbone of the majority of my work, but I think I also bring a sense of structure and orchestration that comes from what I know and love in classical music. And my songwriting craft was honed more from listening to rock, folk, and country. If we throw all that in the pot it'll keep me happy (most of the time).

You just released a new album on Bandcamp. What's next?

Haha. "You just released a new album on Bandcamp" is a phrase that applies to me about once a month. (Greg's note: you really have to check out his stuff on Bandcamp.)

I'm working on a bunch of new stuff that will be seeing the light of day soon but the biggest thing is this sort of dark, brooding pop album called The Coldest Darkness. It's been years in the making and I haven't often been this excited about a project. There will be a really awesome physical package to go with it to, and I'm working on some out-of-the-ordinary ways that fans will be able to get themselves an early copy.

Andrew is also touring the West Coast of the US with Hank Green this summer. Perhaps I'll see you at a show?

Besides YouTube and Bandcamp, you can find Andrew on Twitter and Facebook and elsewhere as @AndrewIsMusic.  I leave you with his Gravy and Toast, a song he wrote on commission. I mean, really - he turned toast and gravy into toe tapping singable fun. I rest my case!

No comments: