You’d recognize his tunes, but sadly not nearly enough people know the name Andrew Austin. From commercials, to movies, he’s done it all, yet this singer-songwriter is a hell of a lot more than commercial success. AMBY chatted with the talented artist about getting back in the studio, being on a movie soundtrack, career highlights, and being in a Beatles Tribute Band at this year’s Niagara Craft Beer Festival.
AMBY: You’ve now had the chance to tour out the album While It’s Still Light Out are you still on a high from releasing the material, or are you constantly thinking of new works?
Andrew Austin: Well, I’m almost ready to go back into whatever workshop I might go into again, but of course I still feel like I haven’t played it enough- still. At the same time, I am almost ready to go back into the studio, probably in the fall, to do something else. Just keep going.
AMBY: Do you have more fun being in the studio, or do you enjoy being on the road more?
Andrew Austin: My favourite thing is to play live- to be able to play with a band and play to an audience. But, my job is in the studio and that’s nothing to complain about.
AMBY: Having been featured in various commercials (Tim Horton’s, Keith’s), do you have a favourite movie soundtrack that you would have loved to have been featured in?
Andrew Austin: Yea! I’ve done one, well I’ve done a couple. I was on one, a weird one called Textuality. It was really cool, I got to meet the guy who wrote it and everything. We drove together to this premiere of the movie and it was really fun to talk to him about the way he made the movie and the process of how it all changed on the way out the door through distribution channels. Neat to hear about what actually happens to a movie. Anyway, there are lots of movies I’d have loved to been in on. I wish I wrote the Jurassic Park theme song. It’s my favourite [laughs].
AMBY: It’s seems like you’ve had the opportunity to work with some musical greats. Have there been any career highlights for you?
Andrew Austin: Oh yea, of course. I worked for like a year and a half with a guy named Andy Kim who is a pop star from like the 60’s and 70’s, well he’s still a pop star now, he wrote Sugar, Sugar and Rock Me Gently and I was in his band. That was pretty crazy. A lot of hilarious, interesting stories that came from that period of my life. It was mostly through that, that I started to meet other people, so that was really a highlight for me as a young musician getting to suddenly walk in these circles with all of these Canadian musicians that I would have never thought I’d meet.
AMBY: A bit of a turning point.
Andrew Austin: Yea, suddenly I was in the same room hanging out with all of these guys thatI thought were cool songwriters. From then on, I’ve just been lucky enough to do some work with great people. There’s a guy I’ve been working with from out east, Carleton Stone, just a really cool, singer-songwriter. I’ve also been really good friends with a guy, Donovan Woods, who’s a really good singer-songwriter, so I’ve always just enjoyed having people like that to hang around with a talk about songs with. Donovan writes a lot of country, so now he’s pulling me into that world, which I’ve never been excited about before, but now I find it very interesting and now it’s like a cool, fun game almost. Country music seems to be like an old-school model still, so it’s just a really interesting world that he’s in and now I’m interested too.
AMBY: Do you remember the first concert you ever attended? Who you saw, how old you were and if it influenced your direction into the music industry?
Andrew Austin: [laughs] The first concert I remember is probably Raffi, or something, which was probably totally amazing. It’s funny, before I even went to real concerts thatI was a fan of, I starting playing them. I was in a Beatles Tribute Band, and playing Beatles is funny, it’s the easiest way to sell out a venue. We were just huge Beatles fans in high school, it was just me and my friends and suddenly we’re playing theatres and all of these big venues. People wanted to come see teenagers play The Beatles I guess. That was really my first concert experience, way before I saw any real, true concerts. All of those Beatles anthologies had just come out and they were like big again and we had girls screaming…
AMBY: It was like Beatle-Mania all over again?
Andrew Austin: Sorta, at least in Sarnia is was [laughs]. That was a life-changing thing for sure. I knew, oh yea, this is what I’m going to do. Anything I try to do since then is like, well this isn’t as cool as being Paul McCartney. But yea, I was hooked from there on in.
AMBY: Lastly here, playing a craft beer festival, if they’d let you create an Andrew Austin beer, what would you call it and what would it taste like?
Andrew Austin: Ah, good question, I think it should be a pun, like Austin-tatious, or something like. I’d hope it would be a lighter beer so I could keep drinking it and drinking it. There’s something about beer, it’s so filling now to me, but I still love it. I don’t know if you just hit a certain age then all of a sudden you can just feel beer in your body, but I just love it. The idea of a craft beer fest is a really cool thing. I walked around before we played and saw these guys we know from the Brimstone Brewing Company. We played in their brewery, they have a venue there in Ridgeway, and we played there with 54-40 a couple of weeks ago, so it was fun to see them. I’d partner with them for my beer. Those guys seem to know exactly what they’re talking about. I’ll confer with them before I choose my own signature beer.
AMBY: Great idea. Thanks a lot for chatting.
Andrew Austin: Thank you. Thanks for having me!
Thanks Andrew Austin, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Shannon Bryan |