Portsmouth Based Musician Launches New Album, ‘Panic Moon!’
Singer/songwriter, ace guitarist and a producer in his own right, Andrew Foster writes, records and produces his own finely crafted material. Based in Portsmouth, he has toured across the United Kingdom with many high profile artists, including Mumford and Sons.
Andy’s prolific musical output has now culminated in the release of his third album, Panic Moon. The songs therein have a magical quality with a collective nod towards space and mystery. Already the album is attracting rave reviews. Today I am delighted to be chatting to the man himself.
Q Hi Andy. You have an incredible capacity for original song writing. What is it that drives you to be creative?
Andy: I think it’s my form of kick out, of self-expression. Not in a ridiculously rebellious fashion. I don’t tend to think of myself as particularly educated, so creativity is what I use instead to express myself. I’ve always been a bit dreamy. My attention span is huge when focused on creative projects, but really short when it comes to academia! So music was the creative path I naturally pursued.
Music’s great for connecting with people. I definitely express myself better through my songs. Language is necessarily limited, but when you play a song it can speak to someone on a whole different level.
A musician’s life is quite strange in many ways. You are kind of disconnected, yet you are up there on the stage, expressing your personal demons, or whatever you happen to be ranting about (laughs). I think music is an extension of who you are. It’s the stuff you might not otherwise say aloud. Music gives you a vehicle for that.
Q. Good analogy. And what would your musical vehicle of choice look like, Andy?
Andy: Ha ha! A British racing green Daimler, I reckon, with cream interior and a walnut dashboard. (laughs)
Q If you were stranded on a desert island, alone except for your favourite guitar, would you still choose to continue writing songs, knowing they might never be heard?
Andy: Yes, I think I would, definitely. I have hundreds of songs at home that no one has ever heard. I’ve written them for no other reason than to express something I needed to get out of me. I’ve always felt better afterwards. It’s cleansing – like having a bath, ha ha!
Q You tend to operate predominantly as a solo artist. Do you find this particularly advantageous to your music?
Andy: Good question. A lot of solo artists find that the musicians they gather around them often all have different agendas, yet one of the main things for a songwriter is to be able to keep creative control. Once you involve other people in that process, of course, it becomes a whole different animal. Songwriters, by nature, tend to be control freaks and it can end up snowballing into something that wasn’t the original vision you had. You are constantly faced with the struggle of having to compromise with other people. I’m lucky. I have musician friends who slot into what I want to achieve and are good natured and mature enough to trust my opinion and allow me to tell them what to play. That’s rare, working with musicians like that, hence the rise of the troubadour musical tradition, where a singer/songwriter tours the country on his own, with his guitar, in a bid to retain his integrity.
Q Your musical output has been prolific to date. Your latest album, Panic Moon is an outstanding achievement and quite a departure from your earlier work. What sort of feedback have you received on it to date?
Andy: Really really good, actually. I’ve had a number of excellent reviews, praising its coherence. Panic Moon has a nod towards my interest in Dr Who! Everyone has an interest they chose to immerse themselves in. Their ‘panic moon’ represents their means of escape, for example, music or writing. I use my creativity to channel my dark side! I think everyone has a slice of madness in them somewhere and their way of dealing with it is to immerse themselves in their chosen interest.
One of the nicest things about growing up was putting an album on, by Bowie or The Beatles, who created a world that the album sits in. I wanted to create a coherent package, a whole experience that the listener could lose themselves in. So much emphasis nowadays is placed on one or two singles that the rest of the tracks on an album are simply viewed as fillers. The art of arranging an album has been lost. I’m not talking about concept albums,here, just the ability to truly lose yourself in a piece of work for 40 minutes. It’s amazing, it’s a world in itself, that you can truly get immersed in.
Q If you knew at the outset you could not fail to achieve any of your musical ambitions, what would you dare to do now that you are currently holding yourself back from doing?
Andy: I would involve more people, creatively and in terms of management and promotion. It’s hugely important to me that I retain the rights to my songs, but I’d love to make everything a bit grander. Maybe one day, I might even work with an orchestra. I have that vision in my head and would love to see it come to fruition.
Q In the past, you’ve done a huge amount of production work. Have you ever considered possibly seeking to use your music in film scores or on television or radio productions?
Andy: I have, yes. I’ve recently been talking to people I know in that field. I used to be heavily involved in that line of work. Ironically, I only stopped in order to spend more time working on my own music. My composition work tends to be based not on theory, but by ear. I’m a self-taught guitarist and vocalist, which gives me a great sense of creative freedom and is in turn immensely beneficial to the song writing business.
Q where can people buy your music and see you play live?
Andy: I would invite everyone to come and visit me at my website, which is being constantly updated with all the latest info. You can do so at http://www.andrewfostermusic.co.uk/
Andy Foster, thank you so much. On behalf of all our readers we wish you every success with your music and especially of course the new album Panic Moon.
K McPhail (Think Local Magazine)