Andy Shauf – Interview – 2015

Andy Shauf was my favourite find of the Great Escape Festival 2015. His delicate and riveting storytelling style commanded a typically rowdy audience to be completely silent and were left in a state of wonder for this amazing songsmith and his band. Having written and performed under his own name since 2006, his beautiful self-release album in 2012, The Bearer of Bad News, was re-released this year giving him a far wider audience and the acclaim his special song writing deserves. With Andy and his band coming to Brighton on the 1st September to play The Prince Albert, we spoke to him to find out more.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a few small towns in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Is there much of a music scene there?
There are quite a few bands that come from the province, yeah. It’s a nice community of musicians. Most everyone knows each other.
Do you think where you live has influenced your music and how? 
I would say that the climate of where I live has influenced the sound of my music a little bit, but maybe more in the stories that I’ve written songs about.
What music were you brought up on?
I was mostly brought up on southern gospel music, but then in high school I started listening to punk music and more acoustic based music.
Can you remember the first album you brought?
The first album that I bought was either The Mighty Mighty Bosstones ‘Let’s Face It’ or Barenaked Ladies ‘Stunt’.
What was the first instrument you played, and when? 
Drums was the first instrument that I learned to play. I had my first drum set when I was about 6 or 7 years old. That’s probably still my favourite instrument to play.
What drives you to write music?
I write music because I think I can make a better song than the last one I wrote.
Has your style of music stayed the same?
I just try to write things that don’t feel unnatural.
What inspires your lyrics?
My life, other peoples lives. Fictional lives.
How do you approach the writing/recording process?
I find that I can’t really have people around for either the recording process or the writing process. Music to me is something that I need to work out on my own. I don’t want the input of other people most of the time.
Do you prefer writing music or performing live?
I prefer writing, but I also love performing when the circumstances are right.
Have you been working on the next release?
I’ve been working on a new album, it’s about a party. It involves some people at a party.
What has been a musical eye-opener and how has it affected you?
The Beatles White Album completely blew me away when I first heard it as a young adult. I was more familiar with their other albums at the time and didn’t know about the amazing songs and ideas on that album.
What music are you listening to at the moment, any recommendations?
Chris Cohen ‘Overgrown Path’ has been a really big one for me over the past year or two.