Friday, October 15, 2010

He Brings the Funk and a Knack for the Hooks: Q&A with Andy Waldeck, Professional Song Writer and Musician.

Photo Credit: Jenn Rhubright

When Andy Waldeck recently returned from yet another writing trip we were able to get him to share his thoughts on musical diversity, multiple skill sets, Pro Tools: Addictive Drums and the importance of "writing with a focused effort."

Q:  Andy you've been on the DMV music scene for years now as an accomplished bass player, writer and singer for bands such as Egypt, Earth to A*N*D*Y , The Underground All Stars & XPS.  What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment, musically, thus far? 

A:  My greatest accomplishment is my general musical diversity. I write, produce, do recording sessions on bass, guitar and vocals. I also produce live events, build and repair all stringed instruments, write music for commercials and in the past I have been a bass teacher, but I dont have time for that now unfortunately. I decided long ago that I wanted to be involved in the music industry and make my living there regardless of how it applied. I am very fortunate to have always been able to do this, and not had to work outside of the music world. This has been due to my flexibility and multiple skill sets.

Q: Tell us how your relationship with Chris Daughtry of the band, DAUGHTRY, came about, evolved & ultimately led to your current publishing deal with SONY? 

A:  Chris and I became friends in the late 90's. My band Earth to Andy had just signed our recording contract with Warner Brothers boutique label, Giant Records. Chris was in high school in Fluvanna, the next county over from Albelmarle where Charlottesville my current home is. Chris had a rock band called Cadence with some of his high school buddies and they used to come to the ETA shows, mosh around, and really get into it. At some point Chris asked me if Cadence could open for ETA at our home club , the ledgendary TRAX in Charlottesville. We put them on the bill and they did a great job, Chris and I were friends ever since. After high school he moved back to North Carolina where he was originally from and started playing in bands down there. He sent me demos of the music he was working on and I gave him feedback and constructive criticism. I tried to help him in anyway I could. He never forgot that because when he got finished with American Idol, got his record deal and sold millions, he contacted me to write with him. His touring schedule was very hectic so we agreed that I would meet him on tour and ride in the bus with him for a couple days. We wrote 2 killer songs, One of which "Every Time You Turn Around"made it onto his last cd Leave This Town. After that the publishing companys started calling and we went with the best option SONY/ATV.

Q:  Can you give us a comparison of both the DC & Charlottesville Music scenes now that you have deep roots in both? 

A:  Well the comparisons are obvious in that there is great music coming from both places. I say that in all sincerity because I have kept on top of both scenes as much as I could. I moved from the DC area in 1994, at that time my band EGYPT was touring constantly and we would get off the road and deal with the congestion and traffic in NOVA. It drove me crazy, so much so that when the opportunity to move to Charlottesville arose, I jumped at it. When I first moved to Charlottesville The Dave mathews Band had just blown up. They were fast becoming a household name. That fostered a sense of Charlottesville as an acoustic music mecca, and it still has that aura. There are many rock, and hip hop acts in C-ville that don't feel very well represented, but that is changing slowly. In DC, in the 90's Egypt had a huge support network. The bands and fans that we were close to us then were so positive and supportive. I don't know what it's like to be a DC band right now, but in those days it was awesome.

Q:  On Oct. 22nd, your band XPS is playing an incredible benefit in Charlottesville, VA for the MRC (Music Resource Center). The MRC provides kids a free place to learn and play music!  Tell us about Dave Matthews involvement in the MRC and how those interested may get tickets to attend your show.

A:  First off, THE DAVE MATTHEWS BAND is one of the most community-generous and benevolent enterprises I can think of... The DMB, along with its management company, Red Light Management, and a few other wealthy patrons, bought a church in C-ville, right in the heart of town so it can be walked to by many of the kids using it. They had the basement converted into 4 or 5 recording studios. They also built a dance studio (big mirrors, wood floors, lots of space), and they have an equipment locker for storing the gear that the kids check out to use in the studios while they are working. The Music Resource Center is a place where kids can come, sign in, get a fully loaded pro -tools studio to work in, with any instrument they need, and the benefit of lots of other young musicians in the other studios to play parts for their tracks. When I think back to when I was a kid learning this trade, I wish I had a place like this. It's super high end and professional. And the place has a way of bringing out the best in the music community here in C-ville. I have heard some of the things these kids are producing and its amazing!!!

The goal of the PARTY LIKE A ROCKSTAR benefit XPS is playing is to bring in more funding & keep the level of community interest high. They do a great job over there at the MRC.  

You may buy tickets by clicking HERE.

Q:  We heard you've been writing with Scott Stapp of  CREED recently.  What can you tell us about that experience?

A:  That has been great. As a professional songwriter, my publisher sends me on writing assignments. This year I've been to Nashville & NYC many times, as well as pre production sites. Sometimes I write with a newly signed band, sometimes it's with other published writers, and sometimes it's with well established artists like Scott. I had heard many stories about how difficult he could be to work with, but my experience has been quite the opposite. He's working on material for a solo release that will be on the Wind Up label that has put out the Creed recordings over the last 10 years. They have been huge commercially; something like 27 million records sold world wide. That's an enormous number when you think about record sales, especially in this market climate. I met him in NYC last month, we wrote 2 great songs and then got together at his studio in Florida just last week and wrote 2 more. We will most likely do more writing in the near future. He's on an acoustic tour right now, so his time is limited. Overall we get along great and seem to be able to write the big riffs that Creed is known for with a little more of the personal touch that Scott is looking for in a solo release.

Q:  You are playing with Joe Lawlor & Friends at Voo Doo Fest in NOLA (Oct. 2010)!  For those who are not familiar, who is Joe Lawlor and how can we get a ticket if we get the urge to hit the road?

A:  Well, if you know anything about me, you know something about Joe. I met him at Berklee College of Music in Boston Mass., the year is unimportant, and will probably shock most of your readers, so we'll leave that out.  We formed the band EGYPT in DC and played together constantly for 10 years. The guy is an incredible guitar player. He fuses the best of the shredder hair metal style with blues and funk like no other.  I went to New Orleans for the first time last year. Joe put together a band called Mojo Grande, made up of me, Joe, and our singer from the X-PORN STARS, Matt Horn. We had 2 NOLA originals in that group as well. The drummer was Jermal Watson, who has been playing in NOLA professionally since he was like 5 years old. He's amazing and is currently the touring drummer for the famous Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The other NOLA original was a guitar player named West Bank Mike; an amazing player with true blues and soul roots. We played a show at the Balcony Music Hall in the French Quarter having never played with these guys before, and it was amazing!!!  So later this month Matt, Joe and I will go back down there and play the same club on Sat., Oct. 30th. We go on at 1am, which is perfect for late night NOLA. We are not calling it Mojo Grande, because the other guitar player West Bank Mike cannot be there; so it's Joe Lawlor and Friends and it's free!!! if you can squeeze your ass in the room that is, it's going to be packed.

To purchase tickets to Voo Doo Fest in NOLA click: HERE.

Q: You said you have your entire studio on your MacBook Pro. What type of software can you not live with out?

A:  Well, Pro tools is first. It's the industry standard for wave form editing software. There are many other platforms out there that do the same things, but Pro Tools has become the go to software for 90% of the industry that I deal with. I also use a program called Reason alot. Its all midi and had everything you could want to embellish a track including strings, horns, loops, percussion, tons of synth etc...  My favorite program that I use everyday is called Addictive Drums. It's an instrument plug in that works inside of Pro Tools and I program all my beats in midi, using Addictive as the sound host. It's an amazingly good sounding program with 5 or 6 different kits inside, all totally tweekable. I just can't say enough about this program, It's really hot!

Q:  What advice would you offer young up and coming writers if given the chance?

A:  Advice for young writers is hard to nail down. I became a writer because I was in bands that needed songs. I really feel that's the best way to get started. If you have a band you are playing in, you know what the sound is supposed to be, you know the bands strengths and weaknesses, and you can write with a focused effort. Also, you can try things out at rehearsal and see what's working and what's not. Overall the best thing for a writer to do is.... write, alot. I reccomend writing in as <Photo 3> many different styles as you can. As a professional writer I have projects that I work on in Pop, Urban, Rock, Country, Modern, and many others. If you want to be a great writer, you need to study great writing. Not neccesarily YOUR favorite songs, but the songs that have become commercially succesful in any given genre. Ask yourself, what does the hook in this song do? How did the writer set it up? What's the story here?  How will it relate to many people? There are a million ways to look at any song, but the writer really has to understand why that particular song is such a smash. If you can hone that skill, then you are on the path to becoming a great writer.

Q:  What are the 5 songs (& the artists) looping on your iPod this week?!

#1 "Wake Up" from a young band from York, PA called Sinclarity, awesome modern rock group with superstar potential.
#2  New band that sounds like they walked right out of the 80's called Neon Trees, Love the song "Animal"
#3 A Band from Dublin Ireland called The Script. Their song "Breakeven" is a perfect mix dynamic and deep lyrical content about a subject everyone knows, heart break.
#4  "Save me" from UNDERGROUND ALL STARS; a band I started with some other songwriters from New Jersey. I can't stop listening.
#5  Cee-Lo Green, I wrote 2 songs for Cee-lo, they didn't make the cd, but when I first heard "Fuck You" I was stoked. It's funny, funky and hooky as hell!

1 comment:

  1. Andy, I'm always amazed by your hard work and dedication to your craft. Way to go!

    Always a fan,