Songwriter, musician, producer and DJ, Andy Sonar has done it all since he was in high school. Some of the highlights of his career include recording with Glenn Matlock (the original bassist/songwriter of the Sex Pistols), forming a band called Gods Third Leg and the Black Candles (which featured a young Simon Pegg on drums), and signing a management deal with Bernie Rhodes (manager/svengali of The Clash, Adam and the Ants). Today he discussed with us how his musical influenced changed during the years, his upcoming concept album titled “Space; Our Journey to the Stars and Those We Left Behind” and offers his advice for emerging artists who are looking to build up a strong fan base.
Andy was passionate about music since an early age and went through many phases including rock, ska, goth, Seattle sound, 60s and 70s classic and underground. During his youth he liked bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Frank Zappa, and was signed up to a management deal with Bernie Rhodes, manager of The Clash and Adam and the Ants.
“Then the club era arrived with ecstasy,” Andy said. “I got into it big time and so the music in underground clubs and raves really made sense to me, with a million different producers writing great tunes, but some of the artists I still really like we’re the people who pushed a slightly different sound, like Prodigy, Chemicals, Leftfield, and David Holmes.”
Andy’s underground rock background began merging with his electronic side. With so many different influences coming together, Andy took what he could and began forming his own sound – the sound of Andy Sonar. Though he had fertile periods where he focused and worked hard on his music, he did indulge in the raving lifestyle.
“I think maybe if I’d focused on the work rather than coasted and enjoyed the lifestyle so much I may have a much bigger back catalogue and been further along the road than I am,” Andy said.
Despite some resentment, Andy thinks that all things happen for a reason, saying that we as human beings have the ability to change and do something that we are born to do “to let go of a poison chalice.”
Andy said he has been in so many bands and projects during his lifetime that he couldn’t possibly remember them all.
“I’ve been writing music in some or other form for most of my life,” Andy said. “So much more is written in my head than ever got to production stage during most of my life unfortunately.”
Andy said he has many songs that have personal significance to him. One track in particular is called “Awkward Silence,” which was written about the final phone call he made to his mom before she died in hospital.
“It kind of means so much I haven’t actually recorded a version I’m satisfied with yet, though the latest one is getting pretty close,” Andy said. “I hope to have it on the new album.”
Andy said another song that means a lot is one he has uploaded on Soundcloud, titled “Hypotized by the Rain.”
“It means a lot to me just because it feels like me so much, thoughtful, emotive, cheeky and a bit messed up I’d say,” Andy said.
Andy’s website andysonar.com features a lot of his music that range from Stones’ influenced blues to “off kilter space funk, taking a journey through rock and electronica fused together.”
Through all the music Andy has made, he still faces the challenge of finding time to create new material in a format that he can release, saying that he uses his Soundcloud account to upload tracks that doesn’t make it into official releases. This is a great way to hear the progress that goes on behind the scenes. When it comes to coming up ideas, Andy says he has ideas upon ideas, so many that a lot of them fall by the wayside. So for all you Andy Sonar fans, it’s all just a matter a time until you hear all the content he creates.
Andy does not tour at the moment, though he envisions a full band consisting of backing singers and visuals, but it’s something that’s intended for the future.
“The idea of playing live is becoming more attractive the more cohesion there is in a planned set,” Andy said. “I think if there was an audience for my music live then absolutely, yes I’d definitely tour.”
Andy recently released a new single “Medicine (Short Sharp Shock Mix)” which is available on iTunes.
“The new album is in the final stages of production, I’m getting it together for final mixdown,” Andy said. “It’s called “Space; Our Journey to the Stars and Those We Left Behind” and is a concept album. There is a strong space theme through the tracks and a feel for the wonder and majesty of the universe. The enormity of existence and our smallness within it. Sweet sorrow. Yin and yang. Leaving a solid, known inside out and top to bottom life behind for an unknown unsure future. The road we are all on whether we know and accept it or not. I’d love to talk in more depth about it with you when it comes out in the new year.”
Having learned a lot throughout the years, Andy offers advice for up-and-coming artists who are trying to build up their fan base.
“Keep at it!” Andy said. “There is no alternative to hard work, believe me I’ve tried. And be real. Be honest. You know bullshit when you hear it don’t you? Well so does everybody else even if it takes a while. And nobody like the smell of bullshit! And definitely use all the relevant social media sites and tell them about me while you’re at it!”
To keep up to date with Andy, follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Several of his music collections can be found on Soundcloud and an EP from Bombay Doors is also on Soundcloud. They were a band that Andy loved being a part of. Also check out some tracks on his Myspace and on YouTube.
Andy said, “We have to be honest with ourselves as artists, and be who we are, no matter how strange or foolhardy that might look to anybody else. The real pain, and the real loss is if you ignore the voice inside and let the art within you die, never be born. No matter how niche. No matter if it is only for yourself.”