Andrew Weiss and Friends – Sunglass & Ash (Q&A)

“Going back to 2018, Andrew Weiss and Friends have been impressively stitching together influences from 1970s folk rock to Power Pop from that same decade for a sound that is anything but dated.”, writes Glide Magazine.

“This record is a love letter to songwriting,” Andrew Weiss says of Sunglass & Ash. There are twenty-four songs (!) in this overwhelmingly beautiful declaration of love, and since Sloan’s Never Hear the End of It, I haven’t found so much beauty in one collection.

How great is the urge to stay creative?  To keep writing songs and lyrics?

I am grateful to say the urge is constantly there. I have such a deep love for music that every morning I feel the absolute need to create. That takes form in music, lyrics, poetry, and even cooking, ha!

How did this record come together?

I made it a point from April-December 2020 to write *something* everyday. Whether that was revisiting an unfinished song, writing a complete new song, writing some lyrics or a riff, I disciplined myself and formed a routine. At the end of the year, I ended up with almost 100 songs to choose from, and chose my favorite 24 for this album. In addition to writing about certain issues that are extremely important to me, this record is a love letter to songwriting. It is my favorite aspect of creating music.

As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?

Absolutely not, but it is part of the job of being a songwriter. Especially one that writes about their own life experiences, which I do very often. Sometimes I feel really exposed and it can be uncomfortable, but it is completely worth it when a fan will approach me to say they feel the same feeling I expressed in a song. That is the true gold standard.

Suppose you were to introduce your music to new listeners through three songs. Which songs would those be and why?

Sticking to the new album, I would choose “Tommy’s Teardrops”, “What’ve We Learned To Live With?”, and “Talk Me Out of It.” I think these songs are a good representation for the sound and intention of what I was searching for this time around. They are also the songs I was showing friends and family before the album was out!

Lyrics are too often taken for granted.  What is the line of text or are the lines of text that you hope listeners will remember?  And why?

On this album, my favorite lyric is from “The Details of the Events Surrounding December 9th”: “They say time is the best medicine, you put that on your eyes so it clogs up your tear ducts, so you forget who or what you were crying for or about. They say the best you can do is give your thoughts and prayers, but I never used that for anything other than envy. Why doesn’t it happen to them, and not me?” I wrote this song about the lack of response the U.S. has for gun violence, and how numb our society has become to these events taking place. It has angered me very much, and the lyrics I have chosen to highlight speak to the point that unless an event directly affects someone, their response is unfortunately lacking urgency.

You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

Great question. I still love the idea of listening to albums. So when I am recording music, I am thinking in terms of how the songs will fit together in that format. In these days of playlisting, it can be frustrating when listeners aren’t willing to accept the songs in the album format. It feels like they’re only receiving part of my message and intention. Which makes it really special when writers will review my album, discussing a non-single, or I get a text from a friend saying they dig a deep cut. I love the idea of playlisting as well, but it’s just not how I see the music reaching people when I’m in creative mode.

If you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record, who would you ask?

At the current moment, I would have to say Paul McCartney, Robin Gibb, and Dennis Wilson.

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