‘A turn through Andrew Bobulinski’s back Bandcamp pages suggests he’s an artist just toying with us, stylistically that is. After a long stint in heavy metal bands Bobulinski’s solo career has been careening all over the indie pop rock map, from Weezer-like slathered guitar and sibilant vocals to horns aplenty over 1970s-ish soft rock. His latest project is an ABOB release entitled ABOB’s Summer Home. The songs have that breezy 70s pop feel, contrasted with some punchy horns on “Sabrina Knows” and “Talk to Her.”, Dennis Pilon writes on his great Poprock Record blog.
Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Andrew about experimenting with electronic drums, wanting to become the next Peter Criss, 40’s lounge, 80’s new wave, and meeting Val Kilmer at Comic Con.
How did this record come together?
Writing material for this EP was interesting because I was in an entirely different headspace than when I wrote and recorded my last album. I finished recording my last album in March of 2020, right before most of the world went into lockdown, and I was in a slightly peppier mood, as I’m sure we all were!
As the pandemic kicked in, my mental health went into a bit of a decline and I went through some significant life changes which inspired a lot of the new material. I recorded ten songs with my friend/collaborator/producer Les Nuby over the course of a year and narrowed them down to the six that you hear on the EP.
Soundwise, I think this EP has a more raw feel to it than my last album. I experimented a lot with synth and electronic drums last time around and I decided to ditch those elements entirely and try incorporating different layers like horns and piano on this release. I had the opportunity to work with two really talented horn players, Desmond Sykes and Jacob Walker, who brought an awesome dynamic to the songs.
Lastly, the artwork was illustrated by a cool artist named Jack Poole. The concept I gave him was basically the album cover to “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” by Andrew Gold meets Cast Away. At first, I just thought ABOB’s Summer Home sounded like a cool title, but the more I think about it, it’s really a metaphor for the isolation I felt over the pandemic and I think the artwork perfectly conveys that.
The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?
The meaning of success definitely has changed, even in terms of what it means to me personally. When I was younger, I think I had much more grandiose ambitions of wanting to become the next Peter Criss, but at this point, even if just one person listens to one of my songs and connects with it, I feel like I’ve succeeded. Don’t get me wrong, being Peter Criss would still be cool though!
How great is the urge to stay creative? To keep writing songs and lyrics?
The urge is vastly great and rarely is it ever satisified. I always feel a need to push my creative boundaries and incorporate different sounds into my music. I’m trying to figure out a direction to go in for new material right now and I’m torn between 40’s lounge, 80’s new wave, and Tom Petty-esque folk rock. It’ll probably end up sounding like none of those things.
As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?
I wish! Writing songs for this new EP in particular was uncomfortable. As I mentioned before, there are aspects of my life that have changed a lot in the last couple of years, and as someone who can be very resistant to change, processing those emotions and figuring out how to express them through song wasn’t easy at first. It was ultimately pretty therapeutic though and I think I grew a lot as a writer.
Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?
The dBs- “Love is for Lovers”
The Wonders- “That Thing You Do!”
Andrew Gold- “Must Be Crazy”
Cab Calloway & His Orchestra- “Minnie the Moocher”
KISS- “Shout it Out Loud”
What compliment you once received will you never forget?
I met Val Kilmer at a Comic Con once and he told me he liked one of my tattoos. That doesn’t happen everyday!