By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Reluctant to discuss his personal relationship with July, Andrews will say that the filmmaker’s landscape and themes of people wanting to connect, connecting and then moving apart are ones he is interested in and explores in his own work.
When Andrews isn’t scoring films, he divides his time between producing other people’s albums and writing his own songs. He’s in the process of producing a third album for Gary Jules (whom he has known since Little League in their hometown of San Diego), who has produced albums for Brendan Benson and Metric and scored a number of animated projects for graphic-art star Geoff McFetridge, including this year’s Pepsi ONE ad. Last year, he spent six months touring intermittently with Inara George, whose album All Rise he also produced. And he’s gained a following through his monthlong residencies at Tangiers in Los Feliz, where visits by Jules and George and sought-after players like Beck/R.E.M. drummer Joey Waronker bring a level of musicianship and camaraderie that some are comparing to Jon Brion’s long-standing Friday nights at Café Largo.
Flattered by these comparisons, Andrews hopes that his Tangiers shows are not perceived as a scene. “There are so many people that I like to play music with. It isn’t ‘a scene’ where everyone looks alike. It’s a group of friends who care about the same things. I am too old to be a part of any ‘scene,’ for chrissake.”
His newly released album, Hand on String,is possibly his most personal work yet. The songs, beautiful and carved, were written on the sun porch adjacent to his kitchen, rather than inside the studio, and he videoed himself playing each tune as he wrote so that he could remember his finger placement on his open-tuned guitar and the way he felt at the moment. An apparent meditation on relationships falling apart, he insists that the collection is not about any one relationship, but rather a composite.
“At some point you reach a peace or understanding, and that’s what my music does for me. I could hide in my studio forever and make scores and be the invisible man. But I think that doesn’t solve any of my own emotional issues in the way that [working on] my record does. The premise was that no one was gonna hear it. It’s about a guy who is not 20 years old. I wasn’t trying to make it in a way that a 20-year-old could relate to. It was about specifically my situation and what would make me feel better, period. And it worked. My record is what gets me out of the house.”
Back at his studio, not long before his album’s release, Andrews steps outside to light his one cigarette of the day. “Obviously my record isn’t going to be a smash hit,” he says (though it’s already been embraced by KCRW). “I don’t even know why I am [releasing it]. Honestly, it’s at the urging of my close friends. Miranda was one of the people who said, ‘Be courageous, put out the stuff that is the most close to you. Expose that. That’s the most generous.’ She inspired me in that way. It’s a hard thing to put yourself out there. It’s a lot easier to work on film scores all day long. There’s no risk. And at some point I [became] ready to take the risk.”
He puts out his cigarette with the sole of his well-worn Converse, looking a bit like a McFetridge drawing himself, and eyes the ground before him.