Interview: Andy Kilcar | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Middlesbrough’s emotive folkster Andy Kilcar releases his debut single, Drift Away,  via Shoebox Records. Recorded live, the single captures the raw power of Andy’s performances that will be recognised by those who have seen him live. We reach out to Andy, currently living and working in China where he has been keeping a video diary of latest events, to find out more.

Who are your musical inspirations?
I guess my earliest influences came from the music my parents listened to, so I grew up with the Beatles and a lot of classic rock. There are quite a few videos of 3-year-old me running around singing the Beatles. As for my guitar style, I learnt a lot early on from my dad’s playing. As a kid though, I played a lot of heavy metal and I think that influence is still there in my playing even though I don’t play or listen to that much these days.  

As I’ve gotten older my inspirations have come from a wider range of places. Folk, blues, some jazz stuff I really like. Barney Kessel and the likes. Lots of weird hand shapes and picking patterns.

John Martyn is the big one for acoustic inspiration and that’s something I owe to my dad again. Along with other folk guitarists from a similar era, JM has been a huge influence on my picking techniques. It’s also probably where I get my fascination with odd tunings from.

What is your creative process like?
I like to play around with a lot of different tunings. I find this provides inspiration for the songs as it can naturally produce a particular feel.  I just sit and play the guitar until I find something I like. It usually starts with chord patterns. I’ll try to build a verse and chorus, maybe a bridge. Once I have a structure I’m happy with, I will normally have a melody floating about in my head and I’ll just record it with random words or interesting phrases. Sometimes I’ll just sing about whatever I’m looking at in the initial demo, then I’ll go back later and try and create more coherent and interesting lyrics. 

How would you describe the music that you typically create?
With great difficulty. That’s the trickiest question to answer. Fairly mellow acoustic I suppose and somewhat bittersweet for the most part. It’s just me; what comes out when I let go. An expression of my inner thoughts and emotions, that only really happens when I pick up a guitar.

Tell us more about your new single Drift Away?
It’s a song about unhealthy escapism. When I was writing it, I felt it was a clumsy metaphor about drug addiction but, as I’ve never personally been in that situation, I drew more from feelings that I have experienced. Feelings of not being in a good place and wanting to escape the real world for a while, and how that in itself can become addictive. You know it’s bad for you in the long run but you’re happier living in the moment. 

For the guitar players out there, it is in DSus2, or DADEAD, tuning. An interesting one to play in, which allows you to switch between major and minor chords very fluidly

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