I had the honor of interviewing singer/songwriter Andrew Adkins, also of the colored parade, please check out his music-
Me: So my first question is, for those not familiar with you, how would you describe your music?
AA: A mixed bag. It’s hard to be objective. I always have the hardest time with that simple, little question. I’m not big into genres and bracketing up music styles but I understand that’s “what sells”. So, if I had to put it in a nutshell, it would be “Alternative-Folk Rock”.
Me: You’re also in a band, what sets your solo stuff apart from your band?
AA: Well my current band started out based on the solo project I released last year, The Colored Parade. With the various personalities and styles of the musicians which make up the band, the music has taken a more organic and flexible sound. My solo stuff is basically whatever I am comfortable doing or wherever my head is at the time. My solo projects is the equivalent of a painter just throwing his paint on his canvas and seeing what works. Sometimes it sticks and sometimes it’s back to the drawing board. I love doing projects on my own initially because it’s very therapeutic and revealing. However, I miss being in band-situations. I miss bouncing off ideas from other people and that inner-collaboration. I had the same freedom with the recent Indigenous Engines EPs I released. I don’t plan on forming a band or a live-situation around those songs. They might make it on stage at a Colored Parade or solo show, who knows. The next solo project will finally be a proper one. I’ll be putting out an album under my own name this Fall/Winter. It will definitely be more stripped back and bare-bones than Indigenous Engines or Colored Parade. More folk/acoustic for sure.
Me: So the genres and way songs come about, change based on who’s involved?
AA: Yes, totally. You can put two people in the room with the exact experience and expertise but they will each bring something different. I always think about music styles like finger prints; each one unique in it’s own right. I can’t help but laugh at some many musicians and singers try SO hard to sound just like their heroes. It’s okay to emulate and be inspired – especially when you’re young and starting out. However some musicians spend their whole life searching for their “hero’s sound” – be it their guitar tone, vocal sound. What they fail to realize is they sound that way because that is who they are. It’s no difference in someone getting plastic surgery to look like someone else. You can’t fake that! Be yourself and find how to make “your” sound your own. It’s all in the mind and fingers, I firmly believe.
Me: I see, and your sound is unique because it’s you being you?
AA: I think so. A few years ago I was playing in a band called Lions for Real (named after the Allen Ginsberg piece). We had immediate interest from various major labels. Within 3 months of forming the band we were on a plane to Los Angeles, flown in by Ryan Gosling’s record label and footed by Warner Bro Records. We had a very unique sound, which garnered the interest. However as time went on people were telling us how to dress, what to look like, what to eat. Eventually they started dictating what songs sounded more like “us” and so forth. That whole model and process was so unappealing to me that I quit. I knew if I carried on that way it would become a “job” and I would hate it! Music is too precious to me for that. I love creating music and being true to yourself, however the rest is total unnecessary garbage. My point being; the amount of freedom an indie artist has these days is unlike anything. In this day and age we are needing major labels less and less and we still have access and an outlet to get our music out there, exactly as we intended. Major labels used to embrace uniqueness and quirkiness. Nowadays the same people running Target and Best Buy is running these labels so numbers and money and obviously, marketability is key.
Me: So you’re planning on always being the indie artist we see?
AA: I never say “never” to anything. However, there seems to be many cool indie labels out there! Major labels just don’t seem my thing nor my music probably theirs as well.
Me: I see, so what are your current/upcoming projects?
AA: I just released 2 EPs under the name Indigenous Engines; an EP for a company out of Los Angeles (411 Music) for Film/TV placements and an EP I released independently. They will be given away as free downloads within the next week or so via BandCamp.com. I am also releasing a solo album under my own name this Fall/Winter. It will be something I’ve been working on off and on over the past year or so in a more folk/acoustic vein.
Me: What movie or TV show can you be heard in?
AA: Over the course of the past year I have had the Colored Parade songs in several projects: I’m Indestructible’ was featured in the trailer for the film “Cymbeline” starring Mila Jovovich, Dakota Johnson and Ethan Hawke (Lionsgate Films). It was also featured in the Nick Jonas TV show “Kingdom” (Audience Network/Direct TV). ‘A Tiny Spark (In This Great Machine)’ and ‘Out of the Ether’ in the films “Polk County” and “The Loner” – both produced by filmmaker Kenny Vathauer, will be released later this year. My song ‘A Whole Within’ will be featured in the TV show “The Grand Prince of Moscow” from actor/producer Edward Reid.
Me: Sounds like you have alot going!, how did you get connected with so much?, and what kind of exposure has that brought?
AA: I work with several agencies and my publishing company is very dedicated and assertive (which helps). The exposure is instantly noticeable. I can tell it with album sales and downloads specifically. One specific thing is the connection with fans of the various actors in the films that my songs are in. I was surprised to encounter quite a few Jonas Brother fans after the “Kingdom”-thing happened. Who would have seen that one coming? Also the same things with fans of “50 Shades of Gray” because of Dakota Johnson and “Cymbeline”. Again, not my typical crowd that I normally appeal to but it feels good to know that my music is reaching audiences that I normally wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise.
Me: Glad you’re getting so much exposure!, what can we expect from you in the future?
AA: Thanks so much! Well, as I mentioned before; the formal, under-my-own-name, solo album will be out hopefully by mid-late Fall/Winter of this year. I plan on doing some touring and live shows in promotion of that album as well. I didn’t get to tour a lot of regions and markets when I was promoting the Colored Parade album but I hope to make up for that in 2016. I currently have around 30 songs recorded and/or being recorded that I plan on condensing down to 10-12 for the album. I also hope to have some songs in more film and television too, with the new music. I am incredibly humbled and grateful at the out pour of people supporting me and folks buying and downloading the music. I hope that everyone will dig the new songs and sounds I’ve been working on.
Me: Why didn’t the colored parade tour?, and what will happen with the 18-20 leftover songs?
AA: Most of the promotion and road dates were solo/acoustic shows. It’s not the easiest thing to travel with 8 members plus an extra crew all at once without a bus. The extra songs will either be shelved, used for future projects. Some I plan on pitching to other artists.
Me: So you’ll hopefully be writing for other artists too?
AA: Yeah, I probably will. It has been several years since I pitched songs towards other artists. I always love to hear how different singers and performers reinterpret ideas and songs that others write. I believe it prolongs the life of the song and totally opens it up into new worlds.
Me: You’ve written for other artists before?
AA: I’ve tested the waters. I pitched songs to a few Country singers in the past and recently have been collaborating with L.A. based producer Sidney Swift (Jason Derulo, Nelly, Action Bronson) as well as co-writing with some Nashville hit makers also.
Me: Well we definitely look forward to how the future unfolds!, so one last question(if I may ask), so from reading my blog, you can tell I’m a Christian, what are your spiritual views and how do they affect your music?
AA: I honestly have no religious views, but I am all accepting when it comes to human diversity and preferred love. I am a firm believer in God as Love, and Love for me represents a lot of different things. I choose Love and Music above all. To me, there is nothing more powerful as diversity and progression. Sexual or racial preference also should ALWAYS be respected. I encourage whatever the human heart demands or desires. Lifestyle is not about what someone else says. It’s about what your heart attaches to and says this is who I am regardless.
Me: Awesome!, thank you so much for this interview!
AA: Absolutely! Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me!