“Andy John Jones brings a mesmerising mix of eccentric Funk/Disco mashed with a very British-esque unhinged rock n roll vibe, a fresh, brash and ragged sound that tingles every pore of the body.” – The Partae
Where are you currently based?
Currently I’m based in Tuscany, Italy where my girlfriend is from. We were previously based in London but after the pandemic happened there was only so long we could stay because of obvious financial reasons. My girlfriend grew up on a farm here so we moved last June to be with her family.
How did you first start playing music?
Well I was writing from a pretty young age. I wanted to be a screenwriter/actor and star in my own films so I was brimming with ideas for stories etc. I used to play amateur rugby for my local hometown under 16s and broke my leg when I was about 14. I had had an interest in music but it didn’t really blossom til my mum brought a copy of Walk The Line home to watch when I was at home in a cast. I was just mesmerised with the Johnny Cash story and his music and that lead me onto Rock bands and Blues artists like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Muddy Waters. I was still pretty fixated on screenwriting and acting, however, until me and a group of friends snuck off to Glastonbury in 2009 when we should have been doing our exams. There I saw Bruce Springsteen headline the festival and it was like nothing I had ever seen. I didn’t really know any of his music but after that show I was totally converted. I felt like I was at church and I had found my religion. Since then it’s been all I want to do.
What’s been happening recently and how has your Covid experience been?
Well we’ve been in Tuscany for almost 10 months now and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. When the pandemic kicked off my girlfriend and I were not in great financial situations. I had been busking full time in London for 4 years, at that point trying to move onto gigging full time for various hotels, bars and agencies, and she was a barista trying to get onto the London Underground for a better wage. Our financial situations were precarious at best. When the pandemic happened I lost a hotel residency I had in Kensington, the agency I had literally joined 3 weeks before lost all their gigs and she was fired from her job. I had no money and had to take a job working for the forestry commission on the Scottish border just to cover some rent for the initial couple of months. When the job had finished by May it didn’t take us long to make up our minds and head back to her family’s home where the difference in pace, the familial solidarity, the weather and the food has certainly made a huge difference on our mental health. Outside of working for her old man I’ve really been able to sit down and focus on how I want to get my recorded music out there.
Your track ‘Come Bring Your Hype Here’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
The song had a lot of influences to be fair. The opening riff came first which I kind of felt was like what Alex Turner might do if he did an impression of Jimi Hendrix and that kind of set the tone for the rest of the song. My band and I took a lot of classic Funk and Disco style tropes and just kind of meshed them together but wanted to keep that very British, Arctic Monkeys-esque attitude.
Then came the lyrical content. At the time I was busking there were protests nearly every weekend and it was frustrating if you were depending on the weekend for the vast bulk of your bread and butter. It could get a little frustrating because a lot of the time you’d agree with the cause which made it all the more frustrating when you couldn’t earn any money or get home. It was annoying when you’d speak to people in the protests and they just wouldn’t seem to get that or, worse yet, even know a damn thing about the reason why they were there almost as though they were joining ‘a hype’. But one of the best things I noticed was come the evening time us buskers, when we finished, usually cracked open a few cans and sometimes even had a jam and that would attract all sorts of people over. Sometimes you’d get two completely opposing opinions from the protests/counter protests and just watch as they’d argue and then just talk it out as human beings. Agreeing to disagree.
Social media and mainstream news has us believing there are these huge divides in society and they have a lot to answer for in my opinion. You’ll be surprised how reluctant people often are to get into disagreements if they’re face to face like human beings. Now, obviously it wasn’t always the way but when it did happen it was great. It reminded me of a Bill Hicks skit where he’s making the argument to legalise weed and how much the world would just be a better place if they did. “Shut up and smoke this!”. Well for me it was much more British. “Come on, why don’t we settle this over a pint?”. So the song kind of evolved out of this idea of ‘what if utopia were this crazy dive bar where there was only one rule; you leave your differences at the door’.
How did Come Bring Your Hype Here come about?
Well that was all the beginning of the song. After that I kind of based the bar on the pub I worked in for two years when I was 19 which just made sense because it was an Indie Rock Bar and the style of the song was very much heading in that direction. The other great thing about it was that everyone in the town seemed to pass through at least once in the night. It was class. It just had this universal appeal. I’ll never forget that.
Where and when did you record/produce/master and who with? So the funding for the track came about after a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign I set up in the back end of 2019. My fans subsequently funded the recording of my debut album, which is due for release October 22nd, and CBYHH is the next single from that. The song has been recorded with one of my best friends who saw me busking back in 2016. He was in his first year of a music production course at university and asked if I wanted to work with him and we’ve been working together ever since. Minus the drums, which we did at his university, the bulk of the album was recorded in the various bedrooms he was staying in in London. Come Bring Your Hype Here was his flat in Richmond I believe and was one of the ones we had to finish during lockdown in May/June. I was renting Boris bikes and cycling to his flat, avoiding public transport for obvious reasons, just so we could get the album done before my girlfriend and I had to leave the country.
How did you approach the songwriting process?
Well I always try to make sure the song is either playable or malleable to being played solo because I can’t always afford my band mates, The Ginkgo Milk, who also play on this track. So it’s important the songs are engaging with or without a band. Interesting guitars are a priority as is a vocal melody. My main passion is for the lyrics though. As a writer I try to make them as impactful as possible with respect to the theme or mood of the song.
What programs/instruments did you use?
So the program we used was Pro Tools. Instruments wise it’s your classic Funk Rock song. Drums, Bass, Guitars. What else do you need, right? Haha
Who are you listening to at the moment?
At the moment I’m listening to a lot from the Black Pumas who I’ve been in love with since that album came out. A lot of Frank Zappa too. What a genius he was! Hailu Mergia and the Dahlak Band’s album Wade Harer Guzo is not far from my ears these days as well as various Jazz artists. I’m also pretty big on John Mayer and Norah Jones.
What do you like to do away from music?
I’ve done MMA in my spare time, on and off, when finances have allowed since I was about 20. It’s purely amateur, hobby and fitness related though. I just find a lot of them totally fascinating, character building and great fun. I’m hoping to compete in amateur bouts some day but I think there’s a long way to go. They also keep me out of the pub which I think is my number one hobby as a true English man haha! I also love film, literature, hiking/camping, cooking, history, politics…I’m a bit of a Jack of all Trades master of sod all haha! So many interests so little time, I guess.
What’s planned for 2021?
For 2021 I’m going to be releasing singles until the full album is out come October. I’ll also be growing my YouTube channel, recording more music and just trying to connect with current fans and building new ones to the best of my ability. It’s a great time to be a musician because of this first hand access social media allows us to have with our audience and I look forward to trying to use these tools to reach out to potential listeners.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Crisps and pubs haha!