Andy Shauf Interview


I was privileged enough to attend a show with “Evening Hymns” and “Andy Shauf” on Saturday night at Streaming Cafe in Kelowna. Afterwards, amidst the crowd of people I was able to navigate to Andy and snag him for an interview.

Andy’s a really talented musician, that’s quiet and modest. But don’t let that fool you, when him and his band perform, you can’t help but be drawn in. If you have yet to see him play live, please go see them when you get a chance!

What has it been like for you growing up in Saskatchewan? 

 It’s been good, I grew up in a few different small towns. So . . . there isn’t a lot to do there, you make your own fun I guess. 

Do you think that has shaped your music style in a different way?

Yeah, well kind of. When I went and toured in the states a couple times, hearing the music down there along with peoples personalities — they’re talkers and love to laugh and joke. In the prairies it’s kind of different people are pretty quiet and reserved. That’s kind of how prairie music is you know, you don’t think about it. But that becomes how your music turns out, compared to the music down there that’s yelling and stomping and having a good time.

What sort of music did you grow up listening to? 

I grew up listening to a lot of Christian music, my parents listened to a lot of it. A lot of Gathier vocal band, I hated it *laughs*.

Name your top five biggest influences in music right now (that aren’t local bands).

I really like: The Beatles, Wilco, Elliot Smith maybe Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

Tell me about your new album “The Bearer of Bad News”.

Yeah, it’s songs that I’ve been working on for about four years. I released an album in 2008, and have been demoing since 2007 for the album after that. It just never happened, and they wouldn’t let me release a new album. So I just kept building a collection of songs, narrowed it down and released it. 

Why did you pick the title?

I picked the title because it’s one of the lines in one of the songs, but it also just says a lot about what I am in the album. It’s a collection of sad, tragedy songs, lots of bad news.

How does it feel playing in a full band?

It’s cool! It’s fun, we’re still getting into the groove but it’s awesome to have other people up there with you — look over and their having fun, it’s cool. 

What does the writing process look like for you — when it comes to lyrics?

I don’t know, sometimes they come really fast. I usually have a guitar riff with a mood to it and start writing what fits the mood. Sometimes it’s fast, sometimes it’s slow. Sometimes, it takes like a month or something to get them all in there. 

Where would you like to play a show, that you have yet to play?

It would be pretty cool to play a show in Newfoundland I think, I hear they’re like pretty fun party people. 

Do you listen to or read certain things while thinking of new music?

No, not really. I try to read stories, fiction stories. I’ve been really into Vonnegut lately, he’s just so fast paced and keeps you right there all the time, it’s cool. I’m reading “Galápagos” right now, it’s a little bit slower, but still pretty cool.

How much of a Bluejays fan are you?

Like not at all. I have the hat, that’s it *laughs*.

What kind of guitar do you use? 

Tonight I played a “Silvertone”, It’s the bass player Josh’s. I have a “Harmony”, but I also have a collection of a lot of old guitars.

Do you use a lot of drop tunings in your songs?

My guitar, every tour seems to get lower. Every time I write a new song, I write it in a lower tuning — I’m now down a step and a half. But it’s always standard or drop D.

Which do you prefer, recording at home or in a studio?

Home I think, I like to record myself. I have my own studio in my basement. 

What sort of things do you get up to on tour, besides playing shows?

Uh, playing shows, drinking beers, driving cars. You know, you drink, hang out a bit and try and have some fun.

Do you have any pre-show routines?

I like to drink a lot of water, I like to drink a moderate amount of alcohol and shake the nerves. 

Describe your favourite song you’ve written and why?

My favorite song that I’ve written is probably the newest song that I’ve written. It’s kind of subtle, I just really like it. 

Are there any religious ties to your lyrics?

Yup, I was raised Christian, till I was eighteen or nineteen. Then after that I was like “this is weird”. When you’re raised like that, you always think it’s true, so when you actually question it, you think “oh, there are other things in the world”.

Do you think there is a “Devil” motif that goes through your song writing?

Yeah, I mean growing up like that the devil is just this figure of ultimate evil. It’s just kind of a reference to that sort of overwhelming character. 

How do you feel about being compared to: Paul Simon, Elliot Smith and Neil Young?

It’s cool, I guess. I like all of them, but I also feel like I’m trying to do my own thing. 

Which musician past or present inspires you the most?

I don’t know, I guess a couple. Elliot Smith, is musically such a genius and Paul McCartney is pretty cool, he’s such a goof but he’s pretty cool. 

What are some places you have to visit in Regina and why?

Well there is a bar called “Ohanlan’s” that’s pretty cool — it’s pretty standard when you get to Regina you go to Ohans. I worked at “The Exchange” live music venue, you gotta go there for your shows. There is a new restaurant/music venue called “The Artful Dodger”. It’s got some pretty killer food going on, my friend is the head chef there and he’s kind of a food genius.

Follow Andy Shauf & Evening Hymns on their tour here — and thank you to Devon Regier for this awesome photo.

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