A Conversation With… Andy Frasco

10:46 am by

A Conversation With... Andy Frasco
Photo by B “Café con Leche” Gutierrez.

Andy Frasco made his way back to Fayetteville, AR one more time before he goes into the studio to work on his next album. I was able to catch up with him for a few minutes before his show at George’s Majestic Lounge on July 11th. We talked about his new album, his experience opening for Jakob Dylan on June 23rd and about the music business for the independent artist. Read about our conversation after the break.

Café con Leche: Last time I talked to you we talked about your beginnings in the music industry. Today I want to talk about your plans and recent experiences. I know you have an album in the works. Tell me about it.

Andy Frasco: I have new material and we start recording in August. I’m going to play a little of it tonight, hopefully. It’s going to be good. It’s going to be a more of an improv set tonight.

Café: You do that a lot?

Andy: Yeah, a lot. I feel that’s the only way to really be free with music. To put yourself on the spot and say ‘alright, let’s just play.’ No need to worry, no need to sweat, just play.

Café: Do you have any favorite songs to play? Any favorites to cover?

Andy: Favorite covers? I love playing Ray Charles songs. I love playing old school soul. I’ve been playing a lot of Bill Withers, like “Ain’t No Sunshine.” I do “Hit The Road Jack.” But I just really love playing my own songs. Sometimes I make up lyrics on the spot. Depending on what I’m feeling or what the day brings.

Café: Do you record your shows so that those lyrics can go in an album later?

Andy: Yes, sometimes. We’re going to put out a ten-song full production with Jordan Stilwell. I’m going to produce it with the UN. And we’ll also have a production of live songs. We’ve been recording live tracks from around the country, so we’re going to do a EP with 2 covers and 4 originals from each city. We might have one live in Fayetteville and one live in Kansas. From each of the cities that we like to play in.

Café: So what are the cities that stand out the most for you?

Andy: I keep telling everyone this. The three places I love are Fayetteville, AR; Manhattan, KS; and Charlottesville, VA.

Café: Awesome. That means you’ll keep coming back.

Andy: Always.

Café: Now, you just opened for Jakob…

Andy: Jakob Dylan.

Café: … Yes. Jakob Dylan & Three Legs. How was that?

Andy: A lot of fun. It was a good time. It was my first experience playing at a venue that holds 1500+ people that might be interested in my music. So I thought ‘Oh shit, I need to put on my smart suit.’ It required more attention than usual, but it was so much fun.

Café: What did that experience mean to you and the band?

Andy: I felt we went into the mindset of being at out next point of our career. We finally are at that point where we’re still a bar band, but we’re starting to build a fan base. And that’s crazy. We’ve been touring for three years now, we’ve done 700 shows. And we’re now at a point where people come see us, like tonight. We’ve grown as a band. And people have been so supportive. We have a backbone now, and that’s amazing. I don’t need to worry about anything now. I don’t need to worry, I just need to entertain and inspire people. Because people are inspiring me to go out and play. So I hope I’m inspiring them to just enjoy that moment in their lives that I’m given the chance to be part of.

Café: Is your audience your inspiration?

Andy: Mostly. I feed off energy. I just soak it all in. Whatever people are bringing to the table, I want to be part of that experience.

Café: Tell me about your songwriting process.

Andy: [laughs] I normally write songs when I’m all shitty. But I gotta stop that. I’ve had some bad LA experiences; but I don’t want to sound like a woman-basher, when I’m not. Touring and meeting different kind of people, like coming to the the Midwest and South- everyone’s all nice, that’s given me different perspectives. Being on the road has helped me grow. And that’s what this new record is all about, living life on the road realizing that we’re all doing the same thing. No one’s bigger or better than anyone else. We’re all getting through this together, we should start thinking together not just the individual. We’re a team, we’re a family. We all have to look after each other.

Café: I like that.

Café: And now that you and the band are at a next step. How do you define where to go from here. How do you define success?

Andy: How many people you inspire. When I’m done with a show, to see that I’ve made someone’s day. The most days you make, that’s what counts as success. Money comes and goes. If you’re getting famous for the money, then you have nothing coming for you. It’s about being true, being real, finding friends.

Café: Do you want to stay independent? Or what if a label comes to offer you a deal?

Andy: It really depends, but I want to do this independently and show musicians that we can do this. We don’t need a big label to do what we love. As musicians we need to join forces and have the bands be it, not having a middle man taking everything and defining what you play and who you are.

Café: Do you feel technology made it easier for independent artists to make a carrier?

Andy: Nowadays, I think if you get people to listen to your music, you can get started. If they like what they hear they’ll buy a ticket to a show, maybe a t-shirt. At least they’ll buy a drink at the show. That’s what’s all about. Getting people to go back to live music. Your CD is an introduction, it’s just the first ‘hello’ to what the experience can really be.

Café: Any final words for BOT readers?

Andy: I’m a big fan of chocolate chip cookies.

Something I left out that night, but wanted know, was about the music that’s carrying Andy through his days right now. He gave me the answer while on the road to his next show.

Café: What are you currently listening to?

Andy: What I’m listening to on the way to Dallas: the new Mumford & Sons album for the first quarter of the drive, then a little Dion to get us though the halfway part of the drive. Then to finish it off I’ll play a little Ray Charles, Toots and The Maytals, and of course Van Morrison.