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INTERVIEW: Family Fold

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A DIFFERENT SKYLINE

Paul Andrews took a leap of faith and boarded a plane to Nashville with the finest songs he could write. The result of that experience is the new Family Fold album Ashfield Skyline.

Rising from the ashes of 00s indie band Lazy Susan, Family Fold released their first album Lustre Glo in 2015 before Andrews started dreaming and plotting the next record which would take him well out of his comfort zone.

Under the new moniker, Andrews has continued his exploration of high rise melodies and deft songwriting through power pop and an increasing incorporation of Americana reference points. “I worship at the altar of early 90s Wilco and The Jayhawks, I love that Americana sound,” enthuses Andrews. “It wasn’t a considered shift though. In the first iteration of Family Fold I had Casey Atkins, one of Sydney’s greatest guitarists and he’s a Tamworth boy, heavily steeped in alt-country and Americana. When I was playing in Lazy Susan the sound, was made up of the various styles of the band members. When I started Family Fold I could use a variety of different players like Casey and so that was the organic sound that came out.” 

Those Americana leanings led to Andrews being put in contact with Nashville producer Brad Jones who has worked across a range of different genres and seemed like the perfect fit, enabling Andrews to work with another producer for the first time and to do it on the other side of the world in one of music’s capital cities. 

“There are brilliant producers here but the opportunity came up to stretch myself in a different way and do it in Nashville. Brad crosses a bunch of musical sensibilities. He’s worked with John Prine, power pop acts like Matthew Sweet and Cotton Mather, and Australian acts like Melody Pool, Bob Evans and Missy Higgins. Brad asked what I wanted the album to sound like – Americana, power pop etc. I just wanted the sound to fit the songs. We didn’t want to place it in a specific genre,” Andrews stresses.

The recording sessions also gave Andrews the chance to work with some of Nashville’s finest session musicians, an experience that left him gobsmacked by their professionalism and playing abilities. “They have a totally different musical language. We’d sit there in the morning and listen to the song and they’d be playing along or listening and making notes in what looked like hieroglyphics to me. Then they’d go in and and play and record the song perfectly. It was phenomenal. I’d be the one stuffing up the songs as I was so overwhelmed with what they were doing,” he laughs. 

Even though Andrews has been involved with a number of album releases over the years, he still experiences the emotion and apprehension leading up to release day. ‘My level of being petrified and nauseous has grown every day and I’m pretty much at peak level right now. I’m the furthest from excited as you can imagine!” That of course reflects the amount of hard work, creativity and passion that has gone into crafting Ashfield Skyline and it shows that Andrews is still emotionally invested in the art of songwriting and making records, though now he tempers that excitement with the realities of life in one’s 40s.

“I want the album to be a success and I want as many people to hear it and like it. I’ve hired a publicist and I’m working to make it a success but at the same time I’m completely realistic. The 20 year old me would get excited about being added to triple j’s playlist. I know that won’t happen now and so my ambition is for each album to be as good as I can make it, which I think I’ve done, and have as many ears as possible hear it. Whether that’s 500 or 5000 I’ll take it. I’ll keep creating music as long as I can but I know that opportunities are probably narrowing as I get older. When I was younger I would never have had that perspective. I just want people to listen and like it.”

Chris Familton

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