Interview – Andy Allen

A singer-songwriter from Utah, Andy Allen was first introduced to Linescratchers through Young Sim. He has agreed to an interview regarding his songwriting, his inspirations, and his guitars.

First, tell us how you know our buddy Young Sim.

Young Sim is actually in my ward. He is my home teacher, and I am his home teacher. We did a collaboration at FHE of my song “The Friend That Saved My Life” and some of his rapping. Since then I have played at one of his FGM nights and he has become a good mentor and friend. Sim is an amazing person dripping with knowledge and talent.

In the acoustic videos on your website it sound like you have kind of a Damien Rice vibe. Who are your major musical influences?

I definitely like Damien Rice, although I wouldn’t consider him a huge influence. I would say Johny Cash, the Format, Brandon Flowers/Killers and Elton John are huge influences. I look up a lot to Michael Buble for his vocals.

On your website, you have both acoustic songs, and more produced songs with a band. What are your live shows like?

Up to this point they have been largely acoustic. Since recording that CD I am hoping to do more full band sort of things. The full band obviously has a completely different feel to it than the acoustic, and consequently different people like full band better and others like acoustic better. I for one enjoy full band more.

Tell us about your album Diamond Grove. How was it recorded?

Diamond Grove is my first album that I finished recording earlier this spring. I have two words to explain how it was recorded: Ben Sorensen. I never knew how important it was to work with a GOOD producer. I feel like most singer songwriters looking to record a CD think that all they need is somebody would a nice computer, software and a nice mic or two. I feel like that is half of what is important, and the other half is somebody who knows how to get the most out of the song you have written. “Bass here, trumpet here, electric guitar here, drums here, this specific drumbeat here, strings here, etc etc.” In other words, I wrote the songs, the melodies, and that is where my skill set stops and where he came in to make the songs what they are now: fully artistically and tastefully produced with full band. My opinion is that most singer songwriters need the help of a talented producer to get the most out of their recordings.

Our website features Latter-day Saints in music. How does your music interact with spirituality? Is there anything obvious we can look for?

Great question. I would say that spirituality is threaded throughout all of my songs though not in the typical EFY way. One comparison I would make is to “Human” by the killers. Would that song find itself on an EFY mix? Never. Is it spiritual? I think so. I guess one hint I will give to spirituality in one of my songs would be in track 2, it has a prayer element to it.

What is the music scene like out in Utah right now? Do you think the LDS market is interested in music like yours, or do you generally just play for whomever?

Music scene in Utah is very diverse, and I don’t think I could pinpoint one genre that is dominant among Mormons or nom-Mormons. I have been happy with how LDS and non-LDS people have reacted to my music, although I don’t specifically write music for LDS people or non-LDS people, I just write it for me and whoever else enjoys it.

In your videos I’ve seen you playing a Taylor acoustic. Is that your primary instrument? Any particular dream guitars or favorites?

I really don’t have a dream guitar, I really like my Taylor, I really like Martins. I also play piano. I probably write half my songs on the piano and half on the guitar. My dream instrument would probably be one of those $200,000 Yamaha pianos you see big shots playing. Stay tuned for the big CD release show where we will be duplicating for the most part what is on the Diamond Grove album.

Where can interested readers find out more about your music?

www.andyallenmusic.com has got all you need to know: my link to iTunes, videos etc.

I also recommend that people interested in recording take a look at Ben Sorensen. www.29thstreetstudio.com

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Interview – Andy Allen

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