Andrew Mitchell has spent the last few years writing, recording and touring with Idlewild. His time with Idlewild has seen him travel all over Europe and the band are about to embark upon a Japanese and US tour. However, Mitchell has still found time to write and record a beautiful baroque pop masterpiece under the name Andrew Wasylyk. The album is called 'Soroky' and the name Wasylyk is a nod to his Ukraine roots.
This is your first solo album. What prompted you to make the leap?
Generally speaking, I tend not to have days off. Invariably, that'll lead to an excess of ideas in the 'to be used' drawer. I sat down to develop some of these sketches and a correlation between a bunch quickly appeared. It was about this point the notion of a specific record began to gestate. January was looming and the thought making an album at the beginning of a new year felt like a healthy prospect, so I booked the studio and just kept writing. Five fine, dark dismal days on the Isle of Mull later the record was done.
Compared to working with a band, how did you find the writing process?
With the talented pairing of Thomas White (drums) and Sorren Maclean (bass), we virtually tracked all the basics live in one room. In that respect, it was still very much a 'group' ethic. The writing itself wasn't particularly different; just me hunched over a piano in cold room with anxiety! That said, I did want to explore slightly more expansive arrangements and chords, more than I had in the past, from the outset.
We know a little bit about the surname from your bio, but can you talk us through the change from Mitchell to Wasylyk?
I've always enjoyed pseudonyms and nom de plumes in music and literature and the veil-like nature they afford. Andrew Wasylyk' was also the name I was given by my parents, initially. A metaphorical nod to the old me, perhaps.
Will you still be working with The Hazey Janes and Idlewild?
Of course. Idlewild have been doing many Summer festivals and the last couple of weeks have been spent writing with The Hazey Janes for a project we're involved with this year.
Who would you say were your biggest influences when it came to writing the album?
Probably too many to mention. Although, the likes of Billy Mackenzie, Nina Simone, Scott Walker, Nelson Riddle and Michael Marra were never far from me. Their grasp of songwriting and arranging will always be something I'll try and push towards.
Is there an underlying theme to the album?
Other than drawing on first hand experiences, it's concept-less.
Is there anyone you've been listening to at the moment that you think we should check out?
BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah's 'Sour Soul'. A Brazilian bossa nova / jazz record from 1964 by Tamba Trio called 'Tempo'. Lately, a friend turned me on to Dollar Brand Duo's 1974 'Good News From Africa'. Cass Mccombs - 'Big Wheel and Others'. The Squeamish Butchers' have long been a favourite too.
What are your plans after the album's release? Got anything on the horizon?
After the release on November 6th 2015, I'm heading out on my first solo tour, opening for Ricky Ross across the UK. That aside, I'll be writing more with The Hazey Janes, Idlewild are touring in Japan and the East coast of America. Art Of The Memory Palace, another project I'm involved with, begin writing their sophomore album this year also.
Do you think you'll be releasing a follow up to the album at some point?
I'd like to.
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