Andy Clegg - Musician
Andy Clegg is charming and perfectionist. His life revolves around his music and his collaboration with other musicians. I’m not going to go into each and every detail of his artistic life here because this is not a biography. Nevertheless, I collected chosen moments of his rich artistic career in order for you to have a peek and know a bit more about his process of creation.
I first heard of Andy Clegg in the eighties when he was involved with The Sun and The Moon project together with legendary Andy Whitaker, John Lever and Mark Burgess. Their album The Sun and The Moon had a unique and timeless sound that is still highly appreciated now. I guess you’re just like me, wondering what part they all played in this project and Andy in particular. In order to achieve this, I’ve asked Andy Whitaker to tell me what he remembers about those days. This is what he told me :
“Andy and I had some pre-formed ideas for the Sun and the Moon album, some created especially and some that we put to structures that Mark had. Some would have been MFA (Music For Aborigines) songs as I'm sure that some of Mark's ideas might have been Chameleons songs. Andy instigated 'A Matter of Conscience' for example and the guitar structure had come from as far back as his earlier band Mile High Thighs. Mark had 'I Love You, You Bastard’ and Andy and I created something to go along with Mark's bass chords, same with 'The Price of Grain' if I remember correctly. 'Dolphin' was another idea that Andy and I had that would have been an MFA song but 'Death of Imagination', 'The Speed of Life,' 'Peace in our Time', 'House on Fire', 'A Picture of England '& 'Limbo Land' all emerged at the time of writing for the SATM album. Although 'Passionate Bread's back drop was another that was being developed at The MFA stage. It was Andy who wanted to revisit it for TSATM album.
I always remember how he would strive for a certain sound and production was very important to him. Later on in Weaveworld it was Andy that would make us go over and over a song until it was ready to perform to our audience.”
Along the path, Andy & his friends met up with Jack Sobel - frontman of Black Swan Lane, an iconic band based in Atlanta. They got on so well that they started to work together. In 2009, BSL issued an album called The Sun and The Moon Sessions. Needless say this little treasure is highly regarded and loved by music fans. I’ve always wondered how it all happened, this magical collaboration. So, I simply asked Jack Sobel to tell me about it. Here’s his nice feedback :
"The collaboration occurred when we decided to bring The Sun and The Moon to the USA for the first time ever on November 7th, 2008. The great John Lever could not make it for some reason and I humbly filled in on drums for the night. During rehearsals, ideas for new songs flew around and we actually recorded an entire record in a week with limited resources and equipment. Note, that a typical BSL record takes many months to create and mix properly, however, we took advantage of the time and resources that were available at the time. It was a similar experience with our first record and we consider the first two albums very experimental where we were finding a groove and throwing ideas down quickly. There is some hidden magic there, especially when you have Mark and the two Andys in the same room contributing and brain storming. Our only regret is that they weren't produced as well as our recent material. Hopefully, one day we can get back in our now proper studio and remix and master some of that older material."
Now, the wheel keeps turning and these days, Andy Clegg is totally invested in his new band Kizilok At the core of it you will find Ian Kizilok and Andy Clegg but many other musicians revolve around it. They’re just busy releasing their third album Between The Thought And The Act with Rob Holloway, Mark Mills, Oz Cooper and Perry Pelonero to name just a few. Andy and Ian wanted this album to be electronic so that half of it is the fruit of their collaboration with Rob Holloway, a Mancunian artist also known as Troubleshooter. The beautiful artwork was designed by Martin Lowery who had already collaborated with them in the past.
I’m sure you’re all eager to know a bit more about Kizilok. Brett spaceman from [sic]Magazine asked the band about the genesis of the project and its future developments. Here’s a link to his very detailed interview I’m sure you’ll enjoy as much as I did : //www.sicmagazine.net/7887/interview-kizilok/
And for more information and/or purchase simply place your requests here : firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, this overview wouldn’t be complete without a few questions to the man himself ! Andy Clegg nicely accepted to answer and I thank him for that. So here it is, enjoy !
When did you start playing music?
I was eleven years old and eventually formed a band in school with school friends Andy Whitaker and Colin Smith, we did some gigs for charity in the school hall. It was a great time being in school. Later that band became 'Music for Aborigines'.
What are your main influences ? Where do you draw your creativity from?
I was listening to my fathers’ record collection when I was growing up in the sixties. It was a great collection and not all of it was popular. This was when I realised some b-sides of the singles were as good as if not better than the a-sides.
As a teenager I listened to Glam Rock then I went back to the sixties, in particular the Psychedelic period which became a big influence on the bands I became involved in. When I came back, I missed the origins of Punk and followed Post Punk bands XTC, The Stranglers, Buzzcocks etc. At the same time I went back to the early seventies with bands like Genesis and King Crimson.
I loved rap and hip hop in the 90's which was a special time for that form of music with De La Soul, Cypress Hill, Tricky. There are too many to mention but I loved the psychedelic influence on these bands and what they created was of its time.
Guitar influences have come from bands like Pavement, XTC, Stereolab, Cocteau Twins, Robert Fripp and also from film scores created by Philip Glass and Bernard Herrman.
The A-side of the cd we created with KiZiLOK ('Between the Thought and the Act') has been influenced by electronic music from bands such as Orbital, Boards of Canada, Momus, Plaid and To Rococo Rot. One important influence for us was from the Turkish musician 'Fikret Kizilok' who we got the band name from. All people from Turkey, including younger generations, will know of him, sadly he is no longer with us.
What are the 3 things you couldn’t do without?
Water air and food.
What part of your art do you like best? (reflexion, preparation, creation, transmission)
surrealism and the psychedelia.
What do you like to do when you do not play music?
Listen to music.
What are you most proud of so far?
I believed I've fulfilled all my ambitions and I'm ready to go round again.
Is there a message or a goal in your art?
There are so many dimensions that can be created in music and the aural is always more therapeutic than the visual.
What’s making you go on? What’s keeping you motivated?
Are you really in charge of your own destiny or are you constantly adapting yourself to what you've been given. Amazing or terrible things can happen to you and never even wished or was even aware they could happen to you. You weren't in charge and you didn't decide this outcome. That what keeps me motivated, the challenge that you've been given.
What’s your biggest regret or main concern?
I don't have regrets, only concerns.
What’s your next project? Your next challenge?
For Kizilok we want to release the album 'Man Made Monsters' on cd and do gigs.
This article wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of Brett Spaceman, Jack Sobel and Andy Whitaker. Thank you again for this!