Q&A With Andy J - Revival Synth
Questions asked by Rob Harvey of Phoenix FM
Q. Who was the band or artist you first took to heart after first hearing them and why?
A. Believe it or not Rob, It was The Shadows. When I was about 6, I recall hearing ‘Theme for young lovers’ on the Ed Stewpot show and I wanted to be Hank Marvin straight away. I begged for a guitar and my Dad bought me a 2nd hand one for Christmas. Sadly, It only had 3 strings and it sounded like a badly out of tune sitar. I still listen to them today and i have nearly mastered Cavatina/Theme from the Deer Hunter on the electric guitar that I bought from Asda for £50 lol
Q.. What was their best work in your view?
A. It has to be their work from the 60s although tracks like Rodrigos Guitar Concerto De Aranjuez, Cavatina and the album ‘String of Hits’ brought them a new popularity in the late 70s/early 80s.
Q. What do you think influences you in your choice of artist?
A. For me, it’s the passion within the artist and their music. When I hear an artist performing with a passion and meaning and their music touches a raw nerve, then I know I’m hooked. The first experience of that feeling was seeing a clip of Jim Kerr singing ‘Hunter & The Hunted’ live in Newcastle. He sang it with so much passion it gave me goose bumps. It’s a beautiful song lyrically and musically. The last song to give me that same feeling was ‘Moments’ by Shiny Darkness. Talking to Seb about the track in Lille was a moment I’ll never forget. We both have different meanings to the song but still connect through the lyrics. I also have to mention Geoff Pinckneys remix of Punishment. I stayed up on the night of the release just to hear that track. One word describes that track – Heavenly!
Q.. Where was your first music gig and who did you see?
My first gig was in 1984 and it was at the Leeds University to see none other than Bob Geldof during his Long Grass tour. Me and my work mate got the tickets in exchange for chicken livers! I was a butcher and a lady from the university asked us for chicken livers. At the time we didn’t have any and she said she needed them for Bob Geldof and if we could get some she would give us tickets. We got them from another shop, delivered them to her and we got the tix. People say he never said ‘Give us your fucking money’, Well he did that night when he asked everyone to dig deep and put money in the buckets as you go out.
Q. What do you prefer going to music gigs or music festivals, and why?
Don’t do festivals Rob. I hate been in a crowded tight space and the last time I experienced all that was at Roundhay Park to see Michael Jackson & Simple Minds. I enjoyed the gigs but not the hustle and bustle of it all. I like the small intimate venues where I can stand back and have my chest pounded by huge speakers with brilliant music coming out. I enjoy meeting the bands I’ve been going to see of late. At least you can meet and greet them and their heads aren’t up their arses. I couldn’t ever imagine Jim Kerr letting me get on stage with him, wearing an orange wig, trousers and t-shirt.
Q.. The music scene has changed dramatically, with downloads and social media, so what do you feel is the good and bad things of the scene now?
I think the electronic scene is a better place for social media, without it a lot of artists would struggle to get noticed. Believe it or not Rob, I actually don’t like social media sites but like so many I exploit it for promotional purposes only. Saying that, I have met some brilliant artists and people through it so that is a plus. The downside for me has to be the dog eat dog attitude that I sometimes see. There can be a ‘F**k you jack, we’re ok’ attitude at times and I agree wholeheartedly with Derek from the Jan Doyle Band, that it is better to work together rather than be in competition. It’s a big plus having events such as BAS, i-synth, electro vault, synthetic city and DEF being set up because they bring bands and fans together and it gives the guys at the lower end a chance to get out there and get seen and heard. It is an overcrowded market and some find it unhealthy whereas I love finding great artists on the music sites such as soundcloud or Bandcamp and try and bring them to the listeners.
Q. There are many media blog and music promotional websites, so what does your website, Revival Synth aim to do, and why?
A. Revival Synth was set up for one purpose and that was to give unheard/unsigned artists a place to showcase their music and to try and get them recognised and with a lot of plugging and effort from all sides I feel it is doing what I wanted it to do. When you get artists such as Among the Echoes, Martyn Bailey, Mark Naylor, Synthie Decibelshock and many others coming from nowhere then it shows that if we share a few links it can make a difference. It can be frustrating at times because something that is so simple to do can often be too much to ask. I do my best to listen to anyone who contacts me and I try and find somewhere to put their track, that is why I started the ‘Revival Synth Recommends’ playlists so I can put their track with other similar artists in the hope they get noticed by others. At the time of starting Revival Synth it was just a hobby, now it is a passion and I probably spend more time on it than I should do but if a fisherman can sit for hours waiting to catch a fish then why can’t I sit and listen to some talented musicians for hours on end ;-)
Q.. What has been the highlight of this website for you to date?
There is no one thing. The feedback and joy I get from the artists who are featured on the site is better than anything I ever imagined. I appreciate the thanks and mentions but I always say and will always say, it’s a joint effort from everyone on the scene. If everyone adds a little then the circle gets bigger. I for one have seen the electro/synth circle getting bigger as more and more new talents breakthrough and long may it continue. It is pleasing to know that legends like Toyah & Rusty Egan have viewed my work and Rusty also plays a great part in sharing the links and also plays some of the artists that are featured on the site. My biggest target would be to get my idol Jim Kerr in to the Hall of Fame. I admire and respect this man not just for his work but his overall persona. He has and always will be a part of my life story.
Q. When not enjoying music or managing Revival Synth, what are your other passions?
The above mentioned are my main source of enjoyment, but when I don’t do them it has to be my sports. I love Leeds, Darts, Horse Racing, snooker and all things northern. My other quiet passion is writing poetry. About 5 years ago I raised over £1000 for the memorial site Gonetoosoon with my poetry booklets. That was a very proud time of my life. They sold at £5 each and I sold over 200 of them. It was a real sense of achievement knowing my booklets were part of other people’s lives and giving them comfort too.
Q. If overnight you became extremely wealthy; outside taking care of your family, where or what would you use that wealth?
If I became wealthy, I would ask Rita Ora to marry me once I paid my current Mrs off. Joking aside, I would start up a Revival Synth Record Label and I would organize a Band Aid style event and showcase all the artists that feature on the website and take it all over the UK and get this music out there where it belongs. Yes, it’s a dream but they can come true and I don’t blow £10 on the lotto every week for nothing Also, I would have a cake shop opened at the end of your street just for you Rob
Thanks for the questions Rob. atb
You can tune into Rob every Saturday Morning on Phoenix FM from 7am - 10am