Family Fold

Ashfield Skyline​ is the second solo album from one of Sydney’s finest ‘under the radar’ songwriters, Paul Andrews. Recording and performing under the name Family Fold​ since his previous band, Lazy Susan, broke up in 2012, Paul’s new album is his most assured to date and was brought into the world with the help of Nashville-based producer, engineer and musician, Brad Jones. It’s another high quality brace of songs following on the heels of Family Fold’s​ debut 11-track album, Lustre Glo, in 2015, which received glowing reviews. Paul Andrews answers a few questions about the album for Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.

Is it an exciting time building up to the release to your album Ashfield Skyline?
Probably more nerve wracking than exciting if I’m brutally honest. I want people to really like it, and there’s always that period – like the calm before the storm – before it comes out when I’m overwhelmed by self-doubt.

What inspired the album title?
It’s a pun on the famous Dylan album, Nashville Skyline. I wanted to take the piss out of myself for going to Nashville to record an album (well, at least before anyone else did). It’s something I did that I’m really proud of, but I also recognise that it’s a bit of a cliche to be a musician/songwriter running off to Nashville to make a record.

But at the same time, by calling it Ashfield Skyline I wanted to be clear that while I recorded in Nashville, the songs are rooted in my life in Sydney’s inner west.

Was it hard finding your musical direction after the break up of Lazy Susan?
Not really. Our last album was in 2010, we kind of stopped playing and being an entity by 2012. So I’d spent a bit of time over those years ‘til 2014/15 when Family Fold started thinking about what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. I wanted to try and find a balance between it being solely my thing but still giving the listener/audience the feel of a band. That’s why I didn’t want to put anything out under my own name. I wanted a band to hide behind.

How would you compare Lustre Glo with your new album?
I’ve never been pushed this hard in terms of songwriting and prepping for an album before. Brad Jones who produced the record really set a high bar for songwriting and if he wasn’t enthused by something I gave him, then it didn’t end up making the record. It really pushed me to try harder and I think it shows in the final product.

Are there any significant influences that have shaped your music?
Absolutely. George Harrison was my first and abiding influence on my songwriting. I spent so much time in my late teens and early 20s pretending to sing and write songs like him – when I was just starting out – that when I finally started showing my own personality in my music, and my own voice, I still brought some of his influence with me.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt so far that you wouldn’t repeat again if you had your time over?
Musically? I would spend more time/money finding/hiring someone to give me advice about how to avoid career pitfalls…like not spending all your money recording an album in an unnecessarily extravagant fashion, and leaving nothing left over for promotion and publicity. Rookie error!

What is the story behind the single Molly Meldrum’s Eyes?
I actually wrote that song when I was in my mid-20s and forgot it for 20 years, only rediscovering it when I was rooting around old boxes of half finished songs looking for songwriting inspiration. So, clearly I was a nostalgic, sentimental bastard even when I was a kid!!!

It’s not really about Molly Meldrum as such. As important figure he is in Australian music, it’s not a tribute to him. It’s just about those bittersweet memories of childhood and youth and how music started to take over my life. About how music was probably more joyful and powerful then – when I was a kid and when it sounded like it was made by magicians – and before I was exposed to all the other stuff that goes along with trying to make a career out of music, which can suck some of the joy out of it. It’s about how I’d like to go back there, not to be a kid so much, but to tap back into that pure joy of listening to music for the first time.

Do you enjoy being hands on with things like the film clip?
With the limited budget I have for film clips there’s no other way than to be ‘hands on’ – which is lucky, because I find it heaps of fun. We’ve done two clips for this record with a guy called Bryce McLellan which he pulled together so well and which we’re really proud of. I learned loads.

Any plans to tour Australia more extensively?
I would really love to, but ultimately it’ll come down to my good buddies in the grant application approvals department at the Australia Council. Hi guys!!!!

What’s the next challenge for Paul Andrews & Family Fold?
I’d love to get my arse into gear to apply to play more festivals. And I have a pipe dream of heading over to Nashville for Americanafest in September 2019.

Interview by Rob Lyon

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Family Fold - Ashfield Skyline.jpg

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