One of our favourite people on this planet is Andia (In Your Dreams). The multitalented glitch-solar-punk-drum’n’bass singer-songwriter had quite year. In this recent interview we check back on the last year events, success and the brand new book she wrote to help indie artists in this sped-up, noisy reality of music industry these days.
It’s an interview with some fun, truth and actual thoughts. Are you brave enough to read on to the end?
And while you are at it, here is What about by Andia, listen to get into the mood… 😉
Music Authentic: Welcome back to Music Authentic! As usual, let’s start with our site-traditional question: How did you sleep last night?
Andia: Thank you for having me back! It was Thursday night and I didn’t sleep enough. It’s normal on those nights. The thing is, relaxing after the weekly stream show takes time, decompressing in a sense, from all that intense ‘in the moment’ focus; and it gets late in my time zone. Normally I do get enough sleep, so that I’m fully switched on and engaged, especially in the morning.
Music Authentic: You’ve just had massive success with your latest version of “What about”. How does it feel, isn’t it surreal sometimes that one can never know when and what will gain more traction?
Andia: I’m genuinely shocked! It picked up nearly instantly on YouTube, where the initial release on Spotify was a bit, well, flat. As IYD (In Your Dreams) is a very visual act, the drum/dance performance video of the song suddenly made much more sense to viewers. The emotional freedom in the song is much more obvious. It took off from there, and then some. Writing the song itself has a very strong bond to the rough time I was having in Q3 of 2020. My situation was stupidly rough. While facing that, I took a hard look at life and posed some deep (philosophical) questions about the duality of circumstances, and what it’s like to meet lifes challenges head on. Like an interrupt to the negative thoughts we sometimes tell ourselves. As in ‘what about the sacrifice, finally plays out’? and – ‘What about holding on, just to let go’?’ It’s an unconventional track (but in my style), in that it’s not laid out like most songs. It has no verses, no preamble to set the scene. It goes straight into chorus one, followed later by another chorus. It’s an interpretive piece. Pretty deep then. Sometimes, tracks like these take time to pick up, and video was the medium that made all the difference here. It is a little frustrating, because on release, we naturally want our songs to blow up right away, but then feel dejected when it doesn’t. So the video was key here and I’m truly blown away by the response!
Music Authentic: I know, you’ve had some health issues this year, a bit different from what the news mostly is about. How did it affect your life, mentality, and your drumming?
Andia: I took a turn for the worse early in Q1 of 2021. Like that footballer famously did this year. The stress of 2020, the financial black hole I was in (I had just started to come out of), took a heavy toll on my system, namely, my heart. I didn’t know it, but I had a mild heart attack. I had medical procedures later in the year (recently) to put me back on track. (I’m happy to say I’m good to roll again). It proved to me that life really is a fragile thing, and health is the one thing we all need to look after, both physically and mentally. Even then, it can take one by surprise. After all, let’s say that I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve been doing this (music thing) for a long time, which is not readily apparent in my public appearances. It forced me to step back and re-evaluate my health and approach to fitness and lifestyle. I had to come back to my peak performance (the intense singing and drumming shows) with care. Like an athlete after injury. I also take care of my mental health and deal with stress differently. Now, life generally has less friction, which helps. My life changing episode is proof that prolonged stress is really not good for the body. I’m happy to say that I made it to the healthy side, with love and support from my family and friends, and with excellent Finnish medical care.
Music Authentic: Speaking of drumming, even after decades of playing, you are still learning new things and practice regularly. What gives you the hardest curve?
Andia: Recently, instead of being in songwriting mode, I hooked into taking my playing apart to zone in on my weak areas. Essentially, I’d been in my comfort zone for a while, drumming wise. My repertoire was getting a bit stale, I felt inspired to explore a new envelope and push my own boundary. A realization that I could develop a whole new world of expression, within a groove I already know, (the half time shuffle). It was a real challenge, stretching my abilities. I accepted that and as expected, it was painful and humbling. I spent weeks of daily practice to be able to do what I wanted to do. Technically, a pattern in 16th notes pattern, with a (simple) 2 over 2 technique, (2 16ths on alternating hand, followed by 2 16ths on the kick) which lends itself easily to 4/4 timing. Easy, even at speed. But I wanted to put this whole thing into ¾ timing, to take the idea to the next (logical) level. The hand/feet pattern stays the same, but the accents shift into ¾ across the measure. Much more difficult, and something that I hadn’t heard other pro drummers do. It was as much a mental exercise as physical. I worked hard to re-train my ears, mind, and perception all over again. A macro, a global, if you will, overhaul, from the micro, all the way back up. I nailed it after many hours and weeks of practice. I now have it firmly in my vocabulary, and can express it musically. Hooraah! It’s good (it rips!) but it’s not mastered yet, rather, it’s something I can continue to hone and explore in the future. I use it as another pillar on the foundation of my sound and style. In short, I took the time and humility to unpack my playing and put it back together, now better on all fronts. That was a very hard curve, but something that will stay with me for a long time to come.
Music Authentic: Is it still worthy to be an artist, a musician – both internally and externally?
Andia: That’s a deep question. The struggle at times is ridiculously frustrating. I think the main thing here, as in life generally, is to have a noble goal. To aim for the highest outcome. Like climbing that metaphorical mountain. Otherwise, we’re selling ourselves short, right? This approach gives me a definite direction, a compass; an understanding that the sacrifice I make for my art is, in fact, worthy. In effect, theres enough ‘blood’, or quality in my sacrifice, that things will turn out somewhat as expected, eventually. Externally, it’s more about understanding the music industry, being smart and essentially, not doing what 99% of others do to stand out. Danger! It’s much more demanding to tread this path, obviously why few others do this, but I feel it’s the only way for me to really make a positive difference.
Music Authentic: The world around is changing, shifting, some say evolving, others see it as a devolution, a never-ending spiralling. What about you, is there hope? Or is this the beginning of the manifestation of hope?
Andia: In part, I think the answer lies in the fact that to make something better, we have to take it apart -devolution- in order to put the parts back together for the better- evolution. This applies on a personal level, and larger macro levels too; much like my drumming unpack/repack. For something as complicated as society, it’s possible that we constantly see that ‘one step forward, two steps back’ phenomenon. As long as we move forward for the better generally, and I think we are, then I’m satisfied. Also, we need to have meaningful conversations with each other about difficult topics (that aren’t easy to do) in order to solve our societal problems. And that’s indeed what we see on social media, even though not all of those are constructive. Critically, there is an open channel for thatis process.
Music Authentic: You left Britain before it left Europe. Encountering such oddities as the outcome of Brexit in your chosen dwelling place, can you maintain a stoic attitude towards the ignorance and myopia?
Andia: Stoic? x10 that! Suddenly, I find myself standing in the wind, outside a makeshift office building in Helsinki, with a bunch of other immigrants. We were all seeking permission to live in Finland, from non-EU countries. No Afghans there that I could tell (although I have one Afghan friend from when I first came to Finland). Since Brexit, I now need official permission to live here, even though I’ve been living here for 16 years. I stood in line with all the other foreigners, including those from the former EU and other non-EU countries. It’s a totally absurd situation! An insane move by the Brits. It feels like they’re acting like an unruly teenager, collectively locking themselves in the bathroom in a tantrum. Also like a latent but damaging reaction to the recent right wing USA politics that took the world stage. Only here, the Brits are suffering, whereas the rest of the world moved on. Pity. Even most Brits would agree, it’s a nonsensical, super frustrating situation, with repercussions that are now starting to deepen. I get the distinct feeling that the whole were pulled down the evolutionary ladder by the few (ignorant. nationalistic impresionables,see the Dunning Kruger effect) that were given a voice, back when when that was a trend. And what’s all this about moving back to imperial measurements? Looks like regression to me and they need a revolution! I’m glad I’m out of there to be honest, despite my new, near refugee status. Gah!
Music Authentic: Let’s talk about blessings in your life. A lot of things have happened to you since we last talked, on the occasion of the “Impossible is Possible” release. What are you the most happy for?
Andia: It’s been just over a year since ‘Impossible’, that fateful time we first met, and I continue with the same drive and passion that I always do. All this is starting to accumulate, and with every subsequent track or video I release, my career strengthens overall. I’m most happy that I chose this type of creative path from the beginning, I recognized from the start a worthy life long goal. Speaking of which, it’s also without doubt the amazing people I’ve met along the way, and I’m really starting to get back what I put into it. And all that is priceless.
Music Authentic: There is a book you are about to publish. What secrets are you unveiling in it?
Andia: It’s based on the efficient use of an artists ultimate resource, time, and the talent they want to show the world. A guerilla guide, based on what I’ve been doing myself for three years now. More specifically, making content that rewards the best engagement online. I break down in detail, what it takes to successfully get past the hurdle that many see as a huge barrier. Things like performing live online, stagecraft, the camera, the show, the sound, lighting and critically, what to do with that content after the show. I cover the technicalities, the (inexpensive) gear, the business advantages, the ‘why’, and on into deeper philosophical reasons.
It’s called (the) IYD manual, Livestream Gig fix.
I wanted to write this guide as it can have a huge impact on any creatives career. It’s an easy fix for musos and artists out there, if only they knew how to do it properly. Now they will have the definitive guerilla guide, by an artist, for artists.
Music Authentic: Where and how will it be available?
Andia: I’m going the self publishing route, a Kindle ebook as of right now. I mean, it’s a perfect fit, right? I’d also like to offer it to my friends, pre-publish, on a PWYW scheme, (Pay What You Want). If anyone has any e-book platform recommendations, please do let me know, I’m willing to look into them. Currently, I’m in the final editing stage, so it won’t be too long until it’s out, and it’s my first book, so I’m thrilled!
Music Authentic: Do you think these days, when a series of episodes is only 10-20 minutes long, will people still have the cognitive capacity for thought?
Andia: Yes I do! I think short form shows work to ignite the listeners/viewers cognitive capacity, in that it gives them enough time to key in and get a handle on the content, but not turn into a ‘TL;DR’ swipe by. This approach works well, at least as an introduction to new material. Longer shows also work, once the audience is tuned in and familiar. There are many good discussions to be had, lots of musical territory to be explored, not to mention that noble pursuit of making a positive difference in this world. My own weekly music shows are 20 to 30 mins long and that’s enough. The podcast (short) shows I co-host are also in this range and they work beautifully.
Music Authentic: Let’s have some fun: you wake up from deep sleep on your spaceship towards Mars and your duty is to create an uplifting and empowering playlist. Who would be on it and what songs?
Andia: Uplifting? Awoken from a deep cryo sleep? I have just the thing. A bit of drum n bass would fit the bill, as would some groovy, good energy tracks that would get the blood pumping, even in microgravity 🙂
1: Let’s start with Netsky (feat KJ Sawka on drums) – No Beginning (the song that inspired me to write Drop That! – with the piano and drum breaks and all that)
2: Next up, the best remix of all time. The Cornelius remix of Coldcut ‘Atomic Moog’. The hook vocals? Think like a bomb!
3: Now we’ve woken up a bit, it’s time to really get all bio systems fully online. Nothing like UK based RESO to pump life blood around inner space. As a drummer/producer. RESO is a huge influence, as you might expect.
4: On to more of a rock tip, we could groove with the lyrical hammer, 90s Dutch band Urban Dance Squad, with ‘Funky Demagogue’. Fast flow vocals, simple drums and driving bass. No other rock slams harder.
5: We could then take a change in mood, relax a little, with an upbeat collab track from Calvin Harris, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and Big Sean. Feels.
6: In fact, I’m a big fan of Calvin Harris, his track’ You used to hold me’ is an all time classic. Drives the lane too!
7: For variety, I couldn’t go without Snarky Puppy, that fusion band. ‘Lingus’ is by far the pinnacle of their repertoire. With a drummer I adore too, Larnell Lewis. (also see Ghost Note, and Robert Sput Spearight).
8: There’s many more I would take, in fact, all of these songs are from the extensive IYD artists playlist; Andia: Solar-Cyber, PUNK!
Music Authentic: Before we go: is there an encouraging message for your readers and sympathizers?
Andia: Yes, there is! For my fans and the people that ‘get’ me and my music: Thank you! To have a connection via music to others is a magical thing, and it’s not lost on me. It hasn’t been easy, the struggle is real, but you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like the challenge, it takes time and total commitment, the bar is high for a reason. It forces me to look deeper into our world, and express that somehow. I also have a good sense of humour, its important to be able to laugh at yourself! The main thing I’d say to everyone, if they got this far, is to reach out for your higher self. You’d be amazed at the difference you can make!
Say Hello and listen to Andia on her: