Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Conversation With ANDREW DUGAN...Music and Life Foretold!

I’ve gotta admit, I haven’t seen the “2012” movie yet. Maybe that’s because I’m too busy writing the articles on this site! Nah, just kidding, I love what I do and every now and then I do get out with my wife and/or kids to check out a flick. To be honest, though, I haven’t been a big fan of the end-of-the-world, disaster things of recent vintage. But I have to admit, after hearing the apocalyptic-yet-oddly-beautiful solo effort by ANDREW DUGAN entitled…wait for it…”MMXII,” I was bitten by the bug. Mr. DUGAN has also been the vocalist in modern-metal locals FORETOLD the last few years and their “Just The Tip” disc got a nice review on The Realm some months back. Still, even that didn’t ready this scribe for the depth of passion & vision present on “MMXII.” Just recently I had a very revealing and interesting conversation with ANDREW concerning his solo music, life with FORETOLD and other assorted topics. Check it out below…

RAY - So, let’s start at the beginning, shall we? What combination of things led to a certain Mr. Andrew Dugan traveling down the road of musician, songwriter, etc. rather than being the guy who turns on the local FM rock station in the car and leaves his involvement in music at that?

ANDREW - I had always wanted to play music. Every year when I was growing up I had some sort of band I was in whether it was real or not. I had a band in preschool my parents told me that I called the “Rockin Rats”. We never really played music but we thought we did lol. After wanting to be in a band and taking guitar lessons for awhile, my parents put me into a camp for several summers called DayJams. This probably did the most for me as making me want to be in a band and make it a serious thing.

RAY - Who were your influences when you first got into music? Do you still look to them for your listening at this point? Who do you like / dislike these days? Why?

ANDREW - Led Zeppelin, I loved the hell out of zeppelin when I was really young and it made me want to start taking lessons in middle school. I started taking lessons and my buddy got me into “SCIENCE” by Incubus. That CD super influenced me to write/do music. I became over obsessed with Incubus before I got into high school and my freshman year. As I moved through high school my tastes changed and I started liking A perfect circle, Mike Patton and all his projects (while not everything he’s done lol), Manson, 311 and Alice in Chains. Nowadays I really just listen to classical more then anything else but the bands I really like right now are Radiohead, Dub Trio, The Grassy Knoll, Fight Amp, Porcupine Tree, Mudvayne. I still love zeppelin but with all the new music out its hard to go back into what’s already been done.

RAY - Why is Baltimore such a miserable and drab place? Or is that just my cynical, 51 year old assessment?

ANDREW - I think it’s in the eye of the beholder. I see a lot of evil in Baltimore and secretly think that some big evil thing is going to happen there but I don’t know what. But besides the evil that lurks in the dark creepy wet street corners I think it had a lot of beauty that goes unnoticed. So to answer your question it’s a little of both.

RAY - At this point, you’re involved in both a band situation (FORETOLD) and your own solo stuff. Let’s address the band thing first. What are the origins of FORETOLD? How did you come to record and release “…The Tip?”

ANDREW - Foretold formed in early 2004 with a totally different lineup then it is now. I tried out for the band in December 2004 on Pindell’s birthday and was terrible but the drummer’s dad thought I had potential. We started playing out in 05/06 and played a lot of venues every other week. These were some of the best times I had with Foretold, before we had to grow up more than anything else. We came up with “Just the tip” because our old drummer Mike Fleagle used to say it at practice sometimes. We thought it would be a hilarious first album and decided “Ballz Deep” would be the follow up album.

RAY - How do you feel about that album, is it everything you’d hoped it would be when you first envisioned it?

ANDREW - I think this album turned out awful personally. We took a long time to track it. Like a REALLY long time, literally recorded over a year and mixed over 6 months. So each time we had someone else track we’d have a totally different view of what the song should sound like. This CD hurt our original lineup and has since seemed to send us into a weird depression. It just sounds bland. There’s not as much punch and bigness as we wanted with the tones and especially with our own performances on the CD. You can easily sense the fighting internally in the band with how it sounds.

RAY - What kind of situation do you have with the band in terms of writing? Does everyone contribute? How do the music & lyrics in FORETOLD typically come together? What makes a band work well together, in the studio and live formats?

ANDREW - Well Pindell would write the main riffs and we would piece together the songs as a band. I would write the lyrics and melody but everyone also had their hands in that a little if they didn’t like something lol. Studio wise we would play live to track the drums and then track separately after that. More recently we have been writing the music with me kind of there and then me working on vocals separately. I know a lot of bands that do this and thought it was lame but I actually like this better I think.

RAY - How much gigging has FORETOLD done? Have you played many shows in the Baltimore area? Ever done any with Shift / Deadlock?

ANDREW - Foretold has played a TON of shows. 2007 was our biggest year for shows as we played probably 30 in MD. We played with Shift a bunch of times at Sonar and at Rams head. One time we played with Jimmy’s Chicken Shack at Rams Head for their DVD taping and we actually brought out more people than they did. Summer of 2008 it begin to die down and we released our CD on 03/07/09 at Sonar. Since then we played the Static X show last minute in April but haven’t gigged since due to lineup issues.

RAY - RED LIGHT CHALLENGE: Ok, you’re given the opportunity of one of the following…what do you pick?

a. A chance to work in the studio with Maynard James Keenan
b. A chance to spend an all-night date with a FORETOLD fan who has a strong resemblance to Beyonce?

Feel free to comment as profusely on either as necessary!

ANDREW - I’d pick the Maynard James Keenan thing. I would definitely like to try out Beyonce but I have a girlfriend I love that would not love to see that happen lol. I feel like working with Maynard would probably be a very long and crazy night.

RAY - Now let’s turn to your solo stuff. Musically, “MMXII” has a completely different feel from the FORETOLD stuff…which is good! Sometimes, an artist does a solo record and I’m left thinking, shit, it sounds exactly like another band album, what’s the point? With your’s, that’s not a problem that’s even on the map. I’m hearing things that remind me of some of the more acoustic stuff by Roger Waters on “The Wall.” Am I close or are you going to say that Ray is just some dickhead writer who’s completely off base? Don’t be afraid to do just that, I need somebody to reign me in at times!

ANDREW - I honestly have never even listened to all of “The Wall”. After putting out the Foretold CD and promoting it I realized there was nothing to sell besides the music. I was so turned off by the CD in fact that it made me want to prove myself and write my own stuff for once. I had written vocals to Pindell’s music for 3 years and I just needed a break to remember what I liked playing. And wanted something I could promote as more than just music.

RAY - Lyrically, we’re talking about some pretty dark stuff, I mean even though this stuff is acoustic, nobody’s ever going to confuse it with a James Taylor album! Give me some insight into the idea behind the concept.

ANDREW - I wanted to write an album that was more than just a group of songs that had no association (Just the Tip). I took classes online at Berklee about the future of music and the decreasing value of CD’s. If you want it to sell it has to be more than just music. I anticipate that short DVD’s of music written to stories could replace the regular CD.

I had sort of a premonition with a friend of mine that the 2000-2010 generation was the generation that didn’t give a shit because we all thought the world was going to end. I wrote “0700” that night and finished it the following morning. After I had the idea of what I wanted to do. I then wrote out the story that the album follows and I wrote the music to each scene. As the music came together I wrote the lyrics to make the music more understandable with the concept. I wanted to make each song a different emotion of the prophet and of the people surrounding him. I wrote the CD in 2 weeks and spent about 6 months recording it and 3 mixing it.

RAY - Also, the record is short time-wise, but very “full” in terms of intensity. There isn’t a minute wasted and the effect is larger than a lot of longer albums. Any commentary?

ANDREW - I wanted to write a full length but was so excited with the form and sound of what I had I just felt it necessary to make it short. And also thought it would be cool for the concept to make the CD 20:12 in length.

RAY - How about shows / gigs with the solo stuff? Have any happened? Will any be happening?

ANDREW - None have happened but coming to the grips that it may sell some CD’s im working on getting back into playing the music again and planning a CD release for it sometime in the spring.

RAY - RED LIGHT CHALLENGE: How many steamed crabs could a Baltimore club owner chuck if a Frank Zappa could chuck Edgar Allen Poe? Be as creative as you feel necessary or just tell me to shut the fuck up and conduct a serious interview!

ANDREW - 665 maybe 700 I’ll have to check the stats.

RAY - What’s next for ANDREW DUGAN? The sky’s the limit…where are you aiming?

ANDREW - I want to play some ugly grungy metal. I just bought a Orange cabinet and a PRS a little while ago so as soon as I get a head I’m gonna start writing some noise metal type stuff. And if not that I want to write super pretty delayed guitar kind of stuff.

RAY - If you could give one piece of advice to a budding musical artist who has not yet recorded one song or played one gig, what would it be?

ANDREW - Never give up and never listen to anyone else’s opinions of your music. Its not your music if you make it for someone else’s tastes.

RAY - In all your time doing FORETOLD, your solo stuff, etc. what is the most odd, stupid, staggering or just simply vulgar thing that has ever happened? Studio, live, any place! No censorship or editing here (unless I feel like it…lol)

ANDREW - One time we played a gig at The Black Hole in Dundalk. We (Foretold) had recently found a black on white porno magazine from the 80’s in my buddy Nate’s car shop. Kong our bass player dressed in a giant white fur vest read it on stage in between each song while Pindell changed tunings. The one line that I vividly remember Kong reading was “Reaching for his thick black love snake.”

RAY - Any final comments?

ANDREW - Thank you for supporting me and genuinely appreciating my music.

It’s pretty damn cool when a release makes it’s way across this desk that I find both surprising in style and rewarding in depth. Couple that with the fact that ANDREW DUGAN is a young guy who’s made quite an early statement with “MMXII” and you’ll want to check it out immediately. Get writing!



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