Mix tape: ANDY DOWLING (LORD)

A slightly different spin. When moving from Brisbane to Sydney 10 years ago to play in LORD, I found myself leaning on a large dosage of Australian rock from the 80s and 90s. Whilst it might seem like an unusual choice for many, it certainly provided me with inspiration reassurance.

These are a few of many songs that were the soundtrack to my first few years in Sydney, where I was trying to find my feet and carve out my own place in a big city on my own.

lord

SIDE A
 
1. John Farnham – Reasons
– You can knock Farnsy all you want or say his only good song is ‘You’re the Voice’, but I’ll tell you with ease that John Farnham is the greatest vocalist of all time. Is this crazy talk? Maybe, but I believe it. I referenced this song in the liner notes of our ‘Ascendence’ album back in 2009, quoting ‘I’m pointing my feet in the right direction’. This track specifically was the fuel I needed to keep on a path that many  felt was a little too outside-of-the-box. Fantastic song and still a great go to track for inspiration. 
 
2. Dragon – Dreams of Ordinary Men 
– Breaking the rules immediately, I’m going with an adopted Australian band from New Zealand (us Aussies tend to do this often!). Many people prefer their 70s output, but the mid to late 80s era of the band was absolutely unstoppable. These guys were the soundtrack to many a night in Sydney and Wollongong, driving between rehearsal rooms, backs of venues and the like. Highly recommend the albums ‘Body and the Beat’, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Men’ and ‘Bondi Road’. 
 

3. 1927 – You’ll Never Know

– I became obsessed with the first two albums of 1927 for quite a lengthy period of time, especially the debut ‘…ish’. This song, like the rest of the album, is down to earth and raw. Every song is wrapped around everyday experiences which was the reassurance I needed in those moments of doubt. Their debut was highly successful in Australia, and I believe that the genuine human approach lyrically was a large part of that success. “You’ll never know. Know which choice to make. Take or break a hold. Which way to go. Say what you will. What you’re willing to give. Give or take control. Will we ever know.”
 
4. Ian Moss – Out of the Fire
– Women. They make and break you. No matter how shit a break up can be and how much you think that you’ll struggle to find someone as good as the last, someone better always comes around. This song is all about moving on, which I went through a number of times and in hindsight very happy that I did. Use this song as strength, not as a depressant! 
5. Southern Sons – Something More
– The reality of being a musician is balancing it with earning a living. Working an office job was certainly a challenge and was very difficult at times to keep a positive frame of mind when those around you do not have the same outlook on life that you have. This song kept me pushing forward. A highly overlooked and underrated song that deserves far more attention. In some of my most difficult struggles, this track got me through. 
 
SIDE B
 
1. Jimmy Barnes – Driving Wheels
– Not that I have ever racked up the mileage of a truck driver, but I always loved this song as I cruised up and down the Princes Highway between Sydney and Wollongong each Thursday night for rehearsals. Between an hour and an hour and a half each way with traffic. This was my weekly routine for a number of years and this track provided a somewhat soundtrack to it. Over the last 10 years I’ve certainly racked up a lot of kilometres across this large country and have grown a real love for being on the road and behind the wheel.
 
2. Roxus – Rock n Roll Nights 
– This song is nothing but a reminder of very big, messy and late nights in Sydney. Partying in Kings Cross, Surry Hills, and the Inner West. Roxus was the perfect compliment as I bar/pub hopped across the city in the early hours of the morning (or those long walks home when you couldn’t get a taxi!).
 
3. Icehouse – Touch the Fire
–  Late 80s Icehouse was out of this world. Man of Colours especially is one of my all time favourite albums, but Touch the Fire just seemed to get constant rotation, whether it be cassette, vinyl, CD or mp3 (yes I have it on all formats). A great guitar riff, sax solo and an open invitation to hook city. Delicious song. 
 
4. Noiseworks – No Lies
– Seen Noiseworks soooo many times over the years. One of Australia’s best fronted by a New Zealander (remember, we adopt Kiwi’s when we like them!). Their self titled album is one of their best and No Lies is a reminder of fun, and often intoxicating, times seeing them in pubs and clubs with very rough and questionable middle-aged fans. I lost a bit of interest after their follow up album Touch, but you can’t deny those first two.  
 
5.  John Farnham – Break the Ice 
– You start your mix tape with Farnsy, you finish with Farnsy. That’s my rule, anyway! Unless you’re an AOR/80s rock fan, you might not know this track. Featured on the RAD soundtrack, this is one of the best fist pumping songs out there. This one certainly got you in the mood before a big night out in the city.
H

How was 2015 for you musically?

From a band perspective, we released a highly successful EP entitled ‘What Tomorrow Brings’ which received great feedback from people all over the world (you can watch the video trailer HERE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMpF-tjlzHw) and lead to a fun end of year tour across Australia. Personally, I came to the realisation that Australian music at present has never been better. From a metal perspective, we have never had so many bands making huge impacts on the international front and it only appears to be getting better and better. It’s great fuel and inspiration for us and no doubt many others.

What have you got planned for 2016 and beyond?

For LORD, we have a very busy year. Whilst we’re taking a break from most touring, we will be appearing at the ProgPower USA Festival in Atlanta in September of this year. This will be our first ever US appearance, so we’re very excited to finally play to a lot of fans who have been patiently waiting for us to come over for many many years. In addition to that, we have just secured our new drummer, Darryl Murphy (video announcement here – https://youtu.be/VYtRQQZJBt0) after a long two year search (and many session drummers). Finally, we’re in the process of finalising another new release and planning for the next couple of releases over the coming 12 months. The biggest thing for us is to keep the momentum moving and we’re certainly ensuring that we stay busy.

Message for your fans…

A huge thank you for sticking with us, sharing our music amongst your friends, buying our mechandise and coming out to shows! The best thing personally for me is to see the feedback and thoughts from those who listen. While we do this for ourselves, we also take great pride in knowing that others get something out of it as well. You all keep us going and we wouldn’t be able to live our dreams without you supporting us.

Looking back and reflecting on the songs I chose for this mix tape leaves me with a great feeling of accomplishment. All of those times of doubt when I leant on some of Australia’s best song writers helped me get to where I am today. I am forever in debt to those who have and continue to inspire me, as well as those who have directly impacted the success of LORD. Thank you!

Andy Dowling 

(LORD/The Andy Social Podcast) 
Po Box 3019
Wollongong, NSW 2520
AUSTRALIA

http://www.lord.net.au
http://www.andysocial.net

The music is out there…

I love discovering and listening to new music, be it actual new music or older music that I listen to for the first time. I know many music fans my age or older get very set in their tastes and say nothing new is as good as the older, established bands, however that misses the point a little for me. Yes bands like say the Temperance Movement or Inglorious, to name but two, are nothing new musically yet they take the music they love and give it their own twist. Heck, bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple borrowed and were influenced by established artists in their day to create the music that still resonates today.

Just this week I picked up a Richard Hawley CD after reading a rave gig review on GRTR! On Twitter I have been picking up on new music and currently loving Broken Witt Rebels (their new EP is superb!) and the indie rock of Mountain Jam. The joy and thrill of hearing new music and championing the musicians is one of life’s great joys for me and many others.

Go on, listen to at least one new band/musician this week, be they new or old…

Mix tape: JOSH TAERK

Personally I used to love making compilations back in the 1980’s on good old C60 and C90 cassettes. I thought it would be good to bring it back with a few musicians and music fans,  where they compile a virtual  mix tape of the songs that mean a lot to them. In fact in this modern age a Spotify playlist can be made too.

For those younger readers a mix tape (to quote Wikipedia):
‘Usually reflects the musical tastes of its compiler, can range from a casually selected list of favorite songs, to a conceptual mix of songs linked by a theme or mood, to a highly personal statement tailored to the tape’s intended recipient.’

Josh Taerk released his latest album  ‘Here’s to Change’  this year and it is well worth getting. Josh picks ten songs below and why they mean so much to him.

You can listen to Josh’s mix tape here.

  1. “Wonderwall” by Oasis: This was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar. I was around 15/16 and at the time I wanted to be the next Slash. I was working at a summer camp and, during a break from one of our staff meetings, started playing this song on the guitar. A really cute counsellor from the Girl’s unit came over, sat herself right in front of me, asked what song I was playing; and after I told her, demanded that I start the song again and sing or she wouldn’t be able to follow along. 1) She was really cute, 2) I’m not one to back down from a challenge and 3) she was really cute; so I went for it. When I was done the song she looked at me and said “I didn’t know you were a singer!” I’ve been singing ever since.
  1. “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s: It was the last week of camp the August I turned 17. Every year, at the end of camp the owners put on a banquet for the staff and that year my friend was in charge of the entertainment. He decides to model the evening after American Idol and, without telling me, signs me up. On the day of the banquet he comes over to me and not only tells me that I’m performing but also tells me that I’m the last performer of the night. I was known for singing around camp, but to small groups of friends. This was going to be in front of the entire camp staff! That night, my turn rolls around and I sing this song in front of 200 plus people. As soon as the last chord died out, the entire crowd went nuts. At that moment I knew that up on stage was where I needed to be.
  1. “Round Here” by Counting Crows: The first lines in this song are:

“Step out the front door like a ghost

Into the fog where no one notices

The contrast of white on white

And in between the moon and you

The angels get a better view

Of the crumbling difference between wrong and wright”

The first time I heard these words, they immediately pulled me in. I felt the weight of what Adam Duritz was singing and at the same time had no idea what this was supposed to mean. That’s the beauty of songwriting; that’s the beauty of music. A good song is a story, a poem, a conversation between two people; whatever you as the listener need it to be at that moment. This song really inspired me to think about how my songs would be perceived and also inspired me to look at songwriting as a give and take between the artist and the listener. Meaning is created when the listener interprets your song so that it makes sense to them. It brings a whole other set of lives to this thing that you’ve created. It’s incredible!

  1. “For Baby” by John Denver: This song is important to me because it shaped me as a person, my values, my outlook on life and family. From the day I was born my Dad would sing that song to me every night. The song talks about being there for the ones you love, sharing in their ups and downs, and taking the journey that is life together; wherever that journey takes either of you. You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been, and this song reminds me of what’s really important in life; love.
  1. “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: After 9/11 Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band got back together and released this album and this song. In the wake of what happened this song spoke volumes to me about what music can do for humanity. This was not a song about differences, this was not a song about war, fighting, labels or politics. This was a song about life and the people that live it. It talked about the heroes that risked their lives that day, and those that didn’t make it back; but it did so focusing on the people, on how humanity reacted. Yes, there is sadness and yes, there are wounds that may never be fully healed; but the song dealt with these issues tastefully, compassionately, and with a glimmer of hope and faith. This song inspired me to try and see social issues from the perspective of the group that matters most; people, and to never loose sight of hope in the process.
  1. “Jelly Man Kelly” by James Taylor: When I was really young I loved the show Sesame Street and on one episode James Taylor came on and sang this song. I loved it and would ask my parents all the time if they could play the song by “Jelly Man” because, at the time, I had no idea who James Taylor was. I completely forgot about this, eventually fell in love with James Taylor’s music, and would listen to his songs constantly. One day pretty recently, my parents were going through old stuff of my siblings and mine in their basement and came across something that reminded them of this song. They re-told me the story, and I loved the irony that I was listening to James Taylor music long before I even knew who he was. You never know what’s going to affect your life and stick with you until it does.
  1. “Summer of ‘69” by Bryan Adams: I love this song, and every time I hear it I can’t help but want to get up, grab a guitar, sing along and completely rock out to it. From the guitar riff at the beginning, to the soaring vocals in the chorus, the song is the definition of a rock anthem through and through; and feels like a rock song should. At the same time, the story running through the song deals with real life experiences. It’s about yearning for a simpler time, a lost love; dreams of becoming something more than you are. That, to me, is the perfect rock song, the combination of music that moves you and a story that does the same.
  1. “I Want You” by Bob Dylan: I love this song for a lot of reasons. First and foremost because Dylan is one of the most prolific songwriters, and a source of inspiration for me. Second, this was one of the first songs Dylan ever produced in Nashville Tennessee with the group of studio musicians known now as “The Nashville Cats.” The whole goal of these recordings for both parties was to expand on their definitions of music and go outside of their comfort zones, their genres, and make something unique and beautiful. This story really resonates with me especially because, when I went down to Nashville to record Here’s To Change, we ended up pushing ourselves and the music to places we never really thought about going before.
  1. “Hum Hallelujah” by Fall Out Boy: I was a huge Fall Out Boy fan when they were starting out. From the first album of theirs that I heard, Take This to Your Grave, to Infinity On High; I loved listening to their music because it was so unique and so well crafted. In a single song they would mix genres and styles of playing, move from regular time into cut time, back into regular time, speed the song up, slow it down; and it was all done in a way that really emphasized not just that part of the song, but the overall story. The lyrics were also always really unique. They would take cliché phrases like “The road of good intentions” and turn it on it’s head to make it new. In this song in particular they wrote:

“The road outside my house is paved with good intentions

Hired a construction crew, ‘cause it’s hell on the engine.”

  1. “Las Vegas Turnaround” by Hall and Oates: I am very grateful to call John Oates a mentor and friend. When I was looking for a producer for Here’s To Change, it was John that understood the kind of feel I was looking for and it was John that introduced me to producer Teddy Morgan. John is an incredible singer/songwriter, he is a fantastic friend, and is always there to lend a hand. I picked this song because I wanted to honor our friendship and honor John as a singer/songwriter; on top of the fact that it’s one of my favorites.

How was 2015 for you musically?

2015 was an exceptional year for me. It started with the finishing of my album Here’s To Change and releasing my first single off the album, the title track, in the UK. During that time, my brother Ryan and I went on a 15 campus university tour; it was unreal, and there was great response to the new music everywhere we went. At the end of May, I brought the band from Nashville to Manchester and played 5 shows at Indie Week Europe 2015 and then played 3 shows around London including The Bedford in Balham, The 12 Bar Club and O2 Academy Islington. While we were on this tour Here’s To Change was play-listed on 40 radio stations across the country. I’m so humbled by the incredible response to the record.

What have you got planned for 2016 and beyond?

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time in Nashville, writing new songs and playing shows that included a spot at The Bluebird Café. In 2016 we are planning a US tour as well as more trips down to Music City to another single and touring. I love what I do!

Message for your fans…

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has purchased, streamed, listened to, and requested to hear Here’s To Change on the radio. I also want to thank everyone who retweets, likes, comments and shares my posts online, I love talking with you and appreciate all of your support. Without all of you coming to the shows, listening to the music and watching the videos; none of this would be possible. So, thank you for what you do and for giving me the chance to do what I love!

2015 interview