Andy Bull talks being inspired by a rap legend: ‘I’ve thought about Kanye a lot’
Last week one of Australia’s most well-known and beloved pop/indie singer songwriters dropped his much-anticipated second LP ‘Sea of Approval’ which was a completely solo project.
For the first time ever, Andy Bull flexed his incredible skills as a musician to become a solo production powerhouse, spitting out a catchy record with a familiar electro beat.
On going solo, Bull revealed “it’s really good in some regards and quite challenging in other ways. It gives you freedom, time and flexibility.
“I felt like I wasn’t inflicting myself on anyone or wasting anyone else’s time and could have a very honest conversation with myself.”
Not only has Bull had the opportunity to have an honest conversation with himself throughout the process of creating this LP, he also admitted to taking cues from one of the biggest names in rap music.
Meeting Kanye West for the first time in 2007 saw Bull and the international rapper share an impromptu studio sesh when Kanye was in Australia on a break from recording his Grammy Award winning album ‘Graduation.’
“That was way back! It was a really surreal moment though!”
The surreal moment not only gave Bull a chance to listen to some demos on Graduation but to also get some invaluable feedback from a rap legend.
Listening to Bull’s tunes, it’s not hard to believe Kanye’s chat with him all those years ago have played a role in the making of ‘Sea of Approval.’
“I showed him some of my demos which I had been working on and he was like ‘this bit’s strong’ and ‘this bit’s good,’” Bull explains.
“He uses pop ‘hooks’ a lot and I guess that’s why he’s one of the best producers out there, because he has a melody, but then you listen to his lyrics a bit deeper and there becomes many layers and things to appreciate.
“So you’ve got a guy who is making pop music but also something that is very anti-pop yet is compelling to listen to on the radio and also worthy of an analysis on an intellectual level. So that’s pretty rare, there’s never that many people who command that sort of attention or analysis on the pop spectrum at one time.”
You can clearly see, as Bull explains the Kanye West studio time, that he’s taken cues from the star who’s had a huge influence on his production style from the moment they met.
“I’ve thought about Kanye a lot obviously,” he says. “He has definitely had an influence and even though what I’m doing now is kind of different, historically I have tried to go for a ‘polish’ which I think Kanye also has.
“The level of attention he gives to things and the level of thought that makes up his choices as well as how he uses pop hooks and motifs [is] really inspiring.”
When asked about the inspiration behind ‘Sea of Approval,’ Bull immediately listed “regret” and “failure,” which isn’t too far from his earlier work.
As a fan of using music therapeutically, Andy wanted this record to sound like how he would speak.
“I’m trying to be forthcoming about how to handle emotions,” he said.
“In life you don’t go from success to success. Successes are ambivalent things and temporary experiences and every success is laced with a disappointment with its own kind, yet every disappointment has within it, the seed of potential.
“You need to see that you’re not just about a string of failures.”