Firstly, congratulations on Sea of Approval and everything that has come with it.
Thanks, man! It’s been a long and fortuitous journey, really. It’s been like two years since I started working on it – or maybe even longer. I’m happy to have gone through it all.
And I suppose you don’t realise that it stretches out over two years. You had the singles that came out in 2013, extending all the way to now, when you’re gearing up for the final tour of the album.
Totally. Time is a weird one. You don’t realise how much of it has passed, but then I think about things I was doing before I was working on the album, and those things – working full time and all that kind of stuff – seem like a long, long time ago now.
The initial response to the singles and the album was really positive. Eight months on from its release, how do you feel about it? Can you look at it from a different perspective now?
When I was working on it it was such an intense process and experience, and mostly done alone. You’re so deep in it that you don’t have a sense of the bigger picture at all. You’re too close to it. And then you finish it, and then you just release it, because you could keep on working on it forever – obviously nothing’s perfect.
Then it’s sort of separate from you, and all you really have is a physical memory of the experience of doing it. The sore neck, the tired eyes, the exhaustion… just the sense that you went through something. But you don’t really listen to it anymore, because it’s just done. And then you have to bring it to life for the live show.
The process of making it was your absolute day-to-day – now the record is a satellite to your new day-to-day, which is doing a live show. You don’t disconnect from [the record], but it no longer is the centre of your whole universe.
Looking back on the album, do you find that you tend to stop analysing every aspect of it and just accept that that was how it was at that time, and it is what it is?
Yeah, I guess the sense is that it’s kind of too late to analyse it. For instance, if you’ve got a favourite artist and you have their record, all of the little quirks and imperfections and good bits and everything – they become part of the greater thing. And then they contextualise one another, and they become like a person; you love them for their flaws, as well as their good bits. You start thinking less about the outcome – which is this imperfect thing – and you start putting more value on the process, which was this long, divergent thing you went through to get there.
When people remix your music – for example, I really like Kilter’s remix of Talk Too Much – do you listen to many of them? Or do you find them too frustrating?
I’ve really enjoyed the remixes that have been done. It’s kind of funny; say your voice bothers you on a recording that you did, but then someone does a remix of it and your voice doesn’t bother you anymore. All the remixes have been quite creative. Kilter did a great one, Ribongia did a really good one that I like, Todd Rungren did one… I actually really enjoy listening to them.
Speaking of Sea of Approval generating new things, I guess; what did you think of all those puns that were made on the album artwork?
I like it for a number of reasons. It’s funny, and some people were very creative. Everyone got involved; some were MS Paint jobs, and then others were fully Photoshopped. I just think it’s within the spirit of the thing… How do I put this? When you’re making a pop record you’re kind of recycling certain things. You’re finding sounds and you’re recycling them and ideas you’ve kind of inherited and you’re re-contextualising. It’s sincere, but it’s not too serious. You’re like an ibis bird digging through a bin.
I wanted to ask you about your voice. I’m sure you’ve heard this so many times before, but you have these wonderful feminine elements to your voice. At what point did you realise that you had those kind of tones?
I think pretty early on, because people would point them out. At first people pointed them out maliciously: ‘You fucking fag, you sound like a girl’. I used to get that all the time. I guess I realised that, as a person, in all aspects of life, you have what you have. You’ve got the body that you have, the face that you have, the sexuality that you have, the voice that you have… Life is not about changing those things; it’s about coming to accept them. That process of accepting them gives you the insight and the energy to actually live whatever life that you think you’re meant to live.
So I found out early on that I had this kind of high voice and these feminine aspects, but it took me a long, long, long time to accept them, and also not be as hurt or upset when people were critical of it. I just think self-acceptance is much more important than self-improvement.
You can catch Andy Bull, supported by Cub Sport, on the following dates:
TALK TOO MUCH TOUR 2015:
THU 16 APR | THE GOV, ADELAIDE SA (ALL AGES) –http://tiny.cc/TTMAde
FRI 17 APR | 170 RUSSELL, MELBOURNE VIC – http://tiny.cc/TTMMelb
FRI 24 APR | UNIBAR, WOLLONGONG NSW – http://tiny.cc/TTMWoll
SAT 25 APR | THE CAMBRIDGE, NEWCASTLE NSW –http://tiny.cc/TTMNewc
FRI 08 MAY | THE ROSEMOUNT, PERTH WA – http://tiny.cc/TTMPer
SAT 09 MAY | MOJOS, FREMANTLE WA – http://tiny.cc/TTMFreo
SUN 10 MAY | STRETCH ARTS FESTIVAL @ MANDURAH PAC, MANDURAH WA – http://tiny.cc/TTMMan
FRI 12 JUNE | ANU BAR, CANBERRA – http://tinyurl.com/otxjd6r
SAT 13 JUNE | OXFORD ARTS FACTORY, SYDNEY – http://tinyurl.com/kn8fnk9