T I E D T O A S T R I N G
Andy Nolte has recently released his first solo album entitled "Tied to a String" that we are beyond excited for you to hear. The album contains a rich tapestry of sounds and styles accompanied by Andys strikingly hypnotic vocals. It's not often you get the pleasure of hearing a modern album that also includes string arrangements from the award winning composer, Peter Stopschinski. Don't be surprised when you end up binge-listening to songs like "Europa Tide", "Kiss Me" or you know, the whole damn thing.
"It just flows so delicately from one end to the other it’s hard to believe it’s only Nolte’s first solo album because it sounds like he’s been doing it all his life."
-Sebastian Cole, GasHouseRadio.com
What is your musical background?
Everyone makes music in my family, so I feel like I was always going to go down this path. I started playing bass and guitar when I was 14, as an outlet to cope with things when my Mother got sick and passed away. It's been a necessary part of my life ever since, I feel manic if I don't get to make music everyday. I left home at 15 and started playing gigs using borrowed guitars and a fake ID to get into the clubs I was playing. At 24 I discovered that I loved the piano and shifted my attention to teaching myself how to play it. I've been in countless bands for over 20 years now, playing different instruments and genres. I took a semester of classical guitar back in High School where I learned how to read music, but since then I've been self-taught. Music is essentially my defense mechanism for day to day life.
Who are your musical influences?
I'm from a big musical family so I draw my influences from a lot of different places. I think when I wrote this record I was really inspired by Stevie Wonder's "Songs In The Key of Life", and Paul Simon's "There Goes Rhymin' Simon" at the time. I love the way they both use all these jazz standard progressions and sing essentially folk song lyricism on top. And somehow they managed to make the music pop sensible at the same time. For lyrics I think I've been influenced by Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Neil Young, John Lennon, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, & Ben Folds quite a bit. As far as my music is concerned however, I'm a sponge. Any and everything I hear or play becomes part of the tapestry of what I write.
What instruments do you play on the album and who else did you collaborate with?
On this record I played the piano and sang the lead vocals and some harmony vocals. I tracked the heart of the tunes with my good friend/collaborator Michael Ingber playing drums, and Jimmy Hartman on bass, while I laid down the piano parts. Then we brought in a lot of my favorite local session players to flesh out the songs. I hired Peter Stopschinski to do my string arrangements. He also did the string arrangements on the Groupo Fantasma Grammy Winning album El Existential. His awards and credits list is massive, look him up- he's a genius!! I had a really fantastic team of musicians to back me up for this project, so I'm very thankful I live in Austin where there's such an amazing pool of talent.
Pictured left to right - Leila Henley (woodwinds & backing vocals), Mike Ingber (drums), Jeff Elliott (violin), Andy Nolte (piano & vocal), Matt Slagle (bass), Phil Davidson (violin)
Tell us about the meaning of the title "Tied to a String".
I named my record "Tied to a String", after a song on the album, which was written for my wife, Denise. None of my art would be possible if not for her, and most of the songs are inspired by her in one way or another. So it seemed like a fitting title.
How was working at Studio 601?
I love working at Studio 601. Mike Ingber and I work really well together and collaborate frequently, so I always have a relaxed atmosphere at my sessions and get heartfelt performances when we're recording together there.
What inspired this album? Do any of the songs hold special meaning to you?
I wrote this record in my downtime after my previous band Soul Track Mind, decided to call it quits. I had spent a couple years traveling and playing all the time with that group, so I hadn't had any time to focus on my own songs until the point when the band stopped gigging. Then I sat down at the piano and out poured this flood of new songs. They all happened very naturally because I had a lot of things that I wanted to say, and all these musical ideas I didn't have an outlet for previously. Most of these songs are very personal to me, and several are autobiographical. I think the song that has the most resonant emotional impact on me is Synecdoche. I'm a dreamer and a romantic; and to me, this song is very representative of my Quixotic perspective on life. It's one of those honest things I wrote and assumed would never see the light of day, and yet somehow there it is. This beautiful, minimal, bit of truth that signs off on the record like a love letter to the human condition.
What genre of music do you consider your work to be?
I think of my music as "epic folk pop". I write very theatrical and dramatic music, but I can't resist pop sensible melodies. And I cant relate to a song unless it has some heart in it, so that's where my folk lyrical approach comes into play. Those are the elements behind every song I write, regardless of what genre they may appear in. I think I might be called "Indie Folk" or something like that, but it's hard to put yourself into a category as a songwriter.
What is the greatest challenge you faced creating this album?
The biggest challenge in making my record was raising finances. I always have ideas and am constantly writing songs; and I have a large network of professional musicians to work with. So the only setback is saving funds to cover studio expenses. Any wealthy benefactors that want to fund my next record feel free to contact me, I've got lots of songs waiting for a budget!
What are your favorite Austin, Texas venues to play and where is your dream gig?
My favorite places to play in Austin are the Saxon Pub, the North Door, the Parish, Empire Control Room & Garage, Antone's, and Stubbs Indoor (I've never played the outdoor stage). My dream gig...is to play Austin City Limits. I'd LOVE to do a taping of my songs for ACL, maybe it's a pipe dream, but it's MY pipe dream.
What's next for Andy Nolte?
I'm working on a new EP at Studio 601 for release in the Spring of 2019. I'm also talking to a few video directors about trying to make a video to promote the "Tied to a String" record. I've also got another record ready to record as soon as I get this next one out, so stay tuned!